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  • Writer's pictureDoriana Mazzone, Realtor

A Modern-Day Story of Toronto Homes!


Did you know that Cabbagetown in Downtown Toronto East-End is one of Toronto's oldest neighbourhoods?


Did you know that Cabbagetown has the most preserved Victorian homes in all of Canada?


Did you know that Victorian homes were constructed in the late 19th century?


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House Styles in Toronto were dictated by whoever reigned in England during that period. But the Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian styles homes were not the original homes built here in Toronto. And Victorian homes were not the original homes built in Cabbagetown! 


WHO BUILT THE ORIGINAL HOMES OF TORONTO


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After the Revolution, when the Irish, English and Scottish started immigrating here to Toronto they needed shelter badly and quickly! Cabbagetown was all farmland and was considered a rural area. So these immigrants were coming here, they needed to farm and were only capable of building what they knew which is from where they came from! And already England and Ireland were dealing with tight living situations that were causing plagues, and they were getting shipped here to Toronto. 







HOW DID IMMIGRANTS BUY HOMES IN TORONTO?

So when they immigrated to Toronto, they managed to buy a plot of land from the Crown but had to build their own home. The land did not come with pre-built homes on it. There was no such thing as Developers, Resale homes or Real Estate Agents. There was no such thing as Real Estate trading, there was nothing to trade for, especially for the common people. The most you were able to do was buy land!


SO, WHAT WERE THE ORIGINAL HOMES OF TORONTO?

These immigrants had to get their construction materials and what I mean by that is ‘logs of wood’ and find some help to build their home or build it themselves!


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Hence the birth of Toronto's first house style, the ‘Cabin-Cottage’.

They were very tiny Cabins! These are the Original homes of Toronto!

And you will see a few of these still here in Toronto and Cabbagetown. Some of them now have brick-facing and cute little ornate treatments around the windows and doors.


If you think Condos are small now, the condos that are between 350-500 Sq.ft were the size of these cabins. What we call a tiny home for one person, they were building for a family. 

These cabins had the main door in the center with windows on each side. The kitchenette was facing the backyard and a much-needed fireplace was on an exterior wall and guess what? The bathroom… Outside in the backyard in an outhouse!

It’s okay, it was all muddy out there anyway!





A SIGN OF THE TIMES

We’re talking about a time when there were no sewer services, sanitary requirements, no electricity and no heat and no such thing as fire hydrants. 

So if these immigrants were coming before Winter, they needed to hurry up and build that home because Winter was coming and it was long! 

Those homes kept on getting burnt down. Having a fireplace always caused house fires. But they needed heat to heat their homes but these cabins were made from wood. 

There was no such thing as building requirements or building codes yet. 


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THE BEGINNING OF TORONTO REAL ESTATE

Now, fast forward to some time after that. Some people were good at it because they were already craftsmen or carpenters from where they came from! They built better quality homes than others. So when new immigrants were still coming in, they didn't want to build their homes, they wanted land with a home already on it and they were willing to offer money for it! And that was the beginning of social classes! If you could come here and buy land complete with a home, you were already upper class, but if you came here and had to build your own home, well then, you were the lower class. 




THE BEGINNING OF TORONTO DEVELOPMENTS

Well, one thing led to another, the original homeowner sold his home with profit and was able to buy more plots of land from the crown and built off more homes!

This is the story of how Real Estate trading and land developers started forming here in Toronto, all because of those ‘Cabin-Cottage’ homes.


There is your Modern-day story of Toronto Homes!


My name is Doriana!

I am a Toronto Real Estate Agent. I have a passion for Toronto homes and its History and I love sharing these stories, in a modern-day version.


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