He writes about 401 Richmond Street - a bit of warm brick in a street of featureless glass towers. This is a lively 'character' building housing a lively artistic/entrepreneurial community. The vision is to repurpose heritage industrial buildings, in this post-industrial Toronto. There are issues. Like taxes. But there is life here, and hope. Jane Jacobs would be at home here.
A phrase I loved: "crucibles of a post-industrial revolution." The creative industry, not weary factory workers producing widgets, will be the life of these places.
As I have never visited 401 Richmond, I have no photos to share, so will have to let Streetview take you there.
This inspiring article about heritage industrial conservation includes a profile of 4 worthy examples. Here's that link again, have a look.
My small contribution to the conversation is these shots of a ruined industrial building on Wabash Avenue at Sorauren Park, near Roncesvalles Avenue in Parkdale. If you want to look around, here's a link to Streetview .
The structure is rotting away just adjacent to Sorauren Park, where a neighbourhood friend and I once celebrated the park's "world-famous" pumpkin parade, up to 2000 jack-o-lanterns twinkling in the dark and magical city night. (Photos)
This neighbourhood ruin was once home to The Canada Linseed Mills (1910-1969) a cog in the industrial wheels along Sorauren south of the railway lines on Dundas. Other neighbourhood industries included a ball bearing plant, a leather goods manufacturer, and the Dominion Bridge Company, which occupied the space now enjoyed by park visitors.
Here's a good history link.
So, for some time the neighbourhood has held out hope that the old factory would just go away, and the park would take over the spot. I noticed when I visited that part of the industrial building has been adopted by the Sorauren Park Fieldhouse. New windows. Traces of old lettering.
As I continued my research I discovered the triumphant announcement that the old linseed factory is about to be demolished and the Wabash Community Centre built on its footprint. The wait has been a long one, the activism determined. Now the waiting appears to be time-sensitive, with dates attached for pre-engineering this year, design and engineering in 2018 and '19, and completion scheduled for '22 or '23.
|Robert Watson entrance|
This Star article dubs this a good conversion, ensuring the building's future. And adding character to the neighbourhood.
Richard Longley describes the demographic drawn to such buildings. I once experienced that first hand, when I visited the workplace of my pumpkin-party friend, who worked for a film company at the Centre for Social Innovation at 215 Spadina. Energy enough to keep any century old industrial building standing.
So. One lost. Others rescued and wisely re-purposed. Need a program to keep up? Turns out there is one. ACO Toronto has just launched TO Built, "an open-source database about buildings and structures in Toronto."