Quirky Toronto home dubbed ‘Leslieville Dollhouse’ hits the market – Toronto

A life-size dollhouse in the heart of Toronto’s Leslieville neighborhood that has delighted residents and tourists for decades is looking for a new owner.

The home, located at 37 Bertmount Ave., near Queen Street E. and Jones Ave., goes on the market Thursday.

It is decorated with hundreds of dolls, toys and other items, many of which have been donated to the homeowner over the years.

“The overall vibe is happiness, joy, love,” said listing agent Nadine Comeau of Re/Max Rouge River Realty. “In talking to the owner, Shirley, who has lived here for over 30 years … she said her purpose in life is to bring happiness to people and that’s what she’s done here.”

Tom Sumaisar, son of owner Shirley Sumaisar, said the family is selling the iconic home because his mother’s health is declining and she needs more care.

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“I love my mother, and in some ways I wish she could stay here and maintain the house, but she can’t maintain it anymore,” he said, adding, “I wish she could have this forever. And she wishes she could have it forever. But her health is not the best.”

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Sumaisar said the house was originally known for its front garden, for which his mother won an award from the city of Toronto.

When it became too difficult to maintain the garden, Sumaisar’s mother “turned to themes like Halloween and Christmas themes.”

“It was a transition for me too, I thought, ‘What’s going on here? Why are you doing this?’ and before I knew it people were fascinated by it and my mom said, ‘I just want to make people happy,’” he said.

What is the real story behind the dolls?

Sumaisar said collecting the items became a hobby and a distraction for his mother after his father passed away.

He said the house has taken on a life of its own and that people come from “all over the world” to see it.

“I have someone here from Australia who said they saw it on social media… So it has brought a lot of joy. I’m sure some people will feel differently, but it is what it is,” Sumaisar said.

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Neighbor Beau Hatcher says he’s not a fan of the house’s appearance, but he does respect the work that went into it.

“When we bought our house, I think a lot of people were freaked out by it. But we respect the individuality and the work that goes into it. And you know, they’re great neighbors,” Hatcher said.

Comeau acknowledged that the dollhouse is not a “typical house” and wondered whether it would be wise to remove the exterior decorations, but ultimately decided it was better to leave it as it was.

She declined to disclose the asking price, but noted that similar properties in the area have recently sold for between $1.5 million and $2 million.

As for the future of the dolls, Sumaisar said the family is considering inviting people to bring something they like as a keepsake.

“Maybe we’ll have people come back afterwards and take something with them if they want… That would make my mother happy, to know that people took something from her garden that made them happy.”

© 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



Caryn Lieberman

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