With its proud history of industrial and economic activity and its strategic location on Lake Ontario, it’s no wonder that Hamilton has been called the ‘Ambitious City’. And, with such a name, you’d expect that some of the city’s most wealthy residents would have some fairly ambitious houses…. and you’d be absolutely right!
So get ready for some classy Hamilton properties, some of them at prices that might surprise you. As local real estate broker Colette Cooper has aptly said, “the value of these high-end properties is outstanding in comparison to Toronto, where the market could fetch double to triple the sale price.”
Here’s a list of homes that I particularly liked. Some are still available for purchase; others have already been snapped up by a growing fanbase of home lovers with an appetite for Hamilton’s rich and historic ambiance. Enjoy!
All photos courtesy of Tom Vogel
26 Ravenscliffe Avenue, Hamilton, Ontario
Currently Listed for: $3,899,900
Hamilton architect James Balfour’s 1881 masterpiece is currently on the market and fresh for the picking at $3.89 million. Incredibly, this represents more than a 145% increase from its previous list price of $1.59 million when it was last on the market in March, 2014. This 11,000 square-foot stone and brick mansion was originally set on grounds covering nine acres, but following World War One, the grounds of the palatial estate were gradually severed and sold to allow for the construction of other beautiful homes (all still intact).
The long driveway is now Ravenscliffe Avenue, an address local real estate broker Colette Copper calls a ‘go-see’ street for those who appreciate areas of Hamilton steeped in history.
Twenty-six Ravenscliffe is a cornucopia of character, featuring dramatic roof lines, tall windows, multiple turrets, 12’ ceilings, beautiful carved woodwork, trim, beams and intricate plaster mouldings, 10 bedrooms and five-and-a-half baths, a grand foyer, two staircases, including the original stairs to former the butler’s quarters, an expansive landing on the bedroom level, plus an authentic castle keep offering picturesque views of the escarpment and city. Quite mouth-watering, is it not? “The castle on Ravenscliffe is easily one of the grandest single family homes ever offered for sale in the city,” said local real estate professional Doug Folsetter.
316 James Street South, Unit D, Hamilton, Ontario
Sold in 2015. Listed for: $329,900
“Ballinahinch is one of the last remaining buildings of a compound of stone 1850s estates that ran across along the lower shoulder of the escarpment. It was an absolutely stunning district in its day” says Nina Chapple, former City of Hamilton Senior Cultural Planner.
After World War II, taxes rose and the house became too expensive for a single family. It was divided into apartments. Then in 1980 it was purchased by a firm of architects who preserved the interesting features of the house while creating several condominium apartments, including Unit D, which was quickly snatched up last year when it came on the market.
The 2-bedroom unit featured 12-foot ceilings, hardwood floors, large windows, a marble mantle, and, the icing on the cake, a breathtaking private patio accessed by a storybook Gothic doorway featuring inset stained glass panels. It’s no wonder it sold in a flash! I wonder if they knew that in the mid-1940s the infamous Evelyn Dick (The Torso Murderer) kept apartment No. 3 to entertain male friends.
403 Queen Street South, Hamilton, Ontario
Currently Listed for: $4,250,000
This 20-room, 9-fireplace Georgian delight is here to satisfy all your cravings for vintage character. If it sells for its $4.25 million list price, it’ll be the most expensive home sale ever recorded on the Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington rolls.
403 Queen St S commands the southeast tip of the Queen Street Hill, bordering an entire block from Queen Street South to Hess. Everyone in Hamilton knows this address and dreams of owning it. This home has been the setting for multiple film productions, alluring audiences on and off camera with its grand and imposing perimeter of wrought iron fencing.
Jaw-dropping features include over one acre of park-like grounds with century-old trees, marble foyer and 2-storey staircase, solarium with original arched lead-glass windows, original quarter cut oak floors & 2ft high baseboards, 7 large bedrooms (each enjoys its own bath!), an Oasis salt water pool, 12 person spill over spa, 1,200 square foot paved patio and 2 outdoor rooms, and an outdoor stone fireplace.
250 James Street South, Hamilton, Ontario
Sold in 2014. Listed for: $725,000
Known in Hamilton as the historic Balfour House, this three-storey detached Victorian home was built in 1880 and designed by local architect James Balfour. Heritage designated, the home is one of Hamilton’s finest examples of Second Empire architecture.
The exterior plan of 250 James Street South includes a balanced facade of arched windows, a neat George IV doorway with a split fanlight, an elegant mansard roof with a perfectly proportioned dormer, and the decorative contrasting brick detail of the period.
The 5,000+ square foot home boasts 4 marble fireplaces, and one of the two original Jacques and Hay 1880 mantle mirrors still remains in place! Other brag-worthy character features include 11 foot ceilings on the main floor (10 foot ceilings on top 2), intricate plaster medallions and mouldings, floor to ceiling arched windows, arched doorways, period wallpaper, original servants’ bells in the kitchen and a large sweeping staircase.
5 Ravenscliffe Avenue, Hamilton, Ontario
Sold in 2014. Listed for: $1,299,000
Early 1900s vintage, incredible ionic columns, knockout newel posts, charming coiffured ceilings, beautiful beveled glass, perfect pocket doors, and intricate inlay floors – 5 Ravenscliffe was the undisputed real estate blockbuster of the 2014 summer season. Listed at $1.299 million, it earned every dollar with its boundless architectural splendor, not to mention its location on the best street in Hamilton.
Other highlights included 5 bedrooms + 3.5 baths, a huge 100′ x 188′ park-like lot in the heart of the city 10′ ceilings, 12″ baseboards, original leaded glass, a spacious foyer, a sun room with view of the spectacular gardens, and the original servants’ stairs from the main level to the 3rd floor.
70 Aberdeen Avenue, Hamilton, Ontario
Sold in 2015. Listed for: $1,150,000
“South of Aberdeen” has become a major selling phrase in Hamilton Real Estate and it’s no wonder as some of the city’s most impressive homes lie along this historic tree-lined street. And 70 Aberdeen, known as Gordon House, was no exception.
This 1932 estate, built by Pigott Construction, is truly one of Hamilton’s landmark homes. It sits on a gorgeous 68 x 263 foot park-like lot that defies urban perceptions. Other fresh features included are a 26′ x 50′ in-ground pool, a classic centre hall plan, abundant windows with stone lintels, oak hardwood floors with inlay, high ceilings, 2 fireplaces with handcrafted surrounds, 8-inch baseboards, plaster walls and ceiling mouldings and a highly walkable neighbourhood.
73 Aberdeen Avenue, Hamilton, Ontario
Sold in 2014. Listed for: $1,299,000
This grand and imposing circa-1925 Georgian has a presence that takes your breath away. We particularly admire the exterior and the magnificent caged iron lanterns flanking the sides of the front door. It’s clear, without ever stepping inside, that the long stepped path to the front door would reveal amazing things. And it does!
Located in the prestigious Durand Neighbourhood, 73 Aberdeen swooned buyers with original hardwood floors with mahogany inlay, 10 foot ceilings, plaster cornices, original plaster mouldings, wainscoting, multiple fireplaces, French doors, built-in bookcases, and custom closet, 7 bedrooms, a formal separate dining room with ornamental mouldings, window boxes and cabinetry and a heated year-round sunroom overlooking the garden.
77 Claremont Drive, Hamilton, Ontario
Sold in 2014. Listed for: $1,098,000
The previous owners had torn antique wallpaper matched and refabricated by custom contractors during a restoration directed by the former curator of Whitehern. Sadly it was removed during its recent listing. But fortunately there was enough remaining character to distract from that tragedy.
Features include imported mahogany paneling in the family room, 3 gas fireplaces, 2 sunrooms, 4 bedrooms and 4 baths (2 en-suite), hardwood throughout, chef’s gourmet kitchen with granite counters, 3 sinks & work stations and high end appliances, a wine tasting room with French door walkout to a stunning backyard oasis complete with interlocking walkways, beautiful gardens, and an exquisite plunge pool (heated, saltwater & night lighting).
13 Inglewood Drive, Hamilton, Ontario
Sold in 2013. Listed for: $679,000
Photographer Tom Vogel (www.vogel-creative.com) has had an ongoing love affair with Inglewood for over 10 years. From Spec shoots to numerous iSpace virtual tours – he has been through almost every inch of it and still can’t get enough of its grandeur. Soaring stained glass (20 feet), hand carved railings, decorative high ceilings, secret gardens – the list goes on. In his words, “It’s like shooting Downton Abbey in the heart of Hamilton”.
At 13 Inglewood, the King George Suite (which once hosted royalty) is the largest unit within this condominium conversion at a generous 3,250 square feet over 2 floors. It boasts its own address and is accessed by the villa’s original front entrance.
The inside of this 1850 Gothic Revival condo was completely restored and exquisitely renovated when it was last on the market. Features included a fan vaulted ceiling, grand original carved oak staircase, plaster ceilings with detailing rivaling those found in Europe, English estate inspired gardens, original working shutters, 21″ baseboards, black marble wood-burning fireplace, and a totally renovated kitchen including herringbone mosaic marble floor tiles.
6 Bulls Lane, Hamilton, Ontario
Sold in 2013. Listed for: $1,550,000
Many hearts skipped a beat when this property surfaced on the market two years ago. Rarely do opportunities like this become available. This substantial and significant Georgian stone character home was once called “the Cliff” on the Mountain Brow. Directly above John Street, “The Cliff” was built in 1879 of local limestone by the Bull family. Additions were sympathetically added in 1920 but thankfully none disguises the classic symmetry particular of Georgian architecture.
Besides being blessed with million-dollar, panoramic views of the city, this 7 bedroom and 4.5 bathroom dream estate features 3 fireplaces (2 wood-burning), large principal rooms, a walkout to the pool and multiple patios, beautiful original wood on all 3 floors throughout, a finished attic, walk-in closets, a study, home office, and library, 2 staircases, a stone garage, professionally landscaped gardens and a private lane.
Would you rather rent an incredible house in Hamilton? Take a look at our list of homes for rent!