Living on Urban Water – Toronto, Canada
Living on Urban Water
Most jail cells are bigger than a sailboat this size. You have to like yourself to live in this small an area because there is no room to get away. The one thing that becomes apparent very quickly is that this is an outdoor lifestyle. I tend to do more things outside rather than inside. You dwell on not in a boat. Depending on your attitude, your living space is one hundred and seventy-five square feet or many square miles.
I have on occasion taken the boat out just to have supper a mile down the lake and to watch the Canada Geese. The marina is quiet and calm even though the financial district is a ten-minute walk away. The shadow of the CN Tower falls on the boat. It’s like having a cottage in the middle of the city. I reside and go to work in Toronto most of the year and hang out on my boat winter and summer.
True double or king-size beds don’t exist on a boat this size. The only decent bed is in the forecastle (bow, front of boat). It is called a double. As anyone who has seen them can tell you, they are V-shaped and you had better not go to bed mad, if you’re not alone. It’s like a large twin bed that narrows to a point. There are also two other beds, a couch that pulls out and a bed under the cockpit at the back that would be similar to crawling into a coffin with one end open (it gets used for storage for everything that doesn’t have another place). If you have more than yourself sleeping on this boat, you better be friendly and not shy.
Two burner alcohol stoves, a microwave, a barbeque off the back deck, a small refrigerator and with two to three square feet, you tend to shop for foods that have to be kept cool every day or so. Canned and dry goods are stored whereever they fit around the boat. Since it is so small, nothing is far away.
I have gotten more inventive with what’s available. I have prepared gourmet meals in the middle of the lake. There is a service that will deliver meals from four-star restaurants right to your boat with a one to two-hour notice. My wine is stored in the binge of the boat maintaining a temperature of about fifty-five to sixty degrees.
There isn’t much conventional storage but every nook and cranny has space behind or under. Everything must have its place. It does make for an adventure when it’s time to find things. I have cut the number of clothes in half twice and am thinking of doing it again. I am down to minimal work clothes and casual clothes. I have to do wash at least once a week or I would have nothing to wear.
Marina and Area
I am one hundred and fifty yards from the street cars and a five-minute ride to Union Station and the subway. The underground parking is a great place to keep my motorcycle dry. I like living in the center of a major city. Within walking or a short cab ride, I have sports, world class theatres, great restaurants, nightclubs and live entertainment – more than a person could want.
I don’t sail as often as I would like. It takes about an hour of planning because everything that has been taken out has to be put away and secured. Something always gets left and ends up falling on the deck.
There is a wide range of interesting people who live year round on the water. The marina I live in has about thirty boats. One person is a CEO of a major Canadian company. There is a television reporter from one of the local stations and several business owners. The majority of the people are friendly, helpful and independent. It is a community.
I wouldn’t give up this life for anything. I have lived in ten-bedroom houses with servants and had a trendy loft where the party never ended. I have been all over the world and I know what living out of a suitcase is like. Having the boat gives me a place to call home. It is a simple, independent lifestyle.
I know where everything is and the reason it is there. When I buy something new, I question why. Will this make my life better, or is it just to have more stuff? I live a simple life with many modern conveniences. I am looking at getting a bigger boat for that large television screen I’m thinking of purchasing.