LIFE June 6th, 2017

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A cosy, cottagy, off-the-beaten-path feeling

OUR STREETS: HILLSDALE AVENUE

Hillsdale Avenue running east of Yonge just one block south of Soudan Avenue has a vibe all its own.

Hillsdale is for the most part a residential street, though the Morgentaler Clinic, which offers safe abortions and related services and counselling, can be found at the east end at Bayview Avenue.

Hillsdale definitely has an off-the-beaten-path kind of feeling. While one of the first things you may notice is the lush greenery, mature trees, and beautiful lawns, you also can’t help notice a charming abundance of dandelions.

The reason for that is simple, according to John Finlay, a retired gardener who lives on nearby Manor Road and who is familiar with most of the streets in the neighborhood. “To be blunt,” Finlay says, “I’d put it down to laziness.”

“There’s only two ways” to remove weeds, either with chemicals or by manually pulling them out, which they don’t seem to be bothered to do. As a gardener, “this drives me nuts,” Finlay says — but he bites his tongue.

Although many of the home owners on Hillsdale are elderly, Finlay suggested that it is “not expensive to get someone to cut their lawn.”

As far as the demographic of the street goes, it is mostly a mix of seniors, young couples and families, and different cultures. The street is a quiet, keep-to-yourself street”, although people living there do look out for their neighbours, but at a respectful distance.

There are lots of dogs on the street and pet owners here are “very conscientious about picking up after their dogs,” whereas Finlay sees a big difference on other nearby streets.

Lately there has been a noticeable increase in house sales and rentals, in large part to the many seniors living on Hillsdale who want to downsize. This might also have something to do with how much profit house sellers are currently enjoying.

Nicole Nicholson of Sage Real Estate says the average prices of houses selling on Hillsdale are currently between $1.6 million and $2.8 million.

Owning a property for rental purposes on the street appears to be quite fruitful as well. If you are looking to lease on the street, Royal LePage agent Steven Smurlick says the average lease price is $2,200 per month for one unit inside a four-plex. Although the unit is only 800 square feet, Smurlick says that “for the size, it’s like a mini condo inside a four-plex.”

This might seem like a high price to pay for rent but the “unit was gutted approximately four years ago and is relatively new,” and in Smurlick’s opinion, this is a reasonable market rental price for the street.

Adrienne Petkovic has lived on Hillsdale for less than a year with her husband and two small children. The Petkovics “love the street” as “the neighbourhood is wonderful”, in large part because “all the families are very welcoming and warm.”