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A Christmas Memory

A Christmas Memory

I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit Grandma on the day my brother dropped the bomb: “There is no Santa Claus,” he jeered. “Even dummies know that!”

My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her “world-famous” cinnamon buns. I knew they were world-famous because Grandma said so. It had to be true. Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me.

“No Santa Claus?” she snorted, “Ridiculous! Don’t believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad!! Now, put on your coat, and let’s go.”

“Go? Go where, Grandma?” I asked. I hadn’t even finished my second world-famous cinnamon bun.

“Where” turned out to be Kirby’s General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. “Take this money,” she said, “and buy something for someone who needs it. I’ll wait for you in the car.” Then she turned and walked out of Kirby’s.

I was only eight years old. I’d often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping. For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for. I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church.

I was just about thought out when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock’s grade-two class. Bobby Decker didn’t have a coat. I knew that because he never went out to recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn’t have a cough; he didn’t have a good coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat! I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that.

“Is this a Christmas present for someone?” the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down.

“Yes, ma’am,” I replied shyly. “It’s for Bobby.”

The nice lady smiled at me, as I told her about how Bobby really needed a good winter coat. I didn’t get any change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat (a little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible) in Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, “To Bobby, From Santa Claus”
on it.

Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker’s house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially, one of Santa’s helpers. Grandma parked down the street from Bobby’s house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge.

“All right, Santa Claus,” she whispered, “get going.”

I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his door and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma.

Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally, it did and there stood Bobby. He retrieved my package and closed the door.

Fifty years haven’t dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker’s bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were — ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team.

I still have the Bible, with the coat tag tucked inside: $19.95.

May you always have LOVE to share,

HEALTH to spare and FRIENDS that care…

And may you always believe in the magic of Santa Claus!

November 2020 Toronto Real Estate Market Report

 

November 2020 Toronto Real Estate Market Report

The November resale market continued to be unseasonably strong in the detached and semi-detached housing stock. No one expected the Toronto Real Estate market to be in this position after the complete shutdown in early Spring. New listings and sales numbers are more indicative of a Spring market than a pre-holiday market. Condominium sales were dull in comparison. Buyers seem to be voting with their feet in a search for less density, more square footage, and green space. This trend extends to the 905 where sales are even stronger. This is not all that surprising, since so many are working from home. They require more space and can work from anywhere. Expect this to continue in December and into 2021.

8,761 properties were reported sold, less than a month earlier (-$1,802), but 24.2% higher than November 2019. There were only 7,045 residential properties reported sold last year in the same month. November’s numbers did not decline as one would expect in this end of year season. Days on Market (DOM) still hovers at a low 19 days, down from 24 days a year ago.

Prices were up on a year-over-year basis for all major home types, both in the City of Toronto and surrounding GTA regions. In November the average sale price for all properties sold in the greater Toronto area came in at $955,613, down from October’s average price of $968,318, but a healthy 13.3% higher than November 2019’s average price of $843,307.

In the City of Toronto, the average sale price is even higher at $1,477,226. The higher end of the marketplace continued to be robust, as well. In November, 355 properties having a sale price of $2 million or more were sold. By comparison, only 199 properties in this category were reported sold last year, a robust increase of 55%. This speaks of confidence in the luxury market, often seen as a bellwether of the general real estate market.

In November condominium sales were up marginally, 0.8% compared to last year. Sale prices were down -1.9% to $605,863 in the Greater Toronto area. In the City of Toronto’s central core district of C08, the average sale price was $683,911. It should be noted, however, that this number is down from $697,685 last month, a decrease of 2.0% but a -10% variance from November 2019. If you are in the market for a condominium, now might be a time to explore these sale prices.