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A lot of people think that Liberty Village is just another new(ish) condo community on the west-side of downtown Toronto. For those of us that grew up in Toronto in the 70’s, 80’s & 90’s, you may remember an edgier Liberty Village where few people lived but many people came to create art and party.

Liberty Village is actually quite rich in history and there’s lots that few people might know about this historic Toronto neighbourhood. Here are 6 cool facts you didn’t know about Liberty Village:

1 – Joe Rockhead’s

Climb your way into their heart with a class or session at Joe Rock Heads. Photo credit to Instagram/JoeRockHeads.

Today, Liberty Village has a shiny Goodlife and a few yoga studios, crossfits & bootcamps, but one of the best know and most-beloved gyms in Liberty Village is still Joe Rockhead’s. Now in its 30th year, Joe’s was groundbreaking when it launched back in 1990.

Joe Rockhead’s opened on June 30th, 1990. Making this year their 25th anniversary. When Bob and Sharon Bergman, and Bob’s brother, Brian opened Joe’s, there were no other climbing gyms in Canada. No organized Canadian climbing competitions, and no places for climbers to go and train during our long, cold winters. It was the first Canadian facility of it’s kind, and it became a popular hub for the, then small, local climbing community. Read more here.

2 – Star Wars

You’ve probably heard of the Toy Factory Lofts at 43 Hanna Ave, the trendy loft conversion where million dollar lofts can be found. Some people know that the loft building was once the Irwin Toy Factory. However, fewer people know that Star Wars figures were once made there. Local Star Wars nerds have something to celebrate!
The business found success with the help of the Hula Hoop, Slinky, Frisbee, and later on in the century with the popular Star Wars action figures, Care Bears and the Easy-Bake Oven. Lots more here.

3 – Bren Guns

The site where the Liberty Market Building currently stands was built as a munitions factory in the 1940s, and you can still see some of the railroad tracks that run through the middle of the property that used to bring the material to the building,” said Brian Brown, principal of Lifetime Developments, the project’s builder.

“They were manufacturing the Bren gun, and after the war most of the industries moved out of the area, and this building was used for light industrial and warehousing purposes,” Brown added.

Find the story here!

4 – Magic Baking Powder

You’ve seen it before. You may have even baked with it. But did you know that Magic Baking Powder was manufactured our of 135 Liberty Street.

The “Castle” was built in 1912 by the E.W. Gillett Company and was once the production grounds for Magic Baking Powder, Royal Yeast Cakes and scented lye. Check it out!

5 – Snooker

Snooker street, which was formerly Hanna Avenue, needed to be changed to facilitate a stop sign. It was named after BBCC.
From 1905 to 1959, the Brunswick, Balke, Collender Company (BBCC) called the east-west slice of Hanna Ave. home. The company manufactured billiard tables, cues, balls and all manner of pool table accessories. In 1910 BBCC bought Canada’s oldest and largest manufacturer of billiard tables, the Samuel May Company. By 1959, it needed to expand its operations and it subsequently moved to Cooksville, Ont. The building is now home to a pool hall, the Academy of Spherical Arts, which occupies one-sixth of the old factory.
Read all about it here!

6 – Mounted Police

The Toronto Mounted Police Unit is one of only 7 mounted units in Canada. They were first stationed at the ‘horse palace’ in the Ex in the 1930s and have been there ever since. With the outbreak of the Second World War, the City of Toronto offered Exhibition Park to the Canadian military. Between 1942 and 1946, the grounds of Exhibition Place were occupied by different areas of the Canadian military. The Canadian Army established sleeping quarters in the Horse Palace where soldiers bunked in horse stalls while waiting to be sent overseas.
Want to know more about our beloved Toronto’s Mounted Police Unit? Click here.
Want to know more about the the impressive building that houses these beautiful horses? Click here.
Do you have other neat facts about Liberty Village you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section.
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Michael Camber
Michael Camber is the #1 selling real estate salesperson in King West and Liberty Village. Since 2003 he has been helping his clients achieve all of their real estate objectives.

Michael Camber

Michael Camber is the #1 selling real estate salesperson in King West and Liberty Village. Since 2003 he has been helping his clients achieve all of their real estate objectives.