The apartment hunt

I have a habit of being rather exact whenever I need to make a big decision. Looking for a new apartment in Toronto was no different.

Being exact means lots of research, such as checking out the local neighbourhoods – obviously descriptors such as “low-income families” or “public housing” can be red flags. Examining crime report statistics from the various police divisions may shed some more light; typically downtown TO and Scarborough get the most crime, and North York gets the least.

And then there’s location, location, location. Is there any nearby malls? How easy would it be to get to work or anywhere else by public transit?

Of course, this was all speculation compared to the real test – actually looking at the apartments themselves.

Candidate #1: Parkdale
Close to downtown core. Spacious, carpeted, and even had special debit cards for the laundry machines. Unfortunately, it was badly maintained. There was a hole the size of my fist in the kitchen. Polyfil splotches lined the walls in the hallway. I’d hate to see what the internals looked like.

Candidate #2: High Park
A quiet residential neighbourhood, hemmed in with a giant park and long parallel streets that don’t intersect. Hence, not very close to the subway or any shopping. My heart sank when the landlady pointed out the only thing available was a basement apartment, but it was only two years old, clean and had a dishwasher. It was also only half buried in the ground, so it had surprisingly large windows.

Candidate #3: Islington Village (of the Damned)
After seeing this apartment, Silverlotus wanted to clean her shoes. It was evidently rented to students, although that doesn’t fully explain the used underwear and pigeon feathers on the floor. There was a scorch mark about a foot in diameter in the middle of the living room floor, the stove and the floor around it was in a dried puddle of reddish-brown grease, and the balcony was covered in pigeon shit. Landlady smiled and said “We’ll fix all of this up!” but that only seems possible if they burn the whole place down and start from scratch.

Oh, the Wanted poster in the front lobby of an elevator rapist was a nice touch.

Candidate #4: Islington Village
A next-door building. Landlady was very friendly, and it had an indoor pool. Unfortunately we were trapped on the 32nd floor due to a busted elevator. The neighbourhood is also a bit skeezy.

Candidate #5: Parkwoods Village
Weird puke-green disco tiling in the washroom. Nicely sponged ceiling, although Silverlotus spotted some patches – possible from past water leakage?

Candidate #6: Don Mills
Too small. It was old, so it had the walls had that weird custardy look when walls get painted over too many times. Cupboards and doors don’t close right because they were caked in too much paint. Why don’t people ever strip paint off?

Candidate #7: York Mills
A basement apartment in a house. We showed up early, no one was home, and we decided to just give up and go home.

Uh, I think we’ll go for #2.