Friday, March 29, 2013

Abandonment Issues: Edgemere Estate

Edgemere Estate

Welcome to the most expensive residential property in Canadian history.

Luxury. Prosperity. Fortune. Affluence. Excess. These are not words that are frequently used to describe the types of locations that I explore. But here along the shore of Lake Ontario, on Oakville's 'gold coast', these aren't just words, they are a lifestyle, and have been so for quite some time.

The history of the heritage property is steeped in wealth and riches. The original summer home at Edgemere Estate was built in 1905 by James Ryrie, after he merged his jewellery business with Birk's. Ryrie hired Canada's first landscape architect Charles Ernest Woolverton to transform the 14 acre property from an orchard to an elegant Edwardian garden.

Edgemere Estate original summer home built in 1905

In the early 1990s, this opulent modern Georgian-Style mega mansion at Edgemere Estate was custom built by construction mogul Peter Gilgan, president of Mattamy Homes, one of Canada's largest home construction firms.

Edgemere Estate 

The 32,000 square foot, four-storey main house included 9 bedrooms, 17 bathrooms, sweeping foyer, 20 seat theatre, spa, massive playroom, spiral staircases and an elevator. It was outfitted with smart home technology that provided control of everything imaginable. At the push of a button, one could light their way to the kitchen from a third floor bedroom on the opposite side of the house, dim chandeliers, ignite fireplaces or open and close window blinds.

The luxurious property also included 300 metres of shoreline, a private pebble beach, boat house, four car garage, pool, gardener's cottage, stable, greenhouse, century old Japanese teahouse and a baseball diamond.

In 2007, only 15 years after the mansion was built, the Gilgan's had divorced and the Estate was put up for sale. To this day, it has the distinction of being the most expensive residential property ever to be listed for sale in Canada, with a gargantuan price tag of $45 million.

The property sold for $35 million and the new owners, under the name Edgemere Estate Limited, announced their plans for the property, much to the chagrin of nearby residents. The plan: to demolish the 32,000 square foot mansion and construct 30 über luxurious condominiums.

The Oakville Beaver, Wednesday, September 10, 2008 : Few fans of Edgemere Estate proposal

After rezoning and public waterfront access issues were addressed, the plan was given a green light by the city of Oakville. Almost immediately, deconstruction began on the mansion and construction began on the condominiums. The remaining contents within the mansion were put to auction, including everything from furniture and chandeliers, to windows and doors.

In mid-march of 2013, Ninja and I were on an exploring extravaganza that we called the '2013 Anniversary Tour', which also included a visit to the Crowe Foundry and the Tower Automotive Tower. On this leg of the journey, we were accompanied by our friend Emceeay.

As hammers swung and a crew of construction workers pounded nails into rooftops, the three of us crept quietly onto the property and made our way into Canada's most expensive home, which had been severely gutted and prepared for demolition.






Dining room









Loss of control











Edgemere Estate

Boathousing project

Emceeay Ninja Jerm

Greenhouse with envy

Century old Japanese teahouse

Edgemere Estate

More money than you know what to do with.

I never really understood that phrase until now.

click here to check out all of jerm & ninja IX's ABANDONMENT ISSUES


fergusonyarmouth said...

Great photos and story. I'm in a different generation; but the story of opulent property, overarching architectural ambition and marital loss reminds me of the sad story of the building of Boldt Castle on the St.Lawrence. The ruins were there for decades after the owner's wife died while building was mid-construction.

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Anonymous said...

Awesome place! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Proof that wealth is an illusion. Gaining wealth on this magnitude is so rare. Sustaining it is even rarer still.

Anonymous said...

Just FYI he has sustained his wealth to the tune of around 1.7 billion.

Anonymous said...

Is it still there? is the original mansion still intact (while still abandoned). Can't get a recent satellite image of the area

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