I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but for the longest time, I thought the opening to The Beatles‘ “Magical Mystery Tour” went something like:
“la la……la la la mystery tour….”
It’s not that unreasonable, right?
I mean, it’s not even close. It’s “Roll up…..roll up for the Mystery Tour.”
But there’s so much “la la la” in that early music, it’s not completely unreasonable, is it?
The Beatles came along in the early-1960’s with their “bubble-gum” lyrics. “Love me do,” and all that jazz. I mean, “From Me To You,” starts out with the lyrics, “Da da da da da da, da, dum.” So I guess, in my mind, I just hummed something like, “La la la mystery tour…”
That is, until I started reading the lyrics to just about every Beatles song in the last couple of weeks, and boy, now do I feel dumb.
My daughter is 3 1/2 years old, and while my brother’s kids listened to Katy Perry and Taylor Swift at that age, and beyond, I’ve always played classics for my daughter. It started when she was two-years-old, and I’d put on a playlist called, “Jenna & Dave: Canada Day 2013.”
Three Dog Night’s “Jerimiah Was A Bullfrog,” followed by The Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues” and then “Hello, I Love You,” and eventually into Roy Oribson’s “Pretty Woman.”
I don’t know how many 2-year-olds would say, “Daddy, put on Roadhouse Blues,” but I think it’s awesome. Melts my heart and makes me proud at the same time.
Last month, I introduced her to “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds,” and now every night, I have to sing this song to her, along with Strawberry Fields Forever, and Yellow Submarine. I memorized the words to Lucy pretty quickly, but the others, I’m still working on. Luckily, when your kid is just about dozing off, you can essentially make the lyrics up and they don’t knwo the difference.
As is often the case with anything that piques my interest, I wanted to know what The Beatles’ first hit songs here, and I was surprised to find out (older folks – you’ll think this sounds ridiculous…) that all their first songs were released on two-song LP’s, aka “singles.” All the early hits, and none of them on an album. By the time “Please Please Me” was released in 1963, The Beatles were, in effect, re-using their songs! This concept of “singles,” to me, is foreign. I grew up when an album was released with 14 songs, and a “single” was simply the song that the band chose to send to radio stations to play.
This was all fascinating, absolutely fascinating! And so over the last month, I’ve collected every Beatles song I can find, and even though “Lucy” is still my daughter’s favourite, she really likes the early stuff right now.
It’s so simple!
They’re all two minutes in length with lyrics like “Bla Bla Bla,” and “La La La,” all every easy to hum along with.
“Love, love me do.”
“Please, please me.”
“Beep, Beep Bop Boo.”
“La La La La”
Yeah, it’s all stuck in my head.
I can’t sleep at night with all these non-words tossing around in my brain.
And here I was on Tuesday afternoon, sitting at my desk, humming, “La La La La laneway.”
Over and over, without the ability to stop my own mouth from moving.
My mind is working on overdrive right now, trying to process both the sheer amount of Beatles lyrics I’m memorizing to sing to my daughter, as well as the day’s tasks at hand. My business and personal lives have always been one, but now my mind has taken the two, mushed them together, and just spit out this nonsense.
La La La Laneways!
When you say it like that, it sounds pretty. Like an early Beatles song, and not so much like the photo I used at the onset, which is what I used to think of when I thought “laneways.”
Laneway = Alleyway
It’s just a nicer way of saying it, right? Like the “sanitation expert” that takes your “waste” away every other Thursday?
I learned more than a decade ago that some of Toronto’s laneways are a favourite spot for kids to ride bikes, shoot basketballs, and have their birthday parties.
Here’s me in 2012 at my niece’s birthday party in a la-la-la-la-laneway in Riverdale:
Well, you see my niece, and you see my brother, so I guess that makes me the one dressed in red?
Goddam, was it hot that day.
And as much as kids loved Elmo when they watched him on TV, they hated him when he was 6-feet-tall and towering over them. L-L-L-Lotta tears that day, trust me!
Now not every laneway in Toronto is fit for a 2-year-old’s birthday party, but not every laneway in Toronto is suitable for building a single-family dwelling.
The concept of “laneway housing” probably first appeared on this blog a decade ago, and if we’re being honest, I had no idea what the heck people were talking about. Living in an alley? Isn’t that where our teachers told us we’d be living when they were trying to beat us down? “At this rate, you’ll be living in a freakin’ alleyway when you’re older!”
Over the last few years, with Toronto’s housing shortage/crisis in full effect, the City of Toronto has not only relaxed guidelines surrounding laneway housing, but they’ve actually encouraged it!
We had a listing last week on Sheridan Avenue and a few of the agents asked us, “Can you build a laneway house back here?”
We investigated, and while one firm who specializes in laneway houses said that there was a 95% chance you could, and that’s considering only 1.1% of all Toronto houses are eligible for laneway housing, we didn’t include this in our marketing because we didn’t want to be seen as providing an implied warranty.
Nevertheless, it led me down a rabbit hole (what else is new?) with laneway houses, and
There’s a company called “Laneway Housing Advisors” who publishes an updated list of houses for sale in Toronto that are eligible for laneway housing.
Read that list HERE.
There’s one property currently available on MLS that I’m fixated on.
Here’s a photo:
Now the first thing you’ll notice, is obviously those two people walking by. Trendy, hip, chic, and all the synonyms for essentially the same thing. They’re just people who walk down laneways and maybe wear Converse All-Stars…
But the second thing you’ll notice is that this is actually an artist’s rendering of a laneway house (spoiler alert: those hip people are also renderings!), and it looks like a house that every single one of us would be proud to own!
Now, is that because it’s an awesome house? Or is it because it’s between two garages?
The second photo from this array basically makes this house look like the Taj Mahal:
Firstly, how come everybody on this street has such lush, healthy grass in their backyards?
But a close second, how amazing is this house?
It’s not a garage, folks. It’s a house.
Kudos to whoever “rendered” these, because they make me want to buy it.
How much for the garage, that could, one day, become a laneway house?
This is a 19.7 x 55 foot piece of land in Harbord Village and the “laneway” it’s on is really a “street.”
Because of TREB’s archaic rules about “unauthorized advertising,” I can’t provide the address and details. But this is actually a street, even though, well, it’s a laneway.
From the listing, minus the street name:
Laneway House Opportunity On Famed (Street Name) Street. This Ultra-Rare Severed Lot Has Permissions In Place To Construct A Detached Freehold Home With Integrated Parking, A Private Yard And Rooftop Terrace. Design This Home To Suit Your Needs, With Preliminary Plans From Brian Kucharski (Gilead Place).
A Unique Urban Home – In The Making. This Is Not An Ancillary Rental Suite, But Rather A Fully Separate Lot With Planning Approvals Consented To By Lpat. (Street Name) Is A Serviced Laneway With A Handful Of Special Residences.
Typing “street name” in place of the goddam street name is so annoying, but I know that people at TREB don’t like me (because I’m such a bad person???) so I try to picture myself defending this at RECO Ethics one day every time I redact a name or building. Anyways…
Are we ready to start paying $1,250,000 for laneway land value? That’s BEFORE we build houses?
Are there any precedents for that?
Well, yes, in fact.
There’s one particular house that comes to mind. It never did sell, but it was on the market for $2.9 Million in early 2019:
It actually looks better from this angle, and with this lighting:
Kinda cute, right? Somewhat cottage-like?
Great view from the rooftop:
Laneway houses are supposed to be small, right?
This house was only a 1-bedroom, but they managed to find room for a sauna:
Oh – and they squeezed in a modest 100-bottle wine cellar:
This never did sell on MLS, but it sold privately one year later for a lot, lot less than the original list price…
For those of you that have been touting laneway housing as one of many possible saviours of the Toronto real estate market, I’d love to hear from you today, and see if your opinions have been shaped at all over the past few years.
And for those of you pushing seventy-years-old now, just gimme some idea of what it was like in 1963 when you heard the Beatles for the first time. Anybody at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1965???Back To Top Back To Comments