Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Starbucks now five minutes away

How "country" are you when there's a Starbucks a mile away? Yes, it's true we're getting brand-new Starbucks just a five-minute drive from our house.

I don't think this is going to change my coffee habits too much. My garden helpers rave about my coffee. I always grind the beans fresh for our mid-morning coffee break. The two gals who help me part-time both love coffee, so this break is much appreciated.

The reason we have Starbucks (and Wal-Mart, Canadian Tire and the Future Shop) so close by is that we're located at the line where the city ends and the country begins.

This land used to be ripe for speculators, but it's now part of "The Greenbelt" (click on map to see larger), an area stretching from Niagara, through Hamilton and Toronto and past Oshawa.

This is an area that is not supposed to be developed. I have no idea whether this is a good thing for our property value or not. But, then we had no choice: our land was simply slotted into the "greenbelt" without any personal notice to us because in Canada we don't have such a thing as property rights.*

The good thing about being in this no-development zone is that the 50 or so trees we planted on our 10 acres have a good chance of growing to maturity unmolested. The tree farm behind us and the golf course across from us can't be developed either, and that means good dog walking for a long time to come. My personal nightmare would be having a subdivision built around us.

That could happen one day in the future - governments can uncreate greenbelts as well as create them, but by that time I'm sure we'll not be around to care.

*By that I mean although we have a Charter Rights and Freedoms, property rights are not specifically included.

© Yvonne Cunnington, Country Gardener


  1. Wow Yvonne!
    That's a bit confusing to me about the property rights. Do you pay for your house and property but not have rights to it??? I hope things will stay the way you have them now for many years to come.

  2. Hi Eve: Property rights is a confusing issue. Yes, we purchased this land and it's ours until we sell it. But when the Greenbelt legislation came in, property owners such as ourselves whose properties are now in the Greenbelt were not even notified that their properties were to be included. We were never officially informed at all. I had to contact my municipal representative to find it if we were included. It seems high-handed, in my opinion, to change the status of our land without even notifying us officially. As a property owner, I had no say about this at all.

  3. Anonymous2:15 PM

    HI, i live in the state of wisconsin, USA and I find your land rights very interesting. Here each township regulates what you can do with your property. In my township you can't build a home on less than 35 acres of land because they want this township to stay more agricultural and they are trying to discourage farmers from selling off small parcels for quick cash. On one hand this is great, not having lots of urban sprawl, but on the other hand young couples can't afford the cost of owning that much land and build a house. We also have alot of Amish people buying up big farms and then having all of their married children and their families living on "one" farm. They just keep it all in one ownership name. Not quite fair to everyone else. But it still beats living in town! Liz

  4. Anonymous2:01 PM


    Hmmm....I wouldn't worry about it too much. We got 1 a couple of months ago further south of you, and to be honest, I have only been in there once, and that is because they dropped introductory coupons through our letter box.

    I'll take it you are around the Wilson exit then, 1 of the back roads? The futureshop you mentioned just opened insid ethe same plaza as wal-mart and canadian tire, and there is also a dollar store, dentist and carpet and flooring place in there.

    I pass through there everyday on my way back from Toronto. What is teh cultivar of crabapple tree you have flowering there

  5. The crabapple cultivar is Donald Wyman. You described the neighbourhood, and we are off in the countryside nearby.


Thanks so much for visiting this site. I have a new country garden blog and I will no longer be publishing comments at this blog. If you have a question or comment about the topic here, please use the contact form at my new blog to get in touch with me.

-Yvonne, aka Country Gardener