26 RIDEAU ST - $645,000


A commercially zoned Century home right downtown that’s divided into three apartments at the moment. Shine those up, or make a single-family home here. Open a restaurant or a funky business. Invest in the city’s future while securing your own. Here’s the Realtor.ca listing (it’s coming any minute now).


Okay, hold up a second, I have to concentrate. Because this isn’t your ordinary listing. There are so many things to tell you. So many possibilities we need to hold up to the light to see if they pass scrutiny. I find the place fascinating myself, I really do. 26 Rideau isn’t just the address, it’s a world unto itself, a principality looking for new leadership. Like Monaco then, pretty much identical, only without the swarming paparazzi and the crowded Mediterranean beaches.

The front of the property is comprised of a lovely and substantial red-brick home built in 1900. I was just a kid in short pants. Three’s a metal roof on the main house, and some intricate brick- and woodwork, some inset stone. This is a house well-planned and serious, a landmark on the old street. There’s also an addition on the back which houses a two-storey self-contained apartment. The above-grade footage for the whole property is a lick over 4500 square feet. There’s plenty of parking at the rear but maybe you’ll want to make a garden of some of that. It all depends.

See what I mean about it being a bit complicated? There is just so much here, both literally and also in the sense that I keep wanting to straighten things out in order to see it most clearly, like ia map you have to unfold on the floor in order to see where you are. That’s part of the reason we put the floor plans in with the pictures, and commissioned another brilliant virtual tour from the iGuide crew – so you can just hang out in the space, wander from here to there and see what it feels like.

Downtown Kingston

Downtown Kingston

Here are the most basic of facts.

The property is zoned commercial. That’s because it sits at the fringe of all the brilliant downtown shopping. You’re around the corner from the Leon’s Centre (god how I hate that name – as if inside its pale oval a thousand bloated sofas are passed out on the floor, off-gassing), and the LCBO, The Mermaid Sandwich Factory, and Pasta Genova. The Royal LePage office is a block away. You could open up a restaurant in here, and wouldn’t that be grand? I’d want a table in the window, and a short heavy-bottomed glass in which to tip a single malt this way and that as the light pulls away west. Or an art gallery, a law office, a think tank, a film studio. Every one of them a permissible use.

That, or you could renovate all three apartments here, polish them into world-class spaces at the beating heart of what’s a pretty damn vibrant city these days. The main floor could be two-bedrooms, the same up above. And you have that cool two-storey, one-bedroom unit out back. We think the potential is here to create one of the nicest multi-family properties in the city. 

Or you could convert the main house into a single-family residence, and perhaps keep the rear apartment going in order to help with the urban densification we need and also to pay a couple hundred grand’s worth of your mortgage each month. And it might be this image that appeals to us the most. I picture kids running through these high-ceilinged rooms laughing and shouting their secret thoughts, and on up these wide stairs, as if through the pages of some Victorian novel. I’d open up the attic for them and have a playroom up there, a portal to another world. I’d put a good fence around the perimeter and terrace some gardens. I’d sit on the front porch and wait for the rest of the world to catch up.

The Realtor.ca listing (again, it’s coming) has a lot of the nitty gritty for you – taxes and so on. I guess that matters. And there are multi-family and commercial listings out there too. I’ve already pointed you to the tour. But the best way to experience 26 Rideau is in the flesh and if you’re intrigued in the slightest you should call your realtor (or us, if you don’t have one). We’ll show you around, and also listen to your thoughts on how best to use this rather marvelous property. We can learn from each other, talk to each other. We can share what it feels like to have, at this moment so early in 2019, the rarest of opportunities.