That’s right. The gum people.
I have visited many old buildings in the Toronto area and am learning a considerable amount of my adopted city’s history, but this was my first foray into a former industrial area.
It was quite by accident. I didn’t know these old factories were even there – in Leslieville – on the east end of the city.
One of those old factories was the Wm Wrigley Jr Company.
The first plant opened outside of the US by Wrigley’s started operations in Toronto in a small rented factory in 1909. With business booming, they built this 4-storey factory in 1916, but as demand continued to grow , an identical second tower was added in 1919, with a walkway between the two buildings.
In 1918, while the second tower was still under construction, a private fire hall was built on the street behind the factory.
The ‘large’ door bay was built to accommodate a team of horses and the fire truck.
An interesting little tidbit I discovered was that chewing gum was advertised as a health product, promoting good digestion, clean teeth, and a clear head. When World War II broke out, Wrigley sold all its gum production to the military, asking the public to remember them when the war ended.
The Leslieville factory was operated by Wrigley’s until 1963 when the operation was moved into a newer, modern facility mid-city.
Coincidence or not, they moved their production from Leslieville to Leslie Street and I passed their ‘new’ facility every day for years, going to and from work. Sadly, Wrigley ended production in Toronto in 2016.
The old Wrigley Building in Leslieville was converted into condo lofts in 1998. The units were sold as “raw space” for about $100 a square foot, so each unit was developed uniquely by the new owner. It is now a mixed use space comprised of both residential units and work studios.
This post is part of Thursday Doors, a weekly photo feature hosted by Norm Frampton at Norm 2.0.