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The inside of my very own first apartment, 2004

Finding a place to live can be crazy daunting and overwhelming, but if you are willing to put some time in, you can find hidden treasures in this city. OCAD U has help on the website that can aid in your search.

I have always found my homes in one of two ways: hunting on foot and by bike in the neighbourhood of my choice and diligent craigslist inquires. I found my last house by biking around. I saw a sign in the third story window of a Victorian row house that had a 50-year old barbershop on the first floor. I pulled out my phone and called the number. A woman named Helen answered and told me it was a self-contained one bedroom apartment on the third floor that did not have a kitchen or a bathroom but it did have a sink and it was $540 a month! You would think this would have scared me or turned me off but no I was persistent. I met will Helen the following morning, I still can remember ascending the periwinkle blue staircase and the sunlight filtering in the large window in the common stairwell. Hanging pothos plants were a pop of contrasting colour. It was such a bright and positive space. As I reached the third floor even before I got into the unit I shouted “I’ll take it!” The ceilings were so so high, it was a quintessential Toronto layout, a long hallway that connected individual rooms. The kitchen, also known as the room with the sink, had two large windows and an open concept hanging cabinet that hung over the stairwell. My Mom called it the garret. The stunner was the parlour the front room with 14 foot ceilings and 4 huge corner windows with a view of the CN Tower, OCAD U, AGO and gables of churches on McCaul Street.

The south facing windowsill

The south facing windowsill

This is why it pays to hunt and to take chances. You want to know where the bathroom was? A second floor shared bathroom with a huge six-foot Victorian tub. It took forever to fill but was a dream to soak in, unless the double decker tour bus drove by the bathroom window; it was right at double decker eye level.

I was able to install a small kitchen and I made friends with the second floor tenant and we would cook in her palatial kitchen and host lovely dinner parties. OCAD U students are brave, creative, risk takes and thou I was an honors grad, my social life never ever was neglected.


The house after it was sold and being gutted 158 McCaul Street 2005