Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Papers are signed, I have more keys than I know what to do with, and I am, as of today, legally responsible for a really nice duplex in NDG. Woot! I can't wait to move in. Now if I can just get all the paperwork from the Vancouver sale and the all the money transactions to be completed, I will be one happy and blessed woman. Can't say this transaction was difficult or complicated, especially when I was surrounded by very competent folks. My real estate agents rock, my notary rocks, and even my banker rocks!

Now I just have to invest in a filing cabinet to store all the paperwork I've been accumulating for the past few months.

One piece of paper that I am not looking forward to receiving is the invoice from the city of Montreal for the privilege of buying a property. Montreal charges a "welcome tax" to home owners, and apparently not just first-time buyers. Every time you buy a property in town you pay this tax. My bills will be around $4,275, not cheap. I was curious to find out how this tax was used by the city, because honestly, Montreal also charges you also quite a bit of money every year for municipal taxes. A quick search of the city's web site returned nothing. I then turned to my trusted Google. And I found this really interesting description on the web site for the city of Hampstead:

The phrase "welcome tax" has a history which came about for reasons other than a "greeting" tax for new residents. In short, in 1976 a new method of municipal financing was proposed by a judge named Jean Bienvenue and, when adopted, became known as "la taxe de Bienvenue". Because "bienvenue" translates to "welcome" in English, the tax became known as the "welcome tax".

Interesting. But what exactly does this new method of financing finance? That I could not find, only that this tax will need to be paid within the next 60 days.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Holy storm batman!

We will have no shortage of water in Montreal this summer. It's not as if anyone would care to water their lawn or garden anyways, we seem to get rain every day. I was testing my yoga legs when it started (and failing miserably) and an hour later it is still pouring outside, and windy, with the occasional thunder and lightening.

I was really looking forward to my first summer back in Montreal, but so far, have not spent much time enjoying any kind of sun or fresh air. I did get to visit the chalet on two occasions, have made it to the Jazz Festival once, and just the other night went to see a live comedy show at Zoo Fest (poor man's Just for Laugh), obviously set indoors. But no lazy Sunday afternoon at Picnik Electronic (we walked home in the rain after stepping out for groceries today), not many drinks with friends on terraces, no Old Port, biking around town, etc.

I guess you can't win them all. Hopefully August is nice and September, spectacular!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Little boxes, on the hillside...

Little boxes everywhere in the apartment that is. Yikes! I know it might seem a bit early to start packing, but there is a lot to pack and nothing is going to happen during the week. So early packing it is. Books are packed, so are the DVDs, CDs, some of the dishes, decorative stuff... Today, I am going through my clothes and sorting out what I want to keep and what will end up in the Salvation Army bins at the corner of Guy and Saint-Antoine, joining the shoes and booties that I already dropped off on Monday. There will not be much to give out I'm afraid, I already went though this exercise less than a year ago when I left Vancouver.

Slowly but surely, things are sorting themselves out. I visit the notary on Wednesday to sign all the paperwork that will confirm my ownership of the duplex. That means that next weekend, Brendan and I are already busy prepping the place (a bit of painting and cleaning) before moving in. His stuff is in storage at U-Haul, we'll take care of getting all his things back next Sunday. My stuff is partly in Montreal (moving date is August 14) and part in Vancouver, being picked up as I write this. No idea when the things from Vancouver will make it in town, my guess is around the 8th. At least, that is what I am hoping. Then, we also need to coordinate deliveries, a mattress and bedspring from The Bay, appliances from Sears for the unit upstairs (Annie gets brand new kitchen appliances!!), and possibly a sofa and dining room chairs from Structube.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a nice sofa that does not cost $2,000? Let me tell you about that. We initially started by visiting IKEA, thinking maybe one of their models would suit us and not break the bank. Well, unless you really like the style of their Ektorp line (I already have a two-place Ektorp sofa bed), IKEA has nothing to offer. Most sofas other than the 100 variations on Ektorp are leather or really square. Not my thing. We then visited another few places, Mobilia on Maisonneuve (so, so), The Bay (expensive) and had a look at what Sears had to offer when we went shopping for appliances (ugly). Finally, last night, as we were walking back from work (Brendan was shopping downtown and came to pick me up), we stopped by a tiny Structube store on Sainte-Catherine. Not a huge selection, but it did include a nice, dark brown, three-seater and very comfortable sofa. For less than $1,000. Score! We also liked the style of one of their dining room chairs. I have a dining room set, it's pretty modern and right now Marc has it at his place (and offered to buy it). I have an old, oval table from my parents (it's a loan) that can easily sit 8 and will be perfect for the dining room. I just needed proper chairs.

Brendan is planning to buy a flat-screen TV in the fall, so our place is really going to start looking quite sharp.

We just have to get there first.

Little boxes...