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The Schoolhouse Lofts – 391 Brunswick Avenue

The Schoolhouse Lofts is an intimate, boutique-style loft residence in a sought-after location within an established residential community surrounded by mature trees. The property, which was vacant for years, was built in the early 1950s and now houses only 19 exclusive lofts.

The Schoolhouse Lofts - 391 Brunswick Avenue

The renovated 1954 facade of the The Schoolhouse Lofts at 391 Brunswick Avenue

Converted from a Catholic schoolhouse, this Art Deco-inspired loft building is one of the hottest properties in the coveted Annex neighbourhood. The lofts range in size from 1,032 to 2,092 square feet – all with spacious terraces or balconies overlooking the quiet residential street on which it is located.

The Schoolhouse Lofts - 391 Brunswick Avenue

All of the Schoolhouse Lofts are large and luxurious

Loretto College School was founded as a private school by the Sisters of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1915. The roots of the school go back to 1847 when the Loretto Sisters from Ireland opened a boarding and day school for young Catholic women in Toronto. The boarding school eventually became known as Loretto Abbey and the day school as Loretto “Bond Street” and then Loretto College. The grand five-storey structure had opened its doors to 200 pupils in September 1915 as the Loretto Abbey Day School.

The Schoolhouse Lofts - 391 Brunswick Avenue

The front of the new school building sometime in the 1950s or 60s

While the sod was turned and the cornerstone blessed for this new building in September 1913, classes actually began in the three-story house at the back of the property. The commercial students from 81 Bond Street transferred to “Casa” in October 1913, and the music pupils from 538 Dovercourt Road came in 1914. When the main building opened, Casa became a residence.

The Schoolhouse Lofts - 391 Brunswick Avenue

Detail of the Art Deco entrance of the Schoolhouse Lofts

In September 1915, “Loretto Abbey Day School” opened in the new building at 387 Brunswick Avenue. The school comprised about 200 girls from Grades 1 to 13, including boarders and day students; the commercial and music students from Casa; and small boys from Grades 1 to 3.

The Schoolhouse Lofts - 391 Brunswick Avenue

Some of Loretto College’s students in 1963

In 1918, when Loretto College moved into this building from the old Abbey, the name was changed to “Loretto Abbey Day School and College,” and gradually became “Loretto College School,” remaining so even after the College moved to 86 St. George Street in 1937. As the High School continued to grow, Casa and Bains (purchased in 1947) were demolished in May 1953 to make way for the new school building north of 387 Brunswick, which opened in September 1954.

The Schoolhouse Lofts - 391 Brunswick Avenue

A bedroom from one of the The Schoolhouse Lofts on Brunswick Avenue

A fire in December 1999 at the older of the two buildings, at 387 Brunswick, turned out to be the beginning of the end for the Loretto Sisters on the street. The year after the fire, in 2000, Loretto’s Brunswick students were moved to a temporary location until a permanent home was found on Rosemount Ave. In 2001, the Sisters made the difficult decision to sell the original 1915 convent building, which by then had been designated a heritage site, and the school next door at 391 Brunswick, which opened in 1954. The buildings were sold as one property, but the new owner later resold them as separate entities.

The Schoolhouse Lofts - 391 Brunswick Avenue

The old classrooms of the Loretto school allow for the open spaces of the Schoolhouse Lofts

The conversion of the older building into lofts was completed in 2007. Then in 2012, the 1954 building went through its own transformation as the Schoolhouse Lofts. It was converted into 19 high-end lofts, each one slightly different from the next and each occupying one of the old classrooms in the mid-century structure.

The Schoolhouse Lofts - 391 Brunswick Avenue

Mid-Century and Art Deco meet in the facade of the Schoolhouse Lofts

Developed by Empire Communities, the three-storey building now boasts two additional floors that are surrounded by balconies and spacious terraces overlooking the leafy neighbourhood. Those additional floors are home to five two-storey penthouses that are perfect for entertaining and provide stunning views of the neighbourhood and Casa Loma.

The Schoolhouse Lofts - 391 Brunswick Avenue

All of the terraces of the Schoolhouse Lofts have treetop views of The Annex

The conversion of the school was complicated, the rear facade and a gymnasium at the back of the building were demolished, and a parking garage was built underneath. The back of the structure was rebuilt and the two additional storeys were added.

Around two-thirds of the original structure was kept, to give the building new life while preserving as many of the original features as possible. The red-brick masonry, as well as such structural elements as supporting walls and window heights, have been retained.

The Schoolhouse Lofts - 391 Brunswick Avenue

Marilyn Bell, the most famous woman to attend the Loretto School

NB: Probably the most famous alumni of the Loretto school was Marilyn Bell, the Canadian long-distance swimmer who was the first person to swim across Lake Ontario in 1954.

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Contact Laurin Jeffrey for more information – 416-388-1960

Laurin Jeffrey is a Toronto real estate agent with Century 21 Regal Realty.
He did not write every article, some are reproduced here for people who
are interested in Toronto real estate. He does not work for any builders.

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Summary
The Schoolhouse Lofts - 391 Brunswick Avenue
Article Name
The Schoolhouse Lofts - 391 Brunswick Avenue
Description
The Schoolhouse Lofts is an intimate, boutique-style loft residence in a sought-after location within an established residential community surrounded by mature trees.
Author
Laurin Jeffrey - Century 21 Regal Realty