This family ditched city life for a $900,000 house on Lake Simcoe

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It needs some love, but there’s room for everyone (three adults, two kids and a dog), and it backs right onto a canal

Sajid Abidi, 79, retired; Zubin Abidi, 37, analytical chemist at Teva Canada, with two-year-old Noah; Jessica Abidi, 35, injury claims adjuster at Desjardins, with one-year-old Owen; and their six-year-old King Charles cavalier Oscar Photo by Daniel Ehrenworth

 

In 2004, Sajid Abidi was in a car accident, and his son, Zubin, decided to move back into his dad’s house, near Lake Wilcox in Richmond Hill, to lend a hand. Zubin ended up buying the house to help his dad out financially. He met his partner Jessica in 2015 and she eventually moved in as well. The set-up worked perfectly for all of them. Life was busy—especially when Zubin and Jessica had their son, Noah—but happy.

Over time, the area around Lake Wilcox became overrun with visitors. On weekends, the side roads were lined with cars; the sidewalks were packed with daytrippers. The Abidis often escaped to Lake Simcoe to fish and relax. Jessica grew up with a family cottage, and Zubin had spent much of his childhood fishing with his father.

When the pandemic hit, Zubin, who works as a chemist at a pharmaceutical company, still needed to commute to his Scarborough workplace. But Jessica, who works as an injury claims adjuster for an insurance company, had just started maternity leave for their second son, Owen, who was born in April 2020. With three adults, two kids and their six-year-old King Charles cavalier Oscar, the house suddenly felt too small. Noah would run in circles around the kitchen island and was constantly knocking things over.

In September, they started looking for a new home with enough space to house all three generations. Being by the water would be a bonus. So they took their search outside the city, where their money would stretch further. They looked at properties in Uxbridge and Port Perry. In early December, they saw a 1,900-square-foot, three-bed-plus-den, three-bath waterfront home in Georgina that backed onto a canal connected to Lake Simcoe. It was about an hour’s drive north of Toronto and 25 minutes from their Richmond Hill home. The home was priced at $850,000, and the sellers were accepting offers a week after the listing date, indicating that a bidding war was expected.

The home was outdated. The sellers owned cats, and the carpets on the upper floor were in poor condition. The kitchen needed some love. But they adored the extra space and especially the waterfront. So the Abidis submitted a bully bid of $878,000 a few days ahead of the offer date, along with a letter that described their family and how they envisioned their children growing up on the water. The sellers asked if the Abidis could improve their offer. They came back with $900,000, which the sellers accepted. Two weeks later, the Abidis sold their Richmond Hill home for $1,030,000. The profits helped fund the renovations on their Georgina home. The family moved in on April 1. Zubin plans to build a boathouse, where he’ll store his fishing supplies, and he’ll use the two-car garage as a workshop. Jessica is working on a vegetable garden in the backyard, growing tomatoes, cucumbers and Swiss chard.

Zubin still commutes 45 minutes to Scarborough every weekday. When Jessica finishes her maternity leave in September, she’ll work from the den and drive the 25 minutes to her Aurora office as needed.

The Abidis are enjoying their new life on the water. Jessica and Zubin often sneak in a quick kayak trip after they’re done work for the day. After dinner, the family climb into the boat to watch the sunset or fish off the dock. When it’s warm, they boat out to a sandbank 15 minutes away. The water there is clear and blue, ideal for swimming. When the kids are older, the Abidis plan to take them water skiing and tubing. In the winter, the canal freezes over and the neighbours all help to shovel snow off for skating.

The Abidis are looking forward to raising their kids in a small community where the neighbours all know each other. And Zubin is grateful for the time his father can spend with Noah and Owen. Sajid taught Zubin to fish, and now he can do the same with his grandkids.