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Sloane Square Lofts – 217 St. George Street

217 St. George Street – and all of the other historic houses that line the street – typify the single family houses that once lined the grand streets of the Annex. The Annex, known as one of the City’s first “suburban” neighbourhoods, retains many of its historic houses, typically now home to professors, writers, and university students.

Sloane Square Lofts - 217 St. George Street

The old semi-detached house at 217 St. George Street

Around 1994, the historic house at 217 St. George, along with the adjacent religious/educational facility, was converted to lofts and townhouses by Urbancorp. The first MLS listing was in 1994, with the builder offering more in 1995. Many units are on 2 levels, though some are single. Unfortunately, there are very few units in the original home, most are in the new part. The lofts range from around 500 square feet to over 1,500 square feet. Some have balconies, some have terraces and most have parking.

Sloane Square Lofts - 217 St. George Street

Inside on of the Sloane Square Lofts at 217 St. George Street

Each loft has its own private entrance; those on the second storey access their homes via private street entrances which lead to sets of stairs that transport loft owners to their homes. Unfortunately, as with the rest of the converted mansions on St. George, the majority of the units are not in the old house.

Sloane Square Lofts - 217 St. George Street

The newer townhomes behind and to the south of the original house

The area is filled with homes originally built between 1880-1910 showcasing some of the finest examples of Victorian, Queen Anne and Richardsonian Romanesque architectural styles. Unlike the house by Eden Smith at 228 St. George and E. J. Lennox’s design for Toronto candy baron Robert Watson at number 234, we don’t know much about this one.

Sloane Square Lofts - 217 St. George Street

A dapper fellow on St. George Street near Lowther in 1910

The Church of England Deaconess and Missionary Training House was established in 1890 as a residential school to prepare women workers for Deaconess and missionary service. In 1947 the name was changed to the Anglican Women’s Training College (AWTC). Anglican women from all over Canada came to Toronto to train for work in Christian Education in parishes, medical and teaching services overseas, Indian and Eskimo Residential Schools and reserves, Bishop’s Messengers in western Canada, Sunday School by Post and Radio, youth and social work. The Woman’s Auxiliary recruits were sent to the AWTC for missionary training for a year or less before being sent out. This was different from the three year diploma program offered to AWTC students.

Sloane Square Lofts - 217 St. George Street

AWTC students across the street from 217 St. George, preparing for an outing in 1951

The training house moved in 1946 to a new location closer to the main university campus, 217 St. George Street. The move to St. George Street was seen as a strategic attempt to better integrate the college into the happenings of the university and leverage a wider array of course offerings for its students. Graduates from the college were highly sought after to help aid overburdened male clergy in city parishes or to work in remote communities that could not find or afford ordained clergyman.

Sloane Square Lofts - 217 St. George Street

The Sloane Square property as it looked in 1993 when it was sold to Urbancorp

In 1963 they sold the house on St. George. In 1969, the AWTC merged with the United Church’s Covenent College to become the Centre for Christian Studies and moved into the former AWTC building on Charles Street. The house was owned by the Baptist Convention Of Ontario & Quebec from 1963 through to its sale to developers in November of 1993. They had built out and around the old house, much like the townhouses on the site today. The site had three blocks of connected buildings totalling 32,700 square feet at the time of the sale.

Sloane Square Lofts - 217 St. George Street

The only image I can find of the buildings that were torn down to make room for the new phase of the Sloane Square Lofts. These housed the school for most of the years.

The original house first shows up on the 1910 Goad’s map, but the structure shown on the map looks different than it did in later years – it looks like only one half of a semi was built. Come 1913 and the structure doubles in size. The house today does have a semi-detached look to it, with symmetrical first and second floors. The two front doors may not be original, but they go along with the theme. It also explains why the structure sits right on the property line, half on each side of the lot line between lots 63 and 64. So we know that the south half of the original house was built after 1903 and before 1910, with the northern half completed between 1910 and 1913. It probably was not a fancy commission by a famous architect, such as many of the other mansions along St. George Street, built for scions of Toronto history. Thus its provenance may be lost to us.

Sloane Square Lofts - 217 St. George Street

Most Sloane Square units are townhouse-style. But they are still nice – and in a great location!

But the name is driving me nuts; who is “Sloane” that the complex is named for? Possibly named for the part of London with the same name. Lots of red brick there, and the mews style of the Sloane Square Lofts is rather English. Sloane Square is a small hard-landscaped square in central London, southwest of Charing Cross. The area forms a boundary between the two largest aristocratic estates in London, the Grosvenor Estate and the Cadogan – could be linked to 217 St. George being between Yorkville and The Annex? We may never know…

Sloane Square Lofts - 217 St. George Street

The newer portion of the Sloane Square Lofts at 217 St. George Street

Though the residential areas of the Annex neighbourhood are serene and peaceful, the main streets including Bloor Street West, Bathurst, College, Avenue Rd and Spadina Rd are bustling and promise plenty to do whether you seek shopping, a pint, a film, or a dining experience of any kind.

Sloane Square Lofts - 217 St. George Street

Luxury living in The Annex at the Sloane Square Lofts on 217 St. George Street

The Annex is a curious neighbourhood of both student-friendly fixtures that won’t put much of a dent in your pocketbook and a growing collection of upscale dining establishments that draw crowds from all over Toronto, but regardless of what you are looking for, you will no doubt find it within this well-known and well-loved neighbourhood. Sloane Square Lofts promises a historic home to love and live it up in this charming neighbourhood.

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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
Sloane Square Lofts - 217 St. George Street
Article Name
Sloane Square Lofts - 217 St. George Street
Description
The Sloane Square Lofts at 217 St. George Street - and all of the other historic houses that line the street - typify the single family houses that once lined the grand streets of the Annex.
Author
Laurin Jeffrey - Century 21 Regal Realty