of Pimm's Cups and downtown living


A couple of my friends are currently on the hunt for a new cohabitation space. The gentleman and I had invited them over for dinner on the weekend and over the course of the evening while eating our homemade BBQ pizza  and sipping on Pimm's Cups we started discussing the merits of living downtown. Since moving to Edmonton I've lived exclusively downtown. In fact, while I have lived in three different residences, they've all been within a five block stretch of 109th Street and Jasper Avenue. Certainly I've entertained some grand ideas of living in a storybook house in Glenora or a bungalow in Belgravia, but I'm prone to those sorts of flights of fancy. In most cases I am more than content to be a downtown apartment dweller.

I should describe my love of living downtown with sentiment that is a little bit stronger than just contentment, because although I like to look at listings in certain mature neighbbourhoods, more frequently I try to convince the gentlemen that we should purchase a particular 3-lot parcel that is a couple blocks away and build an ultra-mod multi-family dwelling with a green roof and maybe a little commercial unit on the ground floor. I'm full of awesome ideas like that. They come so fast and so furiously that now the gentleman cringes whenever I might start a sentence with, "You know what we should do?"

But I know he shares an appreciation for our downtown life. We're pretty lucky to live where we do. We're steps away from the LRT and within a couple blocks of two parks and the Legislature Grounds. The list of our nearby amenities accessible by foot are enviable. We have a couple grocery stores and the Farmer's Market is close proximity. There are many restaurants, bars and pubs nearby. Our apartment overlooks the multi-use trail, the streetcar, and is across the street from an elementary school.

People ask me if I feel safe downtown and I always answer yes. Sure, at times there are crowds of rowdy drunks blocking the sidewalks of Jasper late in the evenings on the weekends, but one block to the south things are quiet and serene. In many ways I prefer walking downtown late at night compared to some residential areas where all the streets are dark and you never really know what might be lurking between the cars parked streetside. Downtown there's usually someone else about, whether they are walking home from a late night movie or heading to the corner store on a midnight snack run. Sure, it's a downtown that doesn't have the same sort of 24 hour vibrancy that some other great cities might, but it's not a desolate wasteland either. In the five years that I've lived here I've seen downtown improve. And I'm happy to see that improvement continue, especially if it means helping two friends decide to live here too.  

Living downtown doesn't mean you are restricted to highrises only. If you are one of the fortunate few, there are still charming brick houses here and there. There's one pretty adorable one a block away with a sweet little front stoop that in the late evenings is lit by the glow of the lights inside.  It doesn't require too much stretch of the imagination to think of sitting on that very stoop, sipping on your own tasty Pimm's Cup. I'm certain I've come across the residents of this house doing that on one or two occasions. But I wouldn't testify in court to that effect, because this particular stoop is one that is easy to romanticize about (much like my 3-Lot parcel). Maybe I saw them on the stoop one time and now every time I pass by I remember that singular instance. In any case, I have a mild love affair with this residence and I hope that one day it might come on the market and I might hear of its availability before anyone else. That house has it all, character, curb appeal, and it's still in my preferred area of downtown. You know, the part of Oliver that we residents like to call Olivier.