With earth day just behind us, the concept of re-purposing is fresh in our minds. When you apply that concept to real estate – in the context of re-purposing existing space – the end result can be quite exciting!
Toronto’s waterfront has been undergoing major transformation over the last few years, with buildings and spaces that had previously been industrial getting new life with new purpose. The latest of these are those waterfront bookends that rest at the bottom of Bathurst Street at the Eireann Quay by the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport: the Canada Malting Silos.
This site has had a number of different silos and grain elevators over the last century or so, but all that remains are two silos. They have been out of use since the 1980s. The silos are historical and were designated as a heritage property in 1973. Given that these silos (and a number of other edifices that populate Toronto’s waterfront) have historical designation, which makes it challenging for developers to come in and redevelop the land. That’s why repurposing is an attractive option that is both practical and visually interesting.
There were many adaptive reuse strategies floated around over the years for a wide variety of ideas, including a cultural centre, a hotel, a storage facility for Archives Ontario and even a mausoleum.
Photo courtesy of BlogTO
While the adaptive reuse of these silos is still to be determined, an arts and event space will be breathing new life in the Administrative Building beside them! Run by the Ireland Park Foundation, who is tasked with creating and supporting commemorative public spaces that explore the relationship between Canada and Ireland, this new project draws inspiration from the arrival of tens of thousands of starving Irish immigrants to Toronto in 1847.
Before construction begins on the art centre itself, the City has approved a restoration project of the surrounding area, “Bathurst Quay”, which has six main improvements. These include the revitalization of an under-used office building, rehabilitation of the dockwalls from the Portland Slip to the airport ferry slip, and the construction of a new pedestrian path and plaza.
Photo courtesy of The Ireland Park Foundation
The group signed a five-year lease – aptly on St. Patrick’s Day! There will be about 8,000-square-feet of space across three floors to use for cultural events in the former Administrative Building beside the silos. Have you been to Ireland Park? It has a number of fascinating “famine sculptures” – a commentary on the nature of the famine that so many Irish immigrants fled in 1847. Furthermore, it is hoped that this new cultural arena will underscore the impact of that famine, as well as draw light on the way in which Toronto welcomed these people in their time of need: “The new exhibition and event space will serve to tell the story of Toronto’s “generous and courageous response” to the plight of these migrants, many of whom were very sick, while championing the importance of migration in general.” – BlogTO
It’s not surprising, given how Toronto is a patchwork of so many cultures, each adding their own dimension to the city!
Click here to read “The People Behind the Abandoned Canada Malting Silo on Toronto’s Waterfront” “What’s happening with Toronto’s waterfront silos?” and “Toronto’s derelict malting plant will soon anchor a huge new event space”.
How great would it be to have this kind of arts facility with such an impressive backstory right there in your ‘hood? Talk about lifestyle enrichment! Here’s our new listing at 500 Queens Quay West:
If you’re interested in living by the lake, please know it would be our pleasure to assist!
Thanks for reading!
– Urbaneer Team
Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage – (416) 322-8000
– we’re here to earn your trust, then your business –
*Like what you’ve read? Did you know we were recently listed as one of The Top 25 Toronto Real Estate Agents To Follow On Twitter, The Top 50 Blogs On Toronto and the Top 100 Real Estate Blogs In Canada!!? Consider signing up in the box below to receive our FREE monthly e-newsletter on housing, culture and design including our love for unique urban homes and other Toronto real estate!
*Love Canadian Housing? Check out Steve’s Student Mentorship site called Houseporn.ca which focuses on architecture, landscape, design, product and real estate in Canada!