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Jordan Prussky Photography

477 Richmond St. W., No. 408/410, Toronto

Asking Price: $1,895,000

Taxes: $6,262 (2023)

Size: 2,100 square feet

Agents: Paul Johnston, Unique Urban Homes

The backstory

In December, 2019, four months before the pandemic shut the world down, Jyll Saskin Gales’s whole extended family descended on Suite 408/410 at 447 Richmond St. W., a loft in Toronto’s west end. The crowd of around 22 people ate food, played games and opened presents. Ms. Saskin Gales used every utensil and platter in her cupboards. Her grandfather, an excellent musician, played tunes on the piano in the centre of the living room.This is one memory that is baked into the walls of the suite at 477 Richmond, said Ms. Saskin Gales, who also remembers the following year when COVID-19 hit and her husband, an entrepreneur, set up his office in the storage closet next door while she started a marketing business from the third bedroom.

“My husband was a good sport for being in the storage room while I was in the bedroom with the window,” she jokes.

However, whether party or lockdown, she never felt cramped in her apartment. The loft has 2,100 square feet of living space with 11-foot, 4-inch high ceilings and large windows with views of the city. It is spacious and airy, unique when compared to the “glass boxes” Ms. Saskin Gales and Mr. Gales saw when house hunting.

“We saw all this amazing space and these hardwood floors and it just felt like a home,” said Ms. Saskin Gales. “This just felt huge but warm and inviting.”

Ms. Saskin Gales and her husband, who met at Harvard Business School, had just moved to Toronto from New York. They were looking to settle down and start a family. And at first glance, the one-bedroom loft wasn’t an obvious choice. Located in the centre of the Fashion District with a modelling agency on the lower floors, it lived up to the neighbourhood reputation with epic, late-night parties.

But over the years, Mrs. Saskin Gales and her husband have transformed the space into a family home. Once two units, it is now a three-bedroom condo. The new rooms, which started out as offices, were turned into children’s bedrooms. They also cleaned out and spruced up the storage room (located next door), turned a nook for displaying art into storage space filled with young-parent everyday essentials, and they updated the bathroom, adding the No. 1 item on Ms. Saskin Gales’s wish list: a big soaker tub.

“We still have parties, but more of the brunch-with-family variety,” said Ms. Saskin Gales, who now has a four year old and a newborn.

The photos posted for the sale of the home can’t capture its lived-state, she said. Children’s toys scattered across every inch of the apartment, drawings plastered to surfaces and her daughter giggling as she runs laps around the kitchen island.

The house today

  • Home of the Week, 477 Richmond St. W., No. 408/410, TorontoJordan Prussky Photography

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A large chef’s kitchen is the centre focus of the open-concept living area. A highlight is the 120-bottle-wine fridge tucked beneath an enormous kitchen island, great for cooking, entertaining and a little bit of both.

The master bedroom includes a walk-in closet and a large ensuite, including the “big soaker.”

Steps from the building, which is mixed residential and commercial, is the Ace Hotel, Waterworks, St Andrew’s Park, a new YMCA and the TTC. Across the road is Toronto’s first ever playground, built in 1908. (It has since been revitalized, thankfully, says Ms. Saskin Gales).

The vibrant, cheerful neighbourhood hides the site’s grim history. At one time a garment factory occupied the space of the current building. On Jan. 20, 1950 a fire broke out, killing nine workers who – due to boarded up windows and doors – could not escape the blaze. Only two people escaped. A Chief Coroner’s report called the factory “a death trap of the worst kind.” The fire inspired an investigation that exposed the deplorable and unsafe working conditions of Toronto’s garment workers and prompted workplace safety protections and regulations.

The best feature

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The vibrant neighbourhood is home to St Andrew’s Park and a new YMCA.Jordan Prussky Photography

Ms. Saskin Gales and her family are moving further north to be closer to her eldest child’s school. However, she constantly thinks about what she’ll be leaving: friendly faces in the elevator, the playground across the road and, maybe most importantly, the variety of incredible takeout options.

“It’s kind of fun, especially in the pandemic, to get to travel the world within a five-minute walk,” she said.

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