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.


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.

Wm Wrigley - chimney

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



  1. Hi Joanne! Thanks for the post. I work at Wave (, 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”: )


  2. 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. 😐


    • 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 😉


  3. 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!


  4. 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.



  5. 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. 🙂


    • 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.


  6. 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.


    • 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

  7. 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.


    • I love, love, love that smoke stack. I just knew I had to include it 🙂
      Even better, it was gently smoking when I took that photo. Unfortunately you can’t see it because the skies were so gray.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. 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.


    • 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 🙂


    • 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

  9. 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…..


  10. 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.


  11. 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.


  12. 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.


  13. 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!


    • 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

  14. 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.


  15. 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

    • 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.


  16. 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!


    • 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!


    • 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! 🙂


  17. 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

    • 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

  18. 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?


    • 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 :/


  19. 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” 🙂


  20. 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!


  21. 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?


    • 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

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