Rosedale

The Goods

Shopping

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Rosedale has a new (relatively) affordable boutique for people who like change

(Images: shopthursdays/Instagram)

(Images: shopthursdays/Instagram)

Thursdays is a new boutique in Rosedale that’s focused on immediate fashion: the store brings in new stock once every week (on Thursdays, of course). Owner Rita Benzacar, who opened the shop with her brother just over a month ago, believes shoppers want new things all the time. “If you have repeat customers, it gets kind of boring seeing the same thing every week,” she says. And unlike some of her pricier neighbours, she doesn’t focus on super-expensive labels. After more than 25 years experience in in the distribution industry, she’s able to suss out the coolest styles from top designers (Helmut Lang, for instance) and find them on the cheap. (Here that means somewhere between $50 and $300.) The result is a mix of trendy pieces from a wide roster of relatively unknown brands. We were drawn to a sophisticated white sleeveless sweater, a flirty fringed frock and a boho-inspired off-the-shoulder look—but since shoppers can expect a whopping 30 new styles this Thursday in preparation for fall, chances are our favourite items will be long gone by the end of the week.

1130 Yonge St., 647-351-7111, instagram.com

The Informer

Real Estate

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House of the Week: $3.9 million for a Rosedale townhouse that doesn’t look like a townhouse

toronto-house-of-the-week-18-ancroft-place-intro

Address: 18 Ancroft Place
Neighbourhood: Rosedale
Agent: Christian Vermast and Fran Bennet, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, Brokerage
Price: $3,895,000

The place: A historic home tucked away at the end of a tiny street, overlooking the Rosedale Valley.

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Real Estate

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House of the Week: $3.1 million for a century-old mansion in Rosedale with a serious wine cellar

toronto-house-of-the-week-65-highland-avenue-intro

Address: 65 Highland Avenue
Neighbourhood: Rosedale
Agent: Janet Lindsay, Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited, Brokerage
Price: $3,095,000

The Place: A six-bedroom, six-bathroom brick Rosedale mansion, about halfway between Bloor and St. Clair and steps from Rosedale Park.

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The Goods

Home

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Zen Habitation: a salon don’s tranquil Rosedale retreat

After decades on the move, Ray Civello has finally settled down. The 57-year-old salon founder began his career bouncing between hairdressing jobs in New York, Toronto, Montreal and Paris before launching his eponymous parlour in Rosedale in 1989. (He’s since opened six more: three in the GTA and three in Chicago.) He spent the next two decades designing, building and flipping houses all over Rosedale and the Bridle Path, first as a bachelor and later with his partner of 15 years, Kelli McGushin. But when their son, Corrado, was born six years ago, the pair started thinking about pressing pause on their peripatetic lifestyle. In 2013, they bought a stately, somewhat dilapidated house overlooking the Rosedale ravine and, with the help of Alicia Garas of Melacor—the decorating force behind all of Civello’s salons and several of his homes—turned the dark, cramped rooms into a pristine white showpiece. They tore down walls to create a huge open kitchen and sitting area (where they spend most of their time) and added tons of personalized details: a golf simulator in the basement, a meditation room for Civello (who tries to practise every day) and a swimming pool for Corrado. “I think I might stay here for a while,” says Civello. “And that’s a crazy thing for me to say. But I just like it so much. We really live in this house.”

The Goods

Stores

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Store Guide: Hopson Grace, a new boutique in Rosedale devoted to mostly (but not only) upscale table settings

(Image: Jenna Marie Wakani)

(Image: Jenna Marie Wakani)

Name: Hopson Grace
Sells: Table and barware, cooking tools, pantry items
Contact info: 1120 Yonge St., 416-926-1120, hopsongrace.com
Hours: M-Sa 10-6, Su 12-5

Hopson Grace co-founders Andrea Hopson and Martha Grace McKimm (former execs at Tiffany’s and Veritas Communications, respectively) want to bring people back to the table and away from technological distractions. Their new Rosedale store carries fine china and porcelain, mouth-blown glassware, elaborate centrepieces, table linens and all of the trappings needed to throw the ultimate dinner party.

There’s a surprising amount of affordable stuff inside the lavishly decorated space, and mixing and matching is encouraged: shoppers can splurge on extravagant buys like an $1,800 Ralph Lauren candelabra, but also pick up simple, everyday products like $4 Duralex glass cups. “We carry a range of price points, but everything’s united by great design, good craftsmanship and clean lines,” says McKimm. The pair has brought in quite a few products customers won’t find anywhere else in the city (or in some cases, the continent): handmade carbon steel knives from Corsica, for example. Storytelling is important to the duo, and mini profiles are displayed next to every label, whether it’s a new designer or a centuries-old brand. The boutique’s for anyone who appreciates a well-set table (and maybe even some Game of Thrones fans, who’ll find a few things from Brit brand Abbeyhorn that have been used on the show).

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The Informer

Real Estate

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A look inside Integral House, Rosedale’s $28-million modern mansion

(Image: Kayla Rocca)

(Image: Kayla Rocca)

Integral House is probably the most spectacular private residence in Toronto, but it’s also going to be one of the hardest to sell. Its original owner, math textbook magnate James Stewart, had the 17,000-square-foot Rosedale home built to his exact specifications, without a thought for resale. Now that the house is officially up for grabs, it’s completely unlike anything else on the market. Strange curves create rooms within rooms, and floor-to-ceiling windows allow for panoramic ravine views interrupted only by graceful white-oak slats.

It’s not a home for just anyone: the place was designed by Shim-Sutcliffe Architects for Stewart’s lifestyle, evidently a peculiar one involving a lot of work from home and quiet study, punctuated by occasional gatherings in the voluminous living room, a two-storey atrium designed to accommodate 150 to 200 guests for drinks, dinner and performances. Absolutely everything—from the French limestone flooring to the doorknobs—was custom-made to reflect his two great loves: calculus and music. The rooms are so large and oddly shaped that even some of the furniture had to be made to order, and the interior’s extreme austerity means the smallest amount of clutter would stand out like pet hair on a $5,000 pant leg. In all of this there are only four smallish bedrooms. Stewart built a home for a super-wealthy person with toweringly high standards but simple appetites, a rare and paradoxical personality type.

The search for such a buyer is, blessedly, not Stewart’s problem—he lived in Integral House until his death in 2014. The people who do have to worry about finding someone willing to pay the $28-million asking price—the realtors of Trilogy Agents—held a preview event at the property on Wednesday night. Here, some pictures we took while we were there:

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Real Estate

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Toronto’s most stunning private home is for sale for a cool $28 million

(Image: James Dow)

(Image: James Dow)

If you ever needed a reason to do your math homework, here’s one: Integral House, one of Toronto’s best and most architecturally important private residences, is up for sale. The 18,000-square-foot Roxborough Drive property is not currently listed on the Toronto MLS, but a Sotheby’s catalogue says the asking price is $28,000,000. A trio of Sotheby’s realtors will be holding an invite-only preview event at the property this week.

The sprawling modern home, completed in 2009, belonged to mathematician James Stewart, who made a fortune in calculus textbooks before dying of cancer in December 2014. Designed by Toronto architects Brigitte Shim and Howard Sutcliffe, Integral House is renowned for its sinuous, environmentally sensitive design, inspired by the shape of the mathematical integral symbol. It has, among many other amenities, a two-story living room built specifically to accommodate musical performances, with seating for up to 200 people. The gargantuan asking price makes this one of the most expensive properties currently on the market in Toronto. The only home listed on the MLS that even comes close is 68 The Bridle Path, a much less distinguished chateau-style mansion that’s selling for $25 million. Here, some pictures of Integral House’s interior:

The Goods

Stores

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Store Guide: Adorn, Rosedale’s new womenswear boutique that doubles as a jewellery shop

(Image: Jenna Marie Wakani)

(Image: Jenna Marie Wakani)

Name: Adorn
Sells: Womenswear, accessories and jewellery
Contact info: 1250 Yonge St., 416-901-7309, adornonyonge.com
Hours: M-Sa 11-6:30, Su 12-5

Mother-and-daughter duo Evelina and Barbara Kuczer are the ones behind Adorn, Rosedale’s newest womenswear boutique. The former nail salon has been transformed into a shop that carries the kind of bohemian basics, easy-to-wear work attire and delicate jewellery that will appeal to the neighbourhood’s moms and their teenage offspring.

“We wanted to bring in the kind of clothing and jewellery brands that are unique and not seen often,” says Evelina. For spring, this means Coachella-worthy fringed vests and tie-dyed frocks, alongside colourful silk scarves and printed wellies. The eclectic mix of labels includes Denmark-based Soaked in Luxury and Vancouver’s Gentle Fawn, as well more professional-looking lines from Inwear and Vince Camuto. So far, Sanctuary‘s tailored army-green cargo pants have been selling well (thanks in part to fan Jennifer Aniston). Our favourite part about the store, though, is a massive armoire filled with stackable silver rings, trendy ear climbers, amethyst bracelets and vintage lockets—all the jewellery needed to nail that minimalist pixie dream girl look.

The Informer

Real Estate

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Where to Buy Now 2015: three posh neighbourhoods for wealthy buyers who want a whole lot of house

swansea-intro swansea-map
Swansea

Average Condo Price: $396,935
Average Detached Price: $1,283,751
Average Semi Price: $725,068
Average After-Tax Household Income: $84,496

Bordered to the east by High Park and to the west by the Humber River, Swansea was its own village until 1967, when it was annexed by Toronto. The best homes are on large, 50-foot lots on streets like Riverside Drive and Brule Gardens, where some of the secluded, 1930s-era, Tudor-style residences have unrivalled access to the water—imagine catching a chinook salmon in your backyard. “It’s different here,” says Royal LePage agent Theodore Babiak. “It’s not pastoral, but it’s green.” Sales in the $1.5-million range are becoming more common, and the best homes sell for upwards of $3 million. (Smaller properties on narrower lots still trade for $900,000 or less.) But unlike notoriously tony areas like the Bridle Path, Swansea’s bucolic charm is just a short walk from the subway.

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Rosedale loses Le Petit Castor

(Image: Jenna Marie Wakani)

(Image: Jenna Marie Wakani)

Le Petit Castor, a midtown restaurant that was half pub, half club, quietly closed last weekend. Open since 2008, the one-time hot spot, best known for its potent Pink Panther cocktails, was a place for Rosedalians to cut loose after dinner, when the tables were cleared to make room for dancing. Calls to the bar went unanswered and unreturned, but owner Luke McCann announced via Instagram that he has sold the business. Meanwhile, the precocious beavers on Le Petit Castor’s cutesy Flash-driven website continue to canoe and skydive like nothing’s up.

The Goods

Street Style

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Street Style: Rosedale dogs brave the snow in stylish sweaters and way-cool coats

Street Style: Rosedale dogs brave the snow in plaid sweaters, bright-coloured booties and Barbour jackets

(Images: Jenna Marie Wakani)

For Torontonians, winter typically means bundling up in style-sacrificing parkas and waterproof boots. But for the city’s fashionable dogs, it’s a chance to flaunt their cute canine clothing. We wandered around Rosedale on a snowy weekend to see what the neighbourhood pups were sporting and found—unsurprisingly—that they showed off more cold-weather flair than their owners: we spotted a Golden Retriever puppy in a seasonal sweater, a Westie in bright booties and a Boston Terrier in a fur-trimmed hood. Here, ten of Rosedale’s on-point pooches.

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Real Estate

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Sale of the Week: The $1.4-million Rosedale condo that shows the selling power of listing after the holidays

Sale of the Week

(Image: Silverhouse)

Address: 25 Scrivener Sq., Unit 1007
Neighbourhood: Rosedale
Agent: Peter Russell, Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited, Brokerage

The Property: This 1,308-square-foot condo features conveniences more common to larger units, including private elevator access. Both bedrooms and the living room walk out to a large wraparound balcony, and Rosedale Station is a five-minute walk south.

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Features

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Gone Girl: I was a private school kid from Rosedale—until I ended up on the street

She had loving parents and all the opportunities and privileges in the world. Then she discovered drugs

Gone Girl: Emily Wright

The author in kindergarten, in her Havergal uniform (Image: courtesy of Emily Wright)

M

y parents gave me a great chance at life. I grew up in a three-bedroom house in Lawrence Park, where I spent weekends riding my bike and making mud pies with my younger brother. At Christmas, my parents took us on vacations to Hawaii and London and Kenya. In the summers, we rented a cottage in Muskoka, where we built teepees and chased frogs. One year, knowing how much I loved acting and tap dancing, my parents sent me to an elite arts camp in the Catskills.

In 1992, when I was seven, we moved to a sprawling Edwardian house in Rosedale, effectively upgrading from middle class to nouveau riche. My father had risen from a working-class childhood in Montreal to the upper echelons of Bay Street finance. The new house was his prize for all he’d accomplished, a way to show the world what he could do for his family. Growing up, I was provided with unconditional love and support. My mother made a point of encouraging my artistic side, making me costumes for dance recitals and driving me to extracurricular activities.

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The Dish

Bakeries and Cafés

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White Squirrel coffee is coming to Rosedale 

The popular Queen West café is branching out into slightly yuppier territory with a new outpost at Yonge and Roxborough. Signage is reportedly up outside Earth Rosedale’s old space at 1055 Yonge Street, directly across from one of the neighbourhood’s existing coffee institutions, Caffe Doria.

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Random Stuff

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St. Mike’s Hospital ranks the relative health of 140 Toronto neighbourhoods (with predictable results)

(Image: Courtesy of Urban Heart @ Toronto)

(Image: Courtesy of Urban Heart @ Toronto)

For health nuts who wonder if they’re settled in the best possible part of the city, St. Michael’s Hospital has answers. Urban Heart @ Toronto, a new study by the hospital (in partnership with a bunch of other organizations) evaluates the relative healthiness of 140 Toronto neighbourhoods.

Researchers made colour-coded maps to show how areas are performing in 15 health-related categories, including everything from premature mortality, to proximity to green space, to access to stores that sell healthy food. The end result is pretty much as you’d expect: Toronto’s richest neighbourhoods are the healthiest.

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