West of Toronto's Stockyards and the somewhat awkward urban-suburban shopping complex of the same name, many of The Junction's remaining industrial properties are being partially adapted into commercial spaces, imbuing manufacturing facilities with the slightly twee, tap room rusticism that encapsulates the experiential retail zeitgeist. The term 'artisanal' comes up a lot.
On the block-long Symes Road alone, Rainhard Brewing Co. and Shacklands Brewing Co. satisfy both the taste buds and the post-industrial nostalgia for seeing things made. There's a lot of beer already around, and there's more coming, with the locally based Junction Craft Brewing company taking over part of the Art Deco destructor building at 150 Symes. Along with an event venue known as 'The Symes,' the brewery will re-animate a heritage-designated building once used as an incinerator and waste transfer facility.
Built by the City of Toronto in 1933—under the legendary R.C. Harris—the 16,000 ft² facility served a variety of quasi-industrial purposes throughout the 20th century, before being deemed surplus by the City in 2009. Sold to developer Symesbridge Inc. by the City's arm's length agency Build Toronto in 2012, a design by Jedd Jones Architect Ltd. to redevelop both the building and the 5.5 acre site surrounding has gradually taken shape since then.
As part of a later phase, four new low-rise structures are eventually set to join the overlooked Art Deco heritage building. While the redevelopment will re-integrate the site into the urban fabric, much of the ground level will be occupied by surface parking, reflecting the big box commercial typologies found east of the site. Given the site's longstanding industrial uses, extensive soil remediation will be necessitated.
Following a Site Plan Application (SPA) in September of 2016, the project's first phase is now well underway, with the exterior of the heritage-designated building already visibly transformed. By the end of the year, both the brewery and the event venue are set to move into the 1933 building.
While the interiors remain in a very raw state, the building's façade has been carefully water-blasted, removing years of grime and graffiti to reveal the building's architectural qualities. Belying its unglamorous 20th century uses, the 1933 structure is one of Toronto's relatively few intact examples of Art Deco craftsmanship, with the horizontal banding, circular windows, and roof cornices, now more prominent.
Appointed by Barbara Nelson Interior Design, 'The Symes' event venue will feature two rooms, with the ground floor occupied by the larger 'Grand Symes.' Featuring a capacity of up to 350, the 5,800 ft² space caters to the usual gamut of events, including weddings, corporate receptions, and gallery openings. The 4,100 ft² space on the second storey will be similarly configured, with the indoor capacity of 250 more than doubled by an expansive terrace.
We will keep you updated as more information becomes available, and the project continues to take shape. In the meantime, more information is available via our dataBase file, linked below. Want to share your thoughts? Leave a comment on this page, or join the conversation in our associated Forum thread.