Nursing Lofts – 33 Price Street

The Nursing Lofts are housed in the old nurses’ headquarters on the border between Rosedale and Summerhill

History of the Nursing Lofts

33 Price Street was built in 1956 as the headquarters of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO). Now known as the Nursing Lofts, it is an authentic loft conversion located in the heart of Summerhill, just north of Yonge & St. Clair. In 1995-1996, the 4-storey structure was refashioned into 20 unique loft units. The development task went to 33 Price Street Developments Ltd., which completed the undertaking in 1996.

Nursing Lofts – 33 Price Street

Entry to the mid-century Nursing Lofts conversion at 33 Price Street

The brownstone complex boasts a simple Georgian facade that seamlessly blends the look of the building with the surrounding structures. While the Nursing Lofts offer very little in terms of amenities – other than (surface) parking space and storage lockers – residents benefit from beautiful decorations, architectural heritage, and privacy.

Nursing Lofts – 33 Price Street

While not traditionally “lofty” the Nursing Lofts have their own elegance

The quaint and charming units each have their own unique floor plan, ranging in size from 470 to 1,458 square feet. As befits the neighbourhood, the Nursing Lofts feature outstanding finishes such as stacked washers and dryers, 9-foot ceilings, marble window sills, limestone floors, and French doors to the outdoors. The kitchens include marble finishes and stainless steel appliances. Some units are 2 storeys and feature a fireplace and a skylight.

Nursing Lofts – 33 Price Street

This Nursing Loft has a walkout to ground floor patio

Unfortunately the interiors of the Nursing Lofts are more like condos, there really is no sense of history. Not there is much in what used to be essentially an office building from mid-century. It is cool, though, that each unit is different. Some have 2 levels, most have 1. The lower level units have terraces, end units have small balconies and rest have Juliette balconies.

Nursing Lofts – 33 Price Street

The simple and understated neo-Georgian exterior of the Nursing Lofts

Since 1925, the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario has been an advocate for healthy public policy and nursing practices. In 1925 The Graduate Nurses’ Association of Ontario (GNAO) changed their name to become the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO). The GNAO was formed in 1904 as Ontario’s provincial nursing organization, and was largely responsible for the passing of the Nurses Registration Act of 1922.

Nursing Lofts – 33 Price Street

The RNAO building starting construction at 33 Price Street in 1956

In the 1930s, the RNAO is instrumental in developing standards for nursing education and practice, and subsequently closes 37 small schools of nursing in Ontario that do not meet its requirements. The association protects the title “registered nurse” by making registration mandatory.

Nursing Lofts – 33 Price Street

A meeting is held at RNAO’s headquarters on 33 Price Street in the late 1950s

In 1951 The Nurses’ Registration Act, the culmination of years of effort and a milestone in the history of nursing in Ontario, is passed, giving the association responsibility for creating regulations regarding standards of admission to schools of nursing; determining courses of study in these schools; setting examinations for registration; and issuing, renewing, and cancelling certificates of registration.

Nursing Lofts – 33 Price Street

The Yonge subway line looking south from south of St. Clair towards Summerhill, the RNAO building on Price Street should be in the mist at the upper left

Not long afterward, the RNAO builds and moves into its new headquarters on Price Street in Toronto in 1956. They were there for almost 40 years when they moved to 438 University Ave. in 1995. Conversion work began that same year and in 1996 the conversion to the Nursing Lofts was completed.

Nursing Lofts – 33 Price Street

Bedroom of one of the units at the Nursing Lofts at 33 Price Street

The old Registered Nurses Association of Ontario Building was designated heritage by the city and is part of the South Rosedale Heritage Preservation Disctrict. The smaller sub-neighbourhood of Rosedale where the Nursing Lofts are located is generally known as Summerhill. Best defined by the gorgeous of the old Summerhill CPR Station – now the city’s best LCBO outlet, there is more to the area than just trains and booze.

Nursing Lofts – 33 Price Street

Summerhill LCBO, inside the gorgeous old CP North Toronto Railway Station

The Summerhill neighbourhood is named after ‘Summer Hill’ house, a magnificent Regency cottage built in 1842, by transportation baron Charles Thompson. Summer Hill stood on the crest of the hill where the houses on Summerhill Gardens are located today. Thompson’s two hundred acre estate stretched from present day Yonge Street to Mt. Pleasant Road. On this site Thompson established the ‘Summer Hill Spring Park and Pleasure Grounds’. This amusement park featured rides, games, swimming and a popular dance pavilion that was located inside the Summer Hill house.

Nursing Lofts – 33 Price Street

Look down the laneway and you can see the c1865 Summer Hill Coach House still standing

Thompson’s heirs subdivided Summer Hill in the 1860s. But the former Summer Hill Coach House, dating from around 1865, is still standing today, at the rear of a house on Summerhill Gardens. This house with its distinctive slate roof can be seen from the south end of the Rosehill Reservoir.

Nursing Lofts – 33 Price Street

Aerial view of the Summerhill area taken in the late 1980s. You can see the prominence of the railway in the area. RNAO building is outlined and Summerhill LCBO can be seen to its left.

Not long afterward, in the 1880s, the North Toronto Railway Station was established on Yonge Street and the neighbourhood of Summerhill quickly developed around it. The station we all know came about when the original station was rebuilt in honour of a visit by the Prince of Wales in 1916.

Nursing Lofts – 33 Price Street

Northeast corner of Yonge and Price Streets in the 1980s

In the 1920’s the Canadian Pacific Railway made Summerhill their main Toronto station. When Summerhill station closed this neighbourhood went into a period of decline that lasted until the Summerhill subway station opened in 1954. Summerhill has enjoyed a position of prominence among Toronto neighbourhoods ever since. The station, along with the still-operational CP railway bridge, is a landmark of the neighbourhood. As part of the provincial government’s “MoveOntario 2020” program, plans are being considered to return the building to its original use as a train station, serving the planned GO Transit Crosstown line.

Nursing Lofts – 33 Price Street

Entrance to the Nursing Lofts at 33 Price Street

Summerhill is a safe, pleasant, and walkable neighbourhood just steps from the fine shops and restaurants of St. Clair, Rosedale, and Yorkville. Its positioning in the heart of midtown on the Yonge Street corridor means everything from quick errands, to fine dining are easily accessible.

Nursing Lofts – 33 Price Street

Lobby of the Nursing Lofts at 33 Price Street

In recent years, Summerhill’s Yonge street strip has become a destination for interior design with many home décor and antique shops lining the neighbourhood’s few blocks. Getting around the city is simple, with Summerhill subway station centrally located within walking distance of most homes.

Nursing Lofts – 33 Price Street

Ground floor terrace of one of the Nursing Lofts at 33 Price Street

A mature tree canopy, an abundance of parklands and quick access to Rosedale’s various ravines make Summerhill an extremely picturesque neighbourhood. Rosehill Reservoir Park includes Summerhill Gardens, which has a path to David A. Balfour Park and Nature Tail at its south end. The upper portion of reservoir includes a playground, wading pool, waterfall and reflecting pools.

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