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

Free Clark’s Nutcracker presentation Wednesday at Scout Island

Speakers for the event are Randy Moody and Ken Wright

BC Wildfire Service fighting new fire near Comstock Lake

The fire is 76 hectares in size and currently out of control

Moleschi, Canada, claim Kitakyushu Sevens title as 2020 Olympics draw near

Canada now sits in second place in the overall series standings with 66 points

COLUMNS: Set enforceable standards

We all wish Mayor Walt Cobb a speedy recovery

SLIDESHOW: 3rd annual Realm of Toys Easter Festival in Williams Lake a great success

From a petting zoo to a bouncy castle and animal balloons, lakecity children loved the event

What’s age got to do with it? B.C. couple with 45-year gap talks happy marriage

An Armstrong couple that has 45-year age gap began turning heads after being featured on show Extreme Love.

B.C. men challenge constitutionality of Canada’s secret no-fly list

Parvkar Singh Dulai says he received a “denial of boarding” notification under the no-fly program last May 17

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

B.C.’s largest Vaisakhi festival target of threatening Facebook post: Surrey RCMP

Police say they are investigating the posts on Facebook, after local MLA forwarded screenshots

Pug life: B.C. town boasts waggish list of dog names

Freedom-of-information request lists most ‘pupular’ dog names registered in White Rock

VIDEO: Fish farming company launches $30-million vessel to treat salmon for sea lice in B.C. waters

Freshwater treatment an improvement but fish farms should be removed from sea, says conservationist

Singh says childhood abuse steeled him for scrutiny and stress of politics

He recounts the assaults for the first time in his book Love & Courage

Despite five extra weeks’ parental leave in Canada, dads still face stigma: survey

One reason people said dads don’t need leave is because they can just bond with their kids at weekend

Vintage bottles, magic cards, a 1969 Playboy: Quirky items found in historic B.C. buildings

Crews set aside some of the funkier pieces emerging from the construction rubble

Most Read