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How to Find a Place to Live in Toronto (part 1)

I am apartment hunting.

The backstory is long and verges on the comically catastrophic, but what with one thing and another, I need to find a new place to live.

For the past three years, I've lived in a condo on the Harbourfront, a convenient 30 minute walk to my most constant place of employment, nice view, en suite laundry, parking, right on a streetcar stop - all in all, not a bad deal.

Well, I sold the car, the condo's on the block next, and I'm starting to wonder if I can really get all my stuff in a rental truck. By myself. Really it's only the couch that presents a problem.

I'm not what you'd call an optimist, but I know Toronto is full of hip neighborhoods, replete with good single-person (plus cat) housing. I also know that while TO isn't DC fifteen years ago, there are some dodgy streets, divey corners, and places where I wouldn't feel safe walking at night.

So along with chatting up friends and coworkers, I'm counting on input from you guys to keep me from those unknown scaries and point me towards those hidden gems. If nothing else, you can learn from my mistakes.

First on the agenda, finding places to look at.

I've been checking local apartment websites and classifieds, including:

Craigslist - I find craigslist to be the easiest site to navigate, with the best search options. The downside is a dearth of photos, though you can always email and ask.

Viewit.ca - designed specifically for apartment hunting, is definitely the best for browsing photos, but the search options are very limited - I can't be very specific about area or price, nor things like pets. The information is included in the listing, but not an option in the search string.

The Star - essentially newspaper listings available online, good for volume, but is rubbish for naviagting. I can narrow by price but not really by region ('Toronto' pulls up a lot of stuff in Scarborough, Etobicoke and Mississauga - yes, it's Toronto, but I need downtown).

Now has their newish classified section - clean and easy to navigate, with the same search capabilities as craigslist, but with far fewer listings.

I've also heard that the U of T site has a really good apartment search but, full disclosure, I want something a little different than the usual student living.

My budget is lean, so I'm right on the edge of sharing a house or finding a basement or a bachelor apt. The former appeals because it's indubitably cheaper, and there's something to be said for coming home to something more than an accusatory meow. The latter means I can have free reign of the space, without waiting or chore-sharing.

Next up - visiting the apartments. I may have to get a TTC pass.


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