You’d never know it these days with multiple condo buildings sprouting up. But the area west of STRACHAN AVENUE was once home to the CN Rail Yards, Central Prison, and acres of heavy industry.
The railway yards brought with them companies manufacturing boilers, heavy machinery, farm equipment, billiard tables, electrical appliances, carpets, lamps, toys, bedding and pumps.
During World Wars I and II many of the factories produced armaments, bombs and weapons. It was a beehive of industrial this and that and remained so until the 1970’s.
<PHOTO ABOVE – Central Prison, 1884>
<Wartime armaments piled up in what’s now Liberty Village>
<Strachan Avenue as it was in 1913>
<Strachan Avenue railroad crossing, 1913>
When the railways yard and manufacturing companies moved to suburbia in the 1970’s & 80’s, the area was left with heavily polluted soil accumulated over several decades. That had to be cleaned up before repurposing.
The City of TORONTO, property owners and developers saw great potential in a neighbourhood so close to downtown, the entertainment/gallery/fashion districts and the Lakeshore. With the gentrification of the west end, this area became what it is today – a perfect place to build condo housing, renovate warehouses, and create a whole new community.
Making a very long story short – that’s when today’s Liberty Village came into being.
<The remaining railway lines are now under cover>
<Black and white photos above – City of Toronto Archives, Rail Road Historical Association, Toronto Reference Library>