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Floating home for sale at Scarborough Bluffs is ‘pretty much like a cottage all year round’

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In Toronto, even a floating house costs close to $1 million.

Or $965,000, to be precise. That’s the current list price for a 1,552 square-foot home in a small, little-known enclave in the Scarborough Bluffs, made up of a row of 24 houses on floating concrete barges, moored to a dock and anchored to the lake bed.

The floating homes in Bluffer’s Park Marina are sheltered by the towering bluffs and a breakwater protects them from rough waves.
The floating homes in Bluffer’s Park Marina are sheltered by the towering bluffs and a breakwater protects them from rough waves.  (Andrew Francis Wallace / Toronto Star)

“It’s like no other community I’ve lived in or known,” says Denise Doucet, the real estate agent selling the home on Brimley Rd. S. Doucet bought her own floating home in the neighbourhood seven years ago.

“You’ve got a place in the city that feels pretty much like a cottage all year round,” said Doucet.

“You have a GO train, which is two minutes up the road that takes you to downtown Toronto. You can boat to the city area and have lunch or go grocery shopping; you’re a 20 minute boat ride to Queens Quay. So it’s very much a lifestyle.

“And lets face it, no one wants to drive two, two-and-a-half hours to the cottage only to spend three, three-and-a-half hours on the way back.”

Real estate agent Denise Doucet says the floating home is part of a community "like no other ... I've lived in or known."
Real estate agent Denise Doucet says the floating home is part of a community « like no other … I’ve lived in or known. »  (Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star)

Floating houses are not houseboats, which are equipped with motors and meant to move through water. Floating homes are moored, though they do tend to move a little on the water in high winds, said Doucet.

The houses have bumpers so they don’t get damaged if they bump into one another in a storm.

Generally though, the floating homes in Bluffer’s Park Marina at the foot of Brimley Rd. are sheltered by the towering bluffs and a breakwater protects them from rough waves. In winter the water around them freezes, providing a natural outdoor skating rink.

Floating houses have no basement, attic or garage and virtually no property, the good news is that means property taxes at 7 Brimley Rd. S., Slip 12, are about $1,000 a year, to pay for services including parking and garbage collection.

Monthly mooring fees for the homes are about $750 a month. Small personal watercraft can be moored at the homes for free.

Twenty years ago when they were sold, the homes were registered as boats and subject to the design and safety requirements of the Canadian Coast Guard. They sold for $91,000 to $175,000, depending on the model, according to stories published at the time.

Most of them have since been deregistered as boats, said Doucet. Their official title is floating home.

Floating homes like the one for sale are moored, though they tends to move a little on the water in high winds, says real estate agent Denise Doucet.
Floating homes like the one for sale are moored, though they tends to move a little on the water in high winds, says real estate agent Denise Doucet.  (Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star)

Paul Peic, a float home advocate and sales representative, who sold his home in the neighbourhood two years ago, thinks they are a good housing solution in a city like Toronto, built at the water’s edge.

“You feel relaxed there, even though you’re surrounded by a stressful city.”

Floating homes are popular in Vancouver, where real estate is similarly expensive, and in Seattle, but the neighbourhood at Bluffer’s Park Marina bills itself as the only float home community in Ontario.

Toronto moved to ban the homes shortly after they were built by a developer at Cherry Beach and towed to Bluffer’s Park Marina for sale. It granted a reprieve to owners in 2002 but warned all marinas that lease land from the city that more floating homes would not be permitted.

Realtor and architect Mark Campbell thinks allowing people to live on the water would make sense at Ontario Place, the former theme park along the city’s western lakefront, which the provincial government intends to redevelop. He submitted his idea for a houseboat community to the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, which is taking suggestions from the public.

“I am just interested in people living on the water, in this place in particular, to reinvigorate Ontario Place as a vital community in our fair city,” said Campbell, who is also co-chair of the Roncesvalles-Macdonell Residents Association.

With more people in the area, the existing pod structures at Ontario Place could become shared workspace, offices, studios or gyms, Campbell believes.

Peic agrees there is room for more floating houses in Toronto.

“They’re an amazing lifestyle.”

Francine Kopun is a Toronto-based reporter covering city politics. Follow her on Twitter: @KopunF



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Anglais

A stunning Water Lantern Festival is coming to Montreal

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What might just be the most magical night ever is coming up for Montreal this year.

The Water Lantern Festival has announced that it will be gracing Mississauga with thousands of floating lanterns later this year, as part of a celebration that spans the entire world.

According to the festival’s official website, the event is a celebration of life with proceeds going towards charities and non-profit organizations within the area.

“Water Lantern Festival brings together individuals from all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life to join in one emotional and memorable night. At the Water Lantern Festival, we cherish these moments and will do our best to help you have a memorable experience that you’ll never forget as you witness the beauty of thousands of lanterns reflecting upon the water,” the website states.

The festival takes place throughout multiple cities around the world, with the Canadian cities of Quebec, Regina, Vancouver, Hamilton, Calgary, Ottawa, Mississauga, and, of course, Montreal taking part.

For the Calgary event, a date has been confirmed and tickets are already rolling out. Montreal shan’t be far behind, and you can click the Notify Me tab on the event’s site to be kept in the loop.

Expect an evening filled with food trucks, music, lantern designing and finally, a magical launch of the lanterns into the water as the sun goes down.

For our pals over in Calgary, their event includes a floating lantern, a commemorative drawstring bag, a marker, and a wristband. Expect something similar, if not the same, when more details float through about Montreal’s event.

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Anglais

Euthanasia order on hold for Montreal dog that attacked children

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A pit bull dog that attacked four children and two adults in August 2018 in Montreal North will not be euthanized in the immediate future.

The euthanasia order has been temporarily suspended pending the appeal of a Quebec Superior Court decision.

On Tuesday, Judge Lukasz Granosik rejected a request to halt the euthanasia order issued by the Montreal North borough, which declared the animal a “dangerous dog.”

The City of Montreal has not changed its mind. This is only a delay before it proceeds with euthanizing the dog, a source told the Canadian Press.

Shotta, the one-year-old dog, was in the care of its owner’s acquaintance in August 2018. The dog attacked four children and two adults, causing serious injuries in separate incidents on the same day.

After the attacks, the dog was taken from the home and entrusted to the SPCA.

WATCH: Dog found dead in Angrignon Park

The Road to Home Rescue Support, an American shelter, asked the court if it could take in the dog. Christa Frineau, the dog’s owner, had also asked that Shotta not be euthanized.

Granosik refused to grant the request.

—With files from Global’s Kalina Laframboise

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Anglais

9 Things To Do In Montreal This Friday, Saturday & Sunday

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Today’s sunny skies have me itching to make weekend plans. I absolutely cannot wait to make the most of this warmer weather. This might be the time to inflate my bike tires and dust off my running shoes…

Whether you want to brush up on your cooking skills, let loose, or fill your stomach with amazing food, there’s an event out there for you. Read on for 9 fun things you can do with friends or a fling this weekend.

TL;DR Read on for 9 fun things you can do in Montreal this weekend.

Let Yourself Go At Dress Up

Where: 185 Avenue Van Horne, Montréal.

When: Friday, March 29, 9:00 p.m.

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