Or for those of you that already live there, would you say the “under-valued” ship has sailed, and the prices have already taken off?
I drove around Parkdale on Sunday shooting this video, and I ended up chatting with two residents who both feel as though they got absolute steals with the houses they purchased.
Let me give you a very brief visual tour of some massive, and massively-under-valued, 3-storey Edwardian masterpieces…
I had so many thoughts I wanted to get through in that video, but I barely scratched the surface.
But the three bullet points from the video all kind of flow together:
1) Parkdale used to be home to Toronto’s elite
2) Parkdale was a slum for a long time
2) Parkdale is making a huge comeback
Unless I was filming from the roof of the apartment building, I simply can’t convey the geography of the area, so picture it in your mind’s eye.
Think about driving east along the Gardiner Expressway, into the city, with the Lake Shore on your right, and Palais Royale the only thing between you and the water.
Now picture what’s left, or north, and up that hill – that’s Parkdale.
Now think about the Go Train, the Gardiner, and the Lake Shore – all not being there, and a slew of Victorian homes in their place.
That is what Parkdale was at the end of the 19th century, and early 20th century.
And as I alluded to in the video, the construction of the Gardiner Expressway not only wiped out hundreds of homes, but it also divided Parkdale and Lake Ontario.
From the construction of the Gardiner in 1955, into the end of the 20th century, Parkdale became a slum. Apartment buildings were built where Victorian and Edwardian homes once stood, and many of the beautiful century-homes were turned into rooming houses; those illegal and legal alike.
But as real estate prices in Toronto spiral out of control, I have to think that houses like the ones in the video above will become exceptionally sought-after, if they’re not already.
I met two home-owners during my Sunday tour – both of whom asked, “What are you doing?” when I was taking photos and videos. I feel like some Parkdale owners are a bit defensive; maybe old habits die hard, as the area has begun to change.
The first gentleman had a big dumpster on the front parking pad, and was clearly undergoing a massive renovation.
I told him that I felt Parkdale had some absolutely gorgeous homes, and he said, “This section of the street, at least.”
He clearly wasn’t going to pretend as though King Street, west of Dufferin, was home to Starbucks, fine food stores, and bakeries. But he was right – the section of Cowan Avenue where his house was had some gorgeous homes, and with the sun shining, the birds chirping, and the leaves falling, you’d be hard-pressed to find a nicer area of the street, at least aesthetically.
When filming on Tyndall Avenue, another gentleman asked me what I was doing. He was out front of his house, doing a few touch-ups on the porch.
We got to talking, and he said he bought his house for $300-something, ten years ago. It was a 3-storey, 1880’s Victorian, probably 4-5 beds.
Having been in the area for a decade, he offered some insight that only a long-time resident could provide when he said, “Ten years ago, standing here like you are for a few minutes, you’d have seen or heard a dozen things you can’t tell your wife about.”
Classic. And spoken like somebody with roots in the area.
“Today though, I’m here with my wife and two kids, and it’s a different world,” he told me.
So in which camp do you find yourself:
a) I would never consider Parkdale, under any circumstances.
b) Parkdale has improved, but it still has a way to go before I’d buy a home there.
c) The value in Parkdale is simply too good to pass up, and it’s on my list.
d) Parkdale is a target neighbourhood in my search.
I welcome your thoughts.