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home of the week

Mitchell Hubble/Mitchell Hubble/Modern Movement Creative

953136 7th Line EHS, Mono, Ont.

Asking price: $2,750,000

Taxes: $1,808.61 (2021)

Land size: 29.3 acres

Agent: Carolyn Scime, Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd.

The backstory

The 100-acre farm on 7th Line in Mono Township was passed down through the generations of one family for more than a century after their ancestors began farming the land and built a house of stone in the 1800s.

The Town of Mono is a rural community that resides within the traditional territory and ancestral lands of the Tionontati, Attawandaron, Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples.

By the 1960s, descendant James Atkinson was an elderly man with no heirs to take over the traditional family farm. He carved the land into 10-acre parcels and put them up for sale.

At the time, the Honsbergers were a Toronto-based couple raising their three children in York Mills.

Megan Honsberger was a young girl at the time, but she still remembers forays into the countryside as her parents searched for a bucolic retreat for weekends and summer holidays.

“They wanted water and rolling hills,” Ms. Honsberger recalls.

The Honsbergers visited the Atkinson farm, about one hour’s drive from Toronto in the area of Airport Road and Highway 9. They purchased the piece with the circa 1891 Victorian farmhouse, the crumbling walls of the stone house and a vast century bank barn.

Humber Springs Creek runs through the undulating landscape.

Her father envisioned life as a gentleman farmer, while her mother was inspired by the paintings of Claude Monet and the Impressionist movement to create a farmhouse painted in shades of Provencal blue.

As soon as the deal closed, Mr. Honsberger began to assemble a small herd of cattle when he brought in five pregnant females.

“We had baby cows almost immediately,” Ms. Honsberger recalls.

The house today

  • Home of the Week, 953136 7th Line EHS, Mono, Ont.Mitchell Hubble/Mitchell Hubble/Modern Movement Creative

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The farm had become rundown when the Honsberger family took over.

The red-brick farmhouse had no indoor plumbing and no central heating. There was an outhouse in the back.

The Honsbergers installed heating and turned one of the bedrooms into a bathroom in their first efforts to make the home more comfortable.

There was an indoor kitchen and a summer kitchen with a Franklin stove, where Ms. Honsberger remembers heating the water for washing dishes.

“That was how we all moved in,” she says.

The remnants of the earlier 1800s farmhouse showed the walls were built of mud and straw on a stone foundation, Ms. Honsberger says.

Her mother immediately declared the old root cellar a hazard and had it filled in with earth.

The kids found a set of stairs that led to a sleeping area upstairs.

“There was a really tiny, steep staircase,” she says. “I used to climb up that but it was deemed unsafe.”

Mr. Honsberger hired a local farmer to look after the land and the cattle during the week while he worked in the city. The two formed a great friendship that lasted for many years, his daughter says.

“Ours was the winter barn,” she says of the large L-shaped building on the property. The cows spent their summers in the pastures of the veteran farmer.

“We would just walk the herd down the road to his property. In the fall, we would walk them all back. We did that for years and years.”

Occasionally the family would take in a donkey, says Ms. Honsberger, and barn cats roamed around the property.

After a year or two, Mr. Honsberger expanded the land to 29 acres by purchasing two additional chunks that Mr. Atkinson had yet to sell.

Ms. Honsberger’s mother was also using her flair for design to improve the old house, which still has some of its original floors, doors and millwork.

“It just had all this lovely character,” Ms. Honsberger says.

Today the house has four bedrooms and two bathrooms in 2,484 square feet of living space.

Ms. Honsberger, who took over the stewardship of the property after her mother’s death in 2007, says she kept many of the antiques her father bought at local auctions, along with the blue palette of the early days.

The floral wallpaper her mother chose still lines the upstairs hallway.

“There was a time when she did the whole house in Laura Ashley wallpaper – except the dining room.”

The wood fireplace surround in the current family room was rescued from the old stone house and restored by her father, Ms. Honsberger says.

Ms. Honsberger recalls summer picnics at the scenic Forks of the Credit River and winter weekends spent skiing in the Mulmur Hills.

“We’ve had the benefit of the country life that so many people want.”

The best feature

Ms. Honsberger says wild turkeys and foxes often amble by the home.Mitchell Hubble/Mitchell Hubble/Modern Movement Creative

In recent years, Ms. Honsberger has enjoyed keeping the property in the family for younger generations to enjoy.

Today the openings for two fireplaces – one for cooking and one for heating – can still be seen in the stone relic of the early farmhouse.

The 29 acres includes a hill dubbed “Old Baldie,” which Ms. Honsberger recalls climbing as a child. There are mature woods and walking trails throughout the property.

Ms. Honsberger says wild turkeys and foxes often amble by. Kids who visit like to search for patches of vegetation flattened by passing deer and their fawns.

“You can tell where the deer have been because they lay down for the night.”

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