Home Of The Week: A penthouse for downtime on Humber Bay

Written by Carolyn Ireland | Published in The Globe And Mail
In the Press
May 17, 2024

2121 Lake Shore Blvd. W, LPH 2603, Toronto

Asking price: $2,798,000

Taxes: $6,702.71 (2023)

Monthly maintenance fee: $2,261.04

Agent: Christopher Bibby, Re/Max Hallmark Bibby Group Realty

The backstory

Celia Reyes moved to Canada from the Philippines as a medical intern in the 1970s. The young physician became interested in anesthesiology and took up the specialty while studying and practicing medicine in Halifax.

A few years later, a friend in Toronto introduced Dr. Reyes to a recent arrival to Canada from the Soviet Union.

The newcomer had been a professional soccer player, a tank driver in Siberia, and finally a doctor in Ukraine, but after his escape from behind the Iron Curtain, he worked as a baker and janitor in Toronto. The friend hoped Dr. Reyes might offer advice on how the skilled surgeon could get back into medicine.

“He knew four languages, but English wasn’t one of them,” she says of their first meeting.

Dr. Reyes was intrigued by the newcomer’s story and, despite not sharing a common language, the two went on to marry in 1979.

Bohdan Moroz earned his qualifications as a doctor in this country and the couple settled in London, Ont., where their son Stephen was born. They then moved to Florida and relaunched their careers in the early 1980s.

Eventually Dr. Reyes Moroz had to learn to speak some Ukrainian because her husband needed a new kidney and she travelled to his homeland seeking a compatible donor.

“I had a crash course,” she recalls.

She met the doctor’s brother, who was willing to donate, but he was not allowed to leave the country. Dr. Reyes Moroz and five-year-old Stephen made their plea in a letter to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and word soon came that the doctor’s brother had been granted permission to travel to the United States for the transplant.

Over the years, Dr. Reyes Moroz often brought her husband and son to celebrate Christmas and other holidays with her mother and brothers living in Toronto.

“I wanted my son to be close to family,” she says. “No matter how cold it is, we’re there.”

The couple decided to buy a condo unit that would allow them to have their own place during visits and also become their home when they eventually retired.

In 2004, Humber Bay Shores was an emerging community on the edge of Lake Ontario. The couple knew they would enjoy the parks and nature trails along the water. The drive downtown was a relatively short 15 minutes, and streetcars and buses pass through the neighbourhood.

They purchased a unit in a project planned for 2121 Lake Shore Blvd. West.

While Dr. Reyes grew up in the Philippines, she did not favour living near water. In the country formed of islands, people prefer to live inland because of the risk of typhoons, she explains.

Dr. Moroz grew up in the mountains, but he was the one attracted to the water, she says. They chose a lower penthouse for the expansive views of city and lake.

The house today

The unit with three bedrooms and three bathrooms would provide a primary suite for the couple, a bedroom for their son, and a guest room with a curving bay window.

The open plan includes a large living and dining area with walls of glass, a kitchen with breakfast bar, and a casual dining area with a pantry. There’s also a den with a south-west view.

Dr. Moroz specialized in physical medicine and rehabilitation, his wife says, and planning for the future was at the forefront for both of them.

Before their 2,215-square-foot unit was completed in 2006, they ensured that it would accommodate them for many years.

One wall was opened and doorways were made wider, for example, so that a wheelchair could easily maneuver through the unit.

For the drawers and cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms, Dr. Moroz selected faucets and hardware that would be easy for aging hands to use.

Dr. Moroz, who died in 2011, took early retirement in Toronto as he continued to deal with health challenges. Dr. Reyes Moroz began working part-time as an anesthesiologist at one of the city’s large downtown hospitals.

The couple enjoyed spending their downtime in Humber Bay, she says.

“The lake shore is so refreshing with the water, beach and birds.”

The couple and their son also made frequent visits to nearby Queen Street West where they found an abundance of cultures, shops and restaurants that they could not experience in south Florida.

The best feature

The unit’s two terraces provide vistas over the parks below and the lake. One large terrace spans the living area and provides space for lounging and dining.

Dr. Reyes Moroz says her favourite place to relax is the private terrace off the guest bedroom.

“You can see the whole lake and the city.”


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