Over the years, Liberty Village has seen a change in the dynamic of the neighbourhood, as many businesses and retailers have come, and stayed over the past decade and a half. There is a trio of retailers that have called Liberty Village home for thirteen or more years, and they each kindly took a few minutes to tell us about our evolving community.
Meet Florist – Suzanne Gardner
After outgrowing her home’s porch with her floral business, Suzanne’s husband encouraged her to find a more permanent location. She then turned to the artist community of Liberty Village in 1996. Originally calling the Toronto Carpet Factory home, she was sold on the big open skylight of her space and the vision of the original owners. Bobby Eisenberg, still a current owner of the Toronto Carpet Factory, wanted to repurpose the vintage building and turn it into space for artists and commercial business. Eventually, the floral business moved to the other side of Liberty Village, and now currently resides in the Liberty Market Building.
One of the biggest changes that Suzanne Gardner has seen to the area include witnessing many industries come and go such as the dot commers to the influx of developers.
When asked to describe Liberty Village in 3 words, Suzanne said, “Creative, young and stylish”. Take a moment to stop by and say hi to Suzanne, where you will be greeted with her cheery voice and have your spirits lifted with all of the beautiful flower arrangements and terrariums.
Meet Cookie Masters – Mad Batter Bakers
Having been in Liberty Village since February of 1996, Mad Batter Bakers is truly one of the original retailers. They have always been located along Jefferson but have changed units once or twice. The family owned business was drawn to the neighbourhood because of the artsy and creative vibe. A clean workspace and a small retail storefront was what Mad Batter Bakers needed to support their growing and popular custom cookie venture. Twenty years later, they have seen the neighborhood change with a sea of condos being built and changes to TTC availability and accessibility.
The three words that Mad Batter Bakers uses to describe Liberty Village are, “vibrant, busy, and young”. Busy is certainly accurate, as they are always bustling away in the kitchen baking dozens upon dozens of cookies for corporate or party orders. Anything that can be imagined, can be transformed onto a cookie. Be sure to visit the store and admire the beautiful edible artwork. They always have some prepackaged and available for sale, so don’t hesitate to pick up a couple and bring them home for a treat later on.
Meet Home Decor Specialists – Casalife
Rob Whitfield, Casalife’s co-founder, recognized the development and condo craze for Liberty Village. He also knew that there would be a need for functional, well designed yet affordable furniture. Casalife has certainly filled this niche and is very popular by many people throughout the GTA. After the success of the first location, Casalife expanded to three retail stores located at Uptown Yonge and in Mississauga with a supporting warehouse.
As the first furniture retailer in the community, they have seen the neighborhood grow and become a destination for for the design driven. From other furniture retailers to interior design firms, creative media agencies and architectural companies, Liberty Village truly is forged in creativity.
When asked to describe Liberty Village in 3 to 5 words, Casalife said “Vibrant, ever-changing, industrial rooted, high density, self-contained neighbourhood”. The next time you need some home decor inspiration, be sure to visit the store located in the Liberty Village Market and you never know what you may leave with.
Our community is continually growing in size and creative diversity, but it is important to recognize and appreciate the long standing local retailers. The next time you pass any of their storefronts, make sure to say “hi” and patronize.