Liberty Village is populated with exquisitely beautiful buildings that create a unique industrial, business-driven atmosphere that has welcomed software companies, film production companies, restaurants and pubs, radio stations, and online publications to the neighborhood. This list is meant as a fun way to pay tribute to Liberty Village’s history as well as acknowledging the beautiful structures that still stand.
The Toronto Carpet Factory Building
Along King Street, the Carpet Factory building is industrial-style warehouse architecture at its finest. The origins of the building date back to the early 1900s and is a premiere example of industrial buildings re-purposed as contemporary tech-driven business hubs. Built by the Hayes family, the Barrymore brothers would then manufacture woven carpets in it. Throughout both World Wars, it would be repurposed to make coats and blankets for soldiers overseas. Today, the building extends out over 310,000 square feet, comprising of modern offices which occupy its interior. The exterior of the building is a real beauty to look at and marks one of the largest pieces of the neighborhood’s industrial past still standing.
Built in 1910 at Dufferin and Mowat, the York Liberty buildings have now been renovated into office spaces much like their industrial counterparts. The bricks and beams still stand from its original construction, and the high ceilings and open floor plans are very reminiscent of the area’s past. Alongside the Toronto Carpet Factory, the York Liberty buildings are commonly referenced as examples of how historical spaces can be repurposed for commercial use. The startling ways in which Liberty Village transformed over the years have a lot to credit to these two buildings.
Right in the heart of the neighborhood, this building stands three levels high and is the home to premiere neighborhood companies including Softchoice. The renovated brick and beam structure comes with a red brick masonry exterior mixed with the high ceilings and hardwood floors that can be found in other neighborhood business buildings. This is another space with a lot of history to it. Once occupied by machines and labourers, the building is now home to some of the most innovative and creative businesses in Liberty Village.
The Ontario Wind Energy and Pump Company building
Built at the turn of the century, the former Ontario Wind Energy and Pump Company building was completed in 1901. Then-owner G. M. Miller used this building to pump water and grind farm animal feed. The City of Toronto is presently considering demolishing the former Ontario Wind Energy and Pump Company building to erect a ten-storey office complex. Despite opposition from preservationist groups, this may turn out to be yet another building from Liberty Village’s industrial past left gone with the wind.
Irvin Toy used the building now known as the ‘Toy Factory Lofts’ as his company’s head office. His family-run business was among Toronto’s manufacturing and marketing elite at one time, building products ranging from children’s toys to sporting goods. In the early 2000s, the building was renovated and transformed, winning the 2005 Condominium Project of the Year as awarded by the Greater Toronto Home Builders Association.
So much of Liberty Village’s present and future has been and will be built on the neighborhood’s past. The area has something very unique to it that cannot be found anywhere else in Toronto. The history that still stands represents the industrial trendsetters who kept it a hub for so many years.