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Real Estate


House of the Week: $850,000 for a quirky Victorian townhome in Cabbagetown

ADDRESS: 458 Ontario Street


AGENT: Lance and Brenda Van Der Kolk, RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd., Brokerage

PRICE: $849,000

THE PLACE: A Victorian semi that oozes character, with exposed brick, original hardwood, an antique Victorian fireplace, claw-foot tubs, stained-glass windows and a rustic old-fashioned oven.

BRAGGING RIGHTS: This house comes with a story. Prospective buyers are shown a letter from the home’s current owners, a pair of U of T professors who have lived there for 16 years. In the letter, they describe their wonderful years in the house and the neighbourhood, and the sadness they feel at leaving (they’re moving to be closer to their son’s school).

BIG SELLING POINT: Cabbagetown is one of the city’s most coveted neighbourhoods. Cafés, restaurants, gourmet food shops and boutiques line the nearby streets, and Riverdale Farm and Allan Gardens are within walking distance.

POSSIBLE DEAL BREAKER: The basement—great for storage, but it looks somewhat scary.

• $849,000
• $3,678.61 in taxes (2012)
• 3 storeys
• 3 bedrooms
• 2 bathrooms
• 2 decks
• 2 upper balconies
• 1 original Victorian fireplace
• 1-car laneway parking

  • Bali

    Simple and loving it!!!

  • Norman Bates

    Oh the fun I could have in that basement!

  • re-electrobford?areyoumad

    ewww…i guess i’m not quirky….

  • Suzy

    Doing my weekend bixi bike last weekend and saw the open house. The curb appeal for these old victorian homes on Ontario st is not good. Being on the east side of parliament and close to Moss Park was not too good either. Nonetheless, I love the house. Quite cluttered and whoever buys it, keep the old features, exposed brick but less furniture indeed.And keep the stove! Love it!

  • km


  • tricia

    They call that basement scary? The author clearly hasn’t seen many Victorian home basements. This one looks more than decent.

  • Finaghygirl

    I know this street and I know that a very famous Canadian author (think ‘English Patient’, Skin of a Lion etc.) lives across the street from this house. Obviously he’s not so worried about the ‘so-called’ lack of curb appeal or being too close to Moss Park (which, technically, is further south around the Queen and Sherbourne area). This area is under consideration for Cabbagetown Heritage Preservation – like east side of Parliament. Oh, and re: curb appeal. If these old Cabbagetown Victorian homes don’t have curb appeal then nothing does in Toronto. These houses ooze grandeur, heritage and history and they outshine and will outlast many Toronto houses!

  • ScullyFan

    Scary basement?????? I saw it and am here to tell the tale!!!!!!! The basement has the original 100+ year old cobble, 8 foot ceilings, great artificial light and has 4-5 windows that must have been blocked up a long time ago. Someone with a little imagination and a desire for light could easily put interesting windows in to bring the outside light in. The house is great and is close to all amenities.

  • artisian

    the house has a fantastic energy – perhaps due its history and to still have original victorian character is also a plus. The basement isnt finished, however potential to finish or keep the character – great to have the option…and additional square feet is always a plus.
    As an artist I like to visit the neighbourhood, as it is inspiring to walk the streets and parks. I have also chatted with many friendly people in the area and know there is a strong community which is a collection of many caring people.

  • rinshi

    This house is full of character and good energy … and one of the best parts is the amazing third floor, with the deck that makes you feel like you are in the country. Two clawfoot tubs in one house – to die for!!

  • Suzy

    Finaghygirl – well, define curb appeal? Maybe you can tell the residents there to clean up their front yards, cut the grass and remove most of the junk from the front of most of these lovely old houses!

  • Paul

    House of the week? Obviously, realtors pay to “earn” this title. This house has been on the market for quite some time, if that’s any indication of things… also, this area is slightly dicey.

  • Laurence

    This warm and charming home is full of original woodwork and beautiful details. The exposed brick and the large kitchen with a showpiece stove make you feel immediately at home. So well cared for – this house is a real find!

  • Toronto Life staff

    Hi Paul,

    Just to be clear, House of the Week is purely editorial content. Realtors do not—and cannot—pay to have a home they’re selling featured.

  • Dave

    This is a charming Victorian house, with both heritage and contemporary features. You can imagine families having lived there for decades, as the world around them changed, but the house remained a constant factor in their lives. it would be wonderful to continue the house’s story by adding your own
    voices to those that once filled this historic home.

  • Paul

    Thank you for the response Toronto Life Staff.. I am still highly suspect.

    Also, a lot of these comments seem eerily the same (same punctuation/sentence structure).

  • Finaghygirl

    If people want lawns and cut grass then Cabbagetown is not the place to be. Most of the ‘gardens’ in Cabbagetwon, like this one, are full of colourful flowers in planters, eclectic garden furniture (yes), are landscaped or are full of greenery (shade plants because the amazing tree canopy cover in Cabbagetown does not allow for full sun gardens). There are some houses in Cabbagetown that are not well taken care of (the same can be said for any area of the city) but most of the front yards in Cabbagetown especially in this street (north of Gerrard and north of Carleton), from what I saw, suit the neighbourhood, its uniqueness and are part of its ‘curb’ appeal.

  • Alexa

    I agree with Finaghygirl. If you want lawns, go to the suburbs! They are are passé and these charming gardens are much more attractive! I like the house but it needs some serious decluttering and a good paint job (the colours on the walls are much scarier than the basement, yikes).

  • ka

    love it ……you had me at the entrance

  • Eve

    I love walking through this historic, tree-lined neighbourhood. Favourite features: exposed brick, beautiful, old-style and functional stove (yes, I checked) and third-story + balcony. As for the basement, welcome to Toronto. It spells huge potential for buyers to increase their investment over time.

  • Joyce

    Can’t speak for the house, as I haven’t been inside although it’s lovely from the outside. But our neighbourhood is an absolutely great place to live.

  • Rose

    Love it! Great details and energy. Only if my son’s school is nearby…love cabbage town but are not crazy about the schools in the area. The current owners are moving because of schools too.

  • tony

    Moss Park???….lots of crime, lots of grit, a lot of homeless and crack heads……$850K to live in the middle of all that and take a chance with my family???….no thanks…..its amazing what lengths hipsters will go to buy an overhyped Victorian facade.

  • Vlad

    @Toronto Life staff
    Considering the hundreds of homes for sale in the GTA at any given time, please explain how it is that TL and The Globe & Mail often simultaneously feature the same Home/House of the Week. Pure coincidence? Same editors?

  • Symon Demers

    @Tony, Moss Park is far away from this house’s location.

  • tony

    Ontario St is half a block east of Moss park, even if this house is closer to either Dundas or Gerrard, what exactly is the appeal of those two intersection???….in my opinion…nothing, nor does being located a little further north on Ontario St remove you from the ‘challenges’ in that neighbourhood……only hipsters can think what’s happening half a block away won’t impact them.

  • Symon Demers

    Unless Moss Park has been moved, it is located at Shuter/Sherbourne. Ontario St is located two blocks east of Sherbourne. The house itself is much closer to Carlton St than Gerrard so if you believe this is an unsafe area then so be it.