Innovation and Culture Connect
“Once a jumble of factories that drove the industrial era, Liberty Village is now a centre of entrepreneurship and creativity. Known for its unique live/work environment and interesting architectural character, Liberty Village is one of Toronto’s newest destination spots.”
Liberty Village Beginnings
The Liberty Village area has a long history as home to industry, because of its access to the main downtown lines of the Canadian Pacific and Grand Trunk (now Canadian National) Railways. Until 1858 it was the site of Toronto’s Industrial Exhibition, which later moved south and renamed the Canadian National Exhibition.
It was home to institutions; even to industrial institutionalization. Central Prison, set back from Strachan Ave( and often called the Strachan Avenue Prison), was built by the province in the early 1880s — not only to incarcerate inmates but to put them to work, apparently in the hope of penal profits from their labour. It was closed down in 1911.
The area was home to the Andrew Mercer Reformatory Ontario Reformatory Facility for Females. Ironically, Liberty St was the road that ran between the two prisons. The Mercer Reformatory was torn down after being condemned in 1969, and as now the location of Lamport Stadium, named after a former Mayor of Toronto, Allan Lamport.
1915: Liberty Street looking east from Dufferin Street
North of Liberty St on Dufferin Street was a factory built in 1916 by the Russel Motorcar Company to manufacture fuses for bomb shells for use in World War I. The factory operated 24 hours, 7 days a week, and employed 4000 people and most of these were women as the men were away at War. This site is now a parking lot.
It is bounded at the north by King Street West, the west by Dufferin Street, the south by the Gardiner Expressway, the east by Strachan Avenue, and the northeast by the CP railway tracks. The Liberty Village truly is the destination for the young Urban professional.
The ongoing gentrification of downtown Toronto has been pushing further outwards from downtown, encouraging rapid development. It has become a self contained community with everything at a stones throws away. You have restaurants, pubs, gym, grocery store, apartment building and town houses. Heck, you even have a barber shop that does manic’s and pedic’s. What more could you ask for? Oh wait! Did I mention, you’re only 5 minutes from downtown?
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