This Is Why Riverside & Leslieville Are Ideal For Downsizing Boomers + 5-Star Advice!

For Buyers, Leslieville/Riverside


Welcome to my blog on housing, culture, and design! I’m Steve Fudge and I’m celebrating my 34th year as a realtor and property consultant in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

When I started selling real estate in 1989, the most important asset of any property – as promoted by realtors – was location. Back then, the neighbourhood where a property was situated instantly communicated cultural background, social status, and wealth. In other words, the ‘location, location, location’ mantra was of the utmost importance. For some, reaching the self-actualized top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs meant climbing the property ladder until you owned a coveted Forever Home in your community of shared values and beliefs. For some, this still rings true.

The second most important distinction in the real estate market in 1989 – as promoted by realtors – was property type. For freehold properties, the options were the detached, the semi-detached, or the rowhouse. Although condominiums as a housing form first appeared in Ontario in the late 1960s, their presence and popularity in downtown Toronto took root around 1980 before exponentially exploding in the mid-80s. By 1989 realtors were distinguishing themselves as ‘condo specialists’, making this the first ‘niche market’ in Toronto. Unfortunately for some ‘condo specialists’ their careers were short-lived when the resulting oversupply of newly completed condominiums, during a time of over-inflated unsustainable values and out-of-control inflation created an exhaustion move that led to the 1989 Toronto real estate bubble bursting, laying the foundation for the Lost Decade of the Nineties.

In the early 90s, after I had completed my Graduate Degree in urban planning, environment & behaviour, and urban residential design, I was working with development teams in the concept, sales, and marketing of adaptive reuse conversions into loft condominiums. I launched the next ‘niche market’ in Toronto – simply called ‘Innovative Space‘. I didn’t focus on location or property type but rather on lifestyle. I catered to liberated progressive non-conformist pro-urbanites interested in buying creative live/work incubators that sheltered their imagination. At the time, this included architect-designed residences, converted storefronts, loft conversions, and anything visually arresting, unexpectedly delightful, and heart-grabbing.

Here’s one of my past ads that pretty much tells the tale:



Fast forward three decades, and my focus today – as a property consultant or as a realtor, depending on the customer’s needs – is problem-solving shelter issues and providing solution-oriented housing options for those needing a place where the wishes, wants, or lifestyle needs of the household can cohabitate safely and comfortably – whether that be one, two, or a laughing barking brood!

What does this mean? I hold the many hands of multigenerational families ready to care for each other, even during the annoying times. I guide blended families through the space plan process so their domestic future is designed for balance & harmony. I steer couples committed to living apart together for now or forever comfortably. I identify housing options for financially independent Golden Girls, Chosen Families, or Care Bears. I assess existing residences to determine if they can be modified for universal design, for aging in place, or for households with, say, an opera singer, a gamer, and a woodworker (are they a thruple?).

What else can I do? I can determine the highest and best use of your property at this moment in time, the future development potential of a site or location, and whether a dwelling is a definitive tear-down or warrants a modest capital injection to net a higher return on its sale. I can even review the laundry list of deficiencies in your dwelling and prioritize them according to the maintenance, repair, upgrade and/or custom build schedules you hope to undertake by season, reason, or chapter of life.

And don’t forget downsizing, which is the focus of this blog. However, if you’re grappling with a complex shelter issue of which downsizing is just one consideration, please know I offer consultations for a modest fee that can bring clarity to a subject many find overwhelming.




On The Subject Of Downsizing

You might be empty nesting. You might be nearing or in retirement. You may simply be choosing to live smaller so that you can spend your time pursuing passions, hobbies and interests. And as with all other points on the property ladder, the right home is the one that suits the way you want to live, not the other way around.

I’ve written a fair bit about downsizing which you can access in the links below. Today I want to jump straight to the essentials:

• As we age proximity to health care is everything. Years ago I listed and sold an 1840s Greek Revival Mansion in Cobourg in a matter of weeks from an ad in The Globe & Mail after it had been on the market locally for 2 years. Word of mouth brought several more listings of historic and contemporary homes in the area which I loved representing. Most of the Sellers were Torontonians who had purchased in their mid-60s when they retired and were now in their mid-70s returning to the city. Why? For healthcare.

• Do not break a hip. Being mobile is critical to aging-in-place and research shows as many as 50 percent of older adults face difficulties following a hip fracture, and may be unable to bathe, feed, or dress themselves. When activities of daily living (aka ADLs) are compromised it can portend a decline. No matter your age you must integrate gentle fitness into your daily life, like strolling through your neighbourhood or cycling along the Martin Goodman Trail beside Lake Ontario. These activities can have a positive impact on one’s health, including muscle strengthening, preventing disease, and improving endurance. Beyond the physical effects, walking or cycling also releases endorphins and reduces stress.

• Better still. Walk to the grocer, baker & candlestick maker. Sure, you may need your car to get to your cottage but one of the most effective ways to take care of yourself is to make walking a daily practice. An easy way to do that is to commit to leaving the car at home when you’re in the city and either walk entirely or take public transit to all your local shops, services and amenities.

• You likely don’t need as much living space as you think you do. People who live in large houses have a really difficult time believing they can live in smaller spaces. I recognize one could be accustomed to living large so there’s some built-in resistance, or perhaps the ego is having a challenging time because it believes it’s downgrading its status, but the reality is that smaller living quarters can be spatially more comfortable for a one or two-person household, is usually lower maintenance, and you’re more likely to be clutter prone when you are living efficiently. However, what is key is to ensure the space plan of any dwelling is intelligently designed, and that the scale and proportions are well-executed. Here’s my post –> Dear Urbaneer: What Architectural Design Features Elevate The Value Of Toronto Real Estate.

• How many stairs can your future self climb? Many of my clients like living with stairs. It keeps them nimble, so I don’t want to dissuade you from moving into a property with more than one level. However, I do want any multilevel dwelling you purchase to be able to accommodate a stairlift or a pneumatic elevator in the event someone in your household has mobility issues in the future. This post of mine is informative –> About Universal Design: Applications For Aging In Place & Toronto Real Estate

• Living smaller means living more simply! Cleaning and maintaining your new smaller space won’t take as long, meaning you can devote that extra time to other activities or travel. It’s a win for work/life balance – even if that work is home maintenance! On the topic of living simply, downsizing means purging your belongings, which for many people is cathartic and stress-relieving. Too much ‘stuff’ often overwhelms us, and a major purge of material goods can equal a fresh start. Consider reading on How Minimalism Can Help With Affordability & Sustainability In Housing.

• Condominiums have monthly common fees that – in some instances – may seem quite high at first. Particularly if the building has a swimming pool, tennis courts, and a host of luxury amenities that you may, or may not, use. But at the same time, that common fee will include expenses associated with landscaping and snow removal, operating costs like water and building insurance, as well as a monthly contribution to a savings fund for maintenance, repairs, and the future replacement of all major building components over the next 30 years. If you currently own a house, compare the condo monthly fee to your total annual operating expenses as well as maintenance, repairs and replacement of the major building components during the time you’ve lived there and divide the total sum by the number of months you’ve lived in that residence. That will allow you to better compare these costs. Check out my post Unpacking The Metrics Behind Toronto Condo Fees

• Downsizing, particularly to a condominium, means living turn-key, and opening yourself up to new opportunities for engagement, new experiences you’ve never tried, and a level of convenience that isn’t available in car-dependent landscapes. And there are many vibrant options in Toronto: The City Of Neighbourhoods




Why We Love Riverside & Leslieville For Downsizing

Location is always important, but the key to downsizing is to ensure you’re doing it in a place where everything you require is accessible by walking, cycling or public transportation. After all, as we age we eventually won’t be driving and if our mobility is impacted in any way being well-situated will be essential so be proactive and address this when downsizing. When you live in an urban neighbourhood, being able to walk, cycle, or take transit to a show, concert or sporting event is even better when you don’t have to travel far (and you are more likely to do it more often).  If travel plans are in your future, or if you regularly extend beyond the city, perhaps to visit family or the cottage, then you should be close to highways, and Billy Bishop Airport.

One area that ticks all of these boxes is Queen Street East of the Don Valley – where Riverside and Leslieville are located – with its fantastic amenities, some great housing options for downsizing, and its easy access to major highways by car and lickety-split 24-hour streetcar to downtown.

My top three reasons (although there are more) that I think living in proximity to Queen East, east of the Don Valley are:

• Proximity to the water. Getting outdoors and moving is essential. When you can do it near water, even better. The health and wellness benefits associated with living close to the water are well-known. Leslieville is super close to the trails, paths and parks on Toronto’s waterfront, perfect for cycling, walking, running or relaxing. Here’s our post –> The Benefits Of Living Near Water

• Cool cultural amenities. Lifestyle is made better when you can engage with things that pique your interest, stimulate your mind or entertain you. The Crow’s Nest Theatre, nestled right in Leslieville, and has an impressive lineup of theatre and arts programming while the Historic Broadview Hotel at Queen & Broadview in Riverside has an amazing rooftop terrace for cocktails. If you fancy catching a hockey, basketball, baseball game or concert, Rogers Centre and Scotiabank Place are an easy ride away.

• Easy to get to and fro. Downsizing often means travelling, so having access to highways to take you where you want to go, is important. Travelling to the cottage? The DVP is right there. Looking to go farther away? Billy Bishop airport is very close by as well, and with more routes being opened up, its a good starting point for your journey (and offers easy access to Pearson as well.)

My first property purchase was on De Grassi Street in the mid-1980s, which is how I came to do my undergraduate research on Gentrification in South Riverdale, which is how came to be actively selling real estate in Riverside and Leslieville for 3 decades. Here’s –> How Realtor Steve Fudge Has A Nose For Leslieville.



Here’s A Fantastic Downsizing Opportunity Offered For $1,039,000

Check out this voluminous, pet-friendly 2 bed 2 bath south-facing Soft Loft with exposed brick feature wall, 11.5 foot ceilings, private street entry and 240 square foot exclusive-use terrace + deeded locker, bike locker and underground parking space – which is hard to come by. We call it:  So Sweet Ya Gotta Brush Yer Teeth – On Colgate Avenue In Leslieville – listed for $1,039,000, with offers welcome anytime!

Located on the corner of Carlaw and Colgate Avenues, this spectacular Offering is just steps from the services, shops and cafes of Queen Street East! We love this area. It has an engaging cosmopolitan synergy kissed with a dash of industrial grit, mixed with wagging tails and laughing children by day, and a splash of spicy wanderlust by night. This is why its streets are filled with smiling people and its notable restaurants and nightlife have become a draw for visitors.



Have questions? Want a private viewing? Contact James Ormston at



A Little Bit Of Further Reading For You:

Downsizing: The Challenges Of Finding A House-Sized Condominium

Dear Urbaneer: Is It Time To Downsize My Property?

Dear Urbaneer: Do We Age In Place, Downsize, Cohouse Or Move To A Retirement Community?

About Universal Design: Applications For Aging In Place & Toronto Real Estate

Dear Urbaneer: Do You Have Any Advice For Parents Renovating Their Empty Nest?

Dear Urbaneer: What Is The Best Process For My Elderly Parents To Downsize And Sell Their House?

Urbaneer’s Secrets To Successfully Downsizing To Smaller Accommodations

Dear Urbaneer: Should I Replace My Vintage Windows When My House Is Considered A Teardown?

Five Points to Ponder Before Buying a Condominium

Unpacking The Metrics Behind Toronto Condo Fees

A Realtor’s Tips For Mastering A Condo Move

Dear Urbaneer: What Are The Tasks & Timeline When Selling Your Home?

How Can I Be Smart About My Condominium Wish List?

Animal House: Buying a Condo Your Dog Will Love



Thank you for reading!

May my team and I be of assistance to you, or someone you love?

Since 1989, I’ve steered my career through a real estate market crash and burn; survived a slow painful cross-country recession; completed an M.E.S. graduate degree from York University called ‘Planning Housing Environments’; executed the concept, sales & marketing of multiple new condo and vintage loft conversions; and guided hundreds of clients through the purchase and sale of hundreds of freehold and condominium dwellings across the original City of Toronto. From a gritty port industrial city into a glittering post-industrial global centre, I’ve navigated the ebbs and flows of a property market as a consistent Top Producer. And I remain as passionate about it today as when I started.

Consider contacting me at 416-845-9905 or email me at It would be my pleasure to personally introduce our services to you.

Serving first and second-time Buyers, relocations, renovators, and those building their long-term property portfolios, our mandate is to help clients choose the property that will realize the highest future return on their investment while ensuring the property best serves their practical needs and their dream of “Home” during their ownership.

Are you considering selling? We welcome providing you with a comprehensive assessment free of charge, including determining your Buyer profile, ways to optimize your return on investment, and tailoring the listing process to suit your circumstances. Check out How Urbaneer’s Custom Marketing Program Sold This Authentic Broadview Loft to learn more about what we do!

Consider letting Urbaneer guide you through your Buying or Selling process, without pressure, or hassle.



-The Urbaneer Team

Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage – (416) 322-800


– we’re here to earn your trust, then your business –

Celebrating Thirty-Four Years As A Top-Producing Toronto Realtor


*Did you know we were recently listed as one of The Top 25 Toronto Real Estate Agents To Follow On Twitter! – The Top 50 Blogs In Toronto – and The Top 100 Real Estate Blogs In Canada? Consider signing up in the box below to receive our FREE monthly e-newsletter on housing, culture, and design including our love for unique urban homes and other Toronto real estate!

*Love Canadian Housing? Check out Steve’s University Student Mentorship site called Canadian Real Estate, Housing & Home which focuses on architecture, landscape, design, products, and real estate in Canada!


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