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How Much Income is Needed to Buy a Home in the GTA?

It’s a well-known fact that buying a home is a serious process, one that’s going to require a lot of research and due diligence. In order to even become a potential homeowner in the GTA area, you may have to make much more money than you had initially thought; odds are you’ll need to be in the six figure income bracket. Apparently, you need to earn about $124,153 CAD on a yearly basis (total throughout the household) in order to afford a home in the GTA. It’s for good reason, of course; the GTA is one of the most prominent regions in Southern Ontario. The location is great, the communities are awesome and there is just an abundance of positive traits to be taken into account. With that being said, it’s simply not attainable for everybody. Six figures is a lot of money to be made throughout the year, especially when you’re part of the newer generation.

If you’re in the group of Gen Y or any newer generation, gathering the amount of money needed to make a large deposit (a down-payment for your home) is going to be tough. Regardless of whether you’re looking into condo’s or a detached house, the price is always seemingly the same. Although, if you’re earning a bit less than the six figures per year, you can still find something reasonable. The location may not be the best (it’s not Toronto, but Brock near Lake Simcoe is a perfect example), but the pricing is going to be right. The six figure need has utilities and taxes factored in, and applies to every type of home you could imagine (whether it be a townhome, a bungalow, semis or condos) – so it’s pretty much set in stone. When it comes to buying a condo, you’re going to need an additional 6 percent of income to work with, especially if you want to live somewhere prominent, like Richmond Hill. Want a three car garage? That’s going to cost at least $1.5 million. The market is definitely high these days!

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Toronto Housing Prices Soar Through the Roof

The amount of money people pay to live in Toronto and such is astounding, but what about the GTA area? When you want to find a home in the GTA area, it’s going to be much pricier than it has been in the past – but that’s what happens when the supply of high-quality homes starts to run dry. During the month of July, there was actually an abundance of sales records being broken within the housing industry. With that being said, there is a particularly harmful trend that is creeping it’s way into the region. When it comes to the amount of homes being put up for sale, the number has become increasingly lacking as of late. This applies to detached homes, especially! There are tons of condos available, but not nearly enough “ground-based” housing projects to be considered. The lack of detached and townhome options is playing a part in the increased sale prices of homes, because the supply is much lower than the demand.

Frank Clayton, who is a senior researcher at Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Research and Land Development, had taken a look at recent consumer surveys. He noticed that although there are provincial policies in place that would lean towards the production of condos, people whom are looking to buy property still want a home for themselves. Detached houses just seem like a much safer bet, as well as being looked at as the traditional way of living. If you’re a millennial, odds are you’ll be a little more interested in condos – but even the numbers themselves state that a low-rise house is much more suitable. When researching the numbers, low-rise houses had actually made up around 66% of all the homes sold within the region last year. When you look at this number compared alongside the 34% that condos made up, you realize the importance of having a decent supply of traditional homes (for sale, of course). Townhouses are always going to be a reasonable choice for renting, but owning a home is the ultimate goal in life.

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Toronto Plays Home to a Brand New Dinner Theatre (Candyland)

There’s no shortage of quality restaurants in the Toronto area, but when it comes to dinner theatre, there isn’t exactly a specific venue that you would keep in mind. Well, seeing as there is an abundance of food attractions to choose from all over King West, it’s nice to introduce something brand new. Candyland is a dinner theatre project that’s looking to change the way people look at King West. It’s going to remind you of other relatable locations, such as “The Box” in Manhattan, or even the “Cirque le Soir” in London. These are locations that are well-renowned and sought out, which means this addition to Toronto could mean quite a bit. Throughout the night, you’re going to be graced with three or four separate performances. Each one will be around 10 to 15 minutes a piece, and will cover a variety of different topics and platforms. Some of these are going to be circus acts (like a ring dancer), or even just a blues band playing a quick song – sketches are also a very big part of the entertainment schedule.

Candyland is a concept that we haven’t exactly seen in Toronto before, which makes it something interesting to check out. It’ll draw in a crowd on a nightly basis, and if the food is as good as they say, it should be a location that sticks around for a long time. It may even become a crucial part of the local Toronto community! The option of having live entertainment available while you eat isn’t open all too often, so it’s a cool thing to experience when you dine at Candyland.

The food is going to be just as important as the entertainment, which is why Chef Frank Parhizgar (whom is the mastermind behind “Franks Kitchen”) will create a menu that consists of luxurious snacks and smaller plates. The cover price is $20, and the cost of food as well; of which is served until relatively late! If this is something you think you’d enjoy, check out Candyland at their new location on 619 King St. W!

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Ontario Government Looking to Regulate Home Inspectors

As a consumer, you’re going to rely on a lot of services throughout your life. This means that the right home inspector could very well save you some money on a property purchase, as well as help you out with plenty of other things. One thing to keep in mind, is that the home regulation industry hasn’t exactly been efficient these days; certifications and licenses are hard to come by these days. As a result, the Ontario government is finally taking it upon themselves to inspect the home inspection industry (and quite thoroughly, might I add!). There is a brand new licensing process being introduced, which is meant to protect buyers from the illegitimate claims certain home inspectors could make.

The fact of it all is that a home inspection is a key component to the home buying process. If you have an inspection report that is lackluster, odds are you’re going to go about making a bad investment. You could be left with unexpected repair costs when it comes to fixing your home, or even just losing a sale – if that wasn’t bad enough, it could even go as far as having a serious impact on your health and safety. Ontario is doing a great thing by implementing a brand new licensing process, as it calls for a much more professional approach within the industry.

All home inspectors that are operating within the Ontario region will need to be licensed, as well as overseen by their respective administrative party. This has been something in which it took 3 years in total to complete, but it’s finally done! Home inspection isn’t mandatory by any means, but it’s definitely one of the things you should be going through before selling a home. Not only will it ensure that the home is fit for sale, but it also lets potential buyers know that there isn’t anything to fear. This change is going to have people looking at house inspection reports differently! Knowing you can trust a professional opinion is worth its weight in gold.

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Lyn Leather (Bart Leather)

Leather companies are always going to be associated with their quality, as that’s the main trait you’re looking at when buying leather-based products. The Lyn Leather Company in Toronto (located at 159 Dufferin Street, within Liberty Village) isn’t your typical clothing company – it’s one that approaches the leather clothing industry in a brand new light. All of the clothes are made to your measurement, creating a customizable fit that could only be obtained through Lyn Leather. The products are 100% Canadian made, so you’ll be supporting a local business whenever you purchase a product from here.

There are a bunch of different products for sale, such as leather coats and jackets (for both men and women), as well as shearlings. You can purchase all of the items on her website, and have them delivered in a timely manner. Leather jackets not only look nice, but they do a great job of keeping you warm as well. They may cost a decent amount of money, but high-quality leather is always going to cost you in the financial department. If you’re worried about what you’ll be wearing in the upcoming winter, you should check this place out. Personally, I bought a coat (of the “Marshal” variety) and was really satisfied with the end result.

A Positive Experience

I contacted Lyn, and talked to her about trying to place an order. She talked me through the entire process, and I went down into the store to get my measurements. She actually measures out your dimensions to ensure that the jacket is going to fit perfectly, something that you wouldn’t have happen if you were to just go out and buy a regular leather jacket. That snug and personalized fit that you get is one I’m a very big fan of, and she definitely delivered in that department. It’s nice to see businesses like this pop up in Liberty Village, as it means the region is just going to continue growing when it comes to income. If you’re going to support any kind of business, it may as well be of the local variety – am I right?

All in all, Lyn Leather is a good place to turn to when you’re in need of leather clothing (regardless of your gender). The price is right, and it’s a local business that you should always consider supporting. It might not be the right style or look for everybody, but to each their own.

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Stix Dog Chow

How much do you love your dog, exactly? The food you feed them is more than likely processed and filled with an abundance of ingredients that you would never feed to your little loved one, but that’s the problem with mainstream dog food brands – they don’t tell you how horrible the food actually is for your pets. Stix Dog Chow is a business located within the Liberty Village area, and they specialize in homemade dog food for your favorite pooch. All of the dinners that are provided by Stix Dog Chow contain fresh ingredients, giving your dog the opportunity to have a hearty and fulfilling meal (as well as a nutritious and healthy one!).  They are located on Western Battery Road, and have been serving the Liberty Village area for quite some time now. I’m serious about pampering my dog, so I really needed to find a source of food that I felt was reliable (in terms of quality). As a result, I tested out Stix Dog Chow.

Quality of Food (and Service)

I was really surprised with the quality of service they had to offer, as a lot of food delivery services (even ones that specialize in dog food) tend to be a bit “snobby”. That isn’t the case at all when I was ordering homemade dog food from Stix Dog Chow, and I even felt like the price was right. I didn’t feel as if I was overpaying for the food I was getting, because the quality was there. My dog was definitely enjoying his meals much more as well, because the hearty ingredients and properly cooked dishes are obviously going to taste fantastic. I can’t tell you how they taste personally, though; sorry about that!

Janice, the wonderful owner of this company, was very compliant throughout the process. She asked me the types of dishes I wanted to have prepared for my dog, as well as what my schedule looked it. It’s almost as if she was going to personalize the delivery schedule around me, which felt nice. When a service can provide you with goods and also keep you happy in the process, that’s a win-win situation. Stix Dog Chow is a pretty great little business, nuzzled in the corner of Liberty Village.

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Suzanne Gardner Flowers

When all is said and done, who doesn’t love a bouquet of beautiful flowers? They can help bring together a room, or even just remind you of a great memory that you’ve recently lived. Suzanne Gardner isn’t just selling flowers on the side of the road, though; she’s doing something much more than that. She’s looking at them as a form of art, and it comes through in her work. She takes a very unique approach to the world of flowers, which is something that is looked at as her own little touch. She’s the perfect person to hire for any sort of event, whether it be a wedding or banquet (or anything of that nature!). Gardner Flowers delivers every single order in high-quality, clear glass – the shapes come in various forms, such as rectangles, cylinders and even classic “rose bowls”. If you want to work with one of the most optimal floral designers in town, you should be contacting Suzanne Gardner Flowers.

I have a wedding to plan, and I definitely felt like I was in way over my head. There are a lot of things that need to be put into place, and the flowers were something that I decided to test my event planning skills with. I called Suzanne Gardner Flowers, told her what I wanted to have designed (the types of flowers I wanted to use and such) – and the rest is history! Everybody at the wedding was commenting on how cool the floral designs looked, which is a job well done in my opinion. Flowers by themselves are beautiful, but they aren’t anything special; Suzanne Gardner takes them and transforms them into something much more memorable.

Floral Designs Done Right

Not only is she great for weddings and banquets, but corporate events as well. Tons of companies hold a yearly gala, which is where beautiful floral designs by Suzanne Gardner would come in handy. Located at 171 East Liberty Street in Suite 157 of the Liberty Market, all of your flower-design related needs can be met here! These aren’t just your typical vases filled with flowers – these are pieces of art that are individually crafted. It sounds crazy now, but as soon as you test out Suzanne Gardner for yourself, you’ll see what I’m talking about. Pick out some of your favorite kinds of flowers and see what Suzanne Gardner has in store for your event; odds are you’re going to be ecstatic about what she delivers in the end.

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Christine Bib Express

Finding a reliable catering service is tough, and when you’re putting together something agonizingly important, you don’t want to pick the wrong food providers. Located at 109 Jefferson Ave., they’re a company that’s looking to provide the region of Liberty Village with a service they can count on. You already understand how important a catering service can be, which is why you need to find one that offers up nothing but beneficial traits. For example, you want them to be both experienced and professional – two traits that I found were present when I hired Christine Bib Express. They offer up amazing food, because they have some of the best cooks in town on staff. Toronto is already known for being a food hotspot in Canada, but Christine Bib Express is helping bring that reputation to the world of catering.

World-class service is the term I would use. When you hire Christine Bib Express, you can expect nothing but the utmost amount of professionalism. They offer catering for special events, corporate catering, Muskoka catering and especially weddings. They were voted as Muskoka’s best caterer in the year 2002, and they specialize in stuff like cottage weddings. Not only is the food that they provide you with delicious, but they even offer up event planning services as well. Pleasing your taste buds while taking part in something as ceremonial as a wedding just seems right, and that’s why hiring Christine Bib Express is such a good idea. I thought the catering experience was going to be complete and utter chaos, but I suppose I was wrong.  Christine Bib Express also has a new food line that has recently been released, and is attributed to nutritious (and delicious) easy heat meals. The most positive things about this service would have to be the:

  • Food Quality
  • Quality of Service
  • Event Planning Available
  • Amount of Professionalism
  • Versatility of Service

Not only do they offer up catering services, but the food shop allows you to pick up baked goods and prepared meals (as well as have them delivered to your house). They can make salads, entrees, sides, pastries and pretty much anything else you could be craving. They do a good job of keeping everybody happy with a number of different dishes, which is something that you don’t see in a lot of other catering services.

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Maizal Quesadilla Café

Maizal Quesadilla Café (mostly just referred to as “Maizal”) is a Mexican café, located on 133 Jefferson Ave in Toronto. The location falls within Liberty Village, a popular and growing community within the city. Maizal is an interesting Mexican restaurant, providing a comfortable and homelike vibe for you to take in. The shade-covered patio area is a nice touch, and allows you to take in all that summer has to offer during the middle months. The space itself is wondrous, using warm colors to keep you happy and ready to eat! There are tons of pots and such that keep it filled, as well as plants and other things of that nature. Not only that, but there’s even folk art on the walls to admire as well! Owned by Ivan Wadgymar and Gabriela Ituarte, this is one of those restaurants that you want to experience over and over. If it isn’t the delicious Mexican dishes that they’re providing, it’s the atmosphere itself. The menu is somewhat small, only standing at a dozen or so dishes, but it’s the passion and ingredients that make everything so amazing.

The entire menu is made from scratch, and that’s why the food is well-reviewed. If you’re a fan of freshly made corn tortillas, you’re really in for a treat! They only offer up service during certain times of the day at the moment, but we hope that they increase that number sometime soon. Some of the neat things they offer would be:

  • Delivery
  • Takeout
  • Patio Seating (Shaded!)
  • Wine and Beer
  • Free Wi-Fi!
  • Vegetarian-Friendly Dishes

Mexican Food in Toronto: Done Right!

They definitely deliver on the promise of fantastic food, and the reviews that precede this one will talk about that as well. Whether you go with some churros, a quesadilla or just a good old-fashioned taco; you’re going to be happy. Trust me on that one, the food is just so good! You know what they say, good food brings on a good mood. If you’re dying to try a new take on Mexican dishes within the Toronto area, feel free to check out Maizal Quesadilla Café.

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Joker Café

Seeking a Mediterranean-style restaurant to sink your teeth into? Toronto is known for providing a plethora of different food cultures to choose from, and Joker Café is trying to bring their own little presence to the table. Mediterranean food is fantastic, and Joker Café is offering up a complete menu (filled to brim with Serbian foods and beverages). It’s located in Liberty Village (165 Dufferin St.), and they’ve managed to perfect the approach taken when preparing European dishes. If you want to taste what the other side of the world likes, but don’t want to spend a lot of money on a plane ticket, Joker Café is the way to go. They offer up a very delectable schnitzel, as well as ravioli – the menu is full of amazing items to pick from. The staff is as friendly as they come, which ensures that your experience is going to be an awesome one. The ambience is nice, and that’s pretty much 25% of the issues you’re going to have with a restaurant (the other 25% and 50% being service and food, respectively).

When I went for a bite to eat at Joker Café, I noticed that the staff was almost too nice. They were quick and consistent when it came to taking my order, and they never gave me any attitude – the way that restaurant servers/waitresses should always be! Authenticity is always going to be brought into question, especially when you’re saying that you provide 100% Serbian dishes. The name “Joker Café” is a little misleading, as it doesn’t sound like somewhere you would find classical Serbian dishes at all – but it definitely does!

Is It an Enjoyable Experience?

This is going to vary from person to person, obviously. If you’re a big fan of Serbian dishes, I highly suggest checking out this restaurant (they also have a bar!). It’s the perfect atmosphere for when you want to have a small family get-together, or even just a romantic night out for two. All of the food is prepared in-house, as that’s the only way to ensure that every single dish tastes as fresh as possible. If you’re interested in catering, they can also help you out with that.