Happy Civic Holiday Toronto loft lovers! To mark the occassion, we're starting with a little history lesson. Good times, right?! Seriously though, if you're like us, you love historic, authentic lofts and with that comes an appreciation of our past. So before exploring this week's featured building, we thought we'd ask a simple question: what the heck are we celebrating today?
The Civic Holiday is actually a bit of a mish-mash across the country, designed as a mid-summer break to allow each province and region to celebrate a piece of their history. That's why you'll hear it called different things in different parts of Canada ("Civic" Holiday is the generic term). It's Natal day in Nova Scotia, British Columbia Day in B.C., Heritage Day in Alberta, Emanipation Day in Ontario outside of Toronto and here, we celebrate Simcoe Day.
If you don't know, John Graves Simcoe is one of our founding fathers and frankly, a pretty cool dude. An accomplished military commander (he even battled a young George Washington in the Battle of Brandywine, part of the American Revolutionary War), he moved over to politics and took the post of the very first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada in 1791 accomplishing some amazing things.
Portrait of Colonel John Graves Simcoe by George Theodore Berthon c. 1881. Oil on canvas 109.2 x 83.8 cm (43" x 33") © Government of Ontario Art Collection, 694156, from flickr.
He moved the capital to York (Toronto), started the construction of Yonge Street, helped to establish courts of law and the system of trial by jury, established freehold land tenure and abolished slavery across Ontario. Not bad for just seven years in office; well, more like 4 years when you discount the time it took him to initially travel from Britain to Upper Canada to take up the post after being appointed and the fact that his poor health forced him to return to Britain two years before officially resigning.
So what does this have to do with the St. Lawrence neighbourhood? Well, when the town of York was established in 1793 it stretched just 10-blocks north of Front Street (which was the water's edge at the time), between George and Berkeley Street. The area we know today as St. Lawrence was under water but under Simcoe's government, the area was infilled in order to extend the port and create much-needed industrial space.
Photo of St. Lawrence Market © Ian Muttoo used via Creative Commons from flickr.
St. Lawrence is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Toronto but little remains of the original site as most of the structures were fabricated from wood. The historic buildings we've come to know and love today - the Flatiron building (actually called the Gooderham Building, 1892), St. Lawrence Hall (1850) and St. Lawrence Market (north facade and Market Square Gallery, 1845) - were all from eras long past Simcoe's time but they wouldn't exist without Simcoe's work in establishing York as the capital of Upper Canada. And that's exciting for those of us who love historic architecture because the area is rife with it.
Let's take a closer look at one of our favourite authentic lofts in Toronto, the St. Lawrence Market Lofts.
List off some of the most character-filled Toronto lofts and you'd be hard-pressed not to include the St. Lawrence Market Lofts near the top of that list. This hard loft building has a ton of character and a sense of history that you can just feel permeating through the halls. Here are the reasons why it's one of our favourite lofts in Toronto.
Not cookie-cutter, shoebox in the sky units here. One of the best things (providing you don't mind some creative furniture arrangement) is that there are no right angles in this building. The sloping floors and skewed brick walls are a testament to the vintage of this 140 year old structure and real conversation piece.
We joke about furniture placement - the slopes really aren't that noticeable in most units and not an impedement to comfortable living but some units do have more extreme angles which, despite what may be seen as impractical to some, a lot of buyers really love and hold out for.
Dating back to the 1850s and 1860s, not only is the building itself a charming slice of history, the conversion into residential units in 2002 stayed true to the industrial style with exposed ductwork, brickwork and awesome wood beams that you just couldn't buy today - all the features that true, hard loft enthusiasts seek out.
The St. Lawrence Market lofts boast an impressive near-perfect walk score. You're literally steps to the best of Toronto shopping, dining and entertainment as well as being walking distance to Union Station and the waterfront which is particularly exciting with Waterfront Toronto's East Bayfront revival project underway which will be located just south-east of St. Lawrence. You can read more about the East Bayfront community development on our partner company's site Condos.ca.
Availability. With only 54 units in this high-demand buliding, units rarely become available and when they do, they tend to move quickly. If you're interested in Toronto lofts for sale in the St. Lawrence Market building, give one of our Loft Experts a call and they'll inform you immediatly of any new listings. And you can check out some of MrLOFT's previous sales in the building including Unit 310 and Unit 317.
All in all, a smashing building not to mention an incredibly vibrant neighbourhood that we think Simcoe would be proud to call part of his legacy. Happy Civic Holiday - or better yet, happy Simcoe Day - everyone.