Toronto Loft Conversions

Toronto Loft Conversions

I know classic brick and beam lofts! From warehouses to factories to churches, Laurin will help you find your perfect new loft.

Modern Toronto Lofts

Modern Toronto Lofts

Not just converted lofts, I can help you find the latest cool and modern space. There are tons of new urban spaces across the city.

Unique Toronto Homes

Unique Toronto Homes

Not just lofts, we can also help you find that perfect house. From the latest architectural marvel to a piece of our Victorian past, the best and most creative spaces abound.

Condos in Toronto

Condos in Toronto

I started off selling mainly condos, helping first time buyers get a foothold in the Toronto real estate market. Now working with investors and helping empty nesters find that perfect luxury suite.

Toronto Real Estate

Toronto Real Estate

For all of your Toronto real estate needs, contact Laurin. I am dedicated to helping you find that perfect and unique new home to call your own.

 

Toronto Real Estate

Featured Listing Title

 

St Lawrence Market Lofts 81A Front Street EastSt. Lawrence Market Lofts – 81A Front Street East
Live in a piece of Toronto history. Authentic loft conversion of an 1860 warehouse… this loft is older than Canada! Wood post and beam construction with exposed brick walls. Skylight, barn door to bedroom, granite counter tops, 10-foot ceilings and hardwood floors throughout. Jaw dropping location in one of the hottest parts of Toronto. Walk to restaurants, shopping, groceries, T.T.C., GO trains, Harbourfront, farmers market. CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS

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Sorauren Lofts – 347 Sorauren Avenue

An old ball bearing factory from sometime around the turn of the century, 347 Sorauren is actually a composite of the initial mill style warehouse with two new additions, featuring a combination of interesting industrial finishes. Features include 15 foot ceilings with massive timber columns and beams. Vintage meets contemporary at the 48-unit Sorauren Lofts building, with dramatically high metal ceilings with open web steel joists and 6-foot windows.

Sorauren Lofts - 347 Sorauren Avenue

The Sorauren Lofts, an old ball bearing factory at 347 Sorauren Avenue

The Sorauren Lofts have all the features that make loft conversions appealing, including huge windows that let in lots of sunlight, soaring ceilings that range from 15 to 17 feet high and a spacious loft bedroom with exposed wood ceilings. Some units have brick walls, some painted and others exposed. You might even find a cool archway dividing rooms! Concrete floors, or hardwood, depending on where the unit is located in the old factory.

Sorauren Lofts - 347 Sorauren Avenue

The Sorauren Lofts feature exposed brick, wood ceilings, polished concrete floors and skylights

It looks deceptive from the front, but the building is actually much larger than it appears. What’s really cool is that the unit to the right of the front door is carved from the old office of the factory. The bathroom is in the old vault, complete with original safe door! Weird note, some of the interior units have no windows, only skylights. Not sure I have ever seen that before.

Sorauren Lofts - 347 Sorauren Avenue

Front entrance to the Sorauren Lofts, the bank vault unit is at right

The Sorauren Lofts has one of the best hallways in any loft in Toronto. Unlike many loft conversions, this building has a couple of patios, on the south side facing the park. Parking is weird, it is in a small lot across the street, plus a few behind the building, by the tracks. The building is, however, steps to Sorauren Park, which has tennis courts, an outdoor rink and a foodie-friendly farmer’s market that runs year-round. It’s also walking distance from good transit options, including the Dundas West subway station and Bloor GO Station.

Sorauren Lofts - 347 Sorauren Avenue

The amazing industrial hallway of the Sorauren Lofts – I love it!

Shortly after the turn of the 20th Century, a manufacturing area grew along Sorauren Avenue, just south of Dundas Street. Industry was spurred all along the Canadian Pacific Railway lines lying to the immediate east, which over the years belonged to several railroads including the Credit Valley Railway and the Toronto, Grey and Bruce. The strip along Sorauren was also just south of a major rail junction, near where Annette, Dundas & Dupont streets all come together. From this lucrative location at the northern tip of Parkdale, an industry could easily connect by rail with all of southern Ontario.

Sorauren Lofts - 347 Sorauren Avenue

Detail of a map showing the industrial neighbourhood growing around the railways and major roads of the time. You can see the Chapman Double Ball Bearing of Canada Limited factory in this 1910 Goad’s fire insurance map. Robert Watson’s new building is directly to the north, where it remains to this day.

The Chapman Double Ball Bearing company was part of that industrial neighbourhood, one that included leather goods manufacturer Winnett & Wellinger (One Columbus Lofts), candy manufacturer Robert Watson (Robert Watson Lofts), and the Dominion Bridge Company – who would later manufacture parts for major Toronto projects such as the Prince Edward Viaduct. Production at Dominion Bridge was changed during WWII to manufacture munitions, and that afterwards Dominion Bridge chose to renew operations at other facilities. The TTC acquired the old property, and used the site as both a bus garage and machine shop. The old bus garage was eventually torn down and Sorauren Avenue Park created.

Sorauren Lofts - 347 Sorauren Avenue

Ad in “Two years of war – as viewed from Ottawa“, printed by the Ottawa Citizen in 1919

Chapman probably had more than the one building at one time, as their address was 339-351 Sorauren Ave. I am pretty sure the building directly to the south used to be part of the Chapman factory. It is a separate commercial rental space now, but the buildings are attached, making me think they used to be part of the same whole. Obviously there was nothing more to the north, as the Robert Watson factory sits just across the alley, standing on that spot since 1907. Believe it or not, the old Chapman ball bearing factory is the older of the two factories!

Sorauren Lofts - 347 Sorauren Avenue

Some of the Sorauren Lofts verge on the luxurious, though many are smaller

I have found reference to the company, with a Sorauren address, in the January-June 1919 edition of Canadian Machinery and Metalworking. The ad reads: “Chapman Double Ball Bearings CONSERVE POWER! There is too much power going to waste the world over. This fact has been noted by the British Government and sweeping reforms are contemplated in Great Britain. Canada also wastes much power. A reform is necessary here, too. Babbitt bearings are being used too often where Chapman Double Ball Bearings should prevail. The adoption of Chapman Double Ball Bearings, wherever an axle or shafting needs support in the transmission of power, results in a saving of 75% of friction loss. Now in use in over 2,000 Canadian factories. Fit any adjustable hanger. Adopted by Canadian and United States Governments.

Sorauren Lofts - 347 Sorauren Avenue

Lofty second level bedrooms are surrounded by vintage wood beams in the Sorauren Lofts

Another, even older ad from the 1916 edition of Canadian Wood Products Industries states: “Your Loose Pulley Trouble Disappears when installed with CHAPMAN BALL BEARING LOOSE PULLEYS A little vaseline once a year is all the attention and lubrication required. Our Loose Pulleys cannot run hot and do not cut the shaft. Write us for particulars and price list. The Chapman Double Ball Bearing Co. of Canada, Limited 339-351 Sorauren Ave., Toronto, Canada

Sorauren Lofts - 347 Sorauren Avenue

Some owners have painted the wood ceilings of their Sorauren Loft, not something that I would recommend! Let the old wood show through, I always say.

Also mentioned in the 1905 Toronto City Directory, but without an address. No background on the company, just various mentions and reprints of ads. Doesn’t seem to appear on 1903 Goad’s map. But it does show up on the 1910 map, named and everything. It must have been a company of some import, to be mentioned by name. The Robert Watson building to the north was not so noted, for instance. At least we know it was likely built sometime between 1903 and 1905.

Sorauren Lofts - 347 Sorauren Avenue

You can feel 100+ years of history oozing from the original brick and wood construction of the Sorauren Lofts. This is authentic loft living!

Over the last forty years, Sorauren Avenue has changed considerably, with most of the old industries leaving the immediate area. There was an article in the Toronto Star that picks up in 1995, talking about artists and their studios in old factories on Sorauren. There were fights with the city over zoning and derelict landlords letting the buildings go to pot. The article is mainly about 347 Sorauren, but it does mention the tenants of 350 Sorauren being evicted. The landlords of both buildings were not keeping them up to code, they were dangerous fire traps according to the city. So 25 tenants at 350 Sorauren were evicted because of their bad landlord. I guess the building was bought cheap after that and converted. Same with 347 Sorauren, I assume those tenants also got turfed, which led to it being converted to lofts as well.

Sorauren Lofts - 347 Sorauren Avenue

Toronto Star article from 1995 detailing the eviction of artists from the old industrial buildings along Sorauren Avenue.

The old factories and warehouses on Sorauren Avenue were home to dozens of artists’ studios at one point. They were pretty undesirable places back then, but that was the point. The spaces were large and strange and rundown, but they were also fun and collective – and the rent was cheap. The same story as on Carlaw Avenue in the east end, and even up in The Junction. There used to be about 1,000 artists working – and often living – in the old industrial buildings that line Sorauren. Now, there are only a few left and they’re all in 251 Sorauren Avenue, just south of Wabash.

Sorauren Lofts - 347 Sorauren Avenue

One of the few lucky Sorauren Lofts with a patio, facing right onto Sorauren Avenue Park

Many of the old industrial buildings along Sorauren have found new life in a way that benefits the community, either as homes, new businesses, or in the case of the Dominion Bridge site / TTC Garage, a public park. The rest of the artists left when the young families moved in after the park was built in 1995. The old TTC facility at the corner of Wabash and Sorauren was torn down and the park was created on the land. And now the area is popular again, with those who appreciate heritage buildings and love loft living.

Sorauren Lofts - 347 Sorauren Avenue

Part of the West Toronto Railpath, using an old railway bridge

Part of the rail corridor which once connected the local businesses to their suppliers and buyers is now becoming the Railpath which, when completed, will connect bicyclists in Toronto’s west end to the downtown core.

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Contact Laurin Jeffrey for more information – 416-388-1960

Laurin Jeffrey is a Toronto real estate agent with Century 21 Regal Realty.
He did not write every article, some are reproduced here for people who
are interested in Toronto real estate. He does not work for any builders.

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