Amongst the condos and apartment buildings making up Toronto’s neighbourhoods are unique landmark homes that have become iconic to the city. Some are kitschy, some are completely oddball, but all are recognized for being at least slightly out of the ordinary. Take a look at some of these photo-worthy residences that stand out from their neighbours.
The Half House
#54 1/2 St. Patrick St
A property development battle in the ’70s resulted in this house at St. Patrick Street becoming what looks to be some Photoshopped trickery. The owners of the attached house sold, causing the development company to sever the house to an internal supporting wall, which is now the exterior of the building.
The Doll House
37 Bertmount Ave.
This legendary Leslieville house attracts gawkers who come to pose with hundreds of children’s toys that decorate its front yard. The house celebrates Halloween and Christmas with the addition of festive decorations to the huge collection of novelty signs and nostalgic dolls.
The Wood Cake House
473 Clinton St.
After homeowner Albino Carreira suffered a spinal injury in a construction accident in the early 1990’s, he decided to balance his rehabilitation with decorating his mailbox using rejects from a pool cue factory – which he calls wood cakes. The project took on a life of its own when the decorating spread from the mailbox to the house – and even to Carreira’s van – which you might have called the Bug mobile if you’ve seen it in your travels.
The Cube House
Sumach & Eastern Ave.
It might be shocking to some commuters to know that the cluster of cubes advertising CoffeeTime near the Adelaide Street East overpass is actually a spacious residence. Built in 1996, Ottawa architect Ben Kutner and partner Jeff Brown modeled the cube houses on those in Rotterdam designed by Dutch architect Piet Blom. The cubes are intended to make use of otherwise unusable space. The concept is popular in the Netherlands but hasn’t quite caught on in Toronto yet.
The Little House
128 Day Ave.
Awww, it’s so cute, and potentially makes you feel better about the closet you live in. The smallest house in the city at just 29-square meters, the Little House was built in 1912. Residents have included a family with two children, and the original contractor who lived in the tiny space with his wife for almost 30 years. The house has one bedroom that is filled with a Murphy bed, room for a washing machine and dryer and a backyard that takes up a bit of the 7.25 x 113.67 feet property. It was listed at just over $170,000 in 2008.
Got a thing for tiny houses? An abode measuring about 189-square feet at 30 Hanson Street sold in 2013 for $165,000.
The Towerhouse / Lego House & The Driveway House
157 Coxwell Ave. & 1294 College St.
It’s no longer quite as colourful, but the landmark stilt house on Coxwell Avenue is still joined to the sidewalk by a 35-foot-long bridge. Architect Rohan Walters originally painted the house after being inspired by the colours of Group of Seven pieces at the AGO. Inside, the house is reported to move, and has multiple flights of stairs. The residents can park their car directly underneath it.
You might recognize more work by Walters in the Driveway House built on a 10-by-37-foot lot at 1294 College Street.
The John Cox Cottage
469 Broadview Ave.
Deemed the oldest occupied home in the city, the John Cox Cottage was built in or around the late 1790s and early 1800s. It was originally built out of square-cut logs and faces east-west – unlike the city built around it – for maximum daylight to avoid the cost of artificial lighting at that time. The logs offer exceptional insulation because of the way they fit together, keeping heating bills low. An original wall can be seen while inside the house.
The Parashos House
1016 Shaw St.
One look at their Hellenistic Republic-inspired house and you can guess the proud heritage of the Parashos family. Both a Greek and Canadian flag fly at the whitewashed two-story home, which stands out from its neighbours on Shaw Street. Urns, columns, sculptures of Grecian gods and a gorgeous garden decorate the eccentric house. It wasn’t used in the filming of My Big Fat Greek Wedding but one look and you’ll see why it should have been.
Some Toronto residents work for years to make their house stand out amongst the masses – which residence in your neighbourhood makes you take notice?