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1179 King Street West

77 Mowat Avenue

Toronto Carpet Factory (Link)

The Toronto Carpet Factory: A Brief History

The history of the Toronto Carpet Factory begins with the company whose name it retains, the Toronto Carpet Manufacturing Co. Ltd., established by F. Barry Hayes in 1891. In 1899, the burgeoning company moved out of its cramped space at Jarvis and The Esplanade into its impressive new factory at 1179 and 1179A King St. W., and 74 Fraser Ave.

The Carpet Factory couldn't keep up with the demand of the Canadian market for its ingrain and chenille Axminster carpets and within five years, had added its own spinning and carding facilities, as well as additional looms to produce Brussels and Wilton carpets, in the addition located at 77 Mowat Ave. By the end of World War I, the factory employed over 1,000 people, about the same number of people who work there today.

In its prime, the Toronto Carpet Factory established a reputation for quality, innovation and efficiency. During World War I, the company assisted in the war effort by supplying army blankets and khaki cloth for uniforms.

The Toronto Carpet Factory comprises eight buildings on a 4-acre, one-city-block site, with a total rentable area of approximately 310,000 square feet. The buildings, built between 1899 and 1920, are similar in architecture to other industrial buildings built in Britain and America during that time. They were constructed in the classic 19th century style of perimeter buildings forming a cloister around a central quadrangle and powerhouse. All of the buildings are of heavy timber construction with load-bearing brick walls, wooden columns and beams, and hardwood floors. All roof decks are wooden, with the exception of the boiler room/generator room which is concrete slab.

In its time, the site was considered to be "state of the art", completely self-reliant, with its own steam-generated heat, power and electricity capabilities, fire pump and an underground cistern storing 625,000 gallons of water for emergency use. The cistern, still operational, remains buried beneath the floor of 72 Fraser Ave. A maze of catacombs (steam pipes), still deliver heat through the site. Ceiling heights range from 12' up to 22', and 24' in some of the corridors of Mowat Ave.
Alterations to the buildings have been undertaken with the utmost care to retain the integrity of all original architectural detail. York Heritage Properties, the owners of the Toronto Carpet Factory like to refer to their method of renovations as "invisible mending" - repairs that don't draw attention to themselves.

Visitors to the building are invited to enjoy our collection of "Factoriana" - artifacts such as archival photos, framed old blueprints/drawings, a 1902 map of the area and a framed original carpet on display in public areas.

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