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

Crooner classics past and present in spotlight, courtesy of Ken Lavigne

Vancouver Island tenor prepares for upcoming concert tour of Let Me Be Frank!

It’s here: tackling opioid addiction in Ladysmith

Nine overdose deaths in two years “pretty alarming considering this is a small town”

Vancouver Island man celebrates 50th year by running 50 km race — monthly

Ultrarunner hopes Deep 50 Challenge will raise $5,000 for Help Fill A Dream

Alternative paths to health: How one Vancouver Island woman is taking control of her cancer treatments

Many Canadians try at least one form of complementary treatment during their cancer journey

Editorial: Plenty of alternatives to plastic straws

Plastics have their place in our society, but right now there are far too many of them

Dashcam captures close call between minivan, taxi at busy Vancouver intersection

To make the footage more nerve-wracking, a pedestrian can be seen standing at the corner

VIDEO: Vancouver Island fish farmers launch $30-million vessel to treat farmed salmon for sea lice

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

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

VIDEO: Fire guts Peachland home

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze in the Okanagan neighbourhood

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Seven tips to travel safely this Easter long weekend

An average of three people are killed, and hundreds more injured, each Easter long weekend in B.C.

Most Read