Participants in this year's Cabbagetown Tour of Homes will be able to peek inside Avril Lavigne's old home at 39 Broadcast Lane. Two owners later, Maureen Shewchuk now lives there with her partner, Val Gow.
Skull-and-cross-bone-patterned tiles that the cutely brooding popstar installed in the second-floor kitchen still preside over meals. Crazed eye-shadow-drenched fans tend not to lurk around the house, but Shewchuck says that a few years ago someone “who might have had a relationship with [Lavigne]” dropped off a mysterious envelope full of photos.
While there is a great deal of variation in the style of homes in Cabbagetown, the tour usually focuses on the more historic locations, often at least a hundred years old. In contrast, Gow and Shewchuk’s townhouse was built only in 2000. “It’s infill; it used to be part of the garage of the CBC broadcast studio that used to be on Parliament, and they incorporated a brick wall that had been part of the original structure into the townhouses,” Shewchuk says.
The townhouse is about 2,500 square feet, with three floors, three bathrooms, a second-floor enclosed patio area in the back, and two balconies. Because of building restrictions, it was cleverly constructed to allow in lots of light without infringing on the neighbours’ privacy. All of this provides an attractive backdrop for Shewchuk and Gow’s impressive collection of modern art, most of it from the Thompson Landry Gallery in the Distillery District, which deals only with Quebec artists.
Shewchuk and Gow’s home and many others, including some charming Victorian houses, will be on the self-guided tour. The event raises funds for the Cabbagetown Preservation Association.