Well, hello there and thanks for popping by! I'm Cynthia, I sell real estate with the Urbaneer team and it’s great to e-meet you! I guess first off, growing up in a small, close-knit community really created the person I became, including the desire to establish myself, my family and my growing real estate business in similarly quaint and friendly neighbourhoods. And, thus, the Toronto West End villages drew us in—hook, line and Swansea!
I won't lie; it's everything to have top-notch amenities within walking distance of our home. (Oh - keep an eye out for my next post discussing fave local self-care estatblishments!) But, as a parent, I’m particularly grateful to have so many great physical activities and rec option close by, pursuits that the whole family can get involved in—hockey, tennis, skating, rollerblading, sliding, soccer, bocce, baseball, you name it! And many of those activities are all happening in the heart and hub of Swansea: Rennie Park. If you’ve never been to this lovely oasis… well, this blog’s for you! And if you have enjoyed this beloved space, be sure to add your favourite memories in the comments below - or on the Urbaneer Facbook!
Now, news about the reopening phases in Ontario tend to focus on small businesses, restaurants, personal services, and the like—and for great reason; we all benefit from supporting local business. In Swansea - my home for the past decade or so - we rely on the shops of Bloor West Village for everything from daily necessities, pampering and primping (also VERY necessary) to finding one-of-a-kind gifts.
So when patio life finally returned to Bloor West earlier this summer, it was a sight for sore eyes and a blessing. Walking past dining establishments such as Queen’s Pasta Cafe, Baka Gallery Cafe Zaza and The Swan there was revelry all around: families reconnecting, friends reuniting, spirits high. Now, thanks to the CaféTO program, hungry hipsters have even more choices in outdoor dining: Shakey's Hacyon, Fishin, and so many more all have pop-up patios, ready to serve from the slow lane along Bloor West.
With stomachs full, we head just two blocks south for another form of much-needed therapy: fresh air and sheer fun. At any given time, Rennie Park is a beehive of activity. In the winter, it’s ground zero for skating, tobogganing, snowmen, and snow angels. With the arrival of warmer weather, the games change but the vibe remains the same. Towering trees throughout the park provide shady nooks for reading, snuggling, or setting out a picnic blanket. The tree trunks double as goalposts for games of soccer with the kids, while the branches become a magnet for lost frisbees and mismanaged drones (both from our household).
The soft grass invites new crawlers, those navigating their first steps and the not-so-young attempting to regain flexibility through outdoor yoga classes. Cyclists venturing off training wheels for the first time can find looping paths to challenge their newfound skills. Budding gymnasts have everything they may need to perfect their dismount. Sandcastle and splash pad enthusiasts are free to dig holes and submerge them over and over again.
The wooded areas within Rennie Park are the perfect locations for Hide ‘n Seek, Manhunt, or a great game of Capture the Flag. In the warmer seasons, the outdoor hockey rink and adjacent skating loop become the place for rollerbladers to perfect their stride or skateboarders to practice sweet jumps.
And, finally, the huge gazebo and picnic tables provide ample space for the long-awaited multi-generational breaking of bread, all while recognizing local health guidelines, of course.
To my mind, one of the prized gems of the area around Rennie Park meanders down a leafy path towards the ravines and waters of Catfish Pond. In the thick of spring and summer, the dense foliage around the pond blocks out the sounds of urban life. Instead, it’s the music of croaking, buzzing, fish splashing, wings flapping, and the quiet hum of nature prevailing. There are paths to walk, ride or run, wooden bridges to cross and fallen logs to navigate—there are even vines to swing on, should the Tarzan mood strike.
Fun fact: in recent years, Catfish Pond has made local news during not one, but two missing animal escapades. In 2016, a pair of capybaras, affectionately dubbed Bonnie and Clyde, escaped the nearby High Park Zoo and were on the loose for almost a month. There were reported sightings at Catfish Pond and the pair were eventually captured at Grenadier Pond, just across Ellis Avenue.
Two years prior, a caiman was spotted in Catfish Pond itself. This small, alligator-like reptile was likely released into the wild by a misguided pet owner (some people, right?) and drew quite the crowd during its brief vacation. The zookeepers who caught the caiman described the rescue effort as, “squishy, wet, a little stinky.”
Catfish Pond is like a throwback to my own childhood, a setting right out of the past. Here, the children easily shake off their need for constant stimulation and embark on a patient search for tadpoles, frogs, and snakes. Inevitably, some sort of harmless adventure happens, from scraping a knee to losing a running shoe in the mud. It’s a wonderful backdrop to create childhood memories. It’s also just one of the many quaint and quirky discoveries to be found when you live in a little village in the middle of a big city. Of course, your children are likely to return from Catfish Pond squishy, wet, and a little stinky themselves, but it’s all part of the fun!
This beloved park offers us the opportunity to be present with neighbours, even from afar. And my family is grateful for it.
It's a great example of how the amenities woven into the urban fabric of Toronto's city neighbourhoods contribute to one's quality of life as much as the merits of one's home.
Thanks for reading!
Wouldn't it be lovely to have Rennie as your neighbourhood park - just as Cynthia does? Check out our new listing: A Vintage Bungalow Perched On The Slopes Of Morningside Avenue, offered for sale at $999,900! Just east of South Kingsway where Morningside Avenue rises over the Waller Avenue ravine, this charming 1930s bungalow is tucked away in a bucolic alcove that offers leafy views and plenty of privacy! This charming 2-bed 1930s bungalow on its generous 34.5x120 foot lot offers tremendous opportunity and infinite possibilities! To name a few, it's move-in ready, great for down-sizers, an excellent investment property, and a perfect plot for those who want to build up & out!
To book a private viewing, contact email@example.com!
Now more than ever, it is essential to plan a well-researched, data-driven, tactical strategy if you are in the market for a new home. Especially in changing times, when the pandemic has prompted many to shift their focus and objectives. Have yours changed? Please know The Urbaneer team is here to help!
May we be of assistance to you, or someone you love?
The Urbaneer Team
Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage - (416) 322-8000
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