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NorthYorkEd

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My wife and I are fairly recent arrivals to the city, by way of suburban Halifax. While we enjoy the vibrancy and pace, there are times when you just need to pull back and enjoy some peace. This is easy enough to do, but as we are only mind-40's, I often wonder if there will come a day when the city is just too much for us physically or mentally. We don't "suffer" the city just for a job or other life circumstance, but because we truly enjoy being here.

Maybe it is a suburban mindset that the city is only to be enjoyed in doses, that the novelty of major sporting events and entertainment will wear off, and that one day you will just want to stay home and avoid the streets and the constant flow of people. Perhaps even move back to the outer burbs, a more rural area, or to a smaller town. But we see many seniors and older folks still living in and enjoying the city even when things are hectic, crowded, and chaotic. This gives me hope that a long-term commitment is possible, and that just because you are old doesn't mean you have to pack up your tent and move elsewhere.

For us, right now, there is no end in sight to the benefits and enjoyment we get from living here. But is "city fatigue" a real concern? Does the novelty wear off? Or do non-urban people know very quickly that they aren't going to be able to adapt?
 

ksun

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I don't understand how cities prevent you from enjoying your peace.

Even in a sizable city such as Toronto, if you stay in your home, it is quiet and nobody will bother you. I live 5 minutes walk to the city hall, and if you close my door and window, it could be dead quiet and I could enjoy the music or movie or a book however I want. How does the rest of the city bother you?

And if you want more open space and nature, Toronto offers tons of park space and ravines - not downtown but in plenty of areas.

I don't know how Toronto is "hectic, crowded and chaotic", maybe along a limited number of busy commercial streets such as downtown, Yonge st, Ossington, Bloor/Danforth etc, but the vast majority of the streets in the city is quiet and peaceful, even south of Eglinton Ave. Take a walk at Mt pleasant/St Clair or Bathurst/Burton, it is all the residential lowrise houses, can't get any more peaceful.

The truth is, there is a significant portion of Toronto which doesn't feel like you are in the middle of a large city at all, I mean in the old city of Toronto, not even in the inner suburbs. Not sure where the fatigue about urbanity is about.
 

Lenser

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I completey get it, NorthYorkEd. I see both sides of the situation. I have a friend who is quite wealthy and fortunate enough to live half the week right downtown and the other half in a small hamlet an hour and a half east of Toronto. He loves both worlds and always says that choosing one at the expense of the other is a dilemma he doesn't want. One place gives him energy, excitement and constant stimulus; the other is slow, tranquil, relaxing, restorative.

My wife and I are urban dwellers by choice and dig what a larger city has to offer. Though we love visiting friends in more rural settings we are not at all convinced that moving out of the city would be a good match for us. Too, we've met folks who tried the country thing and split back to the city years later, unhappy with how things turned out. They cite a number of reasons for moving back: disillusions with the reality of rural life, the pace of life itself and relative lack of cultural stimulus... the inability to order in decent Thai food - tons of reasons, really. Getting out of the city is not for everyone and you're obliged to do your research. It may be the right step, on the other hand; only you can answer that question.

I don't know that I'll live the rest of my life in this town but I'm game to give it a shot; if one day our lifestyle becomes incompatible with the city vibe, we'll cash in, downsize and get the hell out of dodge. But until that day - if it ever even happens - I'm content to stay where I am.

ksun: "peaceful" is a relative term. The city is always humming; its white noise is constant. Nor is the air anything like what you'll find on a farm or in a hamlet two or three hours' drive out of the city. Some people find that city hum ultimately draining. Some would rather smell cow patties than the gas fumes of a million cars or fast food grease. It's about what you prefer at whatever stage of life you happen to be at.
 

James

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I don't understand how cities prevent you from enjoying your peace.

Even in a sizable city such as Toronto, if you stay in your home, it is quiet and nobody will bother you. I live 5 minutes walk to the city hall, and if you close my door and window, it could be dead quiet and I could enjoy the music or movie or a book however I want. How does the rest of the city bother you?

And if you want more open space and nature, Toronto offers tons of park space and ravines - not downtown but in plenty of areas.

I don't know how Toronto is "hectic, crowded and chaotic", maybe along a limited number of busy commercial streets such as downtown, Yonge st, Ossington, Bloor/Danforth etc, but the vast majority of the streets in the city is quiet and peaceful, even south of Eglinton Ave. Take a walk at Mt pleasant/St Clair or Bathurst/Burton, it is all the residential lowrise houses, can't get any more peaceful.

The truth is, there is a significant portion of Toronto which doesn't feel like you are in the middle of a large city at all, I mean in the old city of Toronto, not even in the inner suburbs. Not sure where the fatigue about urbanity is about.

Quote for truth. I love the city and when my wife & I didn't have kids yet we enjoyed so much that the city had to offer whether by bus, foot, streetcar, car, bike, inline skates, etc. Although we no longer live downtown, we're only a 12 minute drive from the central business district (not in rush hour, of course). We could also hop on a bus for a couple of stops then take the Yonge subway line straight downtown in less time than it takes to find a parking spot in a Green P lot.

When we're at home, we can sit out on our deck and see mature trees all around us. If you walk out of our neighborhood and onto the main road, then yes, there is rush hour traffic travelling through on their way to work or on their way home, but unless you live right on the main street, you'd have no idea. Even in condo buildings, when we had our windows closed and stayed indoors on the weekend, we were rarely disturbed by people milling about all night long in the bars right across the street from us. Groceries were a short walk away or we drove further out to the specialty markets. All in all, I love this city and plan to retire with my home base in Toronto, regardless of where in the world we end up spending our leisure time in.
 

TheKingEast

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If you're not a big city person, you're not going to like living in a big city.

There are some things I hate about living downtown but I wouldn't trade it for the burbs any day. Plus there are some pockets downtown where you can get away from the traffic, noise and clogged sidewalks. Like East of Yonge for instance.
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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There is also a very practical reason for retiring and growing old in the city - medical care. Most medical specialists and hospitals are invariably located in large urban centres. One might like to live in the countryside - but I highly doubt anyone would relish the thought (even less the practice) of having to commute to the hospital.

AoD
 

Videodrome

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Well said! My parents have a cottage near Huntsville and while I enjoy going there for a week. it is some distance from a hospital. The one in town is basic too, so if you were seriously hurt, a trip to Bracebridge or Gravenhurst would be needed.
 

ehlow

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That's why people love places like the ravines, the beaches, parks (or outside Toronto a place like Central Park in Manhattan). A lot of people have cottages they go to on the weekends on the side of a peaceful lake, or you could always do weekend hiking trips or trips to wine country, or anywhere.

Many enjoy living in a place that isn't directly downtown, but near downtown and quieter but with walkable convenience and some urban vibrancy, like Bloor West, the Danforth, Cabbagetown, Leslieville, Little Italy, etc.

I love urban vibrancy & the city in general, but I do like getting away from it once in a while and doing a day trip out of the city.
 

Cooper

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My wife and I are fairly recent arrivals to the city, by way of suburban Halifax. While we enjoy the vibrancy and pace, there are times when you just need to pull back and enjoy some peace. This is easy enough to do, but as we are only mind-40's, I often wonder if there will come a day when the city is just too much for us physically or mentally. We don't "suffer" the city just for a job or other life circumstance, but because we truly enjoy being here.

Maybe it is a suburban mindset that the city is only to be enjoyed in doses, that the novelty of major sporting events and entertainment will wear off, and that one day you will just want to stay home and avoid the streets and the constant flow of people. Perhaps even move back to the outer burbs, a more rural area, or to a smaller town. But we see many seniors and older folks still living in and enjoying the city even when things are hectic, crowded, and chaotic. This gives me hope that a long-term commitment is possible, and that just because you are old doesn't mean you have to pack up your tent and move elsewhere.

For us, right now, there is no end in sight to the benefits and enjoyment we get from living here. But is "city fatigue" a real concern? Does the novelty wear off? Or do non-urban people know very quickly that they aren't going to be able to adapt?

I've lived in cities and towns of all sizes (Ottawa, Montreal, London, Yellowknife, Fort McMurray, Edmonton and now, Toronto.) I prefer the larger cities. I have days/phases when they feel like a grind, but that's true of everywhere I've lived, large or small.
 

NorthYorkEd

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I don't know that I'll live the rest of my life in this town but I'm game to give it a shot; if one day our lifestyle becomes incompatible with the city vibe, we'll cash in, downsize and get the hell out of dodge. But until that day - if it ever even happens - I'm content to stay where I am.

This is exactly where we are at. After a couple years here leasing a condo, it is time to make a decision about buying and making a long-term commitment. But a concern we have is, will the city eventually turn sour? Sure, it is exciting to mingle and crowd-surf and enjoy all the great things city life offers, but there is still the fear of a day when it might become too much. But I'm also thinking that people who are not wired for it know very quickly that they will never be able to adapt.

Just to make things clear, we are not experiencing anything CLOSE to "city fatigue" or questioning our decision to move here. Just wondering if others have hit this wall and if they could elaborate on the reasons why and what they did.
 

ehlow

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This is exactly where we are at. After a couple years here leasing a condo, it is time to make a decision about buying and making a long-term commitment. But a concern we have is, will the city eventually turn sour? Sure, it is exciting to mingle and crowd-surf and enjoy all the great things city life offers, but there is still the fear of a day when it might become too much. But I'm also thinking that people who are not wired for it know very quickly that they will never be able to adapt.

Just to make things clear, we are not experiencing anything CLOSE to "city fatigue" or questioning our decision to move here. Just wondering if others have hit this wall and if they could elaborate on the reasons why and what they did.

What about say, a house near High Park? Beautiful houses, serene environment that has walkable retail but isn't too busy, and of course, a giant beautiful park.
 

NorthYorkEd

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What about say, a house near High Park? Beautiful houses, serene environment that has walkable retail but isn't too busy, and of course, a giant beautiful park.

Lol, nice, but we are not willing to lay down that kind of bread. Our ideal spot would be a nice > 1000 sq/ft, 2 BR, 2 BA condo somewhere near Yonge along the midtown stretch (Lawrence to St Clair, Mt Pleasant to Bathurst).

But here in North York Centre isn't so bad, either. :)
 

ehlow

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Lol, nice, but we are not willing to lay down that kind of bread. Our ideal spot would be a nice > 1000 sq/ft, 2 BR, 2 BA condo somewhere near Yonge along the midtown stretch (Lawrence to St Clair, Mt Pleasant to Bathurst).

But here in North York Centre isn't so bad, either. :)

Very nice choice ;). Quick subway ride to downtown, also lots of ravines & parks near by.
 

44 North

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Lol, nice, but we are not willing to lay down that kind of bread. Our ideal spot would be a nice > 1000 sq/ft, 2 BR, 2 BA condo somewhere near Yonge along the midtown stretch (Lawrence to St Clair, Mt Pleasant to Bathurst).

But here in North York Centre isn't so bad, either. :)

Ah. So you live in downtown North York now, and want to move to post-amalgamation "midtown". I can see why someone would get fatigued with that. Those areas have busy roads, a so-so pedestrian realm, and are still very expensive.

Many people call Toronto a 'city of neighbourhoods', and a 'city within a park'. And it's true. Sometimes you have to learn pockets of the city to figure out that it can have the 'rural' or 'suburban' calm/peaceful qualities you desire, while also having the benefits of a walkable pedestrian realm. Even downtown you can find quaint, peaceful neighbourhoods.

Many people continue with an urban life because they don't want to drive everywhere, and don't want to walk along busy parking lots and 10-lane windswept suburban arterial roads (where drivers routinely do 80) just to buy bread or see the doctor. "Vibrancy" or "novelty of sporting events" has little to to do with the choice to stay in an older urban centre.

I know people that spend most of their lives in TO, and still opt to hang out around the CN Tower or the entire spine of Yonge street because that's all they know. And it's shameful. There's more to being an urbanite than busy touristy areas and proximity to the Y/US subway line.
 

Ex-Montreal Girl

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There is also a very practical reason for retiring and growing old in the city - medical care. Most medical specialists and hospitals are invariably located in large urban centres. One might like to live in the countryside - but I highly doubt anyone would relish the thought (even less the practice) of having to commute to the hospital.

AoD

I was having this very conversation with a friend last week. She and her partner were planning to ditch the North Toronto house for a midtown condo (pied-a-terre, really) and decamp to their Prince Edward County second home for retirement. But then one of them got sick and required regular visits to Sunnybrook Hospital. Made them completely ditch their plans, made over many years.

I am a half hour walk from Yonge-Bloor but I can see nothing but green from my home office window, and while there is some traffic noise in the distance, I hear chirping birds.

I like the idea of being able to pick up this afternoon what I need for tonight's dinner. I don't need a huge freezer or major expeditions to crowded malls or power centres where I would have to fight crowds. I like independent shops and restaurants and not cookie cutter chains.

Sure, every once in a while a person needs a getaway. But many of us like to get away to Manhattan or Miami or Paris as much as we do the Muskokas or the Laurentians.

In another life, we had a year-round cottage on a lake in a wilderness area. I used to love being there. I thought I wanted to retire there. But then, the reality of snow-covered roads and other complications of Canadian country life set in.

I guess I really don't know what city fatigue is.
 

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