Industry & Commerce
The historic Gooderham and Worts Distillery complex, Toronto's first industrial heritage conservation district, is preserved to illustrate one of the industrial and commercial areas that propelled Toronto to the first rank of Canadian cities as an economic force.
Little did James Worts and William Gooderham know that they were initiating the industrialization and commercialization of the city's eastern waterfront when they built their windmill in 1832. At the time, it overlooked a pristine Toronto Bay and the marshland spreading out from the mouth of the Don River nearby. A century later, the marsh would be a port-industrial district and the shoreline would be hundreds of metres to the south.
An area like this, endowed with the necessary foundation for industry—water, affordable and convenient transport, and cheap land—attracts more industry. That is why industry and commercial activity developed along the city’s major rivers and creeks and the railway lines that run through the city. As these areas became polluted by coal, steam power and industrial waste, residents who could move, did; those who could not provided cheap labour.
As with the Distillery District, Toronto’s abandoned industrial areas are being remediated and transformed into new residential and commercial areas. Many of the sites included in this theme are the remains of this industrial past and the symbols of the wealth that industry and commerce generated.
A selection of sites from this theme is laid out in the trail Toronto’s Commercial Heartland.
Architectural Masterpiece Replaced by Another , 1913
King St. West and Bay St.
Building the City, Brick by Beautiful Red Brick , 1882
Evergreen Brick Works
Calling Home from the Tallest Building in British Commonwealth , January 13, 1931
25 King St. W.
Canada's Favourite Pianos: Heintzman & Co. , 1860
Canada's First Indoor Shopping Mall , 1884
137 Yonge St.
Chicken Pot Pie in Fairyland , 1929
401 Bay St.
Crystal Palace Razed by Fire , October 18, 1906
Dempsey's and the Birth of Lansing , 1921
Eaton Auditorium Tops Art Deco Inspired Department Store , 1930
444 Yonge St.
Eaton Centre Endures as a Retail Landmark , February 10, 1977
220 Yonge St.
“Foremost if I Can.” Henry Pellatt and Casa Loma , 1905
From Shells to Shells , 1916
Leaside Munitions Factory
Generosity to Toronto’s Rebel Mayor , 1837
82 Bond St.
Historic House Reopens to Showcase 1920s and 30s , 1920
285 Spadina Rd.
Honest Ed’s: Store Sells Everything from Wine to Twine , 1948
581 Bloor St. W.
Icon of Canadian Business History , 1853
10 Toronto St.
Leaside Rail Maintenance Yard , 1912
Leaside Rail Yard
Meat Packer's Passion for Architecture and the Arts , 1929
New Masterpiece Replaces Old , 1967
66 Wellington St. W.
“Poor House” Moves to New Quarters , 1848
87 Elm St.
Power to the People: Toronto Hydro , 1911
Preserving Our Industrial Past , 1832
Printers Demand a Nine-Hour Day , 1872
Queen's Park Crescent E.
Protesters Shout Down Planners and Save Market , 1971
St. Lawrence Market
Queen Opens Sugar Refinery , 1854
95 Queen's Quay E.
Remnants of Toronto’s Oldest Mill Site on the Don River , 1793
Sam “The Record Man” Opens , 1961
Yonge St. and Edward St.
Scarborough's Golden Opportunity , 1949
Stockyards Reinforce “Hogtown” Reputation , 1903
Keele St. and St. Clair Ave W.
Toronto’s Skyscraper Row , 1911
Yonge St. and King St.
Toronto’s Very Own “Flatiron Building” , 1891
49 Wellington St. E.