Parkdale has seen some hard times over the years, and the owners of this huge, detached home have witnessed a fair few of them. When they bought back in the early 1980s, the neighbourhood was known for being a bit run down. But, the gorgeous housing stock from the late 1800s-early 1900s, when the area was a wealthy suburb, was there waiting to be brought back to life. A neighbourhood this close to downtown could only go up!
Parkdale is now better known for beautifully restored homes and the rapid growth of Queen West. Most of the condo and townhouse development in the area is east of Dufferin St (e.g. Liberty Village and the old Massey lands); to the west, it’s still mostly Victorian semi-detached and detached, with some Georgian row houses, so it has a classy, old-Toronto feel to it.
Built in around 1880, 18 Gwynne Ave was expanded a couple of times over the years. At some point, it was duplexed, which is still apparent as you walk through the house. The main floor now features a large living/dining room, a huge eat-in kitchen, and a separate family room. The ‘back porch’ isn’t insulated, but at about 14’x14′ it serves many purposes. The custom deck out the back door is the perfect place to sit and enjoy the weather.
The second floor has five bedrooms, although one of them was gutted and roughed-in for a laundry room some time ago. The back bedroom provides access to stairs to the third floor, and a fantastic custom office.
The basement is mostly unfinished, but with painted joists and recessed lighting, it’s a very usable space. Beyond the huge laundry area is a small finished room that was set up as a sewing room. It could be an office, a kids play area or general crafts room.
The front and back yards have been lovingly cultivated over the years. Flowers bloom almost constantly from spring ’til fall! At the back of the lot is a solid, two car, cinderblock garage, accessed via the lane. There’s room to park one more car behind the garage, too.
Queen West amenities are great, and getting better. Pretty much everything you need is within walking distance. Walkscore.com gives it a rating of 92 – “walker’s paradise”. (And hey – it’s walking distance to the Gladstone Hotel!) The location also offers quick access downtown via the King or Queen streetcars; if you are going uptown, hop on the bus to Dufferin subway station. Walkscore.com gives it a transit rating of 100 – “rider’s paradise”! Sad to say, driving downtown is sometimes the fastest way to go, but cycling is a reasonable alternative (53 rating – “flat as a pancake”). If you need to get out of town, the Gardiner Expressway is 3 minutes away, which is awesome.
This grande ol’ dame is listed for $1,299,000. It’s a fantastic home with unlimited potential, but it needs work. While the mechanicals are sound and the structure is solid, most buyers will want to do substantial renovations. For the right buyer, a full restoration would be the way to go.