Thanks in part to Toronto's skyrocketing real estate values for freehold dwellings and the FOMO it tends to elicit (even during a Pandemic), homeownership is not always viewed as the exciting opportunity that it should be! After all, beyond the pragmatic purpose of shelter, a space with the patina and spirit of 'Home' offers the rare ability to shape one’s life through the unique possibilities it offers. We consider that pretty fantastic!
Take, for instance, this charming, century Edwardian home, favourably situated just north of Dupont west of Ossington near the emerging dynamism of Geary Avenue. Within its four walls exists the potential for various lifestyle configurations depending on your needs as a homeowner. Do you covet 3-levels of space? Are looking to generate income? Perhaps both? This malleable home is easily modified to suit its occupants, and as such, represents a world of opportunity!
Welcome to 34A Somerset Avenue!
A Location That's In The Centre Of The City, Yet Far From The Maddening Crowd
With my education in Toronto's social history - and in particular, how different ethnicities have shaped the Toronto real estate market since the 1860s - I am fascinated by which the original City of Toronto's neighbourhoods are like a multi-coloured quilt; history, culture, geography and time all play a role in the formation of the threads that weave into the fabric of the City to promote their own distinctive texture. This is precisely the magic which describes the location of this dwelling - surrounded by Wychwood, Christie Pits and Dovercourt Village - to a “T”, where there is an intermingling of cultural communities, that vary from your vantage point - literally from corner to corner and street to street, within its’ boundaries of Bloor to St. Clair West, and from Christie west to Dufferin Streets.
This geography, much of which was annexed by the old City of Toronto in 1912, resulted in city services being extended to these neighbourhoods in their infancy. Containing a mixture of land-uses including residential, commercial and industrial buildings, the incorporation helped stimulate its growth and development. In fact, most recently Geary Avenue, located between Dupont and Davenport, has hit the radar of many Torontonians as an emerging post-industrial re-development. Although some warehouse and light automotive industries still exist, and the Canadian Pacific Railway operates a mainline between the two thoroughfares (I once lived nearby where I enjoyed the sound of the trains trundling by), a large amount of former industrial space has been converted into more contemporary uses like art galleries and coffee shops. Even back in 2015, Geary was called Toronto's 'Williamsburg' (à la 2 Broke Girls) by the website Torontoist, in a piece called Is Dovercourt Village Toronto’s Next Big Thing? and the street is seeing redevelopment including the just-announced 33 unit flex workspace loft condo called Geary Factory Lofts.
In the immediate vicinity are a collection of unique shops, burgeoning galleries, and a multitude of 'makers'. And it will be interesting to see the evolution of 'The New Dupont' - which has multiple mid-rise mixed-use developments of commercial/retail and residential in the planning and construction phases. This intensification and densification will fuel more retailers, in addition to conveniently located box stores, which means you won’t have to go far to get what you need in a pinch! Already it's incredibly convenient. Putting on your chef's hat tonight? Forgot an ingredient? It's just a quick stroll to Sobey's and back, or an easy-peasy bike ride to Fiesta Farms with its organic products. And anticipate even more options are coming soon with the recent launch of the new master-planned community at the former Galleria Shopping Centre on Dupont at Dufferin Streets! This is, without question, an emerging area!
Having collectively grown up watching TV shows like Cheers, Seinfeld, and Friends, we spent hours upon hours vicariously hanging out in familiar establishments like 'The Daily Perk' or that bar where everybody knows your name. There is something extremely appealing about claiming a local pub or restaurant as your home base - particularly if it manages to deliver both atmosphere and calibre culinary offerings! Check out The Davenport where you can gather around an open kitchen to grab a crafted cocktail, a pint, or a serving of comfort food with a contemporary edge. Fancy a craft beer? We recommend exploring what’s on tap at Blood Brothers Brewing! Taking in their amazing warehouse space today, you would never guess that the brothers started out brewing in the basement of their family home!
A short jaunt to the top of Davenport Road will deliver you to a number of stylish and savoury eateries. Coffee connoisseurs will love Crosscut Coffee for incredible brews and artisanal sandwiches, or perhaps indie coffee shop The Sovereign will be more your vibe! Feeling like Italian tonight? Check out Salto Restaurant and Bar for a laid back sit-down meal or Dante’s Inferno Paninoteca for pizza or paninis. We like an intimate little patio outside and a retro roadhouse vibe inside at The Gem Bar & Grill!
Do you love to read as much as we do? No matter your age or family status, having an awesome local library branch is desirable, and the Davenport Library Branch is within walking distance. In addition to having an impressive collection for you and those you adore to indulge in some reading, there is some fantastic programming for all ages, year-round. It’s a great rainy day destination!
Parks, Schools & Easy Peasy Access Everywhere!
What’s urban living without access to amazing outdoor space right in your ‘hood? Residing at 34A Somerset gives you lots to choose from. Hillcrest Park is a great choice and not just because it is so close by. This large park features an off-leash dog area, tennis courts, a wading pool, a community garden and a great view of the skyline, making it a great place to hang out and recharge. Soon you'll be able to go for an amazing hike along the Geary Avenue Park & Garrison Creek Ravine - at the bottom of the street and part of the new Green Line Initiative - which will span a significant breadth of the downtown core from the intersection of Davenport/Dupont west to Caledonia Park Road!
Whether your household has an immediate need for them or not, having access to good schools in your neighbourhood is a smart move, because their proximity is something that future buyers will gladly pay top dollar to have. For JK through to Grade 6, there is McMurrich Junior Public School that has over a century of nurturing young minds in this community. When kids transition to middle school, they conveniently move to Winona Drive Senior Public School, which is attached to the junior school. For high school, Oakwood Collegiate is close by, with specialized programming, French Immersion and Enhanced Pathways. All of these schools are within walking distance, which is a huge bonus.
Seeking accessibility? This dwelling has a Walk Score of 79, a Transit Score of 84 and a Bike Score of 75! You can hop on the 63 Ossington Bus and in five minutes arrive at the Ossington Subway Station on the Bloor Line. Check out the City of Toronto's Cycling Network Map, and make sure you ride down Shaw Street which offers one of the newest bike lanes that is already beloved by locals. How fantastic is that?
Home Sweet Home
Located a block west of Ossington Avenue, 34A Somerset Avenue sits between the convenient east-west arteries of Dupont and Davenport. This end-of-row Edwardian dwelling (with access down the side of the house to the rear garden) constructed in 1912 offers 3 levels of finished living space. Well-loved and well-maintained, this home is fronted by a sun-dappled, low-maintenance, professionally landscaped garden with its front steps leading up to a large covered porch, offering both shelter and privacy. Can you envision sitting out on an autumn evening watching children dash by playing games, or calling out friendly greetings to the dog-walkers and cyclists who are both neighbours and friends?
The home's main entrance boasts some beautiful character details - both inside and out- which have been lovingly cherished over the years. In fact, we love the solid retro wood-carved front door with pressed-glass panels. More vintage details spanning the decades unfold throughout, including the window casings and aprons, heating grates, built-in shelves, and french doors. The classic front hall with its sweet and convenient collection of mounted coat hooks shepherds you directly into the heart of the home. A series of articulated spaces connected to each other, the formal dining room opens into the well-proportioned living room at the front of the house, or transitions in a tidy and efficient kitchen - with a new refrigerator and built-in stainless steel dishwasher - that is ready for your own personal touch! Warm hardwood runs the length of the main floor living and dining areas, giving these separate spaces a sense of unity. Rounding out the first floor is a convenient 2-piece powder room off the kitchen, as well as a walk-out that leads to a back deck overlooking the lush landscaped garden.
A staircase leads from the front hall to the second level, which has just been painted in a warm white to serve as an inspirational blank canvas ready to make your own. Along with a spacious 3-piece washroom and hallway linen closet, you'll find three ample bedrooms. We adore the bedroom at the front of the house which boasts a gorgeous bay window overlooking the front yard. An while only two bedrooms are outfitted with closets, all three boast painted wood floors, large windows, and plenty of light!
Descending to the lower level of this charming residence, you'll notice the freshly installed broadloom on the stairs as well as the all-new gleaming laminate flooring in the media room. This level is partitioned into 3 separate spaces: a family/media room which could serve as an optional bedroom given it has both a window and a closet, a laundry and utility room, and a 4-piece bath. There's even room to create a bijou study or workspace in the wide hallway - how terrific is that? Adjacent to the bathroom is a separate entrance which walks out to the front yard, providing ease and convenience, and offers the potential as a non-conforming suite for a nanny or your moody teen in its current iteration!
The real showstopper - which will have particular appeal to Hipsteaders - is this residence's lush, landscaped, low-maintenance garden and the realized potential for both beauty, bounty and sustenance! With a skilled hand, environmental know-how, and loving care, the array of existing vegetation has been cultivated over many years, featuring four spectacular raised corten-steel beds - planters that pair flowers with vegetables. The majority of veggies are located near the centre of the garden, just far enough away from the fence that they receive full sunlight in spring and summer - and the return on investment in this regard is huge! You haven't truly tasted fresh until you've grown your own produce and leafy greens! Heirloom tomatoes are particularly prolific in this garden, while stands of rhubarb and well-established asparagus are an added bonus!
A great many of the sun-loving flowering plants bloom for most of the year, while others put on a special show for just a short period. Nestled among some of our favourites - lilac, trilliums, and hydrangeas - you'll find something quite unique: a cherry tree! This particular self-pollinating tree is a graft of four different varieties: Bing, Royal Ann, Black Tartarian, and Lapins. How scrumptious is that?!
Another quality that makes this garden so special is the gardener's commitment to sustainability. Loving the idea of helping the environment in any way possible (there's even a composter and rain barrel included in the sale), the Sellers planted an abundance of clover, which does not need to be watered, blooms prettily and often, and creates food for bees - one of the most integral members of our ecosystem. Clover also uses nitrogen from the air to later be released into the soil, keeping it healthy. The custom-built corten steel raised beds are also an eco-friendly alternative to pre-constructed planters made with plastic or other artificial materials, as they are non-toxic and will last around 80 years!
Can you imagine reclining in your hammock on a warm evening at dusk - perhaps after a festive family barbecue - and simply marvelling at being in the midst of the natural beauty all around you?
Situated on a deep lot (15 feet by a rare 132 feet!) with convenient storage shed at the rear, this home is spacious, sunny, and steeped in character - all of which are excellent resale qualities. Recently updated with a fresh coat of crisp white paint, this family-friendly dwelling is a stage set for your very own personal touches and creativity! Might this traditional yet flexible home - offering terrific livability as-is but also holding tremendous potential for renovation and reimagining - be the ideal domicile for you?!
Listed with Steve Fudge and James Ormston, if you have questions or you'd like book a private viewing, please contact email@example.com!SOLD