Real Housewife and husband say $3.7m home’s historic designation should be removed because it was built in 1906 by racist (after they were banned from refurbishing it)

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Dr. Arnold Mahesan and his wife, entrepreneur and former Real Housewives of Toronto actor Roxanne Earle, purchased the home in 2022 for $5m CAD
  • Located in Toronto, Canada , the home was built in 1906 for Stapleton Pitt Caldecott, a Toronto Board of Trade president with anti-immigration views
  • Now, the couple is petitioning the city to remove the heritage designation from their century-old home over the original owner’s ‘racist beliefs’

A Real Housewives star and her husband are pushing to have their $3.7 million home’s historic designation removed over the original owner’s ‘anti-immigration’ views –  after getting banned from refurbishing it because of its protected status. 

Dr. Arnold Mahesan, a fertility specialist, and his wife, entrepreneur and former Real Housewives of Toronto actor Roxanne Earle, purchased the home in 2022 for $5 million CAD (approximately 3.7 USD), unaware at the time of its heritage designation.

Located at 64 Woodlawn Ave West in Toronto, Canada, the 6-bedroom house was constructed in 1906 for Stapleton Pitt Caldecott, a former Toronto Board of Trade president with anti-immigration views.

The couple claimed they only learned of the property’s heritage status last year when they attempted to alter its steep stairway and realized they needed city permission due to the designation. 

Now, they are petitioning the city to remove the heritage designation from their century-old home over the original owner’s ‘racist beliefs,’ according to CBC. 

Dr. Arnold Mahesan, a fertility specialist (right) and his wife, entrepreneur and former Real Housewives of Toronto actor Roxanne Earle (left) purchased the home in 2022 for $5 million CAD (approximately 3.7 USD), reportedly unaware at the time of its heritage designation

Located at 64 Woodlawn Ave West in Toronto, Canada , the 6-bedroom house was constructed in 1906 for Stapleton Pitt Caldecott, a former Toronto Board of Trade president with reportedly anti-immigration views

Located at 64 Woodlawn Ave West in Toronto, Canada , the 6-bedroom house was constructed in 1906 for Stapleton Pitt Caldecott, a former Toronto Board of Trade president with reportedly anti-immigration views

Now, the couple is petitioning the city to remove the heritage designation from their century-old home over the original owner Stapleton Caldecott's 'racist beliefs'

Now, the couple is petitioning the city to remove the heritage designation from their century-old home over the original owner Stapleton Caldecott’s ‘racist beliefs’ 

‘Stapleton Caldecott would’ve been appalled by us living in the house he commissioned,’ Mahesan said at a Toronto Preservation Board meeting on March 28. 

The two-and-a-half story home is situated on a spacious 50×179 lot, and boasts  historical architectural features.

The city mandates approval from the preservation board for alterations to historic homes.

The couple argued that the home should be exempt from preservation requirements due to the racist views held by its original owner in 1906. 

Despite the couple’s appeal, the board ultimately rejected their request. However, the final decision rests with the City Council.

Their lawyer, Michael Campbell, said they are not giving up. 

‘We intend to realize every opportunity we can to try to convince council to repeal the designation,’ Campbell told CBC.

But a city report clarified that the home’s preservation designation stemmed from its architectural significance, not its ownership history.

The couple argued that the home should be exempt from preservation requirements due to the racist views held by its original owner in 1906

The couple argued that the home should be exempt from preservation requirements due to the racist views held by its original owner in 1906

A city report clarified that the home's preservation designation stemmed from its architectural significance, not its ownership history (Pictured: the home's recently renovated kitchen)

A city report clarified that the home’s preservation designation stemmed from its architectural significance, not its ownership history (Pictured: the home’s recently renovated kitchen)

The report said the historical significance came from the fact the house was designed by architect Eden Smith, and not because it was made for Caldecott

The report said the historical significance came from the fact the house was designed by architect Eden Smith, and not because it was made for Caldecott

The report said the historical significance came from the fact the house was designed by architect Eden Smith, and not because it was made for Caldecott. 

The report states, ‘Staff maintain that the property is valued as a fine representative example of an early 20th-century house form building designed in the Period Revival style influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement.’ 

‘It is distinguished by its asymmetrical plan with the projecting bays, the complicated roofline with the gables and the distinctive canted chimneys, and the decorative wood strapwork,’ it continued. 

Although the city agreed to remove references to Caldecott from heritage documents, they maintained the designation.

The City Council’s decision is anticipated to be announced in May.

Earle criticized what she perceived as the board's endorsement of racism and vowed to continue their pursuit to remove the heritage designation

Earle criticized what she perceived as the board’s endorsement of racism and vowed to continue their pursuit to remove the heritage designation

The couple clarified that they have no immediate plans to renovate or demolish the house, but said they are determined to address what they view as a celebration of racism within their living space.

The couple clarified that they have no immediate plans to renovate or demolish the house, but said they are determined to address what they view as a celebration of racism within their living space.

Earle criticized what she perceived as the board’s endorsement of racism and vowed to continue their pursuit to remove the heritage designation.

Speaking to CBC, she called the decision a ‘smack in the face,’ and said she is not fighting for this as a ‘tactic.’ 

‘How would I know that a city like Toronto has a preservation society which intends to celebrate racism more than the people living in the homes?’ she asked CBC. ‘How is that something an average homeowner is supposed to know?’

The couple clarified that they have no immediate plans to renovate or demolish the house, but confirmed their determination to address what they view as a celebration of racism within their living space.

‘I have no plans of developing this house or changing this house,’ she told CBC Toronto.

‘My issue is that I’ve done great work in this city and yet still I have to be racialized by living in a house that is celebrating something so anti everything that my husband and I are.’

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