Hello Old House. What’s Your Story?


Hi. This is a unique old house that I walk by now and again and have taken pictures of at various points during this past year.

It stands out on the street and I’ve never been able to not looked at this place while passing it. I’ve wondered about its quaint historic look and about the owners who I’ve never once seen but who take such great care to keep it looking as perfectly kempt as it is.

It’s a small home that would have been the first structure built on what would previously have been an empty field, so based on what I know about the history of the area, that would have been sometime in the 1890s.

This style of home is called a Workman’s Cottage. If you’re interested in reading the history on these types of homes in Toronto there is a good write up about them here. Here’s a quote from that article, ‘The cottage style in Toronto is a descendant of a one storey house with a gabled roof shown at the great Crystal Palace exhibition in London in 1851 as an example of ideal worker’s housing that would not be cramped or unsanitary like that of so many workers in the Industrial Revolution; these homes, innovative in their day, had windows for fresh air, separate bedrooms for children, and even indoor sanitation in some cases.’

The first picture (above) was taken the other day, June 2014,

This is how it looked last month in May …


Here it is covered in snow and decorated for Christmas in December …


This is from the fall, September 2013 …


And here is one taken a year ago, from last June …


So, that is where I was originally going to wrap this post up, after showing you this cute little gem of a house.

But then I did a search of the address and was surprised to find something special. Here is a photograph of the exact same house, taken 75 years ago in 1939. Check out the kids sitting out front.


Although the address is listed as the very same, it looks different enough now that I wanted to double check that it is indeed the same place by looking at all my original shots of the house for clues. Sure enough, there in one shot is the uncommon window on the house next door …


I’ve always thought that the interesting leaded-windows were the original ones, but it seems that they aren’t. A lot about the house has changed over the years. If the bricks are original, at some point during its first 60 years of being, someone plastered over them and added an enclosed porch to it and its attached neighbour. And then that was removed sometime between then and now. And at some point the yard in front was dug lower or the house was raised up.

It’s a curious thing. Clearly a lot of money and effort has been put into this little home over the years. Now I want to go back and look at the attached house, that looked the same as the one in the left did back in 1936, but that now is so nondescript and plain looking that I barely noticed it. It might be the one that still looks more like the original, with this one being a frilled up historic impostor.

After seeing this old photo I feel differently and a bit disappointed about the authenticity, or lack thereof, of the little house with the matching puffy trees. But I still think it’s cute.

I hope you’re having a good Monday and thank you for dropping over.
xo loulou


FOLLOW UP June 19, 2014: After finding the old photograph of this house I went back to have another look, and took these shots that include the attached house.



By coincidence, I also found an article this week about another Workman’s Cottage in Toronto, that was recently put up for sale. In this case, the exterior appears to be similar to how it was in Victorian times, but the interior has been totally modernized. Check it out here.