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Toronto's iconic 'Leslieville dollhouse' set to hit the market on Thursday


After more than 50 years, Toronto's iconic “Leslieville dollhouse” will soon have a new owner.

On Thursday, one of Toronto’s most well-known and most photographed properties – a semi-detached, three-bedroom home at 37 Bertmount Ave., near Queen Street East and Jones Avenue – will officially be on the market.

The asking price for this unique dwelling, whose front yard and porch is adorned with hundreds, if not thousands, of dolls, toys, and teddy bears, isn’t being disclosed until then.

Listing agent Nadine Comeau would only say that properties on the street have gone for as much as $1.5 to $2 million depending on the condition they’re in and what renovations have been done or are needed.

Comeau called 37 Bertmount an “amazing landmark” with an “overall vibe of happiness, joy, and love.” She said the house is mechanically sound with a new roof and oil furnace as well as an additional new washroom and laundry facilities on the open-concept main floor.

“It is in great shape and will be a wonderful opportunity for any potential homebuyers out there,” she said, admitting that this listing is “not your typical home.”

Comeau said that when preparing this property many asked if the tchotchkes out front would be removed but in the end the decision was made with the family to keep them intact as they “represent something” and are “historical.”

“So this is very different than anything I’ve done before and I’m finding it very interesting and exciting, and we’re hoping for the greatest results for our family that’s living here,” Comeau said. “The home represents their vibe, if you will,” Comeau said.

Comeau said that the current homeowner is an avid collector and has a number of collections inside the dwelling as well, including several Royal Doulton porcelain dolls as well as “lots of decorative items throughout the house” that reflect her “creative spirit.”

She said that since the “coming soon” sign went up earlier this week many people have come forward and asked what will happen with all of the stuff outside the house.

She said that the homeowners are considering setting aside a few days for the public to stop by and “take a treasure.” They’ll keep what is dear to them, she said, and arrangements will be made with the new purchasers to have everything else removed “at a reasonable time frame for everybody.”

Nadine Comeau is the listing agent for 37 Bertmount Ave.

Tom Sumaisar, whose mom, Shirley, has owned the house for roughly 50 years, said that task would likely fall on the purchaser.

“Whoever buys this house, I guess will make that decision,” he said.

“There might be a point where we do start to take it down and maybe offer what’s there to people who want to come and take a trinket so save for a keepsake.”

Selling the family home is a “very emotional” thing for his mother, he said, but it must be done.

“This is her life. … She’s very upset that she’s going to leave, but it’s for her health and to be safer and closer to family,” Sumaisar told CTV News Toronto on Wednesday afternoon.

“It is a sad time for us. My mom loves her house. She wishes she could stay here but it’s just too big to maintain.”

Sumaisar, who moved out of the house about 20 years ago before it became unofficially known as the Leslieville dollhouse, said the sale of his mom’s home would allow them to spend more quality time together and take care of her.

He said initially his mom kept a large garden and planted several flower beds in front of the house, but that became difficult to maintain.

She then started putting toys and signs out front of her home and things grew from there, he shared.

“It just progressed and progressed and all of a sudden people took to it. And the next thing I know they were all donating stuff to the house to put up,” Sumaisar said.

“And it just got massive. It’s all over social media. People come from all over the world.”

He said that his mom especially loved creating themed displays with music and lights for Halloween and Christmas among other things.

She did it all, he said, to “make people happy.”

Tom Sumaisar's mom, Shirley, has owned 37 Bertmount Ave. for roughly 50 years Top Stories

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