Page 60 - 04-June-2024
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 Flipping through an album documenting the home’s changes over the decades, we spot a photo of Boland and friends taking an upper-level carpeting break back in the ‘80s. Ryan smirks and says he “has some words for them.”
The photos came from Boland’s widow, Rose, who lives across the street. She gave them to the home’s current residents,
Jay Sparrow — co-owner of Sea Change Brewing and rockstar of many albums — and his fiancée Michelle Chen, a pharma- cist-turned-Vinyasa yoga instructor and baker extraordinaire. A realtor friend put the home on Sparrow’s radar well before renovations were complete.
“All these new builds, it’s like I know exactly where everything’s going to be, and all the choices the designers made creatively,” Sparrow says. “But this one
is laid out so weirdly. Like when you go upstairs, there’s this corridor, and then there’s another whole amazing room with skylights, and it just keeps getting more interesting. I liked that I didn’t know how the story was going to end.”
The end is far from written, but it turns out the couple’s story with this house — and Boland — started well before Sparrow first stepped into it. Years prior, Chen attended one of Boland’s “white dinner parties,” at which guests dressed all in white, and says “When [Sparrow] told me about the house, he was like, ‘By the way, do you know who Con Boland is?’ And I was like, ‘Yes, I do!’”
Today, the house — which first went up in 1908 — is fully theirs. The front kitchen is stocked with industrial appliances for Chen’s baking classes, and she teaches yoga in the now carpet-free loft. Beyond the beautiful yard sits the new garage with Sparrow’s recording studio up top. And the living room, where Boland once photo- graphed people like Wayne Gretzky and Jean Chrétien, is the heart of the home.
“I don’t think people really understand how precious Riverdale history is to the people who live here, so it was really important to us that this didn’t get torn down,” Kristina says of the house she and Ryan were only too happy to finish for their new friends. “It’s such an Edmonton story, and we’re so excited that they get to write thenextchapter.”ED.
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