We spend a lot of time talking about where people live. All across the GTA, there is a sense that the area where you live says a lot about you. Sure, there are municipal and legal and political boundaries that create different sub-sections of the city. But here is the real ‘estatey’ (real word) question you need to ask yourself. What makes a neighbourhood a NEIGHBOURHOOD, and more importantly, what makes you want to make it YOUR neighbourhood?
It’s such a benign question but also one of the most complicated ones I have ever been asked – as both a real estate agent and just a regular person. Everyone thinks they have an answer, but when you really think about it, the most honest answer is “HUH. I think my neighbourhood is great?”
Don’t get me wrong. I really do have the best neighbours EVER. From babysitting to random recipe items grabbing & feeding cats and parking in their driveway, I am set for life. (LOVE YOU ALL – YOU KNOW WHO ARE ARE.)
BUT. When the larger neighbourhood comes together – without an organized event or any kind of incentive or personal gain; that is magic, my friends, pure magic.
Let me tell you more.
We have a cat. (If I were telling you this story 12 months ago, it would include a dog and two cats. It’s been a tough year.) On Thursday, our Hopey-cat came with Ella & me for an early morning walk. (Hopey-cat likes to walk with us.) We came home without her, which happens. She often meanders home through the yards. So no big deal, right?
Fast forward to the next day. Panic set in. SHE DIDN’T COME HOME. WHERE IS HOPEY-CAT?
We looked high and low with no sign of her. We canvassed the neighbours, printed and posted 40 MISSING CAT posters throughout our area and blasted social media with three posts. Then we roamed the streets, checking the backyard a trillion times to see if she had just come home. We crossed our fingers. We waited.
Saturday morning, she had still not turned up. We were beginning to lose hope, worried that Hopey was gone for good. Then the phone rang. Marion, who I’d never met, called to let us know that it seemed Hopey had gotten turned around and gone south versus north (I’ve done it a million times) and was cowering under a bush at a house right by the Beach. (Thank you, Marion)
Quick as lightning, my son Will and I flew down to get her. She bit & scratched when I picked her up in true Hopey-cat fashion but then came home & slept for 15 hours in her favourite spot.
Ultimately it was the posters that got her home, but the social media reach was huge. I just got a text from someone this morning who said they would keep their eyes open for her. Luckily I was able to text a good news message back.
I want to say, “Welcome back to Hopey-cat.” and call it a day. But for me, there is so much more to this story. You never know what effect total strangers will have on your life, but it made this person know that she lives in the best neighbourhood in the world.
So what makes a neighbourhood YOUR neighbourhood?
Here’s my advice. We all hear about the hottest neighbourhoods to live in, the up-and-coming ones that are destined to be the very-best-neighbourhood-ever, and the neighbourhoods that people find old, boring, tired, or not even on the radar. When you are choosing a place to live, find the neighbourhood that makes you feel at home. The one that makes you want to look for the lost cat you saw on the lamppost. The one that looks like it has people who would lend you a cup of sugar or remind you that the parking switched sides of the street.
Where are the businesses with owners you want to wave at when you walk by and the patios that make you want to spend all afternoon?
Hot neighbourhoods come and go. But YOUR neighbourhood will make you feel like it’s the best in the world for years to come.
If you’re looking for the right home in your next neighbourhood, drop us a line. We help people find their perfect neighbourhood all over the city. And, if you have a feel-good story about the magic of your hood’, we’d love to hear from you too.