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Toronto Events For June 2023 (Welcome Back Warm Weather!)

Pride Toronto (All June)

Pride Toronto continues a legacy that is deeply intertwined with the rich, progressive history of Toronto’s queer community. From a small gathering of dedicated activists fighting for their right to love and be seen, to clashes with the government and police, to the vibrant celebration we know today, Pride has been a long time in the making. The parade takes place on Sunday, June 25. 

The Gardens At Casa Loma (Open Select Days June-August)

The Gardens of Casa Loma offers guests an opportunity to enjoy a casual meal al fresco in the center of Casa Loma’s award-winning gardens surrounded by spectacular views of the city skyline and the majestic castle.

Canadian Music Week (June 5th-10th)

Now in its 41st year, the Canadian Music Week Conference is still the premier annual music business and networking event in Canada and coming back in 2023 it’s in person live! We promise to deliver a world class experience in the Heart of Toronto once again.

RBC Canadian Open (June 6th-11th)

The RBC Canadian Open is the third oldest continuously running tournament on the PGA TOUR, after The Open Championship and the U.S. Open.

Only two players have been able to capture golf’s Triple Crown (consisting of winning all three National Open titles in the same season); they are Lee Trevino (1971) and Tiger Woods (2000).

Luminato (June 7th-18th)

Luminato Festival Toronto is an international arts festival dedicated to big, bold contemporary works of art that cut across traditional artistic boundaries of music, dance, theatre, and visual art. Originally created to help Toronto rebuild after the SARS epidemic, Luminato works at the intersection of artists, spectators, and city spaces to produce once-in-a-lifetime experiences that highlight the very best of our city, region, and country. ​

Toronto Flower Market (June 10th)

Toronto Flower Market is the city’s first outdoor flower market. We celebrate and support Ontario grown flowers & plants, connecting growers and florists directly with the city. The market season runs monthly from May through October, with special collaborations sprouting up throughout the year. It happens between 10am and 3pm at CAMH (1001 Queen Street West). 

Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival (June 17th and 18th)

In 2023, as the Festival celebrates its 34th year, the Toronto International Drag Boat Race Festival promises to continue to be one of the most exciting summer events in Toronto and one of the most prestigious dragon boat festivals on the North American dragon boat calendar. Once again, this year, the Festival will welcome teams from across Canada, the U.S., the Caribbean Islands, Europe, and Asia.

Toronto Outdoor Picture Show (June 22nd – August 27th)

From June 22 to August 27, 2023, Toronto Outdoor Picture Show proudly presents Another World, a 21-date open-air festival programme. Like in 2022, the TOPS season will kick off with a 5-evening opening weekend of film screenings at Fort York, before moving the travelling show to Corktown Common, Bell Manor Park, and TOPS’ signature series, Christie Pits Film Festival, in July and August. Films include Jurassic Park, Pan’s Labyrinth, and Everything Everywhere All At Once. 

Toronto TD Jazz Festival (June 23rd-July 2nd)

What began in 1987 as an eight day showcase of jazz now attracts in excess of 500,000 loyal patrons annually over 10 days as more than 1,500 musicians entertain all across the city. The Festival has become a destination event, not just for music lovers but for some of the greatest jazz celebrities in the world, reinforcing its reputation as a leader in artistic excellence and outstanding production standards. Headliners include Herbie Hancock and Ashanti. 

Smorgasburg (June 24th-September 9th)

Smorgasburg is the largest weekly open-air food market in America, attracting thousands of people to Brooklyn, Manhattan, Los Angeles and Miami each weekend to eat from dozens of local vendors. This year, Smorgasburg Toronto is returning for a second season! 

Smorgasburg Toronto will feature 50 weekly vendors every Saturday from June 24 to September 9. Conveniently located at 7 Queens Quay East, at the foot of Yonge Street.

Try Some Delicious New Restaurants and Bars

June is here and as we make our way back out and enjoy the warm weather, you can fill up at these delicious new restaurants and bars that will keep you going for all of your Spring and Summer adventures.

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Buying a house or a condo – what could go wrong?

Believe it or not, there are many things that can go sideways when you’re getting ready to close on a house or condo. Sometimes it’s something minor like the home needing a good cleaning because it’s not left the way it should be, and sometimes it is more serious like the current residents not actually moving out when they are supposed to. In fact, there are so many things that can go awry, this blog is a two-parter!

Among the many benefits of using a (ahem) seasoned realtor, is that not only do I know when something doesn’t feel quite right, I know the questions that need to be asked in order to prevent problems from even occurring. Let’s have a look at some of the more common things that can happen and how they can be thwarted.

Financing

Unless you’re paying cash and if the situation allows for it, I always recommend including a five day financing condition in any offer you submit on a property. This allows you to secure a firm commitment from a lender that’s satisfactory to you, otherwise the sale becomes null and void. This is important because, although you may be pre-approved, there are more hoops to jump through before getting a firm commitment from a lender.

With a financing condition, if you don’t truly qualify for the amount you’re asking for, the contract can be cancelled, and you get your deposit back, eventually.

That said, in a hot market, an offer conditional upon financing can be the clause that makes the difference between you getting your dream home or not. When a seller is presented with two similar offers and one is ‘clean’ (ie, no conditions), a seller will usually go with the clean offer. Working with an experienced mortgage broker who has access to a number of lenders can help with any speedbumps.

Closing Date

People often ask about how quickly a property can close. I understand, a new home is exciting, and you want to get in there, especially if the property is vacant. However, I recommend a minimum closing period of 30 days.

You may be pre-approved for a mortgage, but a lot more is required when a lender is about to hand over hundreds of thousand of dollars, and you want to make sure you have enough time to dot your i’s and cross your t’s.

Your lawyer (who will likely suggest a minimum of 45 to 60 days) has to do title searches and there is a lot of paperwork, which sometimes needs to be corrected, not to mention that a lender may require additional documentation depending on your situation.

Delays can happen, especially with backlogs at the bank. I’ve spoken with a number of lawyers frustrated with securing funds, so the smartest thing you can do is have a reasonable closing so that any hiccups can be taken care of. I know you want those keys, but you’ll sleep better knowing that everything has been settled.

One other related tip is to book your move for the day after the closing date and not the day of the closing. If there are delays on closing day, it means you may not get your keys on time. If you’ve booked movers for the same day, you’re paying for them.

Buyer’s Remorse

Sometimes buyers have second thoughts once the excitement has dissipated. If you’re buying a pre-construction condo, there is a 10-day cooling off period, in which you can back out of the deal for any reason. But that doesn’t exist on a re-sale.

So how can a buyer legally back out?

If there’s a substantial discrepancy and the buyer thought they were buying a property that they aren’t getting, then there may be an opportunity to walk away or renegotiate… but a contract is a contract and they are easier to get into then they are to break. Also, if by chance you are able to walk away, you don’t just automatically get the deposit back. You have to prove that you were wronged and deserve the deposit back and sometimes the courts have to get involved to settle any issues.

If your offer is conditional upon the home inspection and something major is discovered, it’s possible that the contract can be cancelled. That said, I have yet to come across a deal that couldn’t be saved, whether through a repair or an adjustment of the purchase price.

One way to prevent any surprises for both parties is for the sellers to have an independent home inspection done before the home goes on the market. It’s not uncommon for the sellers to do this in preparation for listing their home. Not only does this reveal any red flags with the home, if the listing may potentially receive multiple offers at one time, it could bring comfort to buyers to be able to review the report in advance of offering in order to submit an offer without a home inspection condition.

When buying a condo, there’s almost always a condition that the lawyer has to be satisfied with the status certificate package. This package allows the lawyer to review any and all documents related to condo you’re interested in and the corporation within which it’s registered. The seller’s agent usually has it available prior to listing the property on MLS and if not, it’s easy to order.

The interesting thing with this condition is that it often requires the lawyer to be 100% satisfied – and if they aren’t, the offer can be withdrawn without giving the specific reason.

Next month: what happens if the home sellers haven’t actually moved out?

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May’s Newsletter: TO’s Best Fish & Chips – Barbara Walters Apartment is For Sale – Buyers Return to Toronto Housing Market As Prices Climb After Sluggish Period

One of my favourite events is back this year, Doors Open Toronto. It’s a great opportunity to see some buildings that are normally closed to the public, including the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant and the Ontario Legislative Building. You’ll find more info and some other terrific events in the blog, below.

The real estate market continues to slowly recover, as we see both prices and the number of sales up slightly over March. Increased mortgage rates are just part of the story; with so few listings available, sellers don’t want to list until they’ve found a place to move, and pent up demand is pushing prices up a little.

Click here for the full newsletter

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Toronto Events For May 2023

Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival (May)

During the month of May experience over 180 lens-based exhibitions, site-specific installations, and commissioned projects by artists and photographers at museums, galleries, and public spaces throughout Toronto.

Canada’s Wonderland (May 5th to the end of the summer)

Canada’s Wonderland is set to open up it’s doors once again in May! Since 1981, Canada’s Wonderland has been the premier destination in Ontario for thrills, family fun, and world-class entertainment. Located in Vaughan, just north of Toronto, the amusement park features more than 200 attractions including 18 roller coasters, two children’s areas, and Splash Works, the 20-acre water park.

Experience fun, thrills and make lifelong memories with family or friends at this four-season amusement park. If you’re looking for amazing things to do in the Toronto area, don’t miss the live shows and special events through spring, summer, fall, and winter including Halloween Haunt and the immersive holiday event WinterFest.

Toronto Flower Market (May 13th)

Founded in May 2013, Toronto Flower Market is the city’s first outdoor flower market. We celebrate and support Ontario grown flowers & plants, connecting growers and florists directly with the city. The market season runs monthly from May through October, with special collaborations sprouting up throughout the year. 

Over the years, the market has cultivated a passionate local flower community of growers, florists, designers, gardeners and producers who transform the city into creative flora and fauna experiences. Our aim is to develop stories and engagements with flowers that educate consumers about seasonality. 

Mother’s Day High Tea At The Castle (May 13th and 14th)

This Mother’s Day weekend, experience the elegance of the Edwardian era with an afternoon tea at Toronto’s iconic castle, Casa Loma. An elevated experience, guests will sample a selection of premium teas, scones, gourmet pastries and tea sandwiches in the majestic ambiance of the Castle.

High Tea guests are permitted to tour the castle, as part of their reservation. Guests with a later seating are asked to tour prior to their reservations as the Castle closes at 5pm daily.

Beaches Artisan Market (May 14th)

Bring your family and friends to Queen St Marketplace for a day of shopping and fun! While admission is free for everyone, kids get an extra treat with free face painting. Enjoy the handcrafted works of over 50 independent artists, artisans, makers, and designers, while your little ones are transformed into their favourite characters.

Nostalgic Market (May 14th-15th)

The wait is over, Nostalgic Market is back! Join us as we return with a weekend of all things vintage clothing and nostalgic collectible items that will bring you back to the glory days.

Free entry!

Fiesta De Mayo (May 26th-28th)

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Fiesta de Mayo is a vibrant and exciting event that brings together the beauty and diversity of many cultures to celebrate the arrival of spring. On May 26-28, the Street Eats 500 Progress Ave, Scarborough will come alive with the beating of tribal drums, colourful street dancing, and a wide variety of delicious food and drinks from our vendors!

Doors Open Toronto (May 27th-28th)

Each May, Doors Open Toronto invites the public to explore the city’s most-loved buildings and sites, free of charge. The event provides rare access to buildings that are not usually open to the public and free access to sites that would usually charge an admission fee. Since its inception in 2000, it has attracted more than two million visits to nearly 700 unique locations and remains the largest event of its kind in Canada.

Anime North (May 26th-28th)

Anime North is an anime convention located in Toronto, Canada that celebrates anime, manga, music, games and all other forms of Japanese Culture!

Anime North will be the weekend of May 26-28, 2023 at the Toronto Congress Centre, Delta Hotel Airport and Sheraton Toronto Airport Hotel.

Party 4 Paws Spring Pet Fair (May 27th-28th) 

Party 4 Paws Spring Pet Fair is a family-friendly, and fully accessible event where you can start your animal adoption journey, support local businesses by shopping for your pets, and meet celebrity pets.

Admission is free, and all donations go towards helping animals in need. There will also be other activities and attractions including doggie pools and tunnels, a photo booth, treats for pets, and displays of pet supplies, services, and goodies from an array of new and established businesses.

Take A Unique Day Trip From The City

There are so many unique day trips near Toronto that aren’t your average hike or winery tour. These destinations will definitely infuse a little excitement into your weekend or day off. Plus, all of these are only a few hours away from the city.

Enjoy Some Great New Movies And TV Shows

If you aren’t quite ready to make the trek to the outdoors, as always there are some great new additions to streaming services across May.

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Buying Your First Place? Here’s What You Need to Know

Buying your first home is exciting, but it can also be very overwhelming. Where do you start and how do you even know what questions to ask?

I’ve worked with enough first time buyers to know the questions they need the answers to.

The best start for a first-time buyer is to approach a trusted and knowledgeable real estate agent. They will give them a sound path to follow in order to ensure they are following the steps to success. In truth, the real first step is meeting with a mortgage broker or lender to find out what financing options are available based your credit. You’ll find out what price range you can be approved for based on your salary and debt load. Once you have that information, you can figure out what you’re comfortable with in terms of a purchase price and carrying costs because those are two very different things.

In addition to the mortgage payment, you’ll need to budget for property taxes, gas, electricity, and maintenance. A condo will have fixed monthly maintenance fees and a house will also require regular upkeep which should be budgeted for. The current homeowner should be able to show you recent utility bills, while a home inspection will give you a good idea of the existing condition of the property and what repairs you should budget for in the future.

Deposit vs. Down Payment

Although your lender may have pre-qualified you for a mortgage, you will need some cash on hand for your deposit and down payment.

The deposit is the amount you give to the listing broker’s office when your offer has been accepted. A solid deposit shows you’re making a purchase in good faith and gets credited to the total purchase price on closing. In the Toronto market it is usually 5% of the home’s value.

The down payment is the amount of money you give to the seller through their lawyer upon closing. The difference between the cash you have in hand and the purchase price is the mortgage and it comes from your lender. Your deposit is included in calculations of your down payment.

How much do you need for a down payment?

  • If the unit you’re buying is $500,000 or less, the minimum down payment is 5%.
  • If the unit is between $500,000 and $999,999, you’ll need 5% for the first $500,000 and 10% for anything above $500K.
  • And, if the space is $1M or more, you’ll need a minimum down payment of 20%.

An important note, if your down payment is less than 20%, you have to buy mortgage loan insurance. Insurance is not available if the purchase price of the home is over $1M.

Incentives available 

RRSP Home Buyer’s Plan.

You and your spouse can borrow up to $35,000 each to put towards a down payment and repay it over the next 15 years.

First Home Savings Account (FHSA)

The FHSA is a new account that allows people to save for their first home. You can contribute up to $8,000 every year to a maximum of $40,000.

Depending on your income and the price of the home you’re buying, you may also qualify for the federal First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, but before you get too excited, it’s hard to qualify in Toronto. The maximum value of the home you’re buying can’t exceed 4.5x your qualifying income, which means even if you earn the max eligible ($150,000), the property you’re buying can’t be more than $675,000.

Other funds you have to have on hand:

Lawyers fees, which can range wildly. If you don’t have a lawyer lined up, your realtor can refer you. I always give my clients three names so they can choose.

Land Transfer tax (both municipal and provincial), click here to access a handy calculator.

The good news is that you may also be eligible for a Land Transfer Tax Refund

Keep in mind that this is a refund and you will need to have the full amount of the Land Transfer Tax on hand. It can’t be incorporated into a mortgage.

You’ll also have to budget for moving costs, either a rental van and pizza and beer for your friends or for professional movers (highly recommended).

Even if you’ve owned property in the past, you may still be eligible for these incentives. The federal government considers you a first-time home buyer if “in the four year period, you did not occupy a home that you owned, or one that your current spouse or common-law partner owned.”

Now that you understand how much money you’ll need in addition to a deposit and a down payment, you’re ready to start looking for your new home based on the neighbourhoods you like and what sort of property you can afford.

I know this amount of information can be overwhelming, but that’s really why you need an experienced realtor. If you have any questions, please get in touch.

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April’s Newsletter: TO’s Best Healthy Bowls – Bathroom Renovation Trends – Dogs and Condos. Everything You Need To Know!

Even though as I write this it’s a bit of a grey day, I firmly believe it’s finally safe to say that spring is here. With the crocuses popping up, Easter behind us, and the cherry blossoms in full bloom, winter is well on the way out and soon to be a distant memory. If you’re interested in updating your home this spring, you’ll find a terrific piece on bathroom renovation trends below. Scroll down and you’ll also see a piece related to dog ownership in condos; the good, the bad and the barky.

In the market, the general year-over-year trend of fewer sales and lower prices continues, though the Toronto Region Real Estate Board is predicting lower borrowing costs this year. Contrary to the hopes of many buyers waiting for the bottom, many homes are still selling quickly and over asking. Of course this is entirely dependent on the home and the neighbourhood, and definitely whether the listing was purposely underpriced for the market. The Bank of Canada decided to hold the key interest rate steady, so that should also boost confidence and encourage more sellers to come to market. Fingers crossed!

Click here for the full newsletter

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