Finally! My Own Newspaper Column!

Stories! | May 13, 2011

Soooo…..are we talking Globe and Mail?  Nope.

How about The National Post?  Not that one either.

Toronto Star?  Toronto Sun.  Meh.

No, I am the new real estate columnist for the old Eye Weekly, now known as “The Grid.”

I wonder if I’ll get hated on more, or less

If you were expecting something exciting today, like “The Friday Rant,” I’m going to severely disappoint you.

This is more like “The Friday Ego Polish” or even “Daily Affirmation.”

I’ve been writing for Toronto Realty Blog for almost four years now, and after 800 posts, there are often moments when I get tired of writing.  When I was approached by Eye Weekly to become their real estate columnist, the answer was an emphatic “YES.”

The first major difference between TRB and The Grid is that I only get 600 words.  My average blog post is probably 1,300 words, and sometimes I push close to 2,000.  I’ve been told that many of my posts are too long, but those people can eat….my words…

The second major difference is that I have to find a new “voice.”  I simply can’t be as outlandish and, quite often, offensive.  The Grid isn’t looking for lawsuits and hate-mail, but they do want me to continue to offer my opinion and wit, and in essence create some banter.  I think they just want that banter to be more debate and less slandering-accusations…

Newspaper writing is very different!  I don’t have carte blanche, and I have to run the ideas by a collaborative group.

Once I’ve written a piece, it gets reviewed, edited, and sent back to me with the virtual red-pen.

And when I finally “finish” a piece, it goes through two other edits, and then finally is sent to the lawyer of all people!

This is the first time since I was 20-years-old that I’ve had anybody to answer to!  My “editor” will often harass me several times per day and TELL me what she needs.  I think the last time I listened to an authority figure was when I was working at Bruno’s Fine Foods in 1994…

So what did I write for the May 12th issue?

I wrote about the “revitalization” of Regent Park, or more specifically, the gentrification.

I’m of the opinion that the area is being demographically cleansed.  The poor have been driven out and promised that new housing will be built, but a condo developer has come in and built 3,000 new units!

The funny part is – my article for The Grid was about as soft as I can possibly be!  I wrote it from somewhat of a middle-of-the-ground stance, and I didn’t think I was being harsh at all.  In fact, the editor asked me to take out a few sections that were a bit “too offensive.”

But wouldn’t ya know it – there’s already some hating comments being posted online, of course, by anonymous haters.

Here is the article as it appears in the paper:

Okay, so I know what you’re all thinking: “What the hell is with that photo?”

Oh, sure, you might have had a thought or two about the article itself, but seriously – what’s with the photo?

How did they go from this:

To this:

I look deformed!

Check out my buck-teeth and swollen jaw!  I look like I just went a round with George St. Pierre!

I actually called the editor to complain but she said that every single columnist has complained so far and wants their cartoons re-drawn.  So I guess we’ll all lose out in the end.

I was teased unmercifully at the office today, but I have a thick skin……with a thin face – if you look at that damn photo!

Seriously though, I look forward to this new opportunity.

I love writing, whether it’s a 2,000 word blog post, a 600 word newspaper article, or a 15-word note to my girlfriend that uses the word “shmoopie” four times.  My goal for 2011 was to start writing a book about the “behind the scenes” action in real estate (read into that however you want because I guarantee what you’re thinking is true!) but with the market the way it is this year, I haven’t put a word on paper.

The process of writing for The Grid is new and exciting, and it gives me a reason to open a mailbox for the first time since I was eight years old, trying to steal quarters.

Okay, enough about me and my life.

I feel like I’m writing my own goddam eulogy.  Or maybe emceeing my own wedding.

Let’s get back on track this Monday with a post about misleading condominium magazines which are written and produced by developers, but presented under the guise of advocating for the consumer.


Have a great weekend everybody.  Let’s hope for some warmer weather!

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  1. Moonbeam

    at 7:28 am

    David — it’s a caricature… and not the worst I’ve ever seen — most caricatures emphasize features in the most unflattering way…eg Jay Leno’s chin… I agree the Grid should use a photo!

  2. Sam

    at 7:51 am

    I can’t decide if your cartoon more resembles Dick Clark circa the 1970’s or Carson Daily circa now.

  3. JG

    at 8:16 am


    All the best with Eye Weekly – err…The Grid.

  4. Chris

    at 8:50 am

    Congrats David! I’ll be sure to pick up a copy of the Grid from now on

  5. BillyO

    at 8:55 am

    Was reading The Grid last night and was pleasantly surprised to see your writing in there. I thorouhghly enjoyed your piece and agree with your assertion of $500 PSF for Regent Park to be insane.

    Look forward to reading the next one, keep up the good work and ignore the haters (which you already are doing, I’m sure).

    1. David Fleming

      at 1:12 pm

      @ Mike

      Amazing! Thanks for this link!

      Does this add to my opinions about the area?!?!!

  6. George

    at 12:07 pm

    I like the article. I think it was controversial enough to be interesting, so no worries there.

  7. Kyle

    at 7:31 pm

    Congratulations, looking forward to reading your articles. It’ll be nice to read real estate articles written by someone who is actually in touch with the market. I also like the new look of the magazine, the photography is definitely a few notches above what was in Eye Weekly.

    1. David Fleming

      at 9:00 pm

      @ Kyle

      You mean like Tony Wong? We call him “Tony Wrong” in my office, since everything he writes about real estate is utterly ridiculous. I think he’s predicted seven of the last two recessions…

  8. Kyle

    at 6:41 am

    @ David

    Pretty much any of the Globe Real Estate writers, who take a cocktail conversation add a quote or 2 from an agent and then try to pass it off as reporting on the “market”.

  9. Krupo

    at 5:43 pm

    Also amusing – you can’t find the Grid’s website on google. Yet, anyway. Sad that they didn’t plan that better. Had to jump through the hoop of going to their twitter page to find the link that finally brought me to your own bio – did you write it?

    I like the barb at the end. 🙂
    “A constant thorn in the side of condominium developers, David’s sarcastic, opinionated, outlandish thoughts can be read daily, although for some people, that’s far too often.”

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