Thursday, 8 September 2016

The Half House of St. Patrick Street, Toronto

This old Victorian-era row house on St. Patrick Street, in the heart of Toronto, Canada, has been cut in half with surgical precision. The house is numbered 54 1/2, although the bizarre numbering is only a coincidence and was not assigned to reflect the house’s dismembered state.

The house was originally built between 1890 and 1893, and was once one of six identical and structurally interconnected homes on what was then known as Dummer Street. The houses were numbered pretty strange —52 1/2, 54, 54 1/2, 56, 58, and 60. House number 54 1/2 is the only one still standing, or rather, half of what originally was that’s still standing. All the rest are gone, taken away by a real estate developer.
This particular real estate developer, Windlass Holdings Ltd., began aggressively buying up property around the neighborhood starting 1957. Pushy real estate agents began harassing the house owners to sell their house for very low prices. One by one, the owners caved in until house number 54 1/2 was all that remained.

Once the developers realized the owners weren’t going to sell, they began tearing down the building beside them. But they had to be extremely careful not to disturb the remainder of the building. The internal load bearing wall, which had once kept the neighbors separated, became the blank exterior when the house next door came down. The house has remained thus since the 1970s.

As of 2013, the house is owned by Albert Zikovitz, the owner of the adjacent building that is occupied by the offices of the Cottage Life Magazine. These houses to the south of 54 1/2, although appears similar in structure were a later addition.

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