The Fortress of Solitude

This post is in follow up to ‘I found a house‘.

I found a house! I packed up my life and I moved. I did it! I’m still in the process of moving in and it’s not quite home yet, but I can say without a doubt that it’s a peaceful place to be. I feel calm here. I feel collected here. I’ve actually been sleeping here. And, as someone who’s always struggled to sleep, the fact that I can naturally fall asleep and stay asleep, that’s a huge deal to me.

The fact that I found this place within my budget is incredible to me. The fact that I found this place and it’s in a nice neighbourhood makes me feel like I won the lottery. This place is way nicer then anywhere I ever thought I’d live… or be able to afford living.

Anyways, in my ‘I found a house’ post, I promised to share a couple of pictures. So, here they are!

To everyone who voted on whether or not they prefer light or dark kitchens (here) I’ve got to say that the dark kitchen is growing on me. I haven’t done too much cooking in this kitchen yet as I haven’t been able to do a proper grocery shop, but I am excited to make full use out of this kitchen eventually.

The place came furnished. I was skeptical about looking for furnished places because typically when you find furnished places they’re the cheapest furnishings a landlord could find. This place, though… the landlord really took their time to choose furnishings that fit the house and complimented it well. Let me just say, this couch is dreamy.

Is it weird to show your bedroom online? It might be. I might delete this after. But, I just wanted to say that, as this place was furnished, all I really had to do was get bedding. I went to Wal-Mart and spent only 30 dollars on this bedding and I think it looks pretty damn inviting.

I haven’t been here long, so I’m still technically moving in and I still have to decorate and make it my own. I will say though, I’m really excited for what it can become. There are so many small details the landlord thought of – buying furniture to fit the space, putting built-ins in the closet, even having the garbage can on a track that comes out when you open the cabinet… like a weird, smart robot.

The landlord said that I was selected as the tenant because when they called my former apartment building the landlord told them that the apartment was cleaner the day I moved out then it was the day I moved in. Apparently that sold it for them and I was the perfect tenant. And apparently they’re more interested in finding the perfect tenant that’ll stick around for a while rather than gouging people and having someone new in the house every six months to a year…

Hopefully I get to stay here a while. Hopefully the future continues to be bright. I feel like I won the freaking lottery.


Here are a few more posts where I talk about housing/real estate in Canada:

The Cost of Living in Canada >

For the low, low price of $259,000 you can own your Elementary school >

If I ever won the lottery >

House Hunting

10 years ago, fresh out of University, I accepted a job in a city that I’d never been to and was told I needed to be moved in and ready to start in two weeks.

Scrambling to find a place to live, I settled on one of the first apartment buildings to get back to me because it was near my office and the rent was… decent. I had no one warn me about the neighbourhood, I had no one help me find a place and I made a quick decision to ensure I’d have a roof over my head in time to start work.

That apartment ended up being a nightmare. About six months after I moved in, the apartment building was actually raided by swat. Apparently, one of the tenants living at the other end of the third floor I was on was quite the drug kingpin.

I should’ve taken it as a sign to get the hell out of that apartment. But, I was only six months out of University, I was working for practical pennies and I didn’t really have the resources to move. So I stayed.

Did I mention the apartment was horrible? Because it was. It was built in the 60’s, so a lot of the structure was aging. The heating system sounded like it was going to explode each time it turned on (it was a broiler-based heating system). The upstairs neighbour lived his best life between the hours of midnight and six in the morning. One night I actually had to call 911 on him because he was beating up his girlfriend in the middle of the night and I woke up to her screaming ‘Help me, he’s going to kill me!’

I called 911. I gave a statement. She ended up being okay, from what I was told. After this fateful night, I wanted to move. Still being paid practical pennies for the work I was doing, I didn’t have the resources to move. I was barely paying my bills each month and I was worried that the psycho who lived above me knew that it was me who called the cops on him and that he’d be coming for me next.

Three weeks later, I received a summons from the Crown Prosecutor to be a witness in court at his assault trial that was scheduled for six months down the road.

I was terrified.

My upstairs neighbour didn’t know I was the one who called 911. If I had to stand up in court and say that it was me, could he come for me next? I needed to move. But I couldn’t afford it.

I remember how low I felt the day I called the Crown Prosecutor to beg him to not make me take the witness stand. He didn’t really seem to care about my fears. Apparently, he believed I was being over-dramatic about it.

I needed to move.

I ended up spending a few weeks sleeping in the basement of one of my coworkers. About two weeks after I called the Crown Prosecutor, he called me to let me know that he had a change of hard, that he was able to prosecute my upstairs neighbour without my being a witness and that he was being a bully in forcing me to be a witness when he knew that I felt it could put me at risk. Whilst he didn’t think this man would come after me, he understood that I was a single-white-female who lived alone and he would know what door to knock on the moment he saw me.

So, I didn’t have to take the witness stand and I decided to put off moving.

The man upstairs ended up getting evicted after prolonged absence from the building do to his being locked up on a drug charge.

A few months later, I got a raise at work. I thought it was an incredible moment for me because I was going to have a few hundred extra dollars each month and if I put them aside for three months then I could move.

A few days after I got my raise, the apartment building raised my rent due to ‘increased demand in the city for rental units and the prime location of our building’. I was crushed. Here I was thinking I was going to be able to save money to move an the apartment building had just given me a big ‘fuck you, sucker’.

I could go on and on about the stories that plagued me whilst in that apartment. Or other apartments I’ve lived in (I always seem to make horrible decisions with respect to living situations… refer to stories of roommate Derek from 2019 if you’re curious), The bottom line is, it wasn’t a happy place for me to go home to each night. And now that I’m looking to move and find myself an oasis in the city, I would really like to make sure that I don’t just accept the first thing that comes along because it came along.

I want to do this right.

I want to find a place that I’m happy to come home to each night.

I want to find a home that, if COVID 19 strikes in a second wave, I am content with spending a lot of time in.

I’m counting my lucky stars right now that I’ve landed a job that I am able to work from home due to this pandemic, but I would still like to move sooner, rather than later. For my sanity. For tax purposes. Because I want to be a city girl. Because this past year and a half has been really hard on my mental health and well being, and I’d really like to move onto a new chapter.

I’m loving my job, by the way. It’s been amazing so far. I know I’m still new to it, but it’s different from anything I’ve ever done before so it’s all exciting and there’s so much to learn and so many new ways to grow and get better.

The trouble with house hunting is… finding a place during a pandemic. Most places aren’t booking walk-throughs. Which I completely understand. But many places have really shitty pictures, or misleading pictures, online. I’m pretty sure I’ve come across at least three scams already. And I’ve also come across a lot of places that are really, really overpriced for what they are.

I thought I’d found a really incredible place for a really reasonable price but the landlord just does not respond. So that’s kind of a bummer. But I’m not going to let it stop me.

I’m going to do this right.

I want a place to call home. My home. A place to feel safe and welcome and like I belong. I’m not going to settle this time around.

I’m going to do this right.

House hunting

I AM NOT MOVING. I AM JUST DAYDREAMING.

Two kitchens. Two homes.

One home has two bedrooms, two bathrooms and 1300 square feet of living space. Also included is a single car garage and a small patio in the back for a grill or to sit in the sunshine during the non-snowy, non-pandemic months.

One home has four bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms and 2100 square feet of living space. Also included is a double car garage, a large deck off the back with plenty of entertaining space and enough yard to have a large dog or have a garden, or swing set or whatever one’s heart desires.

Both are built in 2019. Both are renting for $1,500 per month and both are in very desirable areas of the city.

What’s the better choice? The layout of these kitchens are almost identical!

(Also, I know I don’t have a job yet and so looking at houses is silly. But, hiding away from the world every day to slow the spread of COVID leaves a girl with a lot of time on her hands. And I like house hunting!)


More posts where I talk about real estate:

The Cost of Living in Canada >

For the low, low price of $259,000 you can own your Elementary school >

If I ever won the lottery >

The Cost of Living in Canada

So I’ve done a couple of posts about Real Estate on my blog before (here and here). It’s a subject that truly fascinates me. Where you want to live, or dream of living means E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G to your budget. Like, we’re talking 95% of your budget factors should be location. After that you can consider size, amenities, renovations, etc…

Initially, I was going to make a post about the cost of living in Vancouver, and why it’s one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in. But, when I saw how far your money really gets you in Vancouver (a townhouse for nearly 1.4 million) I thought it would be cool to compare that to the rest of Canada. All houses shown in this list will be between $1,300,000 and $1,400,000 – as I thought it best to keep similar prices for comparison’s sake.

Why is this list interesting to someone like myself? I think there’s a preconceived notion that it’s cheap to live in Canada. And yeah, you might be able to get a cheap house, depending on where you decide to live (Spences Bridge, anyone?), but for the most part if you’re going to be living and working in a major city centre or touristy location, there’s a deep chasm between how far your money does or doesn’t go.

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own. If you disagree with my tastes, please don’t be offended by the snark that I’ve included. Also, please note that all of the following photos came from Realtor.CA and I presume are credited to the listing agent for each listing. If you click on the link to the listing you’ll see the agent. (Link is location and price listing)

Banff, Alberta – $1,400,000

You’re not seeing things, a home in the Canadian Rockies will cost you a pretty, pretty penny. For anyone who doesn’t know, Banff is a tourist hot-spot that people from around the world flock to each year… just to bear witness to it’s sheer beauty and breath its crisp mountain air. (Fun fact: it’s also where Knight grew up) Real estate is pricey, no matter how new or old the home, and there are increased regulations for home ownership due to it being located in a National Park. Thus, with a tiny, old, dated home such as this costing $1,400,000, 99% of the town rents… and rents at obscene prices at that.

Calgary, Alberta – $1,349,900

Now we’re talking luxury. Boasting some pretty spectacular properties on the outskirts of the city, Calgary is a place with a lot of wealth and where your money will take you a long way. This stunning brick exterior home boasts 3700 square feet of living space that includes five bedrooms (every single bedroom having its own walk in closet), four bathrooms, vaulted ceilings, and a private, landscaped, lot with big back yard that backs onto a ‘private club’ golf course. You ain’t gonna see your neighbours in this place, baby.

Cambridge, Ontario – $1,375,000

Doesn’t this home look like something from a story book? This Queen Anne style historic home (built in 1888) in Cambridge, Ontario proves that home prices are still high even if you remove yourself from the GTA(Greater Toronto area)! That being said, this house has been beautifully kept up and thoughtfully renovated over the years. If you’re the type of person who looks for a home with character, this is it. Each room tells a story and each glance gives something new to offer. Curb appeal is A+, the yard is HUGE and the home itself is just the type of home that everybody could really make their own, whether they like historic or modern.

Edmonton, Alberta – $1,385,900

Edmonton is nestled at the foot of Alberta’s oil sands and is the root of OODLES of wealth. Some of the nicest homes in Canada can be found in Alberta’s capital and this home is no exception. Built in 1990, I’d describe this 6,000 square foot home as vintage modern. It’s been updated well over the years, as you can clearly see from photos, but there are some dated pieces to it’s structure. All in all, would it be an incredible home with incredible yard to call home? Sure, if you want to live in one of the most regressive cities in Canada.

Fernie, British Columbia – $1,400,000

Fernie is a mountain town that… fun fact, is where the movie Hot Tub Time Machine was filmed. Nestled smack dab between two of the biggest ski resort towns in North America (Whistler and Banff) Fernie is a town often forgot about by internationals, but on a local scale has seen it’s popularity on the rise. This luxurious, modern home was built in 2012 and is centrally located for any and every outdoor activity your little heard could ever desire. If you want to experience mountain living at its finest, without the overly tourist-oriented mentality of the well-known mountain towns, this house and this town is the place that you should be. Honestly, the hot tub, the deck, the modern style and updated functionality… I’m daydreaming. I really am.

Montreal, Quebec – $1,395,000

Montreal is a city that’s famous for it’s history. There’s a lot of old architecture in the city that really draws people in to it’s almost… European charm if I do say so. (Though people from Montreal might not like me saying that) This stunning brick home was built in 1987, so it’s older than I am, and the interior almost looks as though it hasn’t been updated since then either. It’s going to take some serious dough for a buyer to update this place to decorative styles that match this decade. And if you’re already spending over a million dollars on a home, do you really want to be doing renovating from there? This home is a perfect reason you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover. Street appeal is A+ but inside you can watch all your dolla bills fly away from the updates you’d need to do.

Ottawa, Ontario – $1,389,000

Oh Ottawa, you’re such an enigma. Seriously, for Canada’s capital, your money won’t stretch very far. I mean it. There were condos on the list for $1,400,000. And, if this home looks a lot like another home on our list, it’s because it is! Seems this… style of tall and skinny homes is popping up more and more across our country. There’s not really anything special about this home. It’s new, so that’s a plus. It’s got an all-white interior, so if you have children that might not be a plus. But hey, if you need to live and work in our capital and have a lot of money that you don’t care about, this house is exactly what you’re looking for!

Parry Sound, Ontario – $1,300,000

Nestled in the heart of Ontario’s ‘Cottage Country’ this cottage is no joke. Containing 11.9 acres of land and 600 feet of Georgian Bay shoreline, this is the ultimate summer home for anyone with an extra 1.3 mill laying around. I’ve included this home on the list, because much like Whistler and Banff, this home sits in one of our countries famous tourist hot spots. This home proves though, that you can seemingly get a lot more for your money in cottage country than you can in the mountains! Warning: this home is for wood lovers only. The interior is definitely not for everyone’s taste!

Quebec City, Quebec – 1,399,000

Of all the homes on this list, I think this might just be my favourite. Built in 2004, this stunning 2-storey stone/wood home sits on a picturesque property with beautiful yard and plenty of space to raise kids, or not. There’s 4100 square feet with four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a very unique design to every room in the home. Some updates would be necessary, but, all in all, I think there is a Mona Lisa quality to this place. Bonus points for it being nestled in the heart of Quebec City, a city rich in beautiful Canadian history and the world’s best poutine.

Regina, Saskatchewan – $1,399,900

It’s worth noting that this is the only home in the city of Regina for sale that costs more than $1,300,000, so that is why it’s made the list. Built in 1991, the design of the home is a little dated (although I fully admit some people still like that look… it’s just not my particular style) and the neighbours are RIGHT THERE. Seriously, that’s neighbour house next to the truck (on the left) and you can see the shadows of the neighbours on the right side of the photo too.The garage situation makes no sense. Also, I don’t know why you’d want to drop 1.4 million on a home only to be able to hear your neighbours phone ring…

Surrey, British Columbia – $1,395,000

No, this is not a joke. This is what 1.4 million will get you in the suburbs of Vancouver. That’s right! Not even in Vancouver, but the suburbs! The Greater Vancouver Area (known locally as the ‘Lower Mainland’) is one of the most expensive places in the world to live. As Vancouver has continuously made the list of most expensive cities to live in, people have slowly, gradually, made their way farther and farther out from its city limits, sadly only to find heartbreak and disappointment when they see how much their money won’t get them. If you want to live in the Lower Mainland, you better be independently wealthy or, be prepared to rent.

Toronto, Ontario – $1,399,000

I’ll admit, this custom built, nearly new and very modern home is a bit of an anomaly in a city that’s real estate is typically much older. The home is freestanding, with next to zero yard space… but, if you need to have roommates to help pay your mortgage, you can boast about your whopping five parking spaces available! Don’t miss out on all that the Toronto housing market doesn’t have to offer.

Vancouver, British Columbia – $1,398,000

For the low, low price of nearly 1.4 million dollars you can own your very own, run-of-the-mill town-home. I will admit that this home, built in 1974, has been nicely renovated on the inside. That being said, I still can’t get past the fact that it’s a basic town-home.You get no yard, only 2113 square feet and one parking space… and the property taxes are still $2,600 a year!

Whistler, British Columbia – $1,395,500

For nearly 1.4 million you can own your own run-of-the-mill town-home in Whistler, the ski and snowboard capital of Canada and Australia’s home away from home! (Holla if you’re Australian and you get this joke). There’s nothing special about this town-home. There’s a roof. There’s a kitchen. There are walls. But hey, I guess that’s the price you gotta pay to be at the foot of some of the most incredible ski and snowboard mountains in the world.

Winnipeg, Manitoba – $1,399,646

Winnpeg, Canada’s forgotten city. Right smack dab in the middle of our country, Winnipeg is famous for horrible winters and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. I won’t lie to you, I picked this home because of it’s flat roof. A home having a flat roof in a city that spends 7-8 months of the year buried in snow seems like a lot of effort. Effort because, with a flat roof, you have to shovel the roof, rather than having the snow just slide off. I will say that it’s a really beautiful home. The inside is well laid out so if you don’t mind that there is not much of a yard, at all, and you don’t mind the frigid winters, this might be the home for you!


How do these compare to homes where you’re from? What do you think about the prices of homes in Canada? Do you have any real estate links you could show me for where you’re from? I’d love to draw comparisons between Canadian cities and towns and other countries.

For the low, low price of $259,000 you can own your Elementary school.

Following World War 2 many soldiers returned home to Canada to settle in rural/remote properties because they were cheaper places for them to ‘start over’ with the family they already had, or to start the family they’d been waiting to have.

With the influx of children being located in smaller, remote settings, the government took the opportunity to build elementary schools “centrally located” between these kids to ensure they would all receive a proper education in spite of how far they may be from the nearest town or city. The idea was that while they were young, the schools would be as close to them as possible, and when they got old enough for high-school they would either bus into the nearest town or city each day, or their parents would keep them out of school to work full time on the farm. (The government obviously preferring the former over the latter)

Over the years, as kids grew up and moved away from the farm, technology expanded allowing for online education systems and, as a whole, people tended to settle closer to towns for access to medical services and such, the need for these schools fell by the waist-side. As a result, if you’ve spent any time driving British Columbia’s highways, you’ll have noticed dozens of empty/abandoned Elementary schools along the way.

This particular school caught my eye this past few weeks because, when I was driving past, I realized that someone bought it and turned it into a home.

All photos credit the realtor. Listing can be found here >

It’s clear in the pictures that it’s little messy these days, and a little cluttered… but imagine the potential of having an entire school for a home.

The built a nice little kitchen, upgraded the bathrooms. All the creature comforts necessary to make it a home.

Imagine having 7,700 square feet to work with and design as you please. The possibilities that space could provide are endless. And if you had the renovation budget, you could turn this school into a real palace. Or, leave it as is if you prefer a more simple life.

Oh, yeah the original gymnasium was kept in tact – basketball hoops and all. Could you imagine what an NBA player would do with their own gymnasium? Actually, NBA players make enough money they probably build gymnisums in their home… but that’s not the point. A gym! This home comes with a gym!

If you’re a handy person, you’d already have your own workshop, too. Workshop aside, imagine how big your bedroom would be if you turned a former classroom into your bedroom?

I think about the history that must exist in a place like this. If you’re the type of person that can live out of town, who wants land and who wants wide open spaces, a property like this could really be a dream come true.

A school that’s already been turned into your home not your fancy? You want your own school to work with? Well, take a drive down any major highway in BC and you’ll likely find an abandoned elementary school just waiting for the potential of someone with an open mind who wants room to grow.

If I ever won the lottery.

One thing that I really love is real estate. Not for investment, but more so for living. Homes fascinate people. How people make them, how people decorate them, what’s popular and how styles come into popularity and fade out of popularity. All homes inspire me.

I love to drive down new streets and look at the homes, see what I like and what I do not. I also love browsing homes on Realtor.ca (also known as MLS). Realtor.CA allows you to see inside of the incredible homes that you can only see from the street when you drive by. It’s like being a fly on the wall in someone else’s life. (And I’m kind of nosy!)

I also like to look at homes and imagine lives for the people who live in them. I dream up entire scenarios of who they are and what they do, how they spend their time. Then I turn the stories into what I would do and how I would spend my time when I lived there.

I just love looking at homes.

One of the places that I love looking at homes is Vancouver. I’ve always felt at home when I’ve been in Vancouver and I’ve always had this idea in my mind that when I retire, I’m going to buy a massive home in Vancouver with a lot of windows and a home library to fill with the books of my travels. It’ll be my haven to come back to from all of my travels and my place for my loved ones to come and visit and escape the world for spring breaks and summer vacations, Christmas’ on the West Coast or just a weekend away. It’ll all be mine.

If I ever won the lottery…

I present: 4205 RockRidge Road, Vancouver B.C. Canada.

All photo credits go to the realtor Eric Christiansen/Realtor.ca.

“Sitting high on prestigious Rockridge Road is this incredible modern home designed by renowned architect Rob Ciccozzi for the current owners. Enjoy stunning views through massive floor to ceiling windows and a floating staircase running down a gorgeous concrete feature wall in the entrance foyer. The main floor boasts 12 foot ceilings, beautiful hardwood flooring, a huge climate-controlled wine room. The open plan kitchen, dining and living room are gorgeous and flow smoothly through massive folding doors to a huge patio and deck with sundrenched swimming pool. Offering 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms and an incredible master suite. Truly a special home in an amazing neighborhood. ” – From Listing

Click here to view > (House listing)

I love clean, crisp, minimalist designs. White walls, wood floors, simple appearances. If you look to the right it appears to be a wall of windows that can be fully opened for indoor/outdoor living, which is an incredible bonus!

Look at how warm and cozy this beautiful bedroom looks. I love that it’s so simple. There’s no need for a tv in the bedroom when you’ve got windows that large with views of the city.

The type of bathroom that dreams are made of. Imagine sitting in that tub, looking out at the view of the city lights/English bay to wind down each night. Also, that walk in shower with glass walls! I love everything about this room.

I love the fireplaces/cement throughout this house. It gives it a very minimalist look. The simple furniture is something that raises the profile of the home as it allows viewers to picture their own things in the space. I’m a fan of basic colours for large furniture and bright colours for accents (cushions, stools, etc).

I could imagine myself putting a giant bookshelf in here, as big as this wall. I would spend my days wandering through second hand bookstores all over the world to collect books to fill it with.

When it comes to homes, I love the ‘West Coast Contemporary’ style. Imagine having this many windows in your home to watch the sunset each night or the raindrops fall in the winter, or view the city lights each night before going to bed.

Imaging the parties, drinking the wine… playing the piano, singing the songs in my horrible, horrendous singing voice. I can absolutely see myself in every square inch of this home.

All I need is a cool, crisp $5.9 million dollars and it could be mine! Oh and $13,900 per year for property taxes.

All credits to realtor Eric Christiansen and Realtor.ca. Listing >