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Spotted: The John Irwin House, Mid-Air

Historic building defies gravity on concrete stilts while construction goes on below it.

SPOTTED BY: Vik Pahwa, from the Torontoist Flickr Pool

WHERE: Yonge and Grenville streets

WHEN: Monday, January 27

WHAT: The John Irwin House, dating back to 1873, which had to be moved to the north-east corner of the site in order to accommodate the new 50-storey Karma condo development. The house is resting on a new foundation and support columns, and will remain perched on its concrete legs until construction on the condo’s underground parking lot is complete. When the condo complex opens, the historic building will be reinvented as retail or restaurant space.

Spotted features interesting things our readers discover in their journeys across Toronto. If you spot something interesting, send a photo and pertinent details to


  • Suicide Boi

    Is that building worth saving? What am I missing here? Cool photo and engineering work though.

    • John Peters

      Yeah, I don’t get it either. If a building is worth saving, then why the hell are they allowing a condo to be built right next to it?

      • James D Paterson

        Next to, not in place of. The building may be worth saving, but that means the surrounding land should be protected as well?

    • David Sky outside

      Sarah added a link to the City of Toronto description of the house and why it is relevant…It has “design or physical value as one of the last surviving examples of a house form building in this area, and for its Second Empire stylistic features. As one of the most popular architectural styles of the era, which was introduced to Toronto in the 1866 designs for Government House (now demolished), the Second Empire is identified by its distinctive mansard (double-gable) roof.”

  • James D Paterson

    How is it defying gravity when it’s clearly sitting atop support beams?

  • linnyqat

    It looks more like a Heritage Shed to me.