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64 Hubbard Blvd., Toronto

Asking Price: $2,499,000

Taxes: $13,032 (2023)

Lot Size: 18 by 74 feet

Listing Agent: Shea Warrington, Royal LePage Estate Realty

Late in 2023 Shari Hosaki wasn’t sure she was ready to sell her beachfront townhouse in Toronto. With her listing agent Shea Warrington, she prepared an off-market listing brochure to gauge interest over the holiday period.

But as of Jan. 3, there are new rules for so-called “exclusive” listings that mean realtors can’t publicize or market such properties without porting the listing to a Canadian Real Estate Association-approved multiple listing service within three days.

The reluctance to immediately go public has less to do with organized real estate rules than it does with Ms. Hosaki’s unwillingness to let the property go, since living on the water fulfilled a long-time ambition.

“I’ve lived in The Beaches for almost my entire adult life, but I always wanted to live south of Queen,” said Ms. Hosaki. “When this [house] came up 3 1/2 years ago it was absolutely perfect, it exceeded my expectations.”

The house at 64 Hubbard is essentially in the centre of the stretch of sand that makes The Beach: Hubbard itself runs along the section of the waterfront between popular Kew Gardens Park and the smaller Balmy Beach Park. Across the street is a strip of parkland, the beach boardwalk and Lake Ontario.

“I really do believe the boardwalk has changed my life in terms of being healthy,” Ms. Hosaki said. “I moved here during the beginning of the pandemic, and the ability to walk on the boardwalk several times a day; I do feel like that was a huge benefit for me. It got me into some good habits in terms of health – it also provided a place for connection with friends and family – and I never really get tired of it. I have so many pictures of the sunrise on my phone.”

And she poured resources into making the home fit the setting: She estimates close to $300,000 was spent on upgrades to every level, and the exterior, to make her home match that Beachy vibe.

The House Today

  • Home of the Week, 64 Hubbard Blvd., TorontoRoyal LePage Estate Realty

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“I did some renovations before I moved in: I refinished all the floors to whitewashed oak, painted the whole house white and started adding details,” said Ms. Hosaki. The original finishes were what you might call builder standard from a decade or two ago: chunky oak banisters, iron spindles and that honey-orange stain for the wood. The exterior balconies (there’s one on each of the two upper floors and a roof deck) also featured heavy wooden spindles, which she and her neighbours collaborated to convert to glass railings.

The result is a seamless indoor-outdoor view on every level.

There’s no railing on the front porch, so once you enter the front door the tall bank of windows facing the lake provides an unobstructed view of the water from the front sitting area, through the dining area and into the kitchen at the back.

The countertop is a continuous run along the three walls and a fourth peninsula section separates the space from the dining area with bar seating. There’s open shelving in the dining area and minimal hardware on the cabinetry in the kitchen, further defining the spaces. The glass railings on the stairs reflect more light and the openness maximizes the 600 square feet of the floor plan.

Ms. Hosaki added a wall and pocket door to create a lake-facing bedroom on the second floor, but with working from home it has instead served as a full-time office. The other bedroom on this level is smaller but has a four-piece bathroom effectively to itself.

The third level retains the open concept, with the primary bedroom on the front of the house facing a wall of windows that opens out onto another lake-view balcony. On the rear of this level is the walk-in closet and five-piece bathroom (which together occupy one-third of the floor plan).

“I do spend a lot of time there as well, reading and just relaxing,” said Ms. Hosaki. “It’s nice to have a place that feels tranquil, peaceful and homey.”

One last flight of stairs takes you to the rooftop deck with 360-degree views of the beach to the south and city to the north, east and west.

A homecoming of sorts

Ms. Hosaki didn’t want to leave her beach home but her two children are grown, graduated and are living in British Columbia, so her goal is to join them there. As it happens, there’s also a family connection to Vancouver, and to one of Canada’s darkest historical episodes.

“My grandparents lived out here before the war and just after the war, they were asked to move inland, so they went to Ontario,” said Ms. Hosaki. Like her grandparents, she’s Japanese-Canadian, and her grandfather and grandmother were among the 23,000 people – 90 per cent of the country’s Japanese-Canadian population – that were dispossessed of their homes and businesses in British Columbia, with about 12,000 forced into internment camps between 1942 and 1945 at the height of the Second World War. The hardships of those camps, the injustice of the internment policy and the postwar ban on resettling in B.C. is a part of the legacy that Ms. Hosaki and all Canadians share.

“It’s such an important part of our history; very few people who know about it or in any kind of detail,” she said. Ms. Hosaki’s father was born after her family left the Bridge River internment camp in the B.C. interior and moved to Ontario, where her grandfather started a successful autobody business in Scarborough.

“What’s really interesting about Japanese culture and my grandparents is that whole generation carry very little animosity toward Canada, which I find remarkable. There’s a saying about just getting on with it, and that’s what the Japanese people did,” she said.

“Frankly, after the war, a lot of people of my generation and the generation before were not encouraged to learn Japanese,” she said, noting that when she joined the board of the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in 2010 she didn’t know her ancestral language either. “But about 13 years ago, I decided I really wanted to embrace it; learn about it. I immersed myself in the culture it’s been an amazing experience.”

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