Toronto has a long history of buildings tucked away, hidden treasures, and secret alleyways. With the massive amount of development that Liberty Village has undergone in recent years, though some warehouses and buildings remain, the neighborhood might not seem to carry the same Toronto mystery vibe to it as other places. Even though it might not appear so on the outside, there is a lot to Liberty Village you may not know about, including a hidden history warehouse.
Thousands upon thousands of Toronto historical artifacts are believed to be stored in a secret Liberty Village warehouse. The location is not publicly known, per City request, and there is limited information available on what exactly exists there. Various investigations launched by online publications have turned up limited info however we hope to cull some of that together here. What we know is that there are two sites within the City of Toronto that store over 150,000 highly valued Toronto-centric historical objects and one of these is found within our very own Liberty Village.
Those with Heritage Toronto memberships may have been on one of their guided tours through one of these locations. These items are believed to be put into safekeeping for the time being due to their historical significance to Toronto and the lack of city history museum here. Despite discussions around a City of Toronto museum being ongoing since the 1930s, there has yet to be definitive plans for one. In the meantime, items have been accumulating at this undisclosed warehouse in the hopes of one day being given proper display.
The Liberty Village storage facility was purpose-built in the early twentieth century and was originally designated as a City of Toronto museum storage location in the early 1980s. Little is known about what lay inside as it’s not publicly advertised. In addition, the value of what’s located here is not known. What we do know is, according to reports from Heritage Toronto, the warehouse is significantly over-capacity. As we stated earlier, there are two such buildings like this. The Liberty Village location is designated towards smaller items that are easier to handle, while the other location takes on larger items such as vehicles and heavy equipment. Among the items believed to be found in the undisclosed Liberty Village warehouse include Bank of Toronto building columns, Gooderham and Worts Distillery bottles, and Blue Jays memorabilia.
There are many items found in this secret warehouse from popular Toronto collectors, such as Larry Becker and Morris Norman. There’s also a wide mix of Toronto-specific packaging, tickets, flyers, advertisements, and similar historical pieces. Different pieces of literature, art, marketing, and product culled from past Toronto factories and businesses are found. There are many items that are believed to be still in process of being catalogued at this undisclosed location.
Liberty Village won’t be these historical objects ‘forever home’ however the City has deemed it good enough for the time being. The grand, complicated history of Toronto contained within its catalogue are unfortunately not open to exploration or public viewing – at least, as of yet.
To think, what lies in the Liberty Village warehouse tells so many stories about the City of Toronto and the people who made it into what it is today. The thousands of artifacts represent everything from the City’s entrepreneurial spirit to the working classes who built the City by hand many decades ago. There are still items being added to the collection every year. For example, in 2015 following an Infrastructure Ontario digging exploration at a parking lot just west of Nathan Phillips Square, more than 500,000 artifacts were found from the mid-1800s believed to belong to working class immigrant newcomers to Canada in that time period.
As the collection continues to grow, the mysterious Liberty Village history warehouse continues to be the home to so many stories from so many different people. The secret history of Toronto that lies behind the walls of the warehouse will hopefully be taken out one day for all to see. Until that day, we can only speculate on what mysteries this Liberty Village warehouse is hiding.