May 2012 Home of The Month – Danforth & Woodbine

The Danforth

Welcome to's Home Of The Month. This feature provides a snap shot of what's Buyers have recently bought in the City of Toronto.

If you're a regular reader of our Home Of The Month posts, you know we help all kinds of purchasers including first time buyers, down-scaling zoomers, investors and people relocating to Toronto. No matter the circumstance that necessitates a purchase, we endeavour to match your housing needs, wishes and dreams with the ideal property. 

Which brings us to this month's feature.

Our clients, a couple with a young child, had negotiated a quick sale on their Vancouver condominium which resulted in a tight time frame of about 60 days to search, negotiate and relocate into a Toronto property. In the heat of Toronto's intense competitive Spring market our Buyers, over a three and a half week period, considered most every City property within their budget across the east and west side, from Lake Ontario north to Dupont. While the Buyers reviewed the MLS listings online in Vancouver, their family members in Toronto viewed the properties, serving as their eyes and ears, while offered our counsel, guidance and insight.

It is in circumstances such as these, where the knowledge and experience of your realtor can go a long way to streamlining your housing search. Along with a History Degree on Toronto from 1860 to 1970 (the original City of Toronto is now home to around 1,000,000+ residents), and over twenty years experience as a Top Producing Realtor, I've cultivated a complex locational, socio-cultural and valuation framework spanning the city's original 42 village neighbourhoods which allows my team and I, at any given moment, to expertly match which areas and properties best suit the needs, budget, and quality of life our Buyers desire. Encompassing a geography from The Beach to Bloor West, and Lake Ontario to Hogg's Hollow,'s expansive understanding of the City's multi-dimensional real estate market is particularly beneficial for Buyers who are not acutely familiar with the City. Unlike most realtors who tend to be location or product specific, our breadth of knowledge allows us to introduce Buyers to the city as a collection of domestic choices. By exposing our clients to distinct neighbourhood options, available dwelling types, and the array of cultural and lifestyle amenities available to urban denizens, we can then tailor their preferences into a custom housing search that accurately captures their dream of domesticity. As far as we're concerned, unless you know exactly the place you want to live, engaging a realtor who is well-versed in the ever-changing dynamics of Toronto's residential differentiation could help you make the optimum property purchase, both in your quality of life and by its financial return on investment. 

For our Vancouver clients, who were seeking an affordable family-friendly neighbourhood in proximity to recreational green space, good schools, shopping amenities and easy public transportation, I recommended they consider the stretch of 'The Danforth' from Jones east to Woodbine. While the retail mix is a bit hit and miss along this part of The Danforth, a sign Gentrification is still in its early stages (though it's only a matter of time until Starbucks casts its anchor and officially brands the neighbourhood as trendy), the original working class housing stock located both north and south of The Danforth is efficient, practical and mostly well-built. Consisting of row, semi-detached and detached one and two-storey dwellings built between 1910 to 1930, these modest houses appeal to first and second time buyers who are looking to spend around $450,000 to $600,000+. Of particular merit are the area's community parks and recreation centres, including Monarch Park with its outdoor skating rink and swimming pool (with two-storey waterslide!), and East Lynn Park with its organic market, outdoor wading pool, expansive playground, and ravine setting perfect for tobagganing in the winter. Without question, with these sorts of amenities this is definitely a neighbourhood for children. And despite the unprepossessing streetscapes and architectural repetitiveness of its early suburban heritage, the speedy 15-minute subway ride downtown is decidedly urban. As are its residents. Predominantly progressive, liberal, and community-minded, the vibrant collective family spirit makes this one of my top locations for young families.


Urbaneer's Home Of The Month


There was an equally important aspect to this home purchase that many buyers are not familiar with, but should take into consideration when purchasing a family home. Because one of the buyers was extremely sensitive to airborne toxins like mold and mildew, off-gases from paint and carpeting, and carcinogens like smoke residue and pet dander, it was critical we find a property that didn't suffer from severe dampness and water penetration, had hard flooring surfaces like tile and wood throughout the space as much as possible, and had good airflow and ventilation. As a former asthmatic myself, I understand how critical a healthy living environment is.

Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) is a combination of ailments associated with an individual's residence or place of work. A 1984 World Health Organization report exploring the syndrome suggested up to 30% of new and remodeled buildings worldwide may be linked to symptoms of SBS. Most of the sick building syndrome is related to poor indoor air quality. Sick building causes are frequently pinned down to flaws in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Other causes have been attributed to contaminants produced by outgassing of some types of building materials, volatile organic compounds (VOC), molds, improper exhaust ventilation of ozone (byproduct of some office machinery), light industrial chemicals used within, or lack of adequate fresh-air intake/air filtration. 

Although the new green building design goal should be able to avoid most of the SBS problem sources in the first place, the resulting symptoms are often dealt with after the fact by boosting the overall turn-over rate of fresh air exchange with the outside air, minimizing the ongoing use of VOC cleaning compounds, and eliminating conditions that encourage allergenic, mold growth.

In Toronto's older housing stock, combatting these issues can be problematic when the structure is often one hundred years or older, which can harbor molds and mildews over an extended period of time. Combine that with a property that has undergone recent renovations, and you're potentially combining the issues of an older house with the plagues associated with new building materials. For anyone moving into a newly renovated house, one has to be extremely careful that they are not exposing themselves to toxins the body may have trouble processing. Sick Building Syndrome is a growing concern throughout urban environments, in particular for women and children, which research indicates are more susceptible than men.



In the case of this residence, its foundation was solid, with the main floor of the house raised several feet above grade, which is not always the case in Toronto housing stock. This means there are larger windows in the basement for ventilation, and the main and upper living areas are farther from ground moisture. The house has an open concept living area with large windows, strip hardwood flooring, and high plastered ceilings which don't collect significant amounts of dust. The three spacious bedrooms have hardwood throughout, and the washroom has a nook large enough to accommodate a stacking washer/dryer, so my buyer can install a set upstairs instead of the basement, if required. Here are some pics:




The basement in this property is partially finished with a three-piece washroom, a finished rec room with broadloom, and a guest room. The ceilings are unusually high, and the house does not suffer for water penetration. However, with some of the exterior walls concealed by drywall, my buyers will have to monitor it for dampness.

Along with plans to renovate the kitchen and the upper bath, my buyers are considering installing a separate entrance to create a lower level income-supplement. Although the cost to do this is significant, the value of the property will almost instantly increase by the capital invested, and within six years the revenue generated will have recouped the original cost. As a long term strategy, it's a win-win investment.

This three bedroom semi-detached property with shared drive, listed at $508,800, was purchased within 48 hours of coming to market for $507,000, with a 38 day closing.

Congrats to our buyers!

If you, or someone you know, has particular real estate needs or requirements, please know we're here to help at With a multi-disciplinary education in housing, over twenty years of real estate sales, marketing and development including a sterling reputation as one of Bosley Real Estate's Top Producers, I, and the team, make it our mandate to guide buyers, and sellers, through all their real estate needs without pressure, or hassle.


~ Steven

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