When mulling over a move downtown, Toronto filmmaker Mike Donis had a fateful meeting with a boat-dwelling uncle, and was inspired to live the life aquatic, too.
1. Boats > condos
“I didn’t just want to buy a dinghy and sleep in it,” says Donis of his decision to live on the lake. He purchased his current home—a 35-foot-long Chris Craft Catalina 350 docked in Marina Quay West—off Kijiji two years ago. Complete with two bedrooms, a “roomy” salon, and a sizable deck, Donis’s literal harbourfront property, for which he pays either $72 or $89 per foot (depending on the season), is a real-estate deal considering the million-dollar prices paid by his high-rise neighbours.
2. Showering is sometimes problematic
Donis fills his boat’s water reserves by jug—which is an inconvenient reality when prepping for work at 6 a.m. Boaters also need to be mindful of moisture: living on water and running a shower produces excess steam, which can lead to mould. Instead, Donis makes use of the marina’s communal showers: “I’m not going to lie: It’s inconvenient to make that walk when it’s -10.”
3. Buying a boat could be a career-making move
Inspired by his nautical purchase, Donis, a filmmaker and video editor, created Pete Winning and the Pirates, a 13-minute action short written around and shot with friends aboard their boats in 2011. Since then, the film has gone on to win a pair of film-fest awards and has spawned a web-based series that launches this winter.
4. Marine life is a boon for bachelors
Effusive about the marina’s “small-town” closeness, summers are chock full of barbecues, neighbourly beers, and cruises around the Toronto Islands. Currently, the 27-year-old has no plans to return to dry land—not even if family life is in the cards. “Maybe I’ll get married and my wife will want to move back on land.” He continued, laughing, “And then I guess I’ll have to not marry her.”
The 55th Annual Toronto International Boat Show runs from Jan. 12–20 at the Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place, 100 Princes’ Blvd.