A lakeside oasis for art and entertainment

The list : Office 3901, 2045, boul. Lakeshore W., Toronto

Ask for a price: $4,700,000

Taxes: $13,106.23 (2021)

Monthly maintenance fees: $6,629.40

Officers: Paul Maranger and Christian Vermast, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada

The backstory

One evening in 1996, entrepreneur and philanthropist Salah Bachir left his home in downtown Toronto and drove along the waterfront to the Palace Pier. Mr. Bachir arrived a little early for a dinner party and didn’t want to disturb his host, so he decided to take a walk along the shore of Lake Ontario.

Before the evening was over, Mr. Bashir planned to move west to the iconic tower with brown glass windows. He was drawn to the lakeside tranquility and five-star amenities of the resort, which sits on nine acres of land.

“I play tennis and there was a tennis court,” he says. “It’s like a beautiful resort on its own.”

Mr Bachir bought Suite 3901, with three bedrooms, three bathrooms and a view over Humber Bay and sailboats moored nearby.

“I left the city center so I could take a dog and walk it along the waterfront,” he says.

Looking back, Mr Bachir believes his decision was subtly influenced by his childhood in Lebanon, where many houses overlook the Mediterranean Sea. His family emigrated from that country to Canada in 1965, when Mr. Bachir was 10 years old.

As a young man, Mr. Bachir began to support his artist friends by buying their works. He then became president of Cineplex Media and chancellor of OCAD University. Over the years he has become an esteemed patron of the arts. Its private collection of works by Andy Warhol is one of the largest in the world.

In 2017, OCAD University awarded Mr. Bachir an honorary doctorate in recognition of his contribution to Canadian culture and fundraising for health care and the LGBTQ+ community.

At the Palace Pier, Mr. Bachir used the space to display his extensive collection of paintings, photographs and antiques – against the backdrop of a relaxing home.

The two living rooms are connected by a contemporary staircase.

“I’ve always wanted comfort at home,” he says. “I didn’t want a place where you couldn’t sit and watch a football game.”

Soon, Mr Bashir’s mother and siblings were also moving into Palace Pier.

“We are a family of five children and four were in the building, he says. “At one time we had nine units in the building.”

In 2005, Mr. Bachir learned that the neighbors on a floor above were considering selling. He also purchased this unit and often used the extra space to accommodate young parents, refugee families and immigrants who were starting a new life in Canada.

“A friend of mine calls the whole experience a ‘Lebanese’ Landing nodeshe says, laughing at the reference to the 1980s TV drama.

In 2011, Mr. Bachir and her husband, artist Jacob Yerex, planned to join the two suites by a connecting staircase.

They hired Kohn Shnier Architects to come up with a design that would overcome the hurdles of logistics and condo regulations.

The suite has two kitchens and two dining rooms.Handout

The house today

After about a year of planning and construction, Mr. Bachir and Mr. Yerex had created a 6,470 square foot suite.

The two living rooms were connected by a contemporary staircase made of bent sheet steel with open risers and mahogany treads.

Few changes were made to the identical layout of the two units, which combined to create a suite with six bedrooms, two kitchens and two dining rooms.

The couple’s daughter has spent a lot of time in the expanded space, and Mr. Yerex has turned one of the bedrooms into a studio.

“It was perfect – I could fill the walls with artwork,” says Mr. Bachir, who adds that he always preferred to arrange the rooms in a living room style. “It’s a collection – I want it to be a feast for the eyes.”

Mr. Bachir kept the existing floors in some rooms and had new marble and granite tiles laid in others.

On the lower level, the couple have fitted out a separate breakfast room to create a dining room large enough to seat 14 people for dinner.

Several times, Mr. Bachir says, his mother took over the kitchen to teach people how to cook Lebanese dishes.

Director Deepa Mehta, author Salman Rushdie, actor Kim Cattrall and many other luminaries have joined the evenings hosted by Mr. Bachir and Mr. Yerex.

Over time, the couple renovated some bathrooms and improved their accessibility. Upstairs they added a walk-in steam shower with two benches.

Mr. Bachir used the space to display his vast collection of paintings, photographs and antiques.Handout

For several years, Mr. Bachir was a kidney dialysis patient. He turned part of the upper level into an area where he could receive home care and continue to work. The couple later helped build the Bachir Yerex Dialysis Center at St. Joseph’s Health Center.

These days, Mr. Bachir and Mr. Yerex are spending more time at their country home in Paris, Ontario. As they prepare to leave Toronto, Mr. Bachir imagines the couple’s sprawling condo would be a comfortable space for a family, especially one that loves to entertain or spans multiple generations. A couple can also have two home offices, he adds.

The Palace Pier offers a fitness center, year-round swimming pool, golf putting green, valet parking, and an on-site restaurant. The grounds include barbecue areas for outdoor gatherings, gardens and walking paths.

The best feature

Mr. Bachir says the views from the suite’s large windows are constantly changing. He sometimes stands at the window and stares at the lightning flashing in the distance, the snowstorms coming from across the lake, or the mist covering the water.

“It’s like being on the Mediterranean,” he says. “Sight works with art.”

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