I'm not sure how long you've been looking to buy downtown Toronto real estate, but I'm sure you've realized it's pretty rare to view a property like this - which offers the trifecta of affordability, opportunity, and possibility - and doesn't require 6 sledgehammers, a dumpster bin, and a construction crew to arrive the day after closing.
Situated neatly between three fabulous 'hoods - Pelham Park, Carlton Village & The Junction Triangle - this charming home is ready as-is, but offers tremendous opportunities for renovation and reinvention!
Welcome to 417 Symington Avenue!
It's a pretty rare opportunity to find a downtown house at the lower end of the price spectrum where you can move in immediately. Given most of the housing stock in the central core dates from the 1850s thru the 1930s, a lot of the building components in these homes are reaching an age where they're no longer withstanding the four-season assaults from our extreme Canadian temperatures. There can also be problems specific to the individual sites of many homes, like the somewhat frequent discovery that many houses originally constructed were built on top of former ravines that were improperly filled with loose soil. (You'll find examples of this on Shaw Street both north and south of Bloor, along with several examples peppered throughout the Humewood/Cedarvale and Oakwood/Vaughan neighbourhoods north of St Clair west of Bathurst.)
Other times a property's decline is a reflection of poor maintenance, improper repairs, or renovations executed without proper building permits. Face it, 100 years of DIY's by a succession of inexperienced or financially-limited homeowners can wreak havoc on a house. During my 28 years as a realtor, I've seen a lot of basement joists that have been cut to fit a drain or heating, extensions that are sinking due to a lack of proper footings, and clay sewage pipes and foundation walls failing because trees were planted near their locations. Buyers should also be aware that the original standards of construction, as well as the quality of materials used, can be different depending on when they were built and for whom they were built.
To sum up, a home with good bones is more difficult to come by these days, which is one of the many reasons that Symington - at this price point - is such a gem!
The experts say the fixtures and finishes we buy for our houses are how people measure our status and self-worth. And whatever products we display are considered objects of self-expression. While the paint colours - right down to which of the 2000 shades of white we choose - signals the sophistication of our taste-making. This doesn't surprise me, even though the minutiae of such a decision prompts me to just close my eyes and randomly point.
After all, as we've succumbed to the 24-hour loop of HGTV houseporn product placement, I worry we're losing sight of what's important. This is why we need to look and learn from earlier generations. For them, home is defined by the collective sharing of moments, experiences, or secrets; the display of photos and mementos; and the recounting of memories with others who have crossed their threshold and imprinted their energy, whether that be bad or good.
These are the roots of the idiom 'If these four walls could talk.' And it's time to listen...
Because there's a pink bathroom upstairs and it's screaming "Vintage is cool!" And there's a new roof on the garage - which is also an amazing workshop - and the Sellers want you to be dry.
Calling All Urban Hipsteaders!
I thought it was pretty good.
The truth is this house not only offers more space than most, but it's also extremely well-situated. It's east of The Junction, west of The New Dupont, next door to Davenport Village & Earlscourt Park is just up the street. You totally have to check it out.
And what would any urban locale be without amazing eateries and entertainment close to home? 417 Symington Avenue is well-located to a number of excellent choices. Just up the road is Lourdes Coffee, which is a fun and funky space in which to consume your cuppa. There is lots of original artwork on the walls to peruse - which only makes the experience more enriching! You can have an in-the-city countryside experience at the Farmhouse Tavern, which is reminiscent of a rural Ontario farmhouse, both in ambience and in menu offerings. It’s super laid back and they rotate the menu based on the harvest seasons. Grab-and-go bodega Mattachioni features divine thin-crust pizzas and yummy paninis. It’s also a great, convenient place to pick up high-quality grocery staples, like produce, milk, meat, cheese and eggs. And when we're all inoculated, head to Lucia and savour handmade pasta in their intimate dining room. And don't miss Love Chix. I adore their tagline, "Toronto’s best chicken joint".
Running errands is a breeze, with Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall, the Beer Store, the LCBO, Freshco and Food Basics all within walking distance. You can stroll over to Osler’s Seafood Warehouse to pick up fresh fish or Astro Meats for your meat order. Need to greenify your home? Head to the boutique plant store The Urban Gardner.
Looking for leisure activities? Take in a live show at the Aluna Theatre. Have you ever tried rock climbing? Change up your fitness routine with a visit to Boulderz Climbing Centre. Also nearby is the Toronto Public Library Perth Dupont branch, where there is a great reading collection, as well as all kinds of programming for all ages.
There is nothing more balancing than taking a stroll through a park, or getting your blood pumping with outdoor sports and leisure! Bocci ball, anyone? There are numerous parks within walking distance of Symington Avenue, including extensive Earlscourt Park which has space and activities galore - from skating and swimming to baseball and tennis!. There is also a large off-leash, fenced-in dog park. And adjacent to the park is the Joseph J. Piccininni Community Centre with gyms, a fitness studio, an indoor sports field, an indoor pool and loads of community programming. Davenport Village Park is also nearby and has lots of room to run and play, along with a great playground.
For any homeowner, it is a wise move to purchase a property in proximity to good schools. Even if you don't currently have school-age children, it’s one of those supremely sought-after 'must haves' that will boost value if ever the time comes to sell. The schools near 417 Symington Avenue. are reputable indeed. The Carleton Village Junior and Senior Public School are also known as the Carlton Village Wellness and Sports Academy. This school boasts some impressive facilities, including an indoor swimming pool, family literacy centre, music room and fitness centre (which is open to parents too). They have French Immersion and JK-Grade 8. High school is a little further away, but still walkable at Oakwood Collegiate.
If you're someone who loves to get out on a weekend afternoon and explore the city, you know that access to transit is essential; it can, quite literally, alter the shape of your day. Plus, as any Toronto commuter knows, the fewer minutes spent walking to a transit stop equals more minutes spent in bed, with or without your loved ones! The TTC is very easily accessible in this community, with stops for these bus routes just a quick walk away: 168 Symington (North-South), 26 Dupont (East-West), and 127 Davenport (East-West). Even one of the city's main streetcar lines is also completely walkable, just a short jaunt away on St. Clair Avenue West! Ready to ride?
A Sun-Splashed Semi-Detached Residence Built In 1900
Don’t you love a vintage home that balances original character with smart upgrades? I do! And given the best qualities of any home can be found in its quirks, I think it’s important to balance the new by respecting the scale and proportions of the original architecture. For example, my heart goes thumpety-thump when one crosses the threshold into a classic front hall. The act of hanging up your coat on one of the collections of mounted hooks - and taking a seat on a bench to remove your shoes - is a ritual of domestic life that remains consistent for the duration of time you live there. This is a hall where one can enjoy that rhythm of daily life, where the natural flow of the hallway guides you to the heart of the home.
The formal living room is inviting and bright, bathed in light from an expansive front window that offers views of the front yard and beyond. The proportions of this room - in fact, all of the principal rooms - are generous. The take-away is there’s lots of square footage here, currently home to an oversized L-shaped sectional and entertainment unit which is perfect for family movie night or entertaining guests. Given this dwelling was once three units, one of the unique features of this home is its two large closets tucked on opposite walls that frame the opening between the living and dining rooms. Whether you converted this back into multi-units or used the entire house for your laughing barking brood, it’s perfect exactly the way it is. These closets will be your salvation when you have unexpected guests,as all the kids’ toys can be tidied and stashed in under 2 minutes! The dining room, with its gleaming floors, can accommodate a long farmhouse table or a generous round pedestal table - there’s lots of room for flexibility here! As a lover of natural light, I appreciate the light streaming in from, not one, but two bright windows!
The eat-in kitchen is perfect for informal meals, with plenty of space to cook, eat, and mingle! I love the funky floor tiles and the pop of colour they provide, but it’s inevitable you’ll tailor this kitchen to reflect your personal tastes. Who could resist? Though I give a standing ovation and five gold stars for that chalkboard wall - I’ve long enjoyed having one in my own homes. They’re perfect for planning meals and leaving messages for others. I bet you’re already thinking about how you’d make this kitchen your own, right? Are you perhaps considering replacing the kitchen table with a freestanding island to maximize counter space? Why not? So many options!
For those considering the potential of an income supplement - or a suite for your Mom or another family member - the main floor 3-piece washroom is an instant bonus, though no household ever would turn down a main floor shower room. And there’s no shortage of benefit of having a mudroom - an essential space for keeping wet dirty boots and canine paws from mucking up the rest of the house! Plus, don’t miss the large closet to accommodate all of your seasonal wear! As an organization freak, dedicated spaces for controlling clutter make me swoon!
Ascending to the second floor the three bright family-sized bedrooms each featuring ample storage and warm blonde floors underfoot. The sun-splashed Master bedroom, in particular, is well-proportioned, reminding me of an English bed and breakfast. It boasts a full closet plus contemporary built-ins that are ready to accommodate any size wardrobe! The bedrooms share a superb vintage 4-piece bathroom which makes me smile and a hall linen closet. And although a former kitchen was completely removed, it’s feasible this upper level could become a self-contained suite but check with the City so you’re fully informed of the requirements to make it legal.
Significantly increasing the amount of living space, the recently refreshed lower level is fully finished. Currently utilized as an open recreation room, this space could easily be delineated into separate zones to suit any myriad of needs. And given this level has an upgraded three-piece washroom and a separate entrance, this floor, too, holds the potential to become a suite for, a moody teen perhaps? Yes, please!
Finally, this home has plenty of parking! Pull up right next to the back door and carry those eight bags of groceries directly into the kitchen! The detached garage is also a premium feature, and could alternately be used as a workshop or a satellite Work From Home office! In fact, due to the fact that the majority of Canadians are now working from home, using an outbuilding as a workspace is a fast-growing trend!
So tell me, does living well within your walls and roaming free in a low-density neighbourhood figure high on your wish-list? This charming affordable home - ready as-is but with tremendous opportunity and infinite possibilities - may be the ideal domicile for you!
Could this gorgeous residence be the one for you? Interested in booking a safe, private tour of the home? Contact James Ormston!