Friday, December 20, 2013

Liberty Village

                                                              Exploring Liberty Village

Once one of the crown jewels in Toronto's industrial landscape, Liberty Village has developed into one of the most popular downtown residential neighbourhoods in just a few short years.  Warehouses and factories that used to house enormous machines and hundreds of workers are now home to towering lofts and beautiful condos.

Many of the original structures have remained intact, with buildings like Toy Factory Lofts (once home to the iconic Irwin Toy Factory) simply renovating much of its interior to allow much of its original look in its current design. 

These days entrepreneurs, start-ups, marketing and tech companies make up much of Liberty's business community.  Softchoice, Kobo, and Cineplex Media are some of the larger industry examples taking root in Liberty.  In fact, the area between Dufferin St. and Hanna Ave. is designated by the City of Toronto as "employment lands", zoned specifically for hich tech/computer use.

For residents, dozens of restaurants, cafes and coffee shops like Origin, School, Bar Vespa, Willliams Landing and Balzacs call Liberty home, in addition to the myriad choices that King West provides within easy walking distance.  The area also features a GoodLife Fitness, Metro, West Elm and a variety of other businesses that make up the community.

Courtesy of BlogTo via Toronto Archives
The Liberty Market Building (formerly 37 Hanna Ave) was the first industrial co-op.  The building was originally owned by the federal government and when it went up for sale the tenants of the building bought it.  It now features considerable commercial and retail space, with much of it located inside the covered Galleria area.

The Sunday Farmers Market takes over the parking lot at Atlantic and Liberty every Sunday from the end of May to the beginning of October.  It features fresh produce from Ontario's Greenbelt, as well as on-site specials from local restaurants.

Liberty Village's location makes for an easy commute in either direction, although volume is an issue that is being addressed currently by Metrolinx and the TTC.  Commuters can take the GO Train from Exhibition Station in either direction, or get on the King streetcar to make their way downtown.  
Central Prison at King and Strachan 1953

One of the features that has helped brand Liberty Village as a desirable location for young professionals is the seemingly sky-high dog population.  Many dog-related businesses have thrived in Liberty, including: Global Pet Foods, several groomers and a many dog walking businesses.  Two dog parks in the area make up the main meeting grounds for dog owners but Stanley and Coronation Parks offer some nearby alternatives.