Globe & Mail

Move to converted church near Toronto’s High Park brings a chance to walk

Move to converted church near Toronto’s High Park brings a chance to walk


As seen in The Globe & Mail

384 Sunnyside Ave., unit 202, Toronto

Asking Price: $1,999,990

Taxes: $6,528.00 (2022)

Monthly maintenance fee: $1,377.90

Listing Agent: Robin Pope, Pope Real Estate Ltd.

The backstory

In 2009, a century-old church building in Toronto’s leafy High Park neighbourhood was transformed into 24 residential lofts.

Nine years later, Anthony and Susan Anderson were mulling a move to the west end when they saw a two-bedroom loft at The Abbey.

The couple sold their large house in Richmond Hill, Ont., and purchased the unit with stone walls and arched window openings partly built into the limestone tower that occupies one corner of the former church.

The move brought them closer to their daughter and also provided the opportunity to walk nearly everywhere they needed to go in the neighbourhood.

“We were used to living in the suburbs where we had to drive everywhere,” Mr. Anderson says.

The building’s location on a quiet side street one block from Roncesvalles Avenue allowed the couple to visit a variety of popular restaurants and coffee shops. High Park sits a few blocks to the west.

After purchasing the unit, the Andersons undertook a major renovation that wrapped up in 2019.

The house today

The unit provides approximately 1,836 square feet of living space on two levels.

The interior had not been renovated since the developer completed the building, so the couple had a new kitchen installed with a larger island, custom-made cabinets and new appliances.

They also added new cabinets to the dining area and bedrooms.

A separate living room has stone walls, brick arches, exposed ductwork and leaded and stained glass windows.

The original wood staircase was finished in a dark brown stain with closed risers that seemed heavy in the space.

The couple opted for a new staircase imported from Italy. The open risers make the room feel lighter and repositioning the stairs revealed more of the side windows.

There’s also more room to place furniture.

“It was a bit of wasted space in there,” Mr. Anderson says.

The couple also updated and reconfigured the bathrooms.

The ensuite bathroom in the primary bedroom suite now has a stand-alone bathtub in addition to a walk-in shower.

The primary bedroom retains some of the character of the old church with wood rafters and a large arched window.

There’s also a guest bedroom and a powder room on the main level.

The Andersons spent much of the pandemic at their cottage. During that time, the loft was a safe haven that they did not want to leave unoccupied so they lent the unit to some friends of the family as a wedding present.

“We didn’t want to rent it out and didn’t want it to be empty,” Mr. Anderson says. “We wanted someone who would take good care of it, and they did.”

The best feature

The loft in the tower is made solid and soundproof by the limestone walls, the Andersons say.

“We made significant changes to the upper room to open it up,” Mr. Anderson says.

There’s also a bathroom with a walk-in shower on that level.

The loft is currently used as a study but the Andersons say it is a versatile area that can be used for guest sleeping quarters or a TV room.


Originally published in the Globe & Mail on