The Chase: After striking out in the east end, this family shifted their search to Bloor West Village

The Chase: After striking out in the east end, this family shifted their search to Bloor West Village

Between working from home and welcoming their first child, Dani and Stephen were feeling cramped. With a budget of $2.1 million, they set out looking for more space

Photo by Ebti Nabag

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The buyers: Dani Zacarias, 39, vice-president of community at Skillshare, an e-learning company; Stephen Broadbent, 45, partnerships manager at Shopify; and their two-year-old son, Ash.

The story: When the pandemic hit, Dani and Stephen started working from home in their 930-square-foot two-bedroom Corktown condo. They had Ash that July, and their place started to feel cramped. By summer 2021, they were ready to upsize. They set a budget of $2.1 million and made a wish list: at least three bedrooms, ample outdoor space and enough room to host dinners for their extended family. They also wanted to stay in the east end, where they’d spent almost 10 years and where most of their friends live.

Option 1: Wheeler Avenue, near Woodbine and Kingston

Listed at: $1,829,000
Sold for: $2,351,000

In June 2021, Dani and Stephen viewed this four-bedroom detached house—a play on the classic Toronto bay-and-gable—in the Beaches. There was artificial turf in the backyard, which was odd, but otherwise the place was near-perfect for them. It was close to their friends, spacious yet cozy, and move-in ready. Their agent told them it would go for well over asking, so they made an offer of $2,045,000 but were still outbid by $300,000. Undeterred, they continued their search in the east end, hopeful that something within their budget would surface.

Option 2: First Avenue, near Broadview and Gerrard

Listed at: $1,699,000
Sold for: $2,327,021

One week later, they visited this four-bedroom Victorian in Riverside. It had plenty of charm, with arched windows and mature trees, and it was within walking distance of Riverdale and Withrow parks. It had also recently been renovated, but they didn’t like the layout, which was a fatal flaw—they wanted to be able to keep an eye on Ash. They considered renovating but knew that would blow their budget, so they moved on without putting in an offer. Landing a spot in the east end was proving more difficult than anticipated.

The buy: Armadale Avenue, near Jane and Annette

Listed at: $1,648,000
Sold for: $1,940,000

Dani and Stephen’s real estate agent suggested that they look at properties around Bloor West Village. There, in September, they viewed a four-bedroom century home with a wide footprint, which was in stark contrast to the narrow “bowling alley” layouts they’d seen so far. It had an open kitchen and a huge backyard. They offered nearly $300,000 over asking and came out on top, moving in November 2021. Dani says they’re loving the west end. “The homes here are close to transit and lots of spectacular green space, like High Park and the Humber River.”

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