A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘real estate

[PHOTO] On the half house at 54 1/2 St. Patrick Avenue

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Half a house, 54 1/2 St.Patrick Street (1) #toronto #grangepark #stpatrickstreet #house #oddities #54stpatrick

Half a house, 54 1/2 St.Patrick Street (2) #toronto #grangepark #stpatrickstreet #house #oddities #54stpatrick

Half a house, 54 1/2 St.Patrick Street (3) #toronto #grangepark #stpatrickstreet #house #oddities #54stpatrick

The strikingly halved house at 54 1/2 St. Patrick Avenue, lone survivor of what was a stretch of row houses on this street north of Queen Street West and just a couple minutes’ walk west from University Avenue, has received international attention, from sites like Atlas Obscura and Amusing Planet. In April of 2013, blogTO’s Chris Bateman explained how this building came to be and just how it managed to survive.

The row of houses was built between 1890 and 1893 on what was first Dummer Street, then William Street, then, finally, St. Patrick Street. The names of the roads in this part of the city area have been shuffled more than most: St. Patrick Street used to refer to the stretch of road that’s now part of Dundas west of McCaul; McCaul used to be William Henry Street, then West William Street, for example.

For much of its past the street was blighted by poverty. Early photos show severe faces, crumbling wall cladding, and backyards strewn with detritus. More recently the area between University and Spadina has been home to a large Chinese community.

Starting in 1957, most of the block bound by Queen, McCaul, St. Patrick, and Dundas Street was purchased in pieces by Windlass Holdings Ltd., the company that developed the Village by the Grange, sometimes using aggressive tactics to secure land deeds.

The owner of 54 St. Patrick Street – once part of the original terrace – complained to the Toronto Star that the company’s actions were “an extreme example of blockbusting,” claiming he had received over 300 directives on his property in a single year.

Despite some resistance, the owners of the homes sold up at different times, and the row was pulled down in pieces like tooth extractions. The sole-survivor pictured here was once in the third house in the row from the south – the similar buildings next door are a later addition built on top of a laneway.

Instead, the company demolished its neighbour to the north with surgical precision, ensuring not even the woodwork on the facade of the hold-out building was disturbed. An internal supporting wall became a blank exterior when the house next door came down.

Also in 2013, Patty Winsa wrote in the Toronto Star about the house from the perspective of its current owner.

The 120-year-old residence at 54 ½ St. Patrick St. bears the scars of a development battle.

The Victorian row house was awkwardly severed from its neighbour in the 1970s when the owners refused to sell, and it lacks the symmetry of another side.

It is literally “half a house,” says its current owner, Albert Zikovitz, laughingly from his adjacent office in the Cottage Life Magazine building. “Everybody looks at it.”

The house is one of a few single-family homes left on the densely packed street near Queen and University. But Zikovitz, who purchased the house last year after the owner went into a retirement home, says he won’t tear it down.

“I love the house,” says Zikovitz, who is president of the magazine. Plans are in the works this year to restore the exterior of the building and turn the interior into office space.

Work was being done on the house when I passed by Tuesday evening. Here’s to hoping this anomaly survives: the reflexive double-take of passersby is fun.

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Written by Randy McDonald

September 7, 2017 at 12:00 pm

[URBAN NOTE] Four Toronto links: tenant protection and strikes, front vegetable gardens, Yonge taxes

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  • Robert Benzie notes that Ontario tenants will soon have greater protection against eviction, including compensation.
  • In the aftermath of the successful Parkdale tenants’ strike, Jonathan Robart provides resources for the interested.
  • Ellen Brait notes that making front yards in Brockton Village into vegetable gardens is a thing. I approve.
  • John Tory wants the Ontario government to reconsider a tax structure that threatens to end Yonge Street businesses. Too late?

Written by Randy McDonald

September 1, 2017 at 10:45 pm

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • Centauri Dreams shares, from JPL, the schedule for Cassini in its last days of existence. Goodbye, dear probe.
  • Dangerous Minds shares some classic illustrations from a Persian book called Lights of Canopus.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper suggesting that gas giants can stabilize debris disks.
  • Far Outliers shares excerpts from the diary of a Japanese soldier fighting in New Guinea in the Second World War.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the real suffering that high rents impose on the poor in American cities.
  • The Map Room Blog shares some nice X-ray maps of New York City subway stations.
  • The Planetary Society Blog shares more vintage Voyager photos of the outer solar system: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune …
  • Roads and Kingdoms tells of the marvelous cookies made on the dying Venetian island of Burano.
  • Drew Rowsome considers, at length and with personal references, the differences between “art” and “porn”. NSFW.
  • Understanding Society considers the latest thinking on causal mechanisms in modern sociology.
  • Window on Eurasia wonders if non-Russian languages in Russia are attacked out of anxiety over Russian’s own decline, and speculates that if integration of mostly Muslim immigrants goes poorly in Moscow, the city could get locked in sectarian conflict.

[URBAN NOTE] Five notes on real estate in a changing Toronto

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  • blogTO notes that the former location of Pages on Queen Street West finally has a new tenant, a housewares store.
  • Margaret Atwood’s opposition to a Davenport Road condo development made headlines.
  • Christopher Hume in the Toronto Star makes the point that Toronto needs more midrise housing.
  • Global News reports the sad news that Toronto chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat has resigned.
  • Toronto Life describes how a lucky young couple in their 20s found an affordable apartment downtown, on Yonge, even!

[PHOTO] Four beachfront homes by Balmy Beach, The Beaches

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On this trip to The Beaches, I had decided to not only look out at Lake Ontario. These stunning homes are gorgeous: I am sure that these houses, facing Balmy Beach and Lake Ontario just west of the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant, have prices well in excess of a million dollars. What can be said but that the views, and the location, would be worth it?

Beachfront (1) #toronto #beaches #kewbeach #beach #latergram

Beachfront (2) #toronto #beaches #kewbeach #beach #latergram

Beachfront (3) #toronto #beaches #kewbeach #beach #latergram

Beachfront (4) #toronto #beaches #kewbeach #beach #latergram

Written by Randy McDonald

August 27, 2017 at 11:30 am

[URBAN NOTE] Five Toronto links, from the $15 wage to parking lots, cow statues, and Jamaican patois

  • Torontoist takes on Galen Weston and the $15 minimum wage and poverty in Toronto (and Loblaw’s contribution to said).
  • At the Toronto Star, Shawn Micallef describes how high property values in Toronto discourage open-air parking lots.
  • Noor Javed looks, in Toronto Star, at the question of who authorized the cathedral elevated cow statue in Cathedraltown, in Markham.
  • The Star‘s Fatima Syed shares some old memories of Torontonians of the Centreville carousel, soon to be sold off.
  • At The Globe and Mail, Dakshana Bascaramurty takes a look at Jamaican patois, Toronto black English, and the many complex ways in which this language is received.

[URBAN NOTE] Five Toronto links, from Ken Pagan to Stepgate to House of Lords to the TTC to rent

  • Torontoist takes issue with the positive take CBC provided of Blue Jays beer-thrower Ken Pagan, softpeddling racism.
  • Councillor Shelley Carroll does a great job deconstructing “Stepgate”. (You get what you pay for, to start.)
  • House of Lords, a hairdressing shop a half-century old on Yonge below Bloor, is set to close. The Toronto Star‘s Jaren Kerr reports.
  • Mayor John Tory would like to freeze TTC fare increases for 2018. Can his government pull it off? The Toronto Star‘s Ben Spurr reports.
  • Rents in Toronto are near the level of Brooklyn, two thousand per one bedroom, and tenants are desperate.