Buyer backs out of C.W. Jefferys purchase

Legal restrictions on home’s use kill the original deal

Five months after it was apparently sold for $1.2 million, the deal for the historic York Mills home of Canadian artist C.W. Jefferys fell through and the house was put back on the market — and sold again.

Sandwiched between two Yonge Street office buildings north of York Mills Road, the two-storey red brick had been purchased by Amir Mousavi back in late 2011.

Jefferys’ granddaughters, who lived in the house as children, put it up for sale about a year after their mother, Elizabeth Fee passed away in 2010 at age 98. Fee had lived there all her life.

In an email to the Town Crier, Mousavi said after the sale, he discovered a legally binding agreement restricted the home to use as a museum, residence or educational facility.

According to a document provided by Mousavi, an agreement was reached in December 1989 among a private family, two local ratepayers groups, and a development and holdings company.

Mousavi wrote in the email he previously had no knowledge of an contractual arrangement beyond Ontario Heritage Act provisions that the home was subject to as a historic property.

“I bid a significant premium on the home, above its initial asking price, due to its pristine location on Yonge Street and its future potential value/use,” Mousavi wrote.

After he expressed concern that the restrictions would affect the value of the home, both parties agreed to a mutual release of the sale, according to Mousavi.

Barbara Patterson, the family’s realtor, declined to comment on the sale, but Mousavi wrote that since the home went back on the market, more appropriate disclosure has been made to potential buyers.

The home was then sold to a new unnamed buyer in late April.

The house is one of the few of its kind in an area that was once an unofficial artists colony back in the early part of the 20th century. Many of Jefferys’ contemporaries vacationed there, drawing inspiration from the picturesque surroundings. The prolific artist and his wife, Callie, bought the 1845-built property in 1922.

In 1941, Elizabeth and husband George A. Fee purchased the home from her father. As a widower, Jefferys continued to live with her family until his death in 1951.

A historic plaque and nearby statue of Jefferys commemorate his significant contributions to Canadian art.

Similar cottage-style structures, like the Auberge Du Pommier restaurant across the street, remain mostly intact. The Jefferys house is one of the last in the area that is still a residence.

About this article:

By: Karolyn Coorsh
Posted: May 1 2012 5:30 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto