This Program Is Brought To You By …

… Wrigley’s.

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.

Wrigley

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.

Wrigley4

In 1918, while the second tower was still under construction, a private fire hall was built on the street behind the factory.

Wrigley6

The ‘large’ door bay was built to accommodate a team of horses and the fire truck.

Wrigley5

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.

history_story_car_card_wwii_remember

From leslievillehistory.com

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.

Wrigley2

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.

Wm Wrigley - chimney

This post is part of Thursday Doors, a weekly photo feature hosted by Norm Frampton at Norm 2.0.

 

About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
This entry was posted in Around Toronto, photography, Random Stuff, Thursday Doors and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

95 Responses to This Program Is Brought To You By …

  1. Pingback: More To Chew On | My Life Lived Full

  2. Rob Maurin says:

    Hi Joanne! Thanks for the post. I work at Wave (waveapps.com), and we occupy the 5th and 6th floors of the south Wrigley building (#235). We’ve been sharing your post around the office, learning about the buildings we’ve called home for almost 7 years. I’d be happy to show you around our offices if you want to see the interior. (Here’s one angle, with our main space set up “theatre style”: https://twitter.com/WaveHQ/status/845019299962146818 )

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  3. That’s interesting, Joanne. I always associate chewing gum with North Americans… certainly my Canadian family are fans, whereas I’ve never been keen. 🙂

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

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  4. Nice “gumshoeing” to find this old factory! Quite a large factory operation to make chewing gum but there must be millions of people addicted to chewing gum. Nice find and post, Joanne! I seem to recall that there is a place in Portland Oregon that people stick their used chewing gum on the outside building’s wall. 😐

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    • Joanne Sisco says:

      I know the wall you’re talking about. A few bloggers have taken photos of it over the past couple of years. It’s rather fascinating in a vaguely disgusting kind of way 😉

      Like

  5. Suvi says:

    I grew up with Wrigley’s! Actually Finnish gum is still a health product. It contains Xylitol which prevents tooth decay and ear infections on small children!

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  6. Fascinating! Especially the part about gum being a health product. Too funny.

    Gorgeous building. I have to say I have a weak spot for industrial area with old warehouses and interesting architecture. The doors are great. Good explorations Joanne. Thanks for sharing.

    Peta

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  7. RuthsArc says:

    Thanks for this fascinating post Joanne. So much history inside those old buildings.

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  8. These buildings are terrific. They very much remind me of buildings in Manchester, UK. I wish that we would not leave the so: although times have changed. Brilliant, thank you!

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  9. Wow, that is quite an informative post. I loved on that gum as a child (now chew sugar free). Great pictures. I wonder how I would design my apartment.

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  10. That building has a ton of character!

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  11. Su Leslie says:

    Wow: a suburb named after my family! Nice photos and a great piece of social history. I love the idea that the space was sold in such a way as to allow buyers to develop it themselves. 🙂

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  12. Mary C says:

    The “new” building on Leslie street is now gone I think. The older one outlasted the new.

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  13. Door 87… cool. I can’t think about Wrigley without thinking about Juicy Fruit gum. The nuns always caught me with it just chewing and snipping away!

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  14. Wonder if any of that great Wrigley smell still lingers in those condo walls – it was always so distinctive. Fun history to this building and nice that it lives on.

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    • Joanne Sisco says:

      Oh, interesting. I hadn’t thought of that.

      I used to work near a Peak Freans cookie factory. When they were baking maple cookies, the smell in the air was thick and sweet. It was comforting in the winter, but seemed to almost cling to your clothes in the summer.

      Like

  15. Ally Bean says:

    Door 87 looks like it could lead to somewhere very creepy. If this were a movie set, of course. Didn’t know about the Wrigley company’s war effort. Interesting.

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      I don’t know if this was just a Canadian initiative or if it applied to all of Wrigley’s. Since the Canadian market would have been so much smaller, I wouldn’t be surprised if it just applied to Canada.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I love the old, weathered, broken bricks on the smoke stack, and the little glass windows in the firehouse doors.

    What a wonderful piece of history this building tells. I’m so happy the building is being used for other purposes today.

    Like

  17. Bob Georgiou says:

    Ah, you make me wish I wrote this! One of my favourite buildings in the city! Fun fact: one of the floors was an Eaton’s operation.

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    • Joanne Sisco says:

      It was this building that resulted in me finding your blog 🙂

      I had read that fun fact. There was so much material about the building and the company .. all of it interesting!
      I’m sure you would write a great blog post about it. Hint 🙂

      Like

  18. Yes! The smokestack was cool!
    I’d guess the Wrigley’s would have some connections in Chicago, considering where the Cubs play is Wrigley Field. 😊

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    • Joanne Sisco says:

      Yes, I believe Chicago was (still is?) where the Mothership is located. William Jr was an interesting character. I think he may have been one of the earliest adopters of modern advertising – “Tell ’em quick. Tell ’em often.” is a quote attributed to him.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Cool history, Joanne. Good for clearing the head! Ha ha.

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  20. loisajay says:

    I would love to walk through those doors to go home to my loft apartment! I like that so many older building are repurposed into housing. To live in one is a dream of mine…..

    Like

  21. Dan Antion says:

    Great photos and a nice bit of history. Some days I think I’d love to live in an old factory. I think if I did, I’d like buying the raw space. so much potential.

    Like

  22. Margie in Toronto says:

    How interesting – I’ve gone by that way many times but never knew the history! Another area you might find interesting if you haven’t been there as yet is Liberty Village – King Street – just west of Shaw/Ossington area. There is an overabundance of new condos there but there are also a lot of older industrial buildings that have been converted to many new uses. A number of radio stations also use the various buildings and Zoomer TV has the Television Museum on site.

    Like

  23. Heyjude says:

    I love hearing about the history of your buildings. It would be lovely to see inside one of those conversions. As for chewing gum, I loathe it and especially the mess it makes of footpaths when people simply spit it out.

    Like

  24. doodletllc says:

    I love apartments converted from old commercial spaces…these spaces here must be fabulous. Having lived in Brooklyn, lots of living spaces were converted from old churches, fire stations, and factories. Soaring ceilings, wood floors, huge windows. Love this post, Joanne…so fun!

    Like

  25. conspicari says:

    I really like old industrial buildings.This one looks like a good place to live. Many Hosiery factories in my hometown are being converted into apartments. :>)

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      I much prefer old buildings being converted into condos than the construction of the unmemorable concrete towers that seem to predominate now.

      These old factory buildings are particularly coveted because of their high ceilings. I live in a cookie-cutter house built in the 70s. I would LOVE to have an old home with high vaulted ceilings!!

      You have featured a few of those former hosiery buildings. It is sad to see the death of manufacturing, but so nice to hear those buildings are given a new life.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Sharukh Bamboat says:

    I used to always carry Wrigleys chewing gum in my pocket, just in case I feel hungry or just want a cool minty flavor in my mouth. Thanks to you I got to see and learn more about a brand I used to consume. Now I don’t consume much chewing gum because I don’t have many teeth to chew. Great images and brilliantly written.

    Like

  27. Great doors and a superb old building!

    William Wrigley Jr. was a big deal on the west coast of Southern California too. He bought acreage and invested millions on Santa Catalina Island (which sits about 20 miles west of L.A.) in 1919 – even making it the spring training home of the Chicago Cubs (which he also owned… Wrigley Field, and all 🙂 ). I think his decedents still have a large stake in the island. Your post reminds me that I’ve been wanting to visit Catalina Island again.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. A firehall! What were the chances?

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    • Joanne Sisco says:

      hehehe … those little beauties just keep popping up everywhere 🙂

      Finding this one however was a complete accident. I discovered it while researching the plant and I made a second trip back to the area to find it on the next block.
      My unanswered question is – what is it used for now? It is surrounded by homes, yet it clearly wasn’t a residence.

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  29. Donna says:

    I, too, would love to have a peek inside a couple of the units. If you ever score an invitation…or find another way to snag us a few pics…that would be much appreciated!

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      I went so far as to check online real estate listings to see if any were currently on the market. Alas – no.
      These lofts sound like they would be coveted properties – 13.5 ft ceilings, the huge industrial windows, polished concrete – lots and lots of potential!

      Like

  30. JT Twissel says:

    When I lived in Chicago we always called the baseball field “Wiggles” – well, it did kind of wiggle being an old wooden stadium!

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    • Joanne Sisco says:

      Jan, you made me laugh out loud 😀

      Wiggles is just one of those happy words that induces a smile. It makes me think of babies and puppies. Now you’ve tossed in an old wooden stadium! 🙂

      Like

  31. I probably paid for half of the building. I chewed gum all the time when I was a teenager. Wrigley’s was my favorite. It was my favorite disguise to hide my smoking breath when I was in school. There should be my name on one of the wings, or the name of the boarding school I went.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      lol! Once upon a time I was a smoker too – it was short-lived though. Mostly I was a toker and like you, always had gum. Of course, now we know there is no disguising the smell that clings to our clothes, skin, and hair. We were in denial :/

      My gum chewing days are long over. I have a *fragile* jaw and I’m actually a candidate for jaw replacement surgery. Yes – it is a thing. I don’t have *normal* problems 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Interesting…as a sugar gum, I don’t think Wrigley’s could truly say it promotes any of those things. Can you imagine the backlash if they tried to use that kind of advertising campaign in today’s society?

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    • Joanne Sisco says:

      I know! It’s rather shocking some of the claims made by companies in the past.
      I wish I could say we have better ethics now, but that would be a stretch … as we know with all the ‘spinning’ that companies and governments do to hide their sins :/

      Like

  33. Joe says:

    Great shots Joanne and I would love to live in an old converted factory ! All the ghost must be constantly saying ” Doublemint, its two mints in one” 🙂

    Like

  34. Lynn says:

    Very interesting Joanne. Wouldn’t it be fun to take a peek at how owners utilized & designed the space inside those buildings when they were converted to living spaces!

    Like

  35. Norm 2.0 says:

    The firehouse door is my fave as well. I guess it should come as no surprise that a Chicago-based company would want their own private on-site firehouse, or do you think this was a standard practice for companies in general back then?

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      Since this was my first time investigating an industrial area, I really don’t know if it was typical or it. My thought was that these factories may have been a bit *remote* at the time and its own firehall was a prudent measure.

      At any rate, it is such a cute little building. I wish I knew how it is currently being used – and who owns it. It’s surrounded by homes, but clearly not being used as a residence – nor does it have a Heritage Building plaque on it. Now that I think about it, that seems rather unusual.

      Liked by 1 person

  36. nrhatch says:

    Good shots. Thanks for giving us something to “chew on.” 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  37. joey says:

    Good show 🙂 I love 87 and the photo of that entire side. Love it. And look at that smokestack!

    Like

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