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post #1 of 11 Old 08-23-2011 Thread Starter
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Toronto- living aboard- testing the 'water'

I am seriously contemplating giving up the condo, buying a boat and living aboard in Toronto. Looking for advice/opinion.

I have grown up around boats, and am quite comfortable, although I have never called one my home.

Is it realistic to 'test the waters' and rent/boatsit to try it out? Do people ever do this?

I work in downtown Toronto an would continue to do so, so location would be key for me. I've read a lot about bluffers park and a couple others, but haven't heard much about spots right downtown- are there any?

Any thoughts are appreciated.

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post #2 of 11 Old 08-23-2011
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Seems to be a fair size marina at the bottom of Spadina, and another a little further west by the bottom of Bathurst, opposite the airport. And I'm sure people live aboard at the Centre Island marinas and take the ferry to the bottom of Yonge St.

It's gonna be really cold. And you're going to need some toys to keep the water from freezing around your boat. But I've seen people at Scarborough Bluffs with bubblers, I'm sure some people do it downtown too.

You may use my boat from Oct 1 through May 1 free of charge, if you're willing to trailer it down from Lake Simcoe. 23.5' X 6' .... have a blast
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post #3 of 11 Old 08-23-2011
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There have been no winter liveaboards on the islands for many years.
Choices East to West in the Toronto area are Pickering (rent or dock-a-minuim, Bluffers Park Marina, Cathedral Bluffs Yacht Club, Marina Quay West (bottom of Spadina) Mimico Cruising Club has a few, Etobicoke Yacht Club has some but they are talking about kicking them out. Lakeshore Yacht Club has a few, Port Credit Yacht Club has some (I've lived here for 13yrs). Port Credit HArbour Marina has lots then its all the way round to McDonalds Marina in Hamilton.

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post #4 of 11 Old 08-23-2011
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I live in a Condo right near Mimico and Etobicoke. I've met a fellow while walking our dogs who lives aboard a 32' sailboat at one of the clubs - I forget which. He gets along fine with wife and dog aboard, but I don't envy him; It's a hard, long winter.

I also belong to National Yacht Club and to the best of my knowledge there are no live-aboards at the club, nor next door at Alexandra. Ontario place does not do winter storage so no live-aboards there either. It is doubtful that TSCC has the capabilities for live-aboards. No winter storage at Marina Quay West either.

Your best bet would be Bluffers; but that's a long way from downtown. Mimico might be an option.

Other places I don't know about...
Outer Harbour Marina.
Ashbridges Bay.
Port Credit Harbour (good luck googling that or getting responsive service, try 905.274.1595)
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post #5 of 11 Old 08-24-2011
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I live in a Condo right near Mimico and Etobicoke. I've met a fellow while walking our dogs who lives aboard a 32' sailboat at one of the clubs - I forget which. He gets along fine with wife and dog aboard, but I don't envy him; It's a hard, long winter.

I also belong to National Yacht Club and to the best of my knowledge there are no live-aboards at the club, nor next door at Alexandra. Ontario place does not do winter storage so no live-aboards there either. It is doubtful that TSCC has the capabilities for live-aboards. No winter storage at Marina Quay West either.

Your best bet would be Bluffers; but that's a long way from downtown. Mimico might be an option.

Other places I don't know about...
Outer Harbour Marina.



Ashbridges Bay.
Port Credit Harbour (good luck googling that or getting responsive service, try 905.274.1595)
Sorry but you are incorrect. There have been no liveaboards at Ashbridges or Outer harbour for many years but the entire Marina Quay West is full of winter liveaboards, I have many friends who winter there.

Some places are a little more difficult to handle than others. At Port Credit Yacht Club we have water and pump out all winter long. There are a few tricks to a comfortable winter on board but it ain't rocket science. When it gets cold we just turn up the heat like anyone else

I am a 13year liveaboard around Toronto

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post #6 of 11 Old 08-24-2011
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To really know, you would have to rent/sit for a long time. Living aboard in winter is much different that summer. While most probably focus on whether they can live in a confined space, there is much more to it. Unless you religiously manage boat odors, all of your clothes will smell like the boat. You have to learn how to manage the holding tank, bilge, moisture, etc, etc.

I still go home before going to work, but live on the boat from Fri to Mon for 6 months each year, plus several straight weeks. I love it and expect to retire aboard for at least 6 straight months each year (quite a way off). However, going to work from the boat stinks.


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post #7 of 11 Old 08-24-2011
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Quote:
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Sorry but you are incorrect.
Don't be sorry, I don't mind being incorrect as long as I learn something new.

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... but the entire Marina Quay West is full of winter liveaboards, I have many friends who winter there.
Interesting... I just spoke to them yesterday and they told me they were full for the summer and that I couldn't store my boat through the winter there. I took that to mean they didn't have winter facilities. Are those friends living on the water or up on the hard? I don't recall seeing any boats in there through the winter... now you've got me wanting to walk passed when the snow comes!

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I am a 13year liveaboard around Toronto
I'm impressed! I don't think I could do it.

Perhaps it has to do with boat choice? An uninsulated fibreglass sail boat versus an insulated trawler might change the liveability drastically? In my travels this summer, I met a fellow who has a fully insulated and weather sealed, steel trawler. During winter, he ices his boat into the lake but chooses to live on land as he feels the space is too confining in the winter; In the summer, he tells me they spend most of their time on deck which they don't do in the snow.
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post #8 of 11 Old 08-24-2011
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Jordan : When Marina Quay West says they are full, they mean year round, they do have a waiting list for summer and winter.

Our kids moved out of the house in 98' and we got tired of going home to cut grass and pick up mail.... so we sold it. We practice what we call "retirement by installment" I work 6-7 days a week for two years then we get on the boat and go south for a year, then come back and do it all over again.

Other comments about boat smell, condensation etc. are correct but easily dealt with by various means. As long as your boat is not a "liner" type construction insulation is easy. We cut strips of pink foam into 3" battens and glued them to the entire interior hull surface (covered with fire rated material in the engine compartment) that along with half a dozen 12volt computer type fans strategically placed keeps us comfortable and dry all winter.

You can see a photo of our boat in summer and winter (shrink wrap) mode here

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post #9 of 11 Old 08-24-2011
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I've seen 2x4 framed construction over entire boats with clear poly covering and am told that people sit inside during the winter in tee shirts. Greenhouse effect. Still, not sure its for me.


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post #10 of 11 Old 08-24-2011
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boatpoker: sounds like you have it all sorted out! The work/life balance you have is very similar to my goal... I've partially reached it but find it difficult to sustain the multiple re-entries to the working world when I returned. At what do you work to enable you that flexibility? Need a hand??? :-D

Lovely photos and nice big boat! That definitely gets back to perspective. Sailboats are definitely more limited in space than that so I guess M J S would need to take size into consideration.

Personally, I could do the live-aboard life but it would likely have to be further south. I think I'd have more room too... since the wife wouldn't come with me! ha!
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