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HomeLife/Realty One Ltd.

The listing: 4 Victoria St., Toronto

Asking Price: $1,299,000

Taxes: $4,162 (2019)

Monthly maintenance fees: $1,012

Size: 1,300 square feet

Agent: Jen Tripp, HomeLife/Realty One Ltd.

The backstory

The polished-granite cladding and arched window above the doorway evoke a bank.HomeLife/Realty One Ltd.

The townhouse at 4 Victoria St. is subtle. It’s not clear at first that these are not professional offices or the side entrance to a commercial building. The neighbourhood helps disguise it; here in the city’s core, less than a block from Yonge Street, almost every square foot of street-level space is for office or retail uses. But the door on Victoria Street just north of Wellington Street is in fact that of a house – a two-storey townhouse that is part of the podium of the Metropole condominium building. You can also enter via 7 King St. E., tip your hat to the concierge (Douglas) and enter your condo via the rear entrance (there’s also a parking garage with the unit’s locker right next to your space).

“When I was younger, we’d come to downtown Toronto and I watched these places being built in the mid-90s. I never imagined that we’d own one," Robert Ketcheson, the owner, said. "They are not offered that often, we were really fortunate to get one.”

Having a street entrance next to a hotel near the bustling city centre might come as a downside to some, but Mr. Ketcheson, who previously lived in a co-op building in Rosedale, said he quickly adapted.

“You can be as engaged with the outside as you want, or close up the plantation shutters to be private,” he said. It’s also nice to have the rest of the condo amenities, (gym, party room, pool, sauna, rooftop deck and barbecue). The maintenance fees cover most of the essentials: heating, hydro, parking, water and other common elements.

The unit is right in the heart of Toronto's core, less than a block from Yonge Street.HomeLife/Realty One Ltd.

For Mr. Ketcheson, who has been a corporate travel director for 25 years, the easy links to the city’s transit infrastructure have proved incredibly valuable. His work, simplified, is to be a tour director for clients rewarding staff on trips around the world. Sales team crushes the quarter and you want someone to manage all the arrangement for a weekend in Cabo? Robert’s the one who babysits and keeps everyone happy from check in to party time.

“If you’re the type of person who needs to be home for Sunday dinner, this isn’t the job necessarily for you. I’ve missed I don’t know how many birthdays,” Mr. Ketcheson said. “I used to be Up In The Air 200 days a year,” which is a sly referencing the Walter Kirn book (and later George Clooney movie) about the lifestyle of those who travel almost non-stop for work.

These days he and his partner spend a lot of the time in their country home, or in Florida for weeks at a time. They have less need for a downtown pied-à-terre as he reins in his travel schedule. “We’re down to half-time now, we’ve got a 30th anniversary coming up and we’re going to India,” he said. The time seems ripe to shift the townhouse. “We’re always redefining ourselves; we know that we need to be ready for our next adventure.”

The house today

The entrance foyer is down a few steps from the kitchen and living room.HomeLife/Realty One Ltd.

From the outside the polished-granite cladding and arched window above the doorway evoke a bank (indeed, part of the Metropole was a bank hall; under the flooring in his unit Mr. Ketcheson has found signs of the old terrazzo floors). There are shutters on all the windows for privacy, but when open, the wall of windows lets light flood in.

Dark hardwood floors run through the dining room.HomeLife/Realty One Ltd.

The entrance from the street opens into a small landing/foyer with a closet and a short set of stairs brings you into the living/dining room and kitchen. The kitchen cabinets are a cool grey, the appliances are stainless steel, the countertop and backsplash are dark granite and the floor is beige tile. Dark hardwood floors extend through the front sitting area and the dining room space, to the staircase leading to the second level (just past the powder room).

At the top of the stairs is the laundry closet with stacked washer dryer and the bathroom on this floor is the master bath, done with cool white marble counters, white tiles in the shower/tub and dark tiles on the floor.

The two bedrooms face Victoria Street.HomeLife/Realty One Ltd.

There are two bedrooms facing the street, the one on the north side of the suite is slightly larger and more “master”-ish than the other.

A third room to the rear that is an office/sitting room (and houses the interior access door to the Metropole building) could be converted to a bedroom.

HomeLife/Realty One Ltd.

Favourite attribute

Where it is in the city. The walk score for this townhouse is 100 – there is no higher walkability rating. It’s minutes to St. Lawrence Market, Berczy Park, Union Station, theatres, restaurants, the subway, and you don’t have to share a 40-storey elevator ride to get to the street – just step out your front door.

“We can cook, get on our bikes and go to the island and have dinner on the beach. Seven minutes there, seven minutes back from the ferry,” Mr. Ketcheson said. Across the street is the King Edward Hotel and the unit looks into the Sovereign Ballroom. “We can lounge in bed and watch the harpist play.”

The people-watching is also second to none. He recalls one morning when a dapper gentleman paused in front of their window to straighten his tie in the reflection. It was rapper and producer Sean (P Diddy) Combs, who was on Victoria Street with a film crew shooting a remake of A Raisin in the Sun. Unbeknownst to Puffy, Mr. Ketcheson was on the other side of that reflection, enjoying his coffee in his bathrobe.

“Sometimes I’m getting out of my car and people say: ‘This is a house? You live here?’ I feel as incredible as you do about it. This is where I live.”

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