Assuming you’re Canadian and have a half-million dollars to spend without warning, how could you not want to get on the waiting list for a house on the Toronto Islands?
Your first task is to join the list. As the list is capped at five hundred, you have to wait for existing people to drop off. About three people get properties each year, and about fifteen to twenty leave for other reasons. After a critical mass of vacancies accumulates, a call for applications is announced, and vacancies are filled by a lottery run by the Trust’s auditors.
The last call occurred in November 2007, with 375 applicants for forty-seven spots. The next call, for thirty spots, occurs in November 2009. Keep an eye on the website, apply at the appropriate time, and cross your fingers.
If you get on the list, you’ll have to wait. And wait. For how long? As the Trust declines to make predictions, Torontoist will engage in a bout of speculation.
You’ll start at the back of the queue (#471 to #500). Under a best-case scenario in which twenty people ahead of you drop out each and every year, you’re looking at around twenty years before cracking the top 100 and up to five more years before getting to the front of the list.
However, not every single vacancy will arise ahead of you. The Trust hasn’t yet compiled data about the ranks of the people who drop out, but it seems reasonable to assume that, as the years go by, a growing percentage of vacancies will arise behind you. And these vacancies don’t help: if you’re #300, you don’t move up if #400 drops out. Plus, the further you advance, the more hardcore the people on the list become, such that—other than actually getting a house—death or infirmity might be the only reasons for them to drop off.