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Real Estate

This family just downsized to a $1.2m townhouse in the city to purchase a Muskoka cottage

By Ali Amad| Photography by Erin Leydon
This family just downsized to a $1.2m townhouse in the city to purchase a Muskoka cottage

The buyers: Alli Cambridge, a 50-year-old business development manager for a cybersecurity software company, and her 10-year-old daughter, Lila, with their four-year-old mini schnauzer, Sid.

The story: Last year, Alli’s parents decided to sell the family cottage in Muskoka and move to a retirement community. Alli wanted to buy the place from her parents, but needed the cash from her own property, a detached three-storey duplex in Deer Park. So in June 2020, she listed her place for just under $2.2 million, planning to use the proceeds to pay for a smaller single-family home in the city as well as the cottage. Her ideal place: a two-bed, two-bath close to her neighbourhood, where Lila attends elementary school.


OPTION 1: Pleasant Boulevard (near Yonge and St. Clair)

Listed at: $1,195,000 Sold for: $1,135,000

This family just downsized to a $1.2m townhouse in the city to purchase a Muskoka cottage

In late May, Alli and her agent, Cathy Park of Chestnut Park Realty, looked at the listing for this two-bed, three-bath townhouse in Rosedale-Moore Park, located less than a five-minute drive from her duplex. The place was 1,200 square feet, with a private entrance and dark hardwood floors. But Alli didn’t love the muted yellow-brick exterior, which matched the colour of the neighbouring townhouses and gave the street a cookie-cutter vibe. Plus, the second bedroom was less than 100 square feet, far too cramped for Lila. In the end, Alli moved on without making an offer.


OPTION 2: Macpherson Avenue (near Dupont and Spadina)

Listed at: $1,150,000 Unsold

This family just downsized to a $1.2m townhouse in the city to purchase a Muskoka cottage
In early July, Alli checked out this two-bed, two-bath condo online. Located just steps from Casa Loma, it was in Lila’s school catchment—a major plus. The building also had a gym and a rooftop terrace. Alli liked the unit’s floor-to-ceiling windows and pretty south-facing view. But the interior was only 850 square feet, less than half the size of her Deer Park place. And it was directly across from a public parking lot and the railroad tracks, giving the area a cold industrial feel. So Alli decided to keep looking.


THE BUY: Avenue Road (near St. Clair)

Listed at: $1,198,000 Sold for: $1,211,000

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This family just downsized to a $1.2m townhouse in the city to purchase a Muskoka cottage

Alli viewed this two-bed, two-bath Summerhill townhouse on FaceTime in late July. Inside, it was more than 1,600 square feet with a sun-filled office where she could work remotely. It needed some upgrades, like new hardwood floors, but given the size and location, Alli was willing to do some renos. Plus, she got $2.1 million for her Deer Park property, freeing up nearly enough cash to buy this place and her parents’ cottage outright. Alli ultimately closed on this place for just over $1.2 million, taking advantage of low lending rates for a mortgage. Soon after, she paid $1.2 million for the cottage, where she plans to eventually retire.

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