Last week, we left the condo construction sites and sizzling sidewalks of our Toronto neighbourhood behind, swapping it for my husband's childhood home outside of Vancouver. Here, Tokki gets pulled in his wagon to the beach every morning where he gazes out into the ocean.
It's absolutely lovely here. The air is sweet. The garden is lush. We eat food straight out of the earth, dusting off the dirt (in Tokki's case, test-tasting handfuls of dirt, too).
- 9 Habits That Don’t Make You a Bad Parent
- 18 True Things Moms Do Not Want to Admit
- Words to Live By! Our Favourite Inspirational Parenting Quotes
- 9 Things You're Doing Wrong as a Mom
- 10 Modern Parenting Panics
Interestingly, while we've been here on the west coast, the deputy mayor of Toronto made comments in the press about parents who choose to raise their kids in downtown Toronto.
Why the deputy mayor of Toronto wants to speak disparagingly of his own city is beyond me (and beyond embarrassing) but it really made me consider why we live the way we do. I love walkable cities. I love urban life. I love diversity -- the real kind, not the kind mandated by a media outlet or created in an image to sell sweaters.
Being face to face with diverse ways of living requires high-density communities. My own is filled with people who tread different paths depending on the time of day. Portuguese grandmas and grandpas walk children to school in the morning and shiny young people head into the bars late at night. All kinds of people (including the little kind in strollers) traverse the same streets during the hours in between.
I strongly believe it’s important to consider families when it comes to urban planning, especially with housing (the whole genesis of the conflict between Holyday vs Toronto downtown families). When my friend Helen suggested that downtown parents send letters to Holyday, I sat and quickly typed out an email, attaching a few family photos while I was at it.
Helen is my gateway mom friend. I’ve met many lovely moms and babes through her. The way Helen quickly started a Tumblr, and encouraged peers to send letters, is so inspiring. I’ve sent more emails to my MPS and MPPs since becoming a parent than I ever did before. Nothing makes you more committed to creating a better community than raising a little guy. I’m sure that goes the same for a suburban soccer mom or an urban sling mom or a rural chickadee bird-mom, for that matter (and yes, the dads, too).
Right now, I’m writing at night, in a beach-side community that is so quiet that I heard the flapping of a bird’s wings through our slightly open bedroom window just now. As much as I enjoy these quieter breaks we take from life, our family is committed to living in our dense, downtown community. We take the good (libraries, parks, vibrant street life) with the meh (like errant backyard skunks and yes, constant condo construction).
Every morning, at home in Toronto, Tokki and I step onto the sidewalk in front of our house. We check out what the flowers are up to that morning, say goodbye as dad gets on his bike for work and I patiently hold Tokki on my hip as we linger and he carefully studies the construction workers who buzz around the condo that is going up right across our street.
I hope that condo, and all others slated for future construction, have family-friendly, multi-bedroom units in them. Future families need a place to live. Where we live isn’t so bad.
Connect with iVillage.ca: