Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Re/Max Escarpment Realty Inc./Handout

The listing: 50 Forest Ave., Hamilton

Asking Price: $1.299-million

Taxes: $8,250 (2018)

Story continues below advertisement

Lot Size: 33 feet by 99 feet

Agents: Lori VanDinther, RE/MAX Escarpment Realty Inc.

The back story

The lower floor of the Corktown home is now a doctor's office.

Re/Max Escarpment Realty Inc./Handout

Houses in Hamilton’s historic Corktown sometimes come packed with stories and distinctions. Some are significant heritage properties worthy of preservation. Dr. Ian Derby and his wife, Susan, have owned and run his neurology practice out of a property like that for more than 40 years now.

Dr. Derby says he has heard second-hand accounts of the building’s provenance, as either the work of architect Frederick James Rastrick or, alternately, of his son, Edward Llewellyn Rastrick. Ms. Derby says her research lead her to the same conclusion: “I learned that the son, Edward Llewellyn Rastrick, who studied under his father and became an architect, was most likely involved in the design of the house and subsequently lived here.”

Frederick James Rastrick’s role in Ontario architectural history was not huge, but has been noted by architectural historians such as Stephen Otto, though Mr. Otto also wrote an article that debunked common myths about the British transplant who arrived in Canada in the early 1850s and died in 1897. The Biography of Canadian Architects entry for Frederick James Rastrick lists nine residences designed by him in Hamilton, none of which are on Maria (later renamed Forest) Street.

It’s common to ascribe famous Hamilton landmarks such as the Amisfield Castle or the Customs House to Frederick James Rastrick, but Mr. Otto could find no connection between the architect and the buildings. Even the house next door to Dr. Derby’s house, 46 Forest, has been called “the Rastrick House,” but – although it was Frederick James’s residence, then his family’s home from 1858 until approximately 1909 – it was not designed or built by him. Mr. Otto’s view was that Mr. Rastrick’s most significant contributions to the city were some of the stone warehouses he built, and a Bank of Upper Canada building. He also added a wing of the Sunday school at the Church of Ascension, next door to 50 Forest.​

“Currently, the City does not have any information on file that would confirm or refute that the building at 50 Forest Avenue was designed by F.J. Rastrick,” writes Marie K. Fitzpatrick, communications officer with the Planning & Economic Development department of the City of Hamilton.

Story continues below advertisement

The City of Hamilton’s heritage department did investigate the property, according to Ms. Fitzpatrick: “A preliminary screening of the heritage value of the property at 50 Forest Avenue, Hamilton was undertaken in 2015. The building is believed to have been constructed in the late 1890s, but additional research is still required to determine if the design of the building is attributed to a significant architect, builder or designer. The property is listed on the City of Hamilton’s Register of Properties of Cultural Heritage Value or Interest. It is also on the City’s designation work plan and slated for review in 2022.

“The 0.08 acre property is located in a block comprised of a rare surviving cluster of late-nineteenth century buildings highlighted by the Church of Ascension, a prominent landmark in the south-central part of the Downtown. The historical value or interest of the property lies in its association with late nineteenth century development in Downtown Hamilton.”

So, whether or not it’s a Rastrick house, it’s a piece of the fabric of downtown Hamilton. Regardless, Dr. Derby sees the structure as worthy of note. “I think it’s a lovely place for that period,” he says.

The house today

The 2,760-square-foot living space is above the doctor's office.

Re/Max Escarpment Realty Inc./Handout

Today, 50 Forest is a doctor’s office. The entire lower floor is divided into four exam rooms and an office space. Almost all of the heritage character has been stripped away, though there is a charming bit of stained glass preserved.

The interior is unremarkable and dated. “It’s a house that’s all white inside, oak trim baseboards and some black accents, very simplistic in its approach,” Dr. Derby says. “It would have been considered an advanced design for the 1970s.”

Re/Max Escarpment Realty Inc./Handout

The unremarkable interior is mostly white, and the kitchen cabinets need updating.

Re/Max Escarpment Realty Inc./Handout

There are living quarters upstairs, a kitchen and living space with cabinets in need of updating, and a loft bedroom as well. There are two bathrooms, 2,760 square feet and a basement bedroom.

Story continues below advertisement

The outside has plenty of character though. The City of Hamilton’s heritage report describes it as “a brick vernacular building influenced by the Queen Anne architectural style, believed to have been constructed in the late 1890s." Features of the style include: "The two-storey projecting bay with pedimented gable; the variety of windows, such as semi-circular, segmental and oval-shaped, with rusticated stone sills and brick voussoirs; the brick detailing; the broken-course, cut-stone foundation; and the variety of materials and textures, such as the brick façades, stone foundation and accents and wood shingling in the gable.”

The living space also features a loft bedroom and this reading nook.

Re/Max Escarpment Realty Inc./Handout

Modern exterior updates include a two-car garage, heated steps (to keep the entrance non-slip for patients) and a steel roof.

Initially listed for sale in August, 2018, the couple have had interest from developers and from doctors looking to set up their practice there. Their agent, Lori Van Dinther with Re/Max Escarpment Realty Inc. has been focusing on professionals – dentists etc. – looking for either a live-work arrangement or to completely convert the living spaces to more offices.

Because of the hybrid nature of the property, Ms. Van Dinther is not worried about the 1970s gut-job of the interior. “In a residential home, people would be more concerned with that,” she says. “In a late-1800s early 1900s house, people want to see the old gumwood trim. For a business, I don’t know.”

The building's exterior retains plenty of heritage charm.

Re/Max Escarpment Realty Inc./Handout

The building’s uncertain provenance may actually be beneficial to someone looking to modernize, says Ms. Van Dinther, since there is no heritage designation to slow the process.

“The benefit is that if somebody does want to do some work to it, it’s not going to be tough,” she says. "I’m marketing it as an investment in Corktown.”

Story continues below advertisement

She cites a comparable sale nearby of a $1.1-million pub in a historic character house. “It didn’t have any of the cool history that our building does.”

Your house is your most valuable asset. We have a weekly Real Estate newsletter to help you stay on top of news on the housing market, mortgages, the latest closings and more. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct

For sale in this area

View similar listings below. Clicking on the map will take you to the listings below.

Open this photo in gallery: Gallery photo 1
499900.00
101 YOUNG ST, Hamilton, Ontario
ROYAL LEPAGE MACRO REALTY
Bedrooms
3
Bathrooms
1
Building Type
Freehold
Property Type
Single Family
Welcome To 101 Young Street! Move In Today To This 3 Bed, 1.5 Storey Home Located In Hamilton's Vibrant Corktown Neighbourhood. Features A Fully Upgraded Bath, Lrg Kitchen W/ Quartz Countertop, S/S Appliances, Custom Cupboards, Updated Electrical & Plumbing, Freshly Painted W/ New Flooring, Windows & Updated Light Fixtures. Spacious Backyard W/ Deck For Entertaining. Close To All Amenities!**** EXTRAS **** Walking Distance To St. Joe's, Go Station, Public Transit, Easy Access To Downtown, Mountain, Schools, Corktown Park, Shopping, Local Food & Drink Establishments. Fridge, Stove, Dishwasher. (id:31729)
Listing ID X5376530
Salesperson DAVID MCKINNON
Brokerage ROYAL LEPAGE MACRO REALTY
Open this photo in gallery: Gallery photo 1
499900.00
101 YOUNG Street, Hamilton, Ontario
Royal LePage Macro Realty
Bedrooms
3
Bathrooms
1
Building Type
Freehold
Property Type
Single Family
Welcome to 101 Young Street! Move in today to this 3 bedroom, 1.5 storey home located in Hamilton's vibrant Corktown neighbourhood. Features a fully upgraded new bathroom and large kitchen with a quartz countertop, stainless steel appliances, custom cupboards, updated electrical and plumbing, and is freshly painted with new flooring, newer windows and updated light fixtures throughout. Spacious backyard completed with a deck for entertaining. One car drive way, if a car is needed at all! This home is in walking distance to St. Joseph's Hospital, the Hunter St. GO Station, public transit, easy access to downtown and the mountain, Queen Victoria School, steps to Corktown Park, shopping for any amenities and local food and drink establishments - there is something for everyone! Don't miss out on this fantastic home, book your viewing today! (id:31729)
Listing ID H4116922
Salesperson David Robert McKinnon
Brokerage Royal LePage Macro Realty
Open this photo in gallery: Gallery photo 1
229900.00
10 4 ROBINSON Street, Hamilton, Ontario
Royal LePage State Realty
Bedrooms
2
Bathrooms
1
Building Type
Cooperative
Property Type
Single Family
Affordable adults only Co-Op apartment located in the desirable Durand neighborhood, with a high walk score you are steps to the Hunter St Go station, St Joes hospital, Durand Park and numerous other amenities this community has to offer. Enjoy dining at the fabulous restaurants of James S and Augusta St, or an evening stroll to the trendy Arts District. South/west exposure provides plenty of light in this 2 bedroom unit ready to move into today. Monthly fee includes property tax, heat and water. Must obtain board approval and provide credit and police check. Rentals are not allowed. (id:31729)
Listing ID H4114161
Salesperson Debra Rooney
Brokerage Royal LePage State Realty
Open this photo in gallery: Gallery photo 1
649900.00
34 BAILLIE ST, Hamilton, Ontario
RIGHT AT HOME REALTY INC.
Bedrooms
3
Bathrooms
3
Building Type
Freehold
Property Type
Single Family
Welcome To 34 Baillie Street. This 3 Bed/3Bath Home Sits On A Quiet Cul-De-Sac In The Trendy Corktown Neighbourhood. Surrounded By Unique Shops, A Variety Of Restaurants And Local Favoured Pubs. Walking Distance To Two Parks-Shamrock Park & Corktown Park & Pavilion. Short Walk To St. Joseph's Hospital Or Multiple Transit Options-Ham-T.O. Bike/Walk Keddys's Acces Trail. Option To Apply For A Street Parking Permit To Add An Additional Private Parking Spot.**** EXTRAS **** Stainless Steel Kitchen Appliances With New Dishwasher. Harwood Throughout Main Floor. Laminatwelce On The Complete Upper Level. 4 Piece Washroom With Tiled Shower Surround. New Washer & Dryer In Basement-With 4 Piece Washroom & Bonus Room. (id:31729)
Listing ID X5356171
Salesperson RYAN ZOGALA
Brokerage RIGHT AT HOME REALTY INC.
Open this photo in gallery: Gallery photo 1
625000.00
173 WALNUT Street S, Hamilton, Ontario
Keller Williams Signature Realty, Brokerage
Bedrooms
2
Bathrooms
2
Building Type
Freehold
Property Type
Single Family
Come home to 173 Walnut St S... Renovated end unit, stately 2-storey brick row house nestled on a quiet highly sought after street in the heart of stylish Corktown. Walk to everything this fabulous neighbourhood has to offer... restaurants & nightlife on Augusta, John, & James streets, GO station for easy commute, St. Joe's Hospital, close to parks & trails. Loads of character and NO condo fees! Modern & bright, 2 bed, 1.5 baths, 9ft+ ceilings, wide baseboards. Spacious primary bedroom with ensuite & sliding barn door. Kitchen boasts a huge skylight, quartz counters, sleek soft-close cabinets, and opens onto your lush private deck, perfect for a quiet coffee, hosting Sunday brunches or drinks before a night out. Beautiful low maintenance landscaping means less work & more play. Dedicated parking spot in back. Book your showing today before this gem is gone. (id:31729)
Listing ID 40167516
Salesperson Brenda Mitchell
Brokerage Keller Williams Signature Realty, Brokerage
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies