The following is a guest post by Sherard R. McQueen, Broker of Record and co-founder of M5V Realty Inc Brokerage. Sherard is a experienced agent in the Toronto market and has transacted $200 million in real estate and personally purchased 35 residential and many commercial investment properties.

Is downtown Toronto simply a playground for the uber-rich, the party-goers, the Bay Street lawyers, and true city slickers or can the city be a place to raise a family? Is the parent who chooses to raise their young in the heart or the city amongst the concrete jungle truly conscientious?

Let’s not tip toe around the fringe; in the Beaches, the Danforth, Annex or High Park, that question has been asked and answered — they are certainly suitable for family life. Many have chosen to raise a family there and for the chosen few who can afford it the choice was easy but what about in what’s deemed the Core? With less green grass, private drives and million dollar detached abodes, right in the heart of the concrete jungle.

This isn’t the same jungle where Tarzan was raised but nonetheless can still be an unfamiliar place to a family rearing their young. Arriving at a space in the sky, through a metal box maintained by pulleys and levers, surrounded by neighbors; can this truly be called conducive or ideal?

One of every parent’s worst fears for their young, newly mobile baby is the vaunted stairs. The young family choosing condo life definitely has an advantage here. No need for an elaborate series of gates and doors to keep your child safe. Baby proofing just got a lot less complicated. Furthermore, its a general consensus that most children need an abundance of room to play but many of them spend the day in a playpen or a specified area of the house because these areas are safe and highly visible. Yes, the house has much more space but how much more of that space is really used? So why not avoid the trappings of expensive multi-story dwellings and stay in a downtown condo in the sky? The view from above is certainly amazing.

Green space, or lack thereof, is another hot button topic for the suburbanites who feel like they have it all. However, upon closer examination, do they really? Drive by the average park in the average suburb in the average city and what will you find? Every swing, slide, whirly-thing and rung on the monkey bar is over run with children. The simple fact is the backyards in most starter homes are only a little bigger than a condo terrace and not a real place to run and play. Also if you want to make friends with other children you can’t do it in isolation. So many times in the “burbs” the backyard is just another place to mow and maintain — a time to spend away from the children, rather than with them. Downtown parks are a great place to go to meet other children, pet furry friends and enjoy the most multicultural place in the world.

Going to the AGO, ROM, Harbour Front, CNE, Centre Island, or Fort York shouldn’t be a field trip. When I was growing up in the “burbs” I didn’t go to Fort York until grade 9, it was a $25 field trip and it was so far we all had to sleep over. (Okay maybe that was for the experience but an hour drive in ’92 seems like an eternity.) The children who reside downtown have access to world-class sites and experiences all within walking distance. Each one of these experiences only acts to enhance your child’s sense of the world and broaden their horizons; my thinking is that’s an essential part of a parents’ job.

Living in the downtown core gives your child so much access to see things they may never get to experience as a child. It’s safe, walkable, multi-cultural, exciting and vibrant — the perfect place to start and raise a family. Toronto is definitely a concrete jungle gym, tailor made for families and ready to enjoy together.

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