The Neighbourhood


Isn't it cute?

Ok, so that's not the best picture I could have taken. But, I felt weird taking a picture of the street to begin with, so I wasn't about the step out into the middle of it.

Sometimes, I surprise people when I tell them where we bought a house. For some reason, people expect that country kids, when uprooted from their natural open spaces, will settle in the suburbs, in 2500 sq. ft. homes on huge, well-manicured lots. Our 600 sq. ft. house with it's piddly 3000 sq. ft. bit of land is a far cry from a McMansion in Mississauga, Richmond Hill, or Oakville. How can we stand it after growing up with acres and acres of freedom?

I have never felt any attraction to the suburbs. I can understand why some might: I do sometimes covet the large, expansive homes just a touch and occasionally, I wouldn't mind a little more space from our neighbours. But, when I think about actually living there? Instead of more freedom because of the space, all I can think of is the loss of freedom: being away from the subway line, away from shops and restaurants within walking distance... these are all things I've gotten so used to that I can't imagine living without them while remaining in the city.

All that said, we kind of did buy in a suburb. Kind of. A very old suburb, a suburb around which the city grew. Many of the homes on our street look to me to be century homes. A few were clearly built in the 70s or 80s, perhaps replacing older homes that had fallen into disrepair. The houses are squished together with narrow lanes in between or, in many cases, no lane at all. The closeness seems to create a strong sense of community, a neighbourhood that is truly a neighbourhood in every sense of the word.

These past couple weeks, we have been visited by a neighbour across the street and her very old dog, an older man from down the street, the neighbourhood kids, and a man from across the street and down a ways. We've held friendly conversations yelled across the street with our neighbour and stood at the back fence chatting with the man directly beside us. Even our anti-neighbour's son-in-law was excited to see us as chat for a few minutes. Everyone is so friendly and all so willing to share info about the neighbourhood, tips and warnings, and offers for help.

On top of that, they all see really excited to see us and to see our dumpster show up outside the house. One of our neighbours took us through a quick history of the house as he knew it. We're not sure how much to believe some of his stories, but if they're all true, our house has not been a respectable house for a long time. We hope to change that in a big way.

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