Saturday, December 22, 2018

Homes in Canada

(See previous post on homes in Ireland)
1967 the year of emigration from Ireland to Canada. Our first home, in March of that year, in Don Mills, a suburb of Toronto in Ontario. We rented a 1 bedroom apartment on the ground floor and the previous tenant sold us all his high quality furniture cheaply when he moved back to Bermuda. We faced the back of the building and there was a large swimming pool and we would just slip over our railing to access it. We viewed it as "our" swimming pool. We bought a green 1954 Belair for $200 and started the motor with a screwdriver under the hood and it would easily hold 4 in the front and 5 in the back with ease and no seatbelts. I was amazed with the diaper service and shirt service door delivery. And Eaton's and Simpson's Catalogues. Even though we were poorer than church mice. Rent was $105.00 per month.


In 1068 we upscaled to the 4th floor of this apartment building around the corner from our previous one. It had two bedrooms. And I made all the drapes and my clothes and daughter's clothes and husband's casual clothes (hello Safari suits, bell bottoms, loud vests, floaty shirts!). Ah peasant dresses and head bands and protesting Vietnam and consorting with US dodgers and yelling at the US embassy prior to them blocking it all off were what we did on weekends. Rent was $140.00 per month.


Then 1970 came and we had another baby and needed a house and we had such a tiny no budget and no downpayment. And I went to the bank and lied about having to fly to Ireland and needed a loan and they gave me $1,000 and we used it as a downpayment on this house. It was south of the Danforth in Toronto. It cost $17,000. But the owner held a second mortgage for us and the bank held the first. We couldn't believe it. 26 years old we were and owned an actual house and a green Belair that held 9 passengers comfortably. We had BYOB parties every Saturday night after the rugby games and I played the guitar and we all sang folk and drank a lot. And we added a dog and a piano to the contents and boy were we happy.

This house today is worth over $1,100,000.
You read that right.

More to follow.

25 comments:

  1. 'Those were the days my friend...'
    Over $1.1 million? Shudder.

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    1. I know EC, an old 3 bedroom semi, hard to believe. But Toronto is crazy. A friend became an instant millionaire.

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  2. Hah, little did you know that in 1970, you were millionaires (in today's dollars). I think I'm in a similar position -- richer in 1977 when we bought our first house, than we are now, living in a home worth about 1/3 as much. C'est la vie. We're happy, and couldn't afford the real-estate taxes anyway.

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    1. I know. Daughter believes we shouldn't even look at the escalation, it is utterly depressing.

      Yes, you're right Tom, the taxes would cripple. And being a landlady is enormous and deadly work. I know. I tried many times.

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  3. Sounds like an idyllic life back then. Ah, pleasant memories.

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    1. It was, Gigi, those were the days indeed, young and hopeful and a feeling we were on top of the world.

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  4. Incredible what happens with housing values.

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    1. Isn't it Joared, but none of us have the crystal ball.

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  5. Before we bought the house 28 years ago that we continue to live in, after our marriage we had lived in eight homes, all accommodation provided by my employer. Part of the reason to move to Pune was to settle down and though we did not move house, I did take on two assignments later, where I set up bachelor homes. The house that I now live in can fetch me hundred and twenty times the price I paid then! That is how much real estate has blown in 28 years!

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    1. Staggering Ramana, isn't it. Looking back I would have kept the houses but hired a management company to do the grunt work and collections. Hindsight and that 20/20 thing.

      Good on you for keeping the Pune house.

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  6. Such memories! You have lived a full life, full of its joys and tragedies. I remember our first domicile in a garage apartment with no air conditioning in sub-tropical Port Arthur, Texas. We had squirrels in the attic dropping nuts down the walls and lots of roach companions. The decor was an orange plastic sofa and cobalt blue drapes. We lived there for a few weeks only before my husband left to go to officer's school the day the lottery was drawn. He ultimately resigned his commission and came home Christmas Eve. Later, when we owned our first home, I remember parties with La Leche League pals with lots of nursing babies, Red Zinger tea, and volleyball with toddlers underfoot. Rod Stewart, Abba, Rolling Stones, Chicago and the Bee Gees played in the background while we discussed the world as it was then. I've been married 49 years now, and my husband and I have morphed into being different people several times along the way. In recent years, my husband has morphed from being a staunch Republican into saying that he has no party, no country, that both have moved away from his values. He even attended a protest with me a couple of months ago. I've so enjoyed seeing your various homes.

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  7. Wow Linda and so have you. Your husband changing so drastically is heart warming I would imagine, where values can mesh. Boy the music, I remember it all so well. The Beatles and Creedence and Joni blasting from the stereo. Woodstock. Janis, Jimi. Wow, you opened up a deluge there. We really believed we could change the world.

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  8. Another fascinating read WWW - thank you! You have such a good memory for detail too - I'm damned if I can remember rents, or even how much I earned back then. :)

    I'm still thinking of doing a blog post along similar lines myself, but the fog hasn't yet cleared sufficiently - I'll blame Christmas!

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    1. LOL T, I find yesterday's memories are misty but I can go back to early days and have almost total recall down to what my mother was wearing. Weird I know. My former H and I would keep track of our expenses closely being so poor. I remember in one year I made more than him, extraordinary in the misogynistic days of 1970. And you'll laugh, we had a live in nanny too.

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  9. My parents built their house 48 years ago for. It cost $6000 for the land and $12K for the building (or maybe the other way around)
    Houses in their street now go for close to 2 million.



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    1. Incredible isn't it Kylie, we would have clung to these places if we'd known.

      My friend P bought her house 15 years ago in TO for 250,000 and she sold it 2 years ago for 1.3 mill. In a terrace, beside a noisy railway tracks. Crazy.

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  10. Ah, yes, the price of property escalates, but the poor youngsters today can't afford these crazy prices. My first house cost 1,500 British pounds back in 1970. I dread to think what it would cost today.
    Given the time of year, WWW, let me wish you all the very best for Christmas, with wonderful things happening for you in 2019. Thank you so much for the kindness and support during these months of stress and suffering that Mrs RJ and I have had to bear.
    RJ.

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    1. Thanks for your kind words, RJA, we've been blog buds for a long time now and your recent shattering news has been so hard on you and the missus.

      Know I'm rooting for her and for a massive turning of this challenging corner in 2019.

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  11. Our story is similar. We had two flats in London, then two houses in Belfast. Our very first flat was tiny and freezing cold but it got us on the housing ladder. It's terrible that young people today are finding it so hard to buy their own home. We sold our second London flat for £260,000 and it's now worth around £900,000. Who can possibly afford that except very well paid professionals?

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    1. Toronto is way out of control, I can hardly believe the prices now and so hard for any young person, even professional to pay for a house along with student debtloads which have never been larger.

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    1. Good to hear from you Laura, I thought you'd fallen off the blog world!

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  13. Happy days indeed. That tiny place is worth over $1.1m??

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    1. Yes, unbelievable isn't it? Right on the subway tho and a short hop to the boardwalk and wondrous Lake Ontario.

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  14. Wonder why church mice are considered poorer than regular mice?

    I love the story of finagling a loan for the down payment on that house. Astounding how much it's worth now!

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