A life-sized dollhouse in the heart of Toronto’s Leslieville that has brought joy to neighbours and tourists for decades is looking for a new owner.

The home, located at 37 Bertmount Ave., near Queen Street E. and Jones Ave., will hit the market on Thursday.

It is adorned with hundreds of dolls, toys and other items, many of which were donated to the homeowner over the years.

“The overall vibe is happiness, joy, love,” said listing agent Nadine Comeau of Re/Max Rouge River Realty. “In speaking with the owner, Shirley, who’s been here for over 30 years… she said her purpose in life is to bring happiness to people and this is what she’s done here.”

Tom Sumaisar, son of owner Shirley Sumaisar, said the family is selling the iconic home because his mother’s health is declining and she requires more care.

“I love my mom, and in some ways I wish she could stay here and maintain the house, but she can’t maintain it anymore,” he said, adding, “I wish she could keep this forever. And she wishes she can keep it forever. But her health is not the greatest.”


The email you need for the day’s
top news stories from Canada and around the world.

Sumaisar said the home was first known for its front yard garden, for which his mother was given an award by the City of Toronto.

When it became too difficult to maintain the garden, Sumaisar’s mother “transitioned to themes like Halloween themes and Christmas themes.”

“It was a transition for me as well, I was like, ‘what’s going on here? Like, why are you doing this?’ and next thing I know people are fascinated with it and my mom’s like, ‘I just want to make people happy’,” he said.

So what is the real story behind the dolls?

Sumaisar said collecting the items became a hobby and a distraction for his mother after the passing of his father.

He said the home has taken on a life of its own and people come to see it from “all over the world.”

“I have somebody here from Australia that said they saw it on social media… So it’s brought a lot of joy. I’m sure some people may think otherwise, but it is what it is,” Sumaisar said.

Neighbour Beau Hatcher said he is not a fan of the home’s esthetic but respects the work that has gone into it.

“When we bought our house, I think a lot of people were freaked out by it. But we respect the individuality and the work that goes into it. And, you know, they’re great neighbours,” Hatcher said.

Comeau acknowledged the dollhouse is not a ‘typical home’ and she questioned whether it would be best to remove the exterior decor but ultimately decided it was best to leave it as is.

She would not reveal the list price but indicated similar size properties in the neighbourhood have recently sold from $1.5 to $2 million.

As for the future of the dolls, Sumaisar said the family is considering inviting people to take what they like as a keepsake.

“Maybe we’ll have people come after it’s all done and take something if they wish… That would make my mom happy, to know that people took something from her yard that made them happy.”