Trading parking for partying [media clips]

Young condo dwellers are ditching their cars to spend more on the finer things in life

Dave McGinn, National Post  Published: Thursday, May 08, 2008

Toronto is being remade on a grand scale. Each Thursday, the National Post examines the people, places and issues behind Toronto’s condo boom.

When Jennifer Lee moved from Etobicoke to a condominium downtown last year, the 33-year-old consultant quickly got her financial priorities in order. Why, she reasoned, would she buy a car when she could instead spend her money on some of the finer things in life.

“I would rather buy a $500 pair of shoes every month than have a car,” Ms. Lee says.

Like Ms. Lee, many of Toronto’s downtown condo dwellers can afford to live well because they no longer need to spend a small fortune on a car. If they can’t walk to their destination, they can take transit or, like Ms. Lee, join a car-share program for those days when they need a set of wheels, saving as much as $1,000 a month to spend elsewhere.

The Canadian Automobile Association estimates it costs $8,000 to $14,725 each year to own and operate a car in Canada. It may be a necessary cost for people with families to cart around or long commutes to work. But some people who live downtown are forgoing the expense of car ownership in favour of a higher quality of life.

“If you live downtown, you just don’t need a car,” says Brad Lamb, president and CEO of Brad J. Lamb Realty Inc. and founder of Lamb Development Corp.

Many condominium developers, Mr. Lamb says, do not want to provide parking because of the costs.

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