Wednesday, December 07, 2005

My Mom's Letter to the Globe and Mail

So my mom had a letter in the Globe and Mail the other day in response to this totally offensice article. I was asked by a few people to see it, so here it is. A portion of my mother's response follows. I put this up because I was asked, I don't want to see any offensive comments on here.

Why a Dublin real-estate firm is pitching 100 Toronto condo units to Irish landlords

Special to The Globe and Mail

What was the Dublin-based newspaper The Irish Times doing running a recent story extolling the virtues of a Toronto high-rise?

The building in question: the Minto Midtown, an 858-unit, two-tower condo set to be built near the intersection of Yonge and Eglinton, where a Dublin real-estate firm reserved 100 units for Irish buyers -- enough to fill several floors.

And to lure them, the agents penned their usual breathless description of hardwood floors and granite "worktops" -- and a location only a 20-minute car ride from the "relaxing environment of Lake Ontario."

Was Yonge and Eg about to be inundated with leprechauns? Would the floors have hallways painted shamrock, and Guinness flowing from the kitchen taps?

Unfortunately, no. The real-estate firm, Hamilton Osborne King, specializes in marketing offshore properties to Irish investors. Thanks to a decision by the country's government in the late nineties to encourage high-tech investment, the Emerald Isle's economy has enjoyed a post-millennial boom, leaving some of its citizens with lots of spare income to invest. Real-estate prices in Dublin and other Irish cities have been increasing fast, but they've peaked lately, according to Helen Faley, an offshore agent at Hamilton Osborne King.

Consequently, she explains, property-hungry Irish landlords are looking to diversify to other cities with strong real-estate markets -- such as Toronto.

Ms. Faley's firm contacted the building's developer, Minto Urban Communities Inc., in August, Minto executive Chris Sherriff-Scott says. Minto ultimately agreed to set aside a block of 100 units in the 54-storey north building's upper half for the Irish investors -- at least until its own inventory runs out.

"We found it somewhat intriguing," Mr. Sherriff-Scott recalls, drawing parallels between the Irish and the Hong Kong magnates who invested in Toronto real estate in the eighties.

More recently, he says, Chinese investors also have been known to favour the Toronto market.

"But we don't see foreign investment as a major market. We're definitely not setting up an office in Dublin."

Neither company seems enthusiastic about future deals; Minto prefers to populate its buildings with owner-residents, and Hamilton Osborne King sounds underwhelmed with Dublin's response to the Toronto building.

Since beginning sales in mid-October, Hamilton Osborne King has sold only 15 units, all in the neighbourhood of $300,000 -- an amount that would buy an 800-square-foot, one-bedroom-plus-den unit around the 39th floor.

"It's a hard sell because there are a lot of other opportunities that are closer," Ms. Faley says, citing Frankfurt and Warsaw, where her firm has similar agreements.

Who's doing the buying? Purchasers don't really fit a specific profile, Ms. Faley says, aside from having enough disposable income to afford a place in Toronto. She doesn't expect any of the investors to actually live in the units, nor does she know whether any of them have ever visited Toronto -- or, for that matter, Canada.

Instead, she says, the purchasers will rent out the condos and maintain them with a local property-maintenance firm.

Many of the landlords, Ms. Faley says, probably won't ever set eyes on their properties.

Good thing. The advertising material the real-estate agent distributed was effusive in its description of the Minto building, championing in particular a skyscraping view from which one could spy over the Toronto skyline "the distant shores of New York State." Maybe on a clear day.

But given the city's increasing tendency toward cloud-ridden winters and smoggy summers, the shores of New York usually are about as likely a sight for tenants as a sober leprechaun on St. Patrick's Day.

In response to this article my mother wrote a letter which was published with the unfortunate title, "Cut the Blarney". Here is the first bit of it, I don't think this is all of it, just the intro.

Monday, December 5, 2005, Page A22

Toronto -- I am sick and tired of the stereotyping of Irish people (Oh Danny Boy, Yonge Eglinton Is Calling -- Dec. 3). I grew up in Ireland. Leprechauns and Guinness played no part in my upbringing. I deeply resent being defined as a leprechaun, drunk or sober. I am a teetotaller so Guinness flowing from taps holds no allure for me. My house is not decorated with shamrocks.

The full text of this article has 124 words.


sly said...

yeah! stick it to them mama watson!

Princess Pessimism said...

Thats REALLY awesome. She may be small, but she really packs a punch doesnt she?? LOL!

On an aside, I'd just like to say that I have an assignment due, and I needed ONE article. I came to your blog, and scrolled through days of articles that were available, and found one that I liked for my assignment. I dont care what Ash says....i dont think you're blog is boring. LOL

Miss Ash said...

Ugh i take it back i take it back it's not boring at all i enjoy reading it. Good for your you happen to have the rest of her response on hand? P.S how is your eye?

Jennifer said...

Happy to help.

Neither of us are prepared to pay the fee to find out what else from the letter they printed, but I might be able to get my mom to cough up the longer, original text, if you are really that interested.

As for the arguement regarding whether my blog is boring, I'd like to point out the name of the blog, "Constant Inanity." One definition of inane from the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary is: lacking in qualities that interest. The point is, I never expected that my blog wouldn't be boring. I put it up so I could stop pissing off my friends by sending them articles that I thought were interesting. If you find it boring aren't you glad I'm not emailing you all of these articles 10 times a day? I bet you're all glad of that.

Jennifer said...

P.S. on the subject of the eye, it's still bothering me, but it looks a lot better.
I feel like the Agnes Skinner asking the B.F. to put drops in my eye, but I'm told that such things are the surest test of love. Either way it's pretty unsexy.

paul said...

drat. just figured out what you meant by agnes skinner. I was hoping that was an elaborate B.F. Skinner joke. :(

if your eye is still gross you could always wander into bill graham's office and tell them you want to knock on doors for them and see what they do.

jane said...

My friend Lisa put her subscription password onto my laptop, so while I don't have the password, it comes up automatically. Thus I have subscriber access. Here is the full letter, as printed:


Monday, December 5, 2005 Page A22Key

Toronto -- I am sick and tired of the stereotyping of Irish people (Oh Danny Boy, Yonge Eglinton Is Calling -- Dec. 3). I grew up in Ireland. Leprechauns and Guinness played no part in my upbringing. I deeply resent being defined as a leprechaun, drunk or sober. I am a teetotaller so Guinness flowing from taps holds no allure for me. My house is not decorated with shamrocks.

The Irish community has been too tolerant for too long, always being made to feel that we should be "good sports" about anti-Irish jokes. I do not find stereotyping funny. It has the effect of circumscribing and marginalizing an entire group. I cannot think of any other group where the media feel free to take such liberty.

jane said...

Also, here's a followup letter (not defending; just posting for your interest):

Title: Sporran partner.


Tuesday, December 6, 2005 Page A22Key

Toronto -- Re Cut The Blarney (letter -- Dec. 5) by Eileen Watson: Och, Eileen, ye take yerself too seriously. The media take liberties with Scots every day, every month: "dour Scots," "tight-fisted Scots," "men in skirts" etc. But ye canna take offence. It's all envy, lass.

Princess Pessimism said...

Uh attack letter from a sctosman...those shound like fighting words to me!!!

Princess Pessimism said...
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