If you’re a lover of the authentic loft, here’s your chance to own your own piece of history in South Cabbagetown.
The story goes that the Evening Telegram Lofts was once home to the Toronto Evening Telegram, a newspaper that later became the Toronto Telegram. When The Tely folded in 1971, former staffers founded The Toronto Sun leaving the vintage 1930s building to become a 16,000 square foot 14-unit office & studio rental. It remained a rental until the late 1990s when it was purchased for conversion to condo. In March 2001 it was retrofitted into this 10-unit loft conversion.
There is no record of the Tely ever being in the building at 264 Seaton Street. The only hard facts have them at Bay and Melinda Streets (the old building replaced by part of Commerce Court) from 1899 to 1963, when they moved to Front Street West.
Since the Tely was founded by John Ross Robertson in 1876, I am curious where the paper was based from 1876 to 1899. But I cannot find anything that points to the old building on Seaton Street. Looking at the Goad’s map for 1884, I don’t see anything that looks like the current building on Seaton. Nor in 1890 or 1893, not in 1899 nor 1903 or 1910, 1913 or 1924.
Standard legend has the Evening Telegram Lofts building being built in the 1930s, which seems accurate on the basis of my research and not finding it on any maps from 1924 and earlier. If so, it seems impossible for the Tely to have ever resided there.
City records show that there was a development meeting in 1972 to discuss converting a warehouse at 264-272 Seaton Street to residential use, I am assuming this is the rental portion of the building’s history. Yet this building was only ever at 264 Seaton… 272 is a house… Strange older records.
Either way, from 1990 to 1995 it was offered for sale 17 times! At that time it was owned by Soots Investments and was an office building. I have heard that the building went more to a loft rental space after 1995, maybe not quite on the legal side of things… sort of a starving artist kind of situation. It finally sold in May of 1995, though I cannot see to whom. The lofts were then put up for sale in 2001. Sadly, the developer has passed away and can no longer shed any light on the issue.
My same source indicates they remember seeing documentation about the Toronto Telegram using the building, but he is sure it was more for storage than anything. Thus, there is a tie to the paper, but a tenuous one that would not leave much of a historical record. And it jibes with the City development notice regarding a warehouse and some of the canonical history of the building.
Regardless, it is now a beautiful boutique hard loft located in south Cabbagetown on a lovely stretch of Seaton Street. This small converted loft building has only 10 units. Some of the lofts have private roof terraces or ground level patios (rare to get outdoor space with hard lofts). There are large semi-circular windows in some units, and they all have high lofty ceilings. There is no onsite parking, but permits are available for the street. Definitely worth looking at when they come up for sale, they can really be quite something.
For years South Cabbagetown suffered a bad reputation. Located east of Jarvis and south Of Gerrard all the way down to the other revitalizing neighbourhood called Corktown, this pocket of Victorian and infill properties has long been penned in by the social housing projects of Regent Park. Thus it served as a cheap housing and service area for the city’s prostitution and drug trade. I know a fair bit about it, as I lived as a child on Ontario Street, just south of Dundas.
But there’s a whole new vibe happening in the downtown east side, which is poised to transform with more flavour, village amenities and an inevitable increase in prices.
Along with the direct community efforts to resolve the social ills, Regent Park, a 69-acre site containing 2087 social housing units once lauded as a new model of community living in the 1950s, has been undergoing a substantial transformation into a new mixed social and market housing redevelopment that restores the original street patterns, provides commercial and retail services, and a recreation-centric green space to serve the community.
With everything going on in east Toronto – from Regent Park to the Canary District, East Bayfront to the West Don Lands – Cabbagetown is only getting more and popular and trendy every day. Now is the time to get in, before prices truly get out of hand.