Parashos House, Toronto’s Greek Style Villa

Parashos House’s main façade

photography by: Omri Westmark

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In recent decades, Canada has welcomed immigrants from dozens of countries, making it among the world’s most culturally diverse nations. More often than not, migrants settle in ethnic enclaves where they maintain the lifestyle and cultural norms of their homeland. In some rare instances, the longing for their country of origin goes beyond just a mere sentiment. For evidence, look no further than the Parashos House in Toronto, a Greece-themed residence that boasts a hodgepodge of Greek-style ornaments, offering a glimpse of the Hellenic Republic in the middle of North America.

Toronto’s neighborhood of Christie Pits is no stranger to quirky buildings, and yet it seems as though the two-story house on 1016 Shaw St. stands out for its ostentatious architecture. With every square inch of its façade dedicated to Ancient Greece, the Parashos family home teleports onlookers to a distant era and place.


The house’s white and blue frontage features an ornate parapet, a small gable, copious reliefs and a pair of doric columns. Equally impressive is the medley of sculptures that adorns the street-facing garden, including various Grecian gods, lions, seraphs, steeds and urns, to name just a few.


On the left side lies a sumptuous entryway to the backyard, proudly bearing the “Parashos” family name in a Greek-inspired font. Sandwiched by two Corinthian columns whose capitals are gleefully gilded, the gate is decorated with a gable where Apollo and the sun chariot are depicted alongside raging faces of lions, both of which are coated with golden hue.


Though the origins of this architectural oddity are steeped in mystery, neighbors claim that it has been standing here for the past thirty years so. Story has it that the building was the brainchild of Patriarch Parashos who immigrated to Canada from Greece during the 1980’s. At least once a year, the homeowner repaints the eye-catching façade, keeping it as white as it was upon completion.


Perhaps the most iconic part of the house, however, is the pair of fluttering flags that crown its balcony. To the right, is the Greek flag representing the owner’s cultural heritage, while to the left, is the Canadian flag, reminding any perplexed passer-by about the true whereabouts of this unusual place.