Q&A with Kendal Gerard, social media and marketing manager for Owlkids books and Danforth residentby Christelle Agboka
Q. What first brought you to the Danforth?
A. In 2007, I was starting the Book and Magazine publishing program at Centennial and, having lived within walking distance of school all through my undergrad, automatically began looking for a place to live close to campus. I literally plunked the school’s Carlaw address into Google Maps and “searched nearby” for apartments. I always assumed it would be a one-year apartment, and that as soon as I graduated and got a job I would move closer to downtown. My boyfriend and I had already been talking about a condo in the Distillery, but we loved the neighbourhood and never left!
Q. How long have you lived here?
A. Just over four years, since the fall of 2007.
Q. Why did you and your boyfriend (now husband) decide to settle down here (and when)?
A. Before I lived on the Danforth, Toronto to me was all about shopping at the Eaton’s Centre or on Queen Street, Jays’ games at the Skydome, and my family’s annual trek up Bathurst to watch the Santa Claus Parade. I never really thought of Toronto as a place where people lived because I’d never been to a real Toronto neighbourhood before. Once we moved into our apartment on the Danforth, and started going about our daily life, I saw parks, schools, families, coffee shops, and bookstores everywhere and realized the city was a way better place to live than anywhere else! We bought a house on the Danforth in November 2010, and moved in just before Christmas that year.
A. I love to run, so I adore our proximity to the Don Valley Trails. We [my husband and I] run the Beltline all the way up to Mount Pleasant Cemetery, and you can get to Sunnybrook Park from our house without ever leaving the trails. I even jump on them at the foot of Parliament and Lakeshore, and then run all the way home from my office in the summer (way better than the TTC). The trail system is one of Toronto’s best hidden gems for sure. We also care a lot about where our food comes from, and so I love the farmers’ markets in our neighbourhood — we have four or five to choose from, all in biking distance, plus the Big Carrot. I also just love peoples’ attitudes here; it’s the total opposite of what I imagined “big city” people would be like: my drycleaner lets me pay “next time I’m walking by,” our next door neighbours are the nicest people you could ever ask to share a backyard with, and there’s a community association (DECA) in my neighbourhood that puts on movie nights, a pumpkin parade, a strawberry social, and an arts fair each year. Everyone’s just so neighbourly.
Q. What are your favourite Danforth area activities?
A. A perfect Saturday without leaving the neighbourhood would probably include one of the following: ice skating at Withrow Park followed by hot chocolate at The Riverdale Perk, vintage furniture browsing and brunch all along Queen East, or taking our bikes and a good book down to the beach.
Q. How does the Danforth compare to other places you have lived?
A. I grew up in Oakville and spent four years at university in Kingston, so the Danforth’s only the third place I’ve ever lived. It’s a lot more multicultural than Oakville, there’s a lot more to do, and we walk or bike everywhere instead of drive. Kingston’s a really pretty city and I liked it there very much. It’s all about the students there, though. You pretty much can’t get away from them if you live remotely close to one of the three schools in the area. It was fine since I was a student, but now that I no longer am, I’m not sure I’d like that all too much. So I pretty well like the Danforth the best of the three.