Real Estate

The Chase: A holistic nutritionist plots her escape from Liberty Village

By Graham Slaughter| Photography by Brittany Carmichael
The Chase: A holistic nutritionist plots her escape from Liberty Village

The renter: Crystal McIntyre, a 33-year-old restaurant server, artist and holistic nutritionist who specializes in iridology, an area of alternative medicine that deals with the characteristics of eyes.

The story: Crystal was splitting a two-bedroom, $2,400-per-month condo in Liberty Village with her two best friends. When they told her they planned to leave Toronto to backpack across the world, Crystal was disappointed—but, at the same time, she was tired of falling asleep to the sound of traffic on the Gardiner. It was time to leave the neighbourhood. She wasn’t a fan of cookie-cutter condo units, so she hoped to find a loft-style apartment or a unit in a converted house, ideally with ensuite laundry and a bathtub, and located somewhere on the Bloor subway line between the Annex and Roncesvalles. She was willing to spend $2,300 per month.

Option 1

A one-bedroom loft on Sorauren Avenue (near Dundas and Lansdowne), advertised for $2,200 per month

This 750-square-foot Roncesvalles loft had everything Crystal wanted: big windows, a wide-open living space and a deep soaker tub. The bedroom had a ladder that led up to a little perch, perfect for an office or reading space. The only downside: the building was beside some GO tracks, and Crystal was concerned about noise from the UP Express. Regardless, she filled out an application and submitted it the next morning. That’s when she learned the loft had already been rented to someone who’d showed up to a viewing with chequebook in hand.

Option 2

A one-bedroom loft on Lansdowne (near Davenport), advertised for $1,950 per month

This two-storey, 1,100-square-foot loft was tucked inside a former train factory. The bedroom was big, which was a plus—but there were two bathrooms, and Crystal didn’t relish the idea of the additional cleaning responsibility. Also, the place didn’t have a balcony, and the 18-minute walk to Lansdowne subway station seemed a bit far. Crystal brought blank cheques with her this time, but she was disheartened by the 40 other keen people viewing the place. She submitted an application and, to her surprise, the landlord got in touch with a request for more documents. But she didn’t get the message until she was at the airport, on the way to Vancouver. Faced with either missing her flight or losing the loft, she got on the plane.

The choice

A two-bedroom apartment in a house on Bartlett Avenue (near Bloor and Dufferin), for $1,900 plus hydro

Crystal was still in Vancouver when a friend tipped her off to an impending vacancy in Bloorcourt. The timing was perfect, so Crystal reached out to the landlord before he could list the place. The apartment was on the top two floors of a house, it had a window in every room, and Crystal loved the barn-door closet in the bedroom and the black stone accents in the kitchen. She met with the landlord and, by the end of their conversation, the place was hers. She has converted the second bedroom into an “art office” where she works on illustrations that she sells online and at local art shows. Her favourite thing about the apartment is her bedroom window’s framed view of the CN Tower.


The kitchen is lined with black stone:


Here’s the living room:


And the spare bedroom:


The Hunt


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