September 16, 2015: The Toronto Game Plan?

You know what’s even more challenging than keeping seven characters alive in a five act episode?  Apparently, finding an apartment in downtown Toronto that allows dogs.  Don’t get me wrong.  There are a lot of great places to choose from – if we weren’t bringing Bubba and Lulu along for our seven month stay in Toronto. A couple of times, we came close to closing – only to have the owners pull out upon further consideration.  Ultimately, we gave up and elected to go back to the place we stayed last year – far from perfect with its tiny kitchen, shallow sinks, broken bathroom door, cracked stove top, slow internet, and incredibly uncomfortable couch – only to discover that the strata has decided not to do anymore short term rentals meaning…

We’re still looking!  2-3 weeks and counting!

After we wrapped production on season 1, my writing/producing partner, Paul, suggested that IF the show got picked up for a second season, I should seriously consider selling the house and moving to Toronto, saving myself the trouble of transporting the dogs cross-country by transferring my base of operations to the film and television capital of Canada.   It made sense at the time.   Akemi was all for it.  I consulted a real estate agent.  And then July and August rolled around and…things changed as the prospect of making a permanent move to Toronto suddenly became a lot less attractive.

Ah, the life of a freelancer.  Maybe I’ll be in Toronto next year and the year after. Or maybe it’ll be Vancouver.  Or maybe it’ll be L.A.  Realistically, the only way I’ll know for sure would be to decide for myself.  And I’ll be taking a big step in that direction next week when I head to Los Angeles for some long overdue meetings. While Akemi checks out Trader Joe’s.

In the meantime, I’ve got to find a place in Toronto for October otherwise we’re all living out of my office!

26 thoughts on “September 16, 2015: The Toronto game plan?

  1. Keep the Vancouver house and just find yourself a nice pet-friendly little condo that you can later rent out to Industry People when you’re back home or elsewhere. And, decorate it with Prop extras…

  2. Ah, Joe … Am so sorry to hear about your troubles. And here we all are chatting it up and joking around while you are going through this.


    ( will keep my fingers crossed for ya – that it all works out)

  3. L.A. ? Long overdue meeting’s? Could your other super secret project be gaining traction? Sorry to hear you’re having a tough time finding a place to live best of luck to you.

  4. Sell the house, buy a condo in Toronto, which you can rent out when you don’t need it. You had mentioned previously that it was difficult for industry people to find places there to live, so you should have no problem renting it out. Plus, your Mom would probably like to have you closer…

    It sounds like it’s easier to rent in Vancouver so if you need to be there, rent.

    I don’t know what housing is like in LA but usually when I go to a new city I like to rent until I get to know the city and what area I would like to buy in. I think it would be a lot harder to go back and forth into the States with the dogs.

    With the extra house money you could buy something in Japan.

    Yikes this is a real brain twister… better you than me LOL…

  5. Joe,

    Gannymede might be onto something there. It might be cheaper than renting to actually ‘purchase’ an apartment, If you can manage to find someone to give ya a loan for downpayment.

    Places like Liberty start at only $1,200 mthly payment and would be very close to work. And because of it”s location, it would likely be easy/quick to resell if another project takes you elsewhere, like L.A, or it looks like you may want to buy an actual house again and stay in the GTO area beyond the DM 5 season run. The Liberty even has a floor plan called ‘The Joseph’.

    In the mean time, you could rent your vacant Vancouver house out on short term/ month to month basis until it sells- so as to payback your loan for the GTO apartment downpayment.

    Given the short time frame of needing to return to work in October, there would certainly be some ‘big hurdles to get over -albeit, it would indeed resolve your housing problem.

    1: You’d have to have a family member or someone close to you who can and would be willing to make you the initial loan.

    2: Being that you need to be in Toronto in a few wks, it would mean , you would only be taking one of your babies with you. Akemi would need to stay behind for a few wks to pack up any furniture, personal items & such that you would not want to see ruined by renters and get it moved to a rented storage unit. Which means you would need to recruit a volunteer (or someone willing to work cheap) to help her do all that.

    3: There would have to be someone you trust, living in Vancouver, who would be willing to keep n eye on any renters that move into the house. (Dealing with any repairs n such the tennants might need can be dealt with by calling a repairman svc).

    As I said, -> Definitely not the easiest thing to make happen, given your short time frame. but it is likely your best option, with not knowing if DM will get renewed from one season to the next.

  6. My friend and her husband had a short term rental in high park area that they are leaving this week I think to move to the apartment upstairs. Their rental should be available and they have a dog. They moved because the upstairs is bigger but that could work. Email me if you want me to contact her for details. It’s a brownstone house not a condo building though. They are both professionals. She is great cook so you’d at least have good company in the building.

  7. @Das: I think I remember that building from when I had stayed a few times at the Delta Chelsea Hotel, which is down the street on the other side of Yonge St. I remember it as looking okay from the outside, but that would have been a few years ago now. It is very conveniently located.

    Good luck, Joe on the search – I’m sure you’ll find something great. Also, good luck on the LA meetings! And to Akemi at Trader Joe’s! 🙂

  8. Joe: Another option available is: to rent a cheap, pet friendly, unfurnished apt in etiboke, on a month to month basis, while you look for a more permanent apt/condo to purchase. You and Akemi would both fly into toronto together. Call ahead of your move, to get internet and such contracted and activated, then Go buy an air mattress to sleep on for your first couple nights, once you touch down in GTO. Then, either head to a thrift shop to pick up some cheap furniture/basic appliances and such ( if you can find someone working on the set who has a van and wouldn’t mind helping ya haul a couch and bed from store to apt) or call a Rent-A-Center type of furniture store to deliver what you need.,+Etobicoke,+ON+M8Z+5V5&rflfq=1&rlha=0&tbm=lcl

  9. Oh, interesting the way you mentioned L.A.. Hmm. Are you planning any changes that can be shared?

  10. Get a big, fancy Airstream trailer and live on set. There ya go! Problem solved. ;-P

  11. What about a nice double wide mobile home? Would the studio allow you to park it on the studio lot? Many double wide mobile homes are really nice, and very spacious. Good luck to you, whatever you choose to do.

  12. P.S. Sorry, Akemi. You might be bored living away from the downtown area. Not such a good idea. 🙁 Hope you find accommodations soon, Joe.

  13. …also if you do buy a place in Toronto and intend to rent it out when you don’t need it. You can hire one of the real estate management companies that will represent you to find/screen renters, pick up rent, take the repair phone calls etc. that will take the headache off of your plate. They can be somewhat pricy and you may not cover all of your ownership costs (RE management fees, mortgage, condo fees, insurance etc.), but it would definitely help offset a lot of the costs of ownership.

    I also think it would be a tax write-off wouldn’t it? I’m always lookin’ for the deductions *smile*

  14. My aunt & uncle have a finished basement (it’s basically an apartment) in Etobicoke. They’ve never rented it out but if you ask it might be smooooooooth sailing.

  15. Joe do you need a reference? You know we are good at that. Just dedicate a blog “To Whom It May Concern” (the perspective apartment manager) and let us do the rest. We can tell them all about you and Akemi and your dogs and how well they, and the apartment will be taken care of.

  16. Print out our comments and send it along with the application. Who could say no to all of us?

  17. Ooooh, would be great if you came down here to LA! I know just the frozen custard place and a macaroni place although you’d have to promise to stay with Dark Matter too 😉

  18. Hope you make a decision based on choice and not necessity. But yay for coming down to LA! I always forget that even though I shop at TJ’s a couple times a week (there’s one across the street at work and one 3 blocks from my home) it’s a novelty for out of country folks. Be sure Akemi picks up one of the novelty tote bags; they’re pretty neat and all us cool kids have them. (Well, multiples, actually).

  19. If you buy a place in Toronto and rent out in Vancouver through the Vancouver studios you’d have a nice little real estate empire that you can sell later on. And if you go back to Van you’d rent the Toronto place out. If I could afford to be as architecturally obsessed as Brad Pittt and Joel Silver I’d buy some place really cool like an old church or bank and fix it up. You’d have an easier time buying a cool convent than Katy Perry;

  20. Yuck. Home hunting. Big stressor as I recall your past experiences. I hope by the time I’ve caught up with the blog, you’ve found something.

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