Skip to main content

From the front porch of 331 Walmer Rd., owners Lewis Chesler and Fariba Cain-Chesler have a full view of Castle Loma’s elaborate annex.

Alexander J. Rothe

Listing: 331 Walmer Rd., Toronto

Asking Price: $2.78-million

Taxes: $12,119.04 (2017)

Story continues below advertisement

Lot Size: 21-by-137-feet

Agent: James Warren, Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd.

The back story

The homes on a quiet stretch of Walmer Road in Toronto were built in the 1920s and 1930s on land that once formed part of the grounds of Casa Loma.

The Toronto landmark was built as an opulent 98-room home for the industrialist and financier Sir Henry Pellatt.

But years before construction began in 1911 on the Gothic revival pile, the wealthy tycoon began assembling land on the brow of the escarpment above Davenport Road.

Walmer Road was the site of a hunting lodge and ornate stable complex where Sir Henry’s champion show horses were sheltered in mahogany stalls with Spanish floor tiles. The red brick complex included greenhouses, gardens, stables and orchards.

Sir Henry and his wife reportedly lived in the hunting lodge while Casa Loma was under construction.

The couple only lived in the house for about 10 years before Sir Henry’s fortune collapsed and he abandoned the property to his creditors. In the 1930s, the city seized Casa Loma for unpaid taxes.

In 1937 the stables were opened to the public as a heritage attraction.

In 1941, signs went up declaring the complex closed for repairs. The public didn’t know at the time that the stables were a top-secret facility and the workers coming and going were really engaged in work on an early form of sonar. After the original London production facility was bombed, the assembly of anti-submarine technology was moved to Toronto. Allied naval vessels used the technology to search for and destroy enemy submarines.

Today the stables are a tourist attraction once again – joined to Casa Loma by an 800-foot underground tunnel.

From the front porch of 331 Walmer Rd., owners Lewis Chesler and Fariba Cain-Chesler have a full view of the castle’s elaborate annex. Through the imposing gates, they often catch glimpses of the horses being led around the grounds in the summer months.

The semi-industrial kitchen designed by the Italy-based fashion label Diesel.

Alexander J. Rothe

The house today

Many of the homes that were built on the tree-lined streets north of the castle were purpose-built to house more than one family or were turned into multiplexes later.

Story continues below advertisement

Real estate agent James Warren of Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd. points out that the one-way stretch of Walmer north of the castle ends at a ravine and therefore receives very little through traffic.

“It’s almost a cul-de-sac.”

The Cheslers’ house was a four-plex until 2009, when a builder turned it into two semi-detached family homes.

The Cheslers purchased the semi at number 331 in 2014 and began their own redesign.

Mr. Chesler is a film and television producer who spent much of his early career working for a large Hollywood studio and then U.S. cable networks such as HBO and Showtime. Ms. Cain-Chesler, who was born in Iran and moved to Britain in her youth, studied landscape architecture and fashion design.

While living in the United States, she designed interiors for private jets.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Chesler and his partner were pioneers in Canada-U.S. co-productions, he says. They often produced holiday and romance-themed movies – using Toronto, Hamilton and surrounding areas as a backdrop.

When he flew into Toronto, Mr. Chesler often stayed at the Four Seasons in Yorkville in order to be close to the company’s development and financial offices. But over the years, he had grown increasingly exasperated with the Los Angeles traffic and sprawl.

“You’re so isolated in that city. The distances are just extraordinary.”

The house has plenty of wall space for Lewis Chesler’s art collection.

Alexander J. Rothe

He saw his business partner arriving to work in Toronto after a short walk and decided he would like that lifestyle for himself.

When the couple decided to buy a house in the city, Ms. Cain-Chesler found a location within a quick walk of Yorkville – including the steep staircase from the top of the escarpment to Davenport below.

“I walk to work every day,” he says. “I do that staircase twice a day.”

Story continues below advertisement

The two were also attracted to the house for its high ceilings and plentiful wall space for hanging Mr. Chesler’s art collection. The contemporary interior suited the furniture and objets d’art the couple brought from L.A.

Mr. Chesler brought the furniture and Ms. Cain-Chesler added the hits of colour.

“Working with colour is my favourite thing.”

Guests arrive to a living room with a bay window facing the street. A gas fireplace was closed in to accommodate the couple’s curving, modern sofa.

The dining room, in the centre of the main floor, has a round table under a large chandelier.

“It’s got a New York vibe to it,” Mr. Warren says of the main floor layout, which includes a staircase in the centre. “It’s an efficient use of space.”

Story continues below advertisement

At the rear, a large kitchen and eating area overlook the garden.

The couple put in a new semi-industrial kitchen designed by the Italy-based denim and fashion label Diesel S.p.A. The design house collaborated with Scavolini to create the kitchen under the brand Diesel Living.

“It’s literally the people that make your jeans,” Mr. Chesler says.

There are two bedrooms on the second floor, each with an ensuite bathroom.

Alexander J. Rothe

One of the guest bedrooms at the front of the house has cathedral ceilings.

Alexander J. Rothe

Upstairs, two bedrooms have ensuite bathrooms. One large guest room at the front of the house has a cathedral ceiling and views of the stables and the streetscape.

“They went right into the attic here so you’ve got these lovely, tall ceilings,” Mr. Warren says.

The master suite at the rear of the house has a cathedral ceiling and doors opening to a Juliette balcony in the treetops. The ensuite bathroom has a soaker tub, walk-in shower, and a marble floor.

The lower level has a home gym, a bathroom and a cedar-lined sauna.

The media room has extra sound insulation and a walk-out to the garden.

Mr. Chesler says the couple has held screenings of his company’s titles there and at other times the two just relax on their own with a film on the big screen.

Outside, Ms. Cain-Chesler used her background in landscaping to create a backyard with a relaxing deck and perennial gardens.

“I experimented with the plants here,” she says, after years of living in California.

The back garden sits under the shade of two oak trees original to the area.

“This whole area was the forest for Casa Loma,” Mr. Chesler says.

Ms. Cain-Chesler says she enjoys learning the history of Toronto because she moved to Canada only eight years ago.

The best feature

At the rear of the house, the Chesler’s have a private garage in a line of brick garages along the back lane. The converted structure was once the stables for the “lesser” horses of Casa Loma, Mr. Warren says.

The lesser horses were the work horses that didn’t enjoy the same pampering as Sir Henry’s show horses, he explains.

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
2795000.00
#2601 -55 SCOLLARD ST, Toronto, Ontario
Bedrooms
2
Bathrooms
3
Building Type
Condo/Strata
Property Type
Single Family
Stunning Clear Views From The North West Corner Of The Four Seasons Private Residences. Enjoy Sunny Afternoons And Sunset Views From Floor To Ceiling Windows Plus A 20 Ft Balcony Overlooking Yorkville In This Extremely Spacious Suite. Open Concept Living And Dining Room With Custom Designed Kitchen. Sip Morning Coffee At The Long Marble Topped Breakfast Bar. Hardwood Throughout, 10 Ft Ceilings. 2 Spacious Bedrooms, 3 Baths, Fabulous Amenities.**** EXTRAS **** Built In Subzero Fridge,Miele Gas Cooktop, Miele Oven.Full Concierge Services, Valet Parking For Residents And Their Guests, Membership To The Exclusive Health Club Including Indoor Pool, Full Hotel Services Available For Residents. (id:31729)
MLS® Number C4365110
Salesperson JANICE FOX
Brokerage HAZELTON REAL ESTATE INC.
Open this photo in gallery: Gallery photo 1
2525000.00
#7005 -1 BLOOR ST E, Toronto, Ontario
Bedrooms
3
Bathrooms
3
Building Type
Condo/Strata
Property Type
Single Family
Magnificent Condo At Yonge N Bloor East, Gigantic Core Of Fashion, Life And Finance In Canada. 1728 Sq Ft, 2+1 Bedrooms, 3 Washrooms, Unobstructed Panoramic Southwest View From 70th Floor, Spacious Balcony With Attractive Views From Cn Tower To Northern Part Of Toronto, 9 Ft High Ceiling Open Concept With High-End Finishes. Spacious Den For Future Library/Bedroom.Direct Access To Ttc.**** EXTRAS **** Built-In Sub-Zero Fridge/Freezer, Wolf Glass Cooktop/Convection Oven, Microwave, Washer/Dryer, Wine Cooler, Indoor/Outdoor Pool, Sauna, Party Room, Modern Gym, Window Covers (id:31729)
MLS® Number C4390432
Salesperson BONG SOO KIMM
Brokerage REALTY ASSOCIATES INC.
Open this photo in gallery: Gallery photo 1
2800000.00
#5001 -180 UNIVERSITY AVE, Toronto, Ontario
Bedrooms
2
Bathrooms
3
Building Type
Condo/Strata
Property Type
Single Family
*Extremely Rare To Find* This Stunning 2 Bedroom Private Estate Suite On The South West Corner. Spacious Balcony Facing South With Direct Sun! Incredible Views Of Lake, Toronto Island And Cn Tower. Enjoy Living With The Best Of Hotel Amenities Such As 24 Hour Gym, Pool, Hot Tub, Infrared Sauna, Steam Rooms, Spa, Momofuku Restaurant, Etc. Ranked As Condo Of The Week In Toronto Life Magazine.**** EXTRAS **** Italian Boffi Kitchen And Washrooms, Subzero Fridge And Wine Cooler, Miele Oven,Microwave, Coffee Maker, B/I Dishwasher, Front Load Washer & Dryer, Motorized Shades Throughout, All Elf's 2 Car Private Garage. (id:31729)
MLS® Number C4364596
Salesperson IOURI TCHOUMAK
Brokerage RE/MAX WEST REALTY INC.
Open this photo in gallery: Gallery photo 1
698000.00
#504 -6 PARKWOOD AVE, Toronto, Ontario
Bedrooms
2
Bathrooms
2
Building Type
Condo/Strata
Property Type
Single Family
Welcome To The Most Sought After Forest Hill Community, The Code Condos. 2 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms, Laminate Floor Throughout, 9 Ft Ceiling. Fabulous Amenities, Steps To Subway, Lrt, Loblaws, Forest Hill Shops & Restaurants!**** EXTRAS **** Elfs, Window Coverings, Fridge, Stove, Dish Washer, Microwave Range Hook, Washer And Dryer, Safe In Master Bedroom (id:31729)
MLS® Number C4298156
Salesperson SIMON HOI-SHING CHAN
Brokerage HOMELIFE/LEADER INC.
Open this photo in gallery: Gallery photo 1
829800.00
#1203 -5168 YONGE ST, Toronto, Ontario
Bedrooms
2
Bathrooms
2
Building Type
Condo/Strata
Property Type
Single Family
Gibson Square North Tower By Menkes. Azure Model 873 Sqft. Bright Sw Corner Unit. Split 2 Bdrms, 2 Baths. Best Location, Direct Access To North York Subway Station, Library, Loblaws & Movies. All Amenities, Luxury Facilities, Indoor Pool, 2 Party/ Meeting Rms & Much More.**** EXTRAS **** All Kitchen Appliances, Washer & Dryer, All Light Fixtures, All Window Covers, One Parking & One Locker. (id:31729)
MLS® Number C4379725
Salesperson JOOHYUN VERONICA KIM
Brokerage ROYAL LEPAGE NEW CONCEPT
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 .

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter