On February 18, 1963, The Toronto Daily Star ran an interesting article about new industrial buildings in Toronto. The piece highlighted the new refreshing look of modern factories.
The new plants were a departure from earlier, “blocky” factories, states the article. The new aesthetic could compare them to a church or a museum – works of art. Today, we might call this style “Modernist”. This may be a disputable point as Toronto’s Victorian and Edwardian industrial architecture is impressive, but the new factories in the post-war period certainly were of a different ilk.
The article interviewed architect James Crang, who made several interesting points. The looks of the new factories were marketing pieces. Their locations were on main roads, visible to the public — away from traditional locales next to railway lines.
Highlighted are several structures. Most notable is the Lido Industrial Products Ltd factory, found on Queen Elizabeth Boulevard in Etobicoke. Its interesting footprint is highlighted by the glass cylinder visible in aerial photos.
Unfortunately, it appears the Lido factory is no longer present, with the site now part of a commercial parking lot.
Webber Pharmaceuticals Ltd was located at 14 Ronson Drive, also in Etobicoke, and is adorned with arches. The building is still present too.
The Art Centre of Pringle and Booth photography services at 1133 Leslie Street in Don Mills is another structure that is still standing. It was built in 1959 and has heritage designation. It is now the Korean Canadian Cultural Centre.
Finally, Max Factor & Co. Cosmetics at 301 Danforth Road in Scarborough is also still standing under a different business.
The context of the article is quite important. Toronto was less than twenty years removed from the end of World War II. The city exploded with new populations and its geography was transformed to accommodate the change. Areas outside the old core of Toronto began to be redeveloped to house new communities and new industries — including these fancy plants.
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Love this — architecture so deeply reveals all the intersections of its time, social/economic/political/emotional even…