12 COURCELETTE RD., THE BEACHES, TORONTO
Asking price: $749,900
Agents: Lee and Gord Martin (Royal LePage Estate Realty)
The back story
Nanci Krant shared this two-bedroom house in Toronto’s Beaches neighbourhood with the late legendary Toronto DJ, Tom (Shotgun) Rivers who died of cancer in 2008.
The couple had met when Ms. Krant was working at CHUM radio as a broadcaster and programming director. Her first on-air interview was with Queen guitarist Brian May. Not too shabby.
“I was on the air six months after I started working there in 1973,” says the fiftysomething widow with a Janis Joplin-esque radio voice. “I ended up staying 31 years.”
While at the station, she took 1050 CHUM to the top of the ratings in the 1970s. When she moved over to CHUM-FM, she also helped it go to number one in Toronto. “I’ve worked morning shows on both AM and FM and interviewed some stellar people over the years,” Ms. Krant continues. “I worked with some the greats in radio and ended up marrying one who unfortunately passed away 16 months later.”
She nursed him in this house while he was dying. “I have a great picture in the living room from the El Mocambo of Tom, Mike Cooper, Gilda Radner, John Belushi, Harold Ramis and Bill Murray,” she continues.
“I like asking people who come in here to guess who’s who.”
Today a dog sitter, Ms. Krant is now selling the marital home to be nearer her grown son and his young family who live east of the city. “I’ll miss it here,” she says. “I’ll miss the memories.”
The selling feature of this home is rather that it’s old and comes with an impressive historic pedigree. It was designed by E.J. Lennox and is known by its name, Mardorie Villa, a name meaning the golden sea.
“It’s probably about 130 yrs old,” says Ms. Krant who purchased it in 1989.
“It first shows up on the tax roles when the street was called Chester Avenue back in 1901. It’s a one-of-a-kind house in the city, built on land formerly owned by Lady Mary Pellatt and Sir Henry Pellatt as a summer estate. This was the groundskeeper’s house.”
The Pellats owned this property and surrounding lots doting the shoreline of Lake Ontario, all under Lady Pellatt’s name. After the First World War, they started selling off their lands to create funds for the building of Sir Pellatt’s dream castle otherwise known as Casa Loma, today a Toronto landmark. E.J. Lennox also designed it, using some of the design ideas first tried out on Mardorie Villa. These include vaulted ceilings made of slate, a Victorian-style fireplace decorated with hand-painted tile imported from England and a hand-carved statue of the goddess Diana at the foot of the staircase which once served as a gas-light.
“Most of the house is original,” says Ms. Krant who over the years upgraded the electrical, the plumbing and repainted both the interior and the exterior, but not much else. “The kitchen is dated,” she says in all honesty. “It needs some TLC.”
Ms. Krant says she bought the house because it is light-filled, even on a rainy day. Its lakeside setting makes it a feel like a retreat, even though located in the heart of the city. “I can sit on the covered verandah even when it’s raining,” she says. “It’s got a lovely seasonal garden accessed through sliding doors in a back room. It really is lovely.”