The two-bedroom apartment in midtown Toronto where Ernest Hemingway resided for about six months is for sale. The American novelist lived on Bathurst Street between 1923 and 1924 while he worked at the Toronto Star.
According to Kaitlin Wainwright, director of programming for Heritage Toronto, Hemingway regretted returning to the city in 1923 because it didn’t compare to Paris where he was the newspaper’s foreign correspondent.
“He really struggled with kind of the Protestantism and the ‘Toronto the Good’ mentality,” she told the Financial Post.
Hemingway initially moved to Toronto in 1920, and when he returned in 1923 after spending time in Europe, he considered it a “provincial backwater.” His writing was also influenced by his living arrangements.
“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, explaining that he only earned a penny per word so he produced long pieces.
“Obviously Hemingway the novelist is really known for a very minimalist use of language, 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.”
When the novelist lived in Toronto, his wife was pregnant with her first child. He wrote of its residents: “We’ve come to the right place to have a baby because that is the Specialty de Ville — the specialty of the city. They don’t do anything else.”
Wainwright pointed out that several notable Canadians lived in the same neighborhood during the mid-20th century, including literary critic Northrop Frye and musician Glenn Gould. Hemingway’s apartment is 1,100 square feet and is desirable for its literary appeal.
“You get a nice feeling when you walk into the place,” listing agent Andrew Harrild of Condos.ca told Financial Post. “An eerie sense of history.”
The Midtown building is named after Hemingway, but experts only realized five years ago after uncovering a lease that the writer rented unit 19. Hemingway spent just $85 a month on rent. It’s currently for sale for $730,000, which doesn’t include the $911 monthly condo fee.