Renewing Leaside’s industrial heritage


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The exterior of the Pease Foundry showroom in Leaside

Image: robertmoffatt115.wordpress.com

Industrial properties are being given new life in Leaside. Local residents will see this sort of renewal in action when Organic Garage opens its fourth location in an old warehouse on the corner of Laird Drive and Millwood Road this year.

City of Toronto Planning recently released its recommendation to permit heritage alterations to the building at 33 Laird Dr., which was approved by the North York Community Council on Feb. 3. The property was built in 1948 and is a listed heritage property on the City of Toronto’s Heritage Register.

“It gives more character, more individuality to the neighbourhood to do this sort of thing,” said Carol Fripp, co-president of the Leaside Property Owners’ Association. “It’s the sort of thing we like to see, assuming it’s done right and there aren’t any major traffic implications or negatives attached to it.”

There are many examples of old industrial buildings that have been transformed in Leaside. The old locomotive shop for the former Canadian Northern Railway at Laird and Esandar Drive was restored and converted into a Longo’s grocery store in 2011. 

Ward 26 councillor Jon Burnside was pleased there were no major concerns brought up during the public consultation phase for the Organic Garage store. 

Chris Borgal, president of Goldsmith Borgal & Company Ltd. Architects, said there are advantages to redeveloping a heritage site.

“If you’ve got a derelict building that’s empty and you put in something that can be used for retail … you can certainly improve a community very quickly by … cleaning it up and making it look nice,” said Borgal.

The final report will head to Toronto City Council March 9 for approval.

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