Well, I've finally found somewhere to live that met with my approval. I went to look at it on Thursday night and pretty much made the decision right there and then. I should be able to sign the lease next week.
It's in the Yonge and St Clair area, a neighbourhood I've always liked. I discovered Yonge/St Clair and Summerhill the first year I lived in Toronto. I was living in the Forest Laneway complex, way the hell up in North York, and commuting to work on the Yonge line every day, and there's a stretch between Davisville and St Clair where the subway is above-ground. You can see Mount Pleasant Cemetery and the Belt Line bike/walking bath and those big apartment buildings on Lascelles. And I thought it looked like an interesting neighbourhood, so one Saturday afternoon, I took the subway to Davisville and walked south and explored the area, walked up all the side-streets and looked at the houses, went for a stroll in the cemetery, went down into the ravine, came up out of the ravine in Rosedale, gawked at the houses there. And then I just started coming down to Yonge and St Clair every weekend, just to walk around and hang out at the Starbucks near the CHUM building. It was summer, so I would sit on the patio and read the newspapers and watch the world go by, and it was great. Bear in mind that I didn't know much about Toronto at this time and I was living at Yonge and Sheppard, which is a cross between a suburb and a downtown area - not flaneur-friendly at all.
I ended up renting my current apartment partly based on its proximity to that neighbourhood, but I stopped hanging out in Yonge and St Clair and started hanging out in the Annex because by that time, I was at the Faculty of Information Studies working my tail off every weekend, and FIS is in the Annex. So there you go.
I was up in Yonge and St Clair after work about a month ago, apartment hunting on foot - you know, taking note of For Rent signs and amenities like grocery stores and dry cleaners - and I thought, "You know, I really like this area. I want to live here." It has everything I want, anyway: grocery stores, a Toronto Public Library branch (Deer Park), parks, cafes, restaurants, a book store (Book City), a health food store, biking and walking trails, access to public transit. All the good things in life.
And of course the local rentals come with a matching pricetag. I didn't think I'd find anything in my price range in the area. I wanted an above-ground, one bedroom apartment, preferably with a balcony, 5-10 minutes away from the subway, for $1000/month or less, including utilities (heat, electricity and water). I wanted to stay away from highrises (there's something soul-destroying about living in a box in a concrete tower full of identical boxes - been there, done that), carpeting (a bitch to keep clean), northern exposure (kind of gloomy in the daytime), and obnoxious landlords/superintendents.
Well, I found it. A one-bedroom, 6th floor apartment in a seven-storey building, five minutes' walk to the St Clair subway, with parquet floors, southern exposure, a balcony, heat, a/c and water included in the $995/mo rent (I have to pay for the electricity), and so far, the super and her husband have been really friendly and helpful.
If all goes well, I move in April 1st. And I'm not foolin'.