In this Nov. 1960 file photo, U.S. novelist Ernest Hemingway attending a bullfight in Madrid, Spain. (AP Photo, File)

Apartment where Ernest Hemingway lived up for sale in Toronto

He lived in the city between 1923 and 1924 when he was working as a journalist for the Toronto Star

An apartment briefly occupied by Ernest Hemingway at the end of his tenure in Toronto went up for sale Tuesday, putting a spotlight on the writer’s somewhat rocky relationship with Canada.

The American novelist lived in the two-bedroom unit in the midtown building — which now carries his name — for about six months between 1923 and 1924 when he was working as a journalist for the Toronto Star, said Kaitlin Wainwright, the director of programming for Heritage Toronto.

“He came back to Toronto in 1923 and he almost immediately regretted it,” she said, noting that for Hemingway, the city didn’t measure up to Paris, where he had been acting as the Star’s foreign correspondent.

“He really struggled with kind of the Protestantism and the ‘Toronto the Good’ mentality.”

READ MORE: Book returned to B.C. library 42 years overdue

Wainwright said Hemingway saw the city — to which he first moved in 1920 — as a “provincial backwater,” which perhaps wasn’t too far off the mark. In the 1920s, Toronto was not yet the bustling metropolis it would become.

“You can kind track through his time not only in Toronto, but in the early 1920s as he’s moving around to other cities working for the Star, the evolution of his writing,” Wainwright said, noting that when Hemmingway started working for the Toronto paper he was paid less than a penny per word, leading to a more verbose writing style.

“Obviously Hemingway the novelist is really known for a very minimalist use of language, a very sparse use of language,” she said. “But when you go back and read some of his earlier works, it’s like, what? This is not the Hemingway that we knew.”

His time in the apartment on Bathurst Street was also an important period for Hemingway and his wife; she was expecting her first child, said Wainwright.

Of Torontonians, he wrote, “we’ve come to the right place to have a baby, because that is the specialite de ville — the speciality of the city. They don’t do anything else.’”

Wainwright said the midtown neighbourhood where the apartment is located is also noteworthy, because it also acted as an incubator for other notable Torontonians.

“The number of luminaries in Toronto arts and culture who lived there in the middle part of the 20th century is really striking to me,” she said, listing literary critic Northrop Frye and musician Glenn Gould as residents.

Listing agent Andrew Harrild of Condos.ca said the Hemmingway unit offers buyers a chance to own 102 square metres (1,100 square feet) of literary history.

“You get a nice feeling when you walk into the place,” he said. “An eerie sense of history.”

Harrild said it’s long been known that Hemingway lived in the building, but it wasn’t until about five years ago that scholars discovered he had rented out Unit 19 specifically. An American found his year-long lease — signed in October 1923 and broken early so he could leave the city — that specified his unit and his rent: $85 per month.

Now, the unit is listed for $730,000 with monthly condo fees of $911.

Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Update: Saturday night fire on Stemwinder Drive in Kimberley

In the early hours of Sunday, June 15, a fire broke out… Continue reading

KEYSA offers to support potential BMX track reconstruction

A local youth soccer organization hoping to construct an indoor facility at… Continue reading

Cranbrook names 2019-20 Youth Ambassadors

Sheila Martine (Princess) and Faith McWhirter (Sweetheart) chosen at Friday night pageant

College, Ktunaxa sign new agreement building on long-standing partnership

An agreement between the College of the Rockies and the Ktunaxa Nation… Continue reading

It happened this week in Cranbrook: 1912

June 9-15: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from newspapers at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

‘This is unbelievable:’ Raptors dazzled by massive crowds at downtown Toronto parade

Mayor John Tory declares it ‘We The North Day’ after team’s historic NBA title win

Elusive ‘ghost whale’ surfaces near Campbell River

Ecotourism operator captures images of the rare white orca

Oil and gas sector cautious as deadline on Trans Mountain decision nears

Trudeau government expected to announce whether it will approve pipeline for second time on Tuesday

Skipping school costs a dozen B.C. students chance at a new car

Cowichan’s Jared Lammi showed up and won $5,000 cheque toward vehicle, but he can’t drive

People throwing food at a bear in Fernie alarms conservation groups

“Approaching and feeding bears contributes to habituation,” says conservation group

Feds announce $50M strategy to fight dementia

Emphasis is on prevention and and supporting caregivers

Federal Liberals’ plan to help first-time homebuyers to kick in weeks before election

Ottawa to pick up 5% of a mortgage on existing homes for households that earn under $120,000 a year

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Most Read