Five-month-old baby James gurgles and smiles sweetly as he poses for a photo in his living room on the 26th floor of the Guardian residential tower. The downtown skyline full of skyscrapers serves as the backdrop, the streets bursting with life far below.

No, this isn’t New York, Paris or even Toronto, where it is common for families to live in inner-city apartments. James lives in Calgary, a city where families rarely seek out the downtown lifestyle.

However, James’s parents, Joshua Pinter and Michelle Maguire, are part of a burgeoning demographic here in the city – young, urban professionals who love downtown living.

They purchased a two-bedroom condo in the hip and upscale second tower of the Guardian project three years ago. At the time, they had a four-year plan, which included starting a family.

Courtesy Joshua Pinter and Michelle Maguire

“This is a very child-friendly building. There are lots of young professionals, lots of young children and lots of dogs,” said Maguire, who is currently on maternity leave and enjoying her first taste of motherhood.

“Living downtown has been amazing for me while on maternity leave, as I can walk anywhere and everywhere with James. The City offers tons of baby groups at local libraries and there are lots of mom meet-ups as well.

“Enjoying our view when I am up with James throughout the night is also a lifesaver.”
Another great plus for the couple is being able to take James to local restaurants on nearby 17th Avenue. “We can walk with the stroller and stop for a drink somewhere,” said Maguire. “James loves to people watch.”

Downtown family living does have a few downsides for Pinter and Maguire, like hauling bags of groceries up from the parkade with a baby in tow. However, the couple says it’s easily managed with modern technology – think click and collect.

With all their new baby stuff, from toys to strollers, space is also becoming a challenge, so much so that the couple is considering a move to a bigger home with a yard.

“We are really happy here. If anything, I would consider an even smaller unit to get even closer to the city centre.” – Helen Youn

It’s a conundrum that KonMari tidying expert Helen Youn and her husband also faced when they had their son, Emerson, who is now five years old. They purchased a 1,000-square-foot condo in the inner city seven years ago, thinking that when they had their first child they would move to a larger home with a yard.

“After we had our son, the condo was crammed and a little bit overwhelming, but at that point we weren’t ready to move into a home financially,” she said.

That’s when Youn was introduced to the KonMari Method and began the difficult task of decluttering the family condo. The process was a life changer, freeing up tons of space.

Youn, who is now one of a handful of certified KonMari tidying experts on the Prairies and the only one in Calgary, has no intention of giving up the condo lifestyle.

“We are really happy here,” she said. “If anything, I would consider an even smaller unit to get even closer to the city centre.”