Hard lofts in Toronto are still very popular among clients looking for a unique space with history and open floor plans. Hard lofts come with character and a story to tell your friends and family when they visit about what the building previously housed.
In Toronto, hard lofts don’t come on the market very often – it seems that in the good buildings, once you live there, you rarely leave. You won’t get some of the amenities other new condo buildings offer, but that trade-off seems fair among those who tend to favour hard loft units. Here are some of our picks for the best hard lofts in Toronto.
Toy Factory Lofts
Just around the corner from our Liberty Village office sits Toy Factory Lofts, at 43 Hanna Avenue. Aptly named the Toy Factory Lofts after its former tenant, the Irwin Toy Factory, which was founded in 1926 and is Canada’s oldest toy company.
The building was originally constructed in 1912 as a paper factory owned by Hinde and Dauch, Toronto’s largest paper manufacturers, it was sold to the Irwin family, who started one of Canada’s legendary toy companies in the building in 1940.
The Irwin Toy Factory became well-known for making some of the coolest toys around, including hula-hoops, Slinky, yo-yos, board games and action figures. The factory embraced its role as Canada’s leading toy factory for the next 50 years.
Lanterra Developments did an incredible job rejuvenating the interiors to give this former factory new life as a loft residence with 218 units. The bones of this turn-of-the-century factory are solid with steel beams, Douglas fir posts and brick walls where in some sections is several feet thick.
You know when you enter the lobby that this loft residence is well maintained and truly a showpiece of hard loft living. Ceilings inside vary from 9 to 17 feet in height and the lofts range from one bedroom to three bedrooms and showcase large open-concept layouts, stunning hardwood floors and floor-to-ceiling windows.
Massey Harris Lofts
Located on the south side of King Street West near Strachan Avenue, Massey Harris Lofts is a 5-storey redbrick building that looks as if it’s been plucked right out of Toronto’s Distillery District.
Converted in 2003 from the 19th century head office of Massey Harris farm equipment company, the heritage styled building now offers 45 Toronto lofts ranging in size from bachelor to two-bedrooms, with select soft loft penthouse suites on the contemporary rooftop addition.
Canderel Stoneridge did an exception job restoring this King West neighbourhood building and features 100+ year old original brick walls and wood post & beams. First floor units on the West side of the building have private sunken terraces looking out at the serene Massey Park. The penthouse units are an extension above the original structure that feature private rooftop terraces.
On the inside you will find charming finishes such as exposed redbrick, 12-foot ceilings, wood and glass-railed staircases, large office-style windows, and upgraded bathrooms. Massey Harris Lofts keeps maintenance fees relatively low with limited amenities, save for a security system and a pet-friendly philosophy, which is appealing to many loft-hunters.
Located on the East side of the city, Broadview lofts created a lot of buzz when it first launched in the early 2000’s. With prices that would make any buyer have heart palpitations now, ($189,000 for a corner unit) it sold quickly, and some original residents still call the loft home today.
The Broadview Lofts sit on the grounds of old Sunlight Park, which was the first baseball stadium in Toronto. The all wood structure and park were initially known as the Toronto Baseball Grounds, built in 1886 at a cost of $7,000. The stadium’s grand opening was held on May 22, 1886 for an afternoon game against the New York Rochester’s.
The actual building that houses Broadview Lofts was built in 1914, and served as a Rexall Pharmacy warehouse and distribution centre for many years. It was the Sorbara Group who eventually revitalized the property in the early 2000’s by adding two additional storeys made of glass and steel to tie into the warehouse windows that remain intact in the original four storey warehouse.
Inside this award-winning residential building you’ll find beautiful lofts with 12-foot ceilings, exposed brick, polished concrete floors, original wooden beams (strong enough to hold a hammock) and large oversized warehouse windows. The flowing open-concept lofts range in size from 542 to 1,756 square feet and some even come with multiple balconies.
Candy Factory Lofts
In the neighbourhood of Queen West, you’ll find one of the most sought-after hard lofts in Toronto. Candy Factory lofts don’t come on the market often, and when they do, they’re snatched up so quickly that you likely won’t have time to book a weekend showing.
The Ce De Candy Co. was launched in 1949 after third-generation candy maker Edward Dee moved his family from England to New Jersey and secured the name Smarties for his candy wafer roll. His family had been making a similar candy in England at what’s now the Swizzels Matlow Co.
In 1963, Dee expanded to Canada, opening a second factory on Queen Street West in Toronto. The candy was called Rockets here to avoid confusion with Nestle’s colourful sugar-coated chocolate Smarties. Oddly enough, the US does not have the chocolate Smarties that we know and love. They only have their version of Rockets, which they call Smarties.
The Candy Factory is a post and beam loft conversion with 121 units, ranging in size from 700 square-foot one-bedroom units to 3,500+ square-foot two-level penthouse suites. Most of the lofts are in the 1,000-1,600sf range. Some of the building features include real hardwood strip flooring, exposed brick, mezzanine bedrooms, fir columns and beams, wood ceilings, floating spiral duct work and granite counters. Many suites feature gas fireplaces and kitchens.
Hard lofts will always be a hot property in the Toronto Real Estate market. If you’re a first-time buyer looking for the perfect space with some history to it, or an investor looking to add something unique to your portfolio, lofts at these buildings, or many others around Toronto would be a solid investment.