Toronto Through My Lens

Leslieville’s Crazy Doll House

This one has been on my shot list for quite some time, and I finally got around to photographing it. This visual assault on the senses is known as Leslieville’s Crazy Doll House and has been quite the neighbourhood attraction; it’s one of those things you kind of have to see to believe.

The Doll House is located at 37 Bertmount Avenue, near Queen Street East and Jones Avenue:

The house is owned by one Shirley Sumaiser, who has been collecting stuffed and plastic critters for over twenty years and using them to fill up her front yard.

I stood speechless for some time before I started snapping some shots. It’s almost overwhelming taking in the sheer details of this assault on the visual senses:

The Doll House is not just dolls—there are toys, stuffed animals, plaques, and signs, some hung from the fence, some mounted on wooden stakes, and some lining the porch and eaves.

Apparently owner Shirley Sumaiser’s passion for collecting objects began after her husband passed away. Twenty years later her Doll House is still a beacon in the Leslieville neighborhood.

I’ve read that the collection is often redone or circulated to suit a holiday or a set of new or seasonal additions. The result is an ever-changing garden of tchotchkes that attracts tourists and gawkers (like me) alike.

One last shot before leaving…

4 Comments

  1. Michal

    Great photos! I ran into this house a few months back on my way back from my mom’s & was pretty gobsmacked. It reminds me of a religious grotto. What a abour of love.

  2. David

    I can only guess what the neighbours think about this monstrosity. Having said that, I will look out for this place . Bet it looks even more weird in real life

  3. Despina Kyraleos

    Ha, ‘this assault on the visual senses’

    I would be so annoyed if she were my neighbour. I would just have to move. I could not take it.

    • Marvin Job

      I have to agree. One of my first thoughts when I saw this place was, “Boy, your neighbours must really hate you!”. Perhaps the neighbours share in the glory, though, so who knows?!

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