The Metro Convention Centre is a big place. Cashiers for the Toronto Condo Show do a verbal check before they take my $16 admission fee. I do look more like someone who'd be interested in the Toronto International Art Fair half a mile down the hall. Two lads go off laughing at their near mistake.
Once inside, I feel the same thing I do at most every trade show: sympathy for those who have to work there: the young man sadly piling up omelettes and candy apples from cookware demonstrations, tired old women, bored young ones. Hey! Snap out of it! The vacuum cleaner salesmen look happy.
I'm told I can book the Melodious Vibes Music Group for any of my "lifestyle events," which I guess would take place in the lifestyle events room at my condo. And if I buy a unit that is so small I need to store my clothes elsewhere, I can contract with Store Your Style or a number of other companies. Gold Service requires "only 48 hours' notice' to return my clothes. Concierge Service, with twice as many "breathable gusseted garment bags,' charges $99.99 a month and only requires 24 hours' notice.
This makes the mere half-hour I take looking for my other shoe or the right scarf seem almost futuristic.
Friends who rent rooms are being pushed out of downtown for those who can buy rooms. The Condo Show is about stowing and hiding things.
I like the disappearing TV. It's touching to see that a low-tech Laundry Lift that suspends wet clothes from overhead lines has a place in chic (code for "common") loftettes. Missed the talk on how moulds are rampant in condo ducts.
Did you know that Toronto is "Civil, Livable, Sophisticated?' It says so in Moving To Toronto magazine, "Canada's voice on relocation for over 30 years." I guess it depends on where you're coming from.
CondoMan Howard Youhanan, "No. 1 in downtown Toronto resales,' lists the view as the first consideration when buying a condo. I used to have a view. Then they built condos on it.
There's a reason there are so many lawyers amongst the Murphy beds. Buying a condominium sounds like a plunge into a legal swamp. I guess it's worth it for those who believe that what you own reveals who you are and are willing to pay for rooms in the sky that haven't even been built yet.
A studio/bachelor can be purchased in "Dreamville" for $50,000. Dreamville is in Bulgaria, and the developers are actually pitching here.
But "your dream home in the sky' is not far, at Bellaria in Vaughan. "Bellaria's huge private park will be the jewel of Vaughan. Entered via a 24-hour gatehouse, it will be accessible only to residents, invited guests and our fine-feathered friends!" A live hawk advertises the services of Hawkeye bird control for pigeons and other birds unwelcome in the condo dream world.
Attendance at the Toronto Condo Show is sparse. The real money is at the other end of the Convention Centre, where men who look comfortable in tuxedos and not just coiffed, but embalmed, are escorting ladies to the Teddy Bear Affair for the Children's Aid Society ($750 a person). The Toronto Art Fair is sponsored by Cadillac. A huge Escalade SUV ($55,000) is parked on the carpet.
Money, cars, condominiums - it all adds up to the same thing all over the world: the extinction of simple lives lived close to the ground.