THE ANNEX is a neighbourhood in downtown Toronto with boundaries north to Dupont Street, south to Bloor Street, west to Bathurst Street and east to Avenue Road. The City of Toronto recognizes a broader neighbourhood definition that includes the adjacent Seaton Village and Yorkville areas.
THE ANNEX STORY
The Annex was subdivided in the 1870’s and 1880’s. It immediately became one of Toronto’s elite neighbourhoods.
The Annex’s first residents included the likes of Timothy Eaton, the patriarch of Eatons department store, and George Gooderham, president of the Gooderham and Worts Distillery.
The Annex’s Golden Era lasted until the 1920’s, when the upper classes began to migrate northward to newer more fashionable suburbs in Forest Hill and Lawrence Park.
Those who stayed behind helped form the Annex Residents Association. This powerful lobby group saved the Annex from the proposed Spadina Expressway which would have divided the Annex in half, had it been built.
The Annex has endured and is now over one hundred years old. It remains one of Toronto’s premier neighbourhoods.
One of the areas greatest landmarks is Casa Loma, built in 1911 by Sir Henry Pellatt over three years and $3.5 million dollars. He filled it with artwork from Canada and around the world. Casa Loma stood as a monument to its creator – it surpassed any private home in North America. With soaring battlements and secret passageways, it paid homage to the castles and knights of days gone by. Sir Hentry Pellatt eventually fell into bankruptcy and had to leave his beautiful castle to move to King city in 1924.
During the late 1920’s, Casa Loma (mostly vacant) was a popular nightspot. The Orange Blossoms, later known as Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra, were booked to play for eight months at Casa Loma in 1927 and 1928. Shortly thereafter, they went on tour of North America with their big band sound. Sir Henry Pellatt died on March 8, 1939, to leave his legacy behind along with a vacant Casa Loma which sadly felt the great depression and in 1933, the city of Toronto took ownership of the property for $27,303.45 owed in back taxes. Suggestions for possible uses of the building included a high school, museum, art gallery, a war veteran’s convalescence home and a permanent residence for the Dionne quintuplets. None of the projects proved feasible and the City of Toronto considered demolishing Casa Loma. The Kiwanis Club of West Toronto began operating Casa Loma as a tourist attraction in 1937. This agreement continued until 2011 when the new Casa Loma Corporation was formed. The City of Toronto remains the sole owner of the site.
In January 2014, the Liberty Entertainment Group led by Nick Di Donato entered into a long term Lease and Operating Agreement with the City of Toronto for Casa Loma. This includes all aspects of the operation of Casa Loma as both a special event facility as well as an attraction. The Liberty Entertainment Group plans to preserve and make improvements to the facility, enhance the special events and dining experience and integrate new technology for school and cultural programming.
ANNEX ACTIVITIES & RECREATION
The Annex really comes alive at night when people from all over the city converge upon its restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
Fitness enthusiasts can get in shape at either the University of Toronto’s Athletic Centre, or the Jewish Community Centre at Bloor and Spadina.
The Native Canadian Centre of Toronto is located in the Annex at 16 Spadina Road. This centre offers a variety of programs and services for Toronto’s Native community as well as the general public.
The Spadina Road Public Library at 10 Spadina Road, offers a wide variety of programming for neighbourhood residents.
The area is also brings students and education staff from George Brown College along with The University of Toronto and Ryerson as long time owners and tenants.
THE ANNEX REAL ESTATE
With glorious views of Casa Loma stands The Madison Avenue Lofts – 380 MacPherson Avenue, built in by renowned Architect Paul Northgrave as a restoration of a unique former Toronto hydro building. The industrial integrity has been preserved within an art-deco structure filled with lofts with dramatic windows reaching up to 12 feet high, exposed columns and duct work. The building features many layouts including one level suites and multi-level house-like floor plans like Suite 131.
Why buy a house when you can own Suite 131 – a bright and spacious south facing 1,250 sf loft in this desirable Madison Avenue Lofts conversion! The suite offers dual entry for ultimate flexibility, the most appealing and functional wide 3 level floor plan with 2 bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms, large open living/dining space, kitchen with granite counters and 14 ft ceilings, stainless steel appliances, separate breakfast area, marble baths, soaring lofty ceilings on each floor, master retreat with two walk-in closets on top level, wide ground floor terrace, tons of storage and includes one parking space and one large locker room! Click HERE to learn more about this fabulous suite and how to contact me to schedule a showing!