The Rise and Fall of What Was Once the Most Expensive Home in Canada
1502 Lakeshore Road E, Oakville, Ontario, Canada
It was once the most expensive home in Canada, it was then reduced to rubble and replaced by a posh condominium development. What went terribly wrong with Oakville, Ontario’s landmark Edgemere Estate. Nearly a decade ago, this sprawling 14 acre estate with nearly 1,000 feet on Lake Ontario was priced at $45,000,000 CAD, making it the most expensive private home in the country. Today, that record has been broken time over time as prices in Vancouver, British Columbia continue to inflate. That was 2008 though and with a limited pool of buyers, the property eventually sold to developer Mark Hewitt for $35,900,000 who then unveiled plans to redevelop the prime land into a luxury condominium development. A development that would include 30 units priced from $2,700,000 to $6,900,000. The Edgemere grounds date back to c.1907 when a Toronto jeweller named James Ryrie purchased the estate to build a rustic country home. He then commissioned renowned landscape architect Charles Ernest Woolverton to create one-of-a-kind gardens & ponds. Many of those historic pieces remained on the estate alongside the mansion.
The 32,000 square foot stone mansion was built in the early 1990s by Peter Gilgan, president of one of the largest construction firms in Canada, Mattamy Homes, and included 9 bedrooms, 17 bathrooms, a 20 seat home theatre, games room and details rarely seen in new construction. As of 2018, Gilgan has a networth of $3.4 billion. The grounds featured a baseball diamond, rock waterfall, swimming pool, gazebo, guest cottage and breathtaking views over Lake Ontario. According to Jermalism, Peter Gilgan and his wife divorced in 2007 and the estate went on the market. Following the sale to developer Mark Hewitt, Abbey Demolition held a live auction at the property to sell as much of the furnishings & architectural pieces as they could. Their Facebook page includes over 100 images of furniture, fixtures, appliances, windows, and other unique pieces that were available. The redevelopment of what was once a landmark property in Oakville came with resistance from locals. According to Dicenzo Homes, development marched on and 12 units were constructed on the property before going into receivership. Phase two of the project was to include the restoration of many of the historic landscape features and elements, including a tea house, greenhouse and gatekeeper’s cottage. It’s unknown if these structures were ever restored. We’ve compiled an impressive collection of images of what once was the Edgemere Estate as well as two videos below.