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October 21 2021 | City

Toronto Real Estate Feature – The Half House

Hello friends and family! Danielle Demerino here from the Danielle in the City, Toronto Real Estate Team. As most of you know, my goal is to work with my clients on not only building their dreams, but building their wealth through real estate. I’ve spent nearly 13 years in the industry and over the years I have seen so many different types of real estate. From high end to tear downs, from huge to tiny, from the city to the suburbs. I have sold, viewed and bought so many different types of properties and one home that caught my eye that I just had to feature is Toronto’s own “Half House“.

The Toronto Half House is exactly what it sounds like…it’s half of a house! Located at 54 (and a half) St. Patrick Street, this lonely row home dates back to the Toronto slums of the late nineteenth century. The home was originally one of 6 identical row homes built on what was once known as Dummer Street.


A Changing Neighbourhood

As the years went by, towards the middle of the twentieth century the neighbourhood began to change. Buildings changed, demographics changed, even the street names changed! Land holding companies began to buy up the neighbourhood. Slowly but surely, owners of the row houses began to sell their properties and half houses were demolished at a snail like pace until there was only one left!

Beginning in 1957, the block was slowly bought piece by piece by Windlass Holdings Ltd., also known as the company that developed the Village by the Grange. Windlass Holdings was often referred to as a company that used an aggressive strategy to buy up land. The owner of 54 1/2 St. Patrick Street recalls one year he received over 300 directives on his house.

Yes you read that correctly, ‘half houses’ were demolished one by one as they were purchased. That of course leads us to the question…how can half of a building be torn down but the other half remains intact? The only way to accomplish this by doing it very carefully!


54 1/2 St. Patrick Street’s neighbour to the north was brought down by a very precise demolition crew who managed to perform the task without disturbing the half house that remains to this day. The crew worked to ensure that not even the woodwork was disturbed. What was one day an internal supporting wall became an exterior wall and a tourist attraction in Toronto real estate. If any house has earned it’s uniqueness, it’s certainly 54 1/2 St. Patrick Street.

Like I said, I had to do a feature on this interesting home. If you or someone you know is looking for a Toronto real estate agent, please feel free to give me a call at 416-728-5401.