Must love dogs (and cats)!

by Beth Komito-Gottlieb, Baba Yaga Place Interim Chair

At this time of year many of us take stock.  We may look back and reflect on our accomplishments and disappointments of the past year.  Some compose a newsletter, sharing with loved ones the highlights of the last twelve months. Since those who have been working toward the Baba Yaga Place (BYP) goal have become a family of sorts, it seems fitting that I send out a New Year missive to all of those in the Baba Yaga “family”!
Since our spring newsletter, the Steering Committee has continued to “talk-up” the Baba Yaga vision. The process has included conversations with various city councilors and the developers who have a proposal on the table for revisioning the corner of the city where Honest Ed’s now sits. It’s too soon to say whether or not the future home of Baba Yaga Place will ultimately be part of Mirvish Village, but we are certainly becoming known in the circles that matter, and our vision is picking up steam.  Sooner or later, BYP WILL become a reality.  We just don’t know yet precisely where it will be, or how long it will be, before we can pack our bags and move in!
The reality is that as we work toward this goal, time does not stand still and we ain’t getting any younger! There are things happening NOW in our lives, and for some, the issue of affordable housing is already a pressing issue.  I myself am about to sell my little townhouse and hope to find a rental with lower carrying costs.  I am quite certain that BYP will be a reality in the not-too distant future but I am committed to reducing my expenses in the interim. Recently I was expressing to another Steering Committee member my desire to share some kind of accommodation with others while our work toward the BYP goal continues. She pointed out that there are probably many others on our contact list with similar thoughts.  “That list is now over 150 people strong, so why not put it out there to everyone on the list,” she asked?  Well, “duh”!
That got me thinking. Why not host a kind of open house to share what our various housing needs might be in the next 3 months to 3 years?  Anyone wishing for an interim living situation while we continue to work toward the permanent home for Baba Yaga Place, could meet, explore, and brain storm with others who are thinking along similar lines.  Here’s how I think we might start the ball rolling. Before we work out the logistics of when and where, let’s determine how many of us would be interested in a get-together of this kind.  If you are interested in, sharing some sort of space, whether it be for financial or social reasons, use the “contact us” link on the website ( to send me your name and up-to-date contact info,  ( including phone number and email address).  I will get back to all who are in touch to figure out date and venue.
This does not change our ultimate goal for Baba Yaga Place, but since BYP is to be built upon principles of sustainability and a commitment to supporting each other as we age, there is no time like the present to start “walking the walk”! Perhaps this process will end up with a few mini Baba Yaga homes.  Who knows? It might be the precursor to establishing some larger bulk buying of household staples and sharing of other resources! While we believe that Baba Yaga Place will become a reality, we all know it will take some years until we walk through those doors, and in the here and now, many of us want to explore options that could — right now — reduce isolation, ease costs, etc.
The title of this piece, “Must Love Dogs (and Cats)” is my tongue-in-cheek take off on a film a few years back that poked a bit of fun at matchmaking on internet dating sites.  I myself have pets so I know that if I am to share space, any potential housemates for me would also need to love animals.  You may want to share space only with other “neat freaks” or people who want to live in a high rise building with an on-site gym.  Tell me a bit about what yourself and what you might be looking for in a home-sharing situation.  I’ll figure out a format for us to zoom in on others with similar needs, depending upon how many people respond.  Please contact me by January 30th and I will be in touch after that.

To all of my Baba Yaga friends, whether you are hoping to make a change soon, or will be sitting tight until Baba Yaga Place has a permanent home, I want to wish you a healthy and happy 2016!



  1. Karen Lewis says:

    Hi Beth, (and others)
    Firstly, thank you for your ongoing work! Very much appreciated. Secondly, I am interested in a gathering/brain storming session re: current and near future needs. Please do count me in.
    Thanks again!
    -Karen Lewis

    • Beth says:

      Hi Karen,
      Thank you for your words of appreciation! In the course of reviewing how we can stay better connected with our members and followers, we are examining in particular, the website administration. It is a job which needs more than just the hands and brains of our very capable webmaster. Up until now, we have regretfully had to leave many comments and inquiries unanswered, as our small-but-committed core group has been furthering the BYP agenda by setting our course, meeting with experienced figures in the Toronto housing scene, and with local politicians (to read some of their endorsements see the drop down menu under the “About” button) There has been much going on behind the scenes!

      I see that you are interested in attending a brain storming session. Some people like to get involved by joining ongoing working groups/committees. We are finding, however, that others (who may be juggling busy schedules or simply prefer to work on specific tasks with start and finish dates) choose to get involved by helping with particular projects. Working on one of our identified BYP priority tasks is a way to dip a toe in while helping to move the BYP project forward. Let’s you and I meet some time soon to discuss the list of priority tasks the Steering Committee has identified, and figure out where you can connect and become more involved!

      Once again Karen, many thanks for your continued support and patience!


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