This is the story of “Toad Hall”, an old Ontario Cottage that is located at 66 Bruce Street – in the heart of Wortley Village. Home owners Minette and Andrew Klazinga and their dogs, Tiggy and Gingey, tell the story that when they moved into their home 3 years ago, there were hundreds of toad figurines sprinkled throughout the property and friends continue to bring toad gifts when they visit, so the number continues to grow. Legend has it that when one of the previous home owners in the early 1980’s moved into the home it had fallen into disrepair and was full of animals (including toads!), so she named the house “Toad Hall”. Little wonder with the dense gardens and pond in the back it is an ideal spot for toads to hang out. The front door even adorns a stained glass toad created by the previous home owner’s brother who also happens to live nearby.
This quaint home has a rich history that was verified through a search from the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario. Built in 1872, it is one of 3 other cottages that were built by the same builder. The others are: 60, 62 and 68 Bruce Street – for reasons unknown 64 Bruce was built later in the 1900s by another builder.
The records show that Joseph Farr, his wife Emma and their children were the first owners. Farr was listed as a farmer/ labourer. The records also show he purchased the lot and others for a sum of $150. A tidy sum back in the day, but certainly not current Old South prices!
When the Klazingas first looked at the home when it was for sale, it took them 6 months to make the purchase with many twists and turns along the way. There were several other interested parties and the first buyers backed out of the deal only to later regret their decision. “We still get contacted to see if we would be interested in selling our home. As enticing as it may sound it is not for sale” explains Minette with a laugh. “We have even received many cards and letters from the would be buyers” added Andrew.
The home has been an adventure since owning it, with the first big task of replacing the roof the very first day they took ownership. It was a challenge to find a roofer in a very cold December, the Klazinga’s explained.
The home has also undergone a complete kitchen renovation, a laundry room converted back to a kitchen panty, a fireplace added and every inch of the home has been painted in the inside. The home is jaw droppingly gorgeous and looks like it is straight out of a Home and Garden magazine. This 3 bedroom, one bath is a step back in time where Andrew has completed most of the work, and together they have sourced some antique light fixtures in the London area to suit the style of their home.
Minette was not a stranger to Bruce Street, in fact, her maternal grandparents lived at 42 Bruce Street from the 1950s through the mid-1980s where they raised 6 children. Being real estate savvy, Minette purchased her first home at the age of 21 and she has owned 5 homes since that time. Prior to moving to Old South, the Klazinga’s lived in Oakridge but Minette had always had her eye on Old South. “I often dreamed of living back in the area and knew as soon as I stepped in this home it was the one” she explained. The backyard is an ideal oasis for a voracious reader such as Minette where she spends a lot of time with Tiggy and Gingey roaming the large backyard where the birds chirp and the toads croak, while Andrew takes care of the gardens.