Amid a busy schedule, there has been some amazing changes in my personal life. Not only the addition of Canela (our beautiful Sharpei Mix rescue in the photo above), but we are also getting ready for another amazing trip in just a few weeks. But, when it comes down to it, I also face the same decisions in life that you do. I want to live in a place that suits my lifestyle, schedule, relationship and fact that I am now a dog owner. To be honest, we have been entertaining the idea of moving into a new space in the coming months.
So when I was invited to spend 44 hours at 44 Charles in the iconic neighbourhood of Yorkville, Toronto… I thought, this might be the perfect chance to entertain the idea of moving. Not only did I love the experience, but 44 Charles made me see Toronto in an entirely new way. Come and see what my experience showed me and why we may be calling 44 Charles home in early 2016!
When I stop to think about living in Yorkville, I immediately assume that I simply can’t afford it. We don’t know where our adventures will take us in the next five years (I’d LOVE to end up in London, England to be honest) so buying a home / condo isn’t something we are entertaining. The rental market in Toronto is one that fluctuates and depends on the neighbourhood you are looking at. I was astounded at how affordable the suites at 44 Charles are in comparison to similar units nearby (with suites starting at $1485/month.)
But is price everything? One of the biggest issues I have is that my home needs to have the convenience of amenities. Be it a fitness facility, or a grocery store that doesn’t take forever to commute to. Do you feel the same way? Well. Let me tell you all about how 44 Charles literally checked off everything on my must have list.
Upon arrival, I realized that I had walked through the doors of Manulife Centre on Bloor Street more time than I could remember. Located on Charles (parallel to Bloor), the entrance to the residences looks like that of a hotel. Bright and with elegant finishes, the first thing that caught my eye was the beautiful concierge desk. As a sidebar, our current building does not have a concierge, so this was a much needed treat to see! Although quite common in Toronto condo and apartment buildings, the concierge at 44 Charles took me by surprise. Not only did they say hi to every resident that was coming and going, but they all seemed to genuinely love their job.
We had the opportunity during our stay to enjoy a guest suite (another amenity available to residents of the building and visitors to the city of Toronto) – a great alternative to expensive hotels in the city that is just steps away from iconic Toronto destinations! We took a tour of the building after getting Canela used to her weekend surroundings. Did I mention that the building is dog friendly? That is a HUGE plus in my books now that I am a dog owner and I was actually surprised to learn that the majority of residents have dogs of their own. Another check on my personal list!
Post tour, we got changed and headed to dinner at The One Eighty. You’ll remember that we introduced you to this beautiful restaurant earlier this year (check out our feature here) and we loved the fact that it was literally steps away from the residence entrance into Manulife Centre. If you haven’t yet been, it is my favourite panoramic view of the city of Toronto. It feels as though you are enjoying a beautiful meal in the clouds and ended up being quite the romantic night.
Post dinner we took for Canela for a walk in Yorkville and discovered how many beautiful parks and green spaces there really are. People sometimes assume that Toronto has no green spaces, but that simply isn’t true. Just ask Canela! The next morning we woke up well rested and ready for another busy day. I stopped at the Starbucks across the street for some much needed coffee and breakfast. For those of you who know me, you’ll know that Starbucks is essentially a food group. Don’t tell Catherine. “Toronto’s original hippie enclave morphed into the yuppie capital of Canada in the ‘80s. Today, it’s become a hybrid of the two, with high-end boutiques and bistros alongside cool clothiers and cafés, and it’s all around us.”
Caffeinated and content, it was time to take advantage of the amenities available to the residents of 44 Charles. With a fantastic fitness room & a pool, I made sure that I was being as active as possible. First up, a dip in the pool! Many of you may not know this, but I am a total water baby. If we decide to live in the building, you can rest assured that I would be swimming on a daily basis. How could you not?!
“Located on the 51st floor, the heated pool is perfect for laps, aqua-fit or just taking a dip after a long day. And the view from the south-facing patio is absolutely stunning. Use of the pool is exclusive to residents on floors 32- 50.”
I laugh at the fact that the following posts on Instagram are so quintessentially “us” – Julio got artsy and I couldn’t stop staring at him. That’s basically us on the daily – what can I say, I’m a hopeless romantic!
The view #FWIS while enjoying the 51st floor pool at 44 Charles ?? #Explore44 A photo posted by Daniel Desforges (@dothedaniel) on
With a view of the city and a pool at my disposal, I was already sold on living at 44 Charles. But there is so much more to tell you about! As mentioned, the convenience of being attached to Manulife Centre is definitely a selling point. With Bloorstreet Market just a few floors down, we headed to pick up some freshly made lunch items. I can say that having a grocery store essentially in my building would be a HUGE plus to living at 44 Charles.
Who wants to battle the winter weather outside when everything you could need is right at your fingertips? Although it rained for some of the day, we were able to sneak a few beautiful minutes on the rooftop courtyard. A garden oasis located on the third floor of the building, it’s a great outdoor space that residents can take advantage of year round.
Post lunch, it was time to head out and explore the neighbourhood. Thankfully, the Warhol Exhibit at Revolver Gallery was just a few blocks away. For those of you who haven’t been yet, I highly recommend you take the time to see some of the most inspiring pieces of art visiting Toronto for a limited time. This was yet another moment that helped to open my eyes about Yorkville. Not just about Mink Mile anymore, the neighbourhood has evolved to be a culinary and cultural hub with something for everyone. Don’t get me wrong… we still did some shopping for Julio on The Mink Mile because after all, when in Rome!
Back to 44 Charles we went to get ready for a small gathering of friends in one of their beautiful party rooms. We were lucky enough to get the Club Room all to ourselves with some close friends. But how can you throw a party without party essentials? Conveniently (noticing a theme yet?) we had the LCBO, Indigo & Bloorstreet Market all in Manulife Centre that helped to create an amazing night. Being that our stay was before Halloween, I chose to create a fun Halloween theme with decor from Indigo (how cute is the following photo?!) with candy and food from Bloorstreet Market. We watched scary movies, played pool and laughed the night away. It was PERFECT!
“Outfitted with a pool table, a big-screen TV and comfy couches, this is the perfect place to chill out after a long day.”
Also, we named our cat mascot Bogartt. Alongside Canela, it was a night to remember!
Surprise! We are having a Halloween themed get together with friends at 44 Charles. These cute decorations are from @chaptersindigo and make the perfect partner to yummy food from @loblawsON located steps away in @manulifecentre. We’re hoping you’ll see our mascot kitty on some of your favourite social media accounts tonight! ?? #Explore44
— Julio Reyes (@Fashionights) October 25, 2015
A little quality time with @dothedaniel and @annecayer #Explore44 A photo posted by Ryan Thomas (@ryantylerthomas) on
— Gracie Carroll (@GracieCarroll) October 25, 2015
Make sure to follow these amazing people while you’re enjoying their photos from a fun night together. I love that the convenience of having a party room and area to host family and friends in the building I live in. Yet another perk of residency at 44 Charles! After a fantastic night, it was time to hit the hay. On the final day we enjoyed the building, its amenities and the neighbourhood, it was time to enjoy brunch. Windsor Arms Hotel is one of the best in the city and we were lucky enough to get a reservation for a meal that left me smiling. Located around the corner from 44 Charles, I could see myself doing this on the weekly!
I think brunch may be my favourite meal of all. Sitting down to enjoy this one at @windsorarms with @fashionights. Down the street from 44 Charles, it’s a neighbourhood must ?? #Explore44 A photo posted by Daniel Desforges (@dothedaniel) on
Before packing our bags, I decided to hit up the fitness centre. Being that I had a 10k run to train for, I was excited to see what the facilities held for the residents of the building. “Prefer to workout in the comfort of your own home? You’ll find cardio and resistance machines, free weights, stretching mats and two TVs. And to make your workout even more inspiring, you can gaze out at the 51st floor view of the downtown core.”
Traditionally, fitness “rooms” in condo or apartment buildings are quite sad actually. Not this one. With several treadmills and exercise equipment, I don’t think I would need my gym membership anymore. And of course, before I left, I had to jump into the pool one last time!
Looking back on my 44 hours at 44 Charles, I am definitely a Yorkville convert. I now see the neighbourhood for the vibrant hub of food & culture that it really is. The affordable living at 44 Charles might just be in the coming months where I can call home with Julio & Canela.
If you love social media as much as we do, make sure to follow @Explore_44 on Twitter. Use and follow the #Explore44 hashtag to join in on the social media conversation and to see some more exciting behind the scenes photos from our experience.
For more behind the scenes of this and other amazing brands and events we are working with, make sure to follow along with the #DoTheDaniel Instagram account. We’d love to have you join us on our adventures around the world!
Photos: 44 Charles, Daniel Desforges & Julio Reyes (as well as all friends listed above)