Printing Factory Lofts – 201 Carlaw Avenue
The eight-storey Printing Factory Lofts, one of the first of a new generation of developments to kick off the current rise of Carlaw Avenue, was completed in 2010 and contains 254 units, as well as townhouses on Boston Avenue. The original warehouse facade stands as a reminder of the avenue’s industrial past while anchoring its future of glass-clad condos.
The east Toronto loft conversion won the 2011 Paul Oberman Award for outstanding achievement in the the field of architecture and design. It also won a 2011 Pug Award in the 7th Annual People’s Choice Awards for Architecture and received an honourable mention 2011 Toronto Urban Design Awards. Not bad at all!
Converted by Beaverbrook (now Averton Homes) in 2008-2010 and designed by Chandler Graham / Montgomery Sisam Architects. There are 254 units ranging from studios to 3 bedroom living spaces – featuring individually controlled heating and air-conditioning, exposed concrete ceilings, individually controlled hot water tank, hardwood or exposed polished concrete floors, solid core entry doors with chrome lever hardware and privacy viewer, balcony or terrace with either swing doors or sliding glass and barbecue hook-up, and exposed metal duct work. The bathrooms in the suites are stunningly designed and constructed. They boast porcelain tile floors, 5-foot soaker bathtubs, designer-selected metal finish accessories, vanity mirror above sink, and brand name polished chrome faucets.
Originally built to house the printing presses of Rolph Clark Stone, 201 Carlaw Avenue has been a Leslieville landmark since its completion in 1913 when this Queen Street East community was at the heart of industry in Toronto. The Printing Factory project blends the original 3-storey podium factory building with a new 8-storey glass tower addition and new stacked townhouses along the eastern edge of the site, fronting onto Boston Avenue.
The existing factory building has been fully converted into residential loft units. To further maintain the industrial character of the printing factory, original features of the building were restored throughout including the Carlaw Avenue façade with the ghosted remains of the Rolph Clark Stone sign. Enter the classical main entrance portico that opens to a grand wooden staircase below vaulted ceilings… your jaw will drop, trust me.
The original “sawtooth” industrial skylights were fully integrated into the two storey loft units on the top floor of the original factory building. Landscaped courtyards, private yards and street frontages were designed to integrate the industrial podium into the surrounding neighbourhood and conceal two levels of underground parking. Along Boston Avenue, an unused rail spur has been reclaimed, creating a wide expanse of green amenity space.
This loft conversion project created a variety of living options for the new residential community springing up along Carlaw Avenue, in a vibrant section of Queen Street East. The lofts include one, two and three bedroom units within the tower, live/work studio lofts in the original building and family-sized town houses along Boston Avenue. By offering a wide variety of size and style of units, the project offers living options for singles, couples and families and contributes to the diversity and dynamism of the surrounding Leslieville neighbourhood.
The Toronto Lithographing Co. opened under the proprietorship of Gorrell, Craig & Co. at 33 Wellington Street East in 1878 offering lithographing, engraving, and electrotyping services. A.H. Gorrel & Co. became the proprietors 1879-1880, and Daniel T. Corrie and Charles F. Bennett were the proprietors 1881-1883. From 1883 William Stone was the proprietor; with John Douglas Wright 1883-1885, and Frederick William Heath and William Crowley Jephcott from 1886. In 1884 the company moved from Wellington Street to 60 York Street where it remained for one year before moving to 26-28 King Street East.
In 1891 the firm moved to 13 Jordon Street, and on January 6, 1895 the facility was destroyed by fire. The following year the Toronto Lithographing Co. re-located in a new building at 459-467 King Street West at Bathurst Street. In 1909 the Toronto Lithographing Co. became Stone Ltd., with William Stone as president, and Frank Stone as vice-president and managing director. In 1917 the company merged with Rolph & Clark Ltd. to form Rolph Clark Stone Ltd., with Frank Rolph honourary president, William Stone president, Thomas J. Clark vice-president, Frank A. Rolph 2nd vice-president and managing director and treasurer, and Frank W. Stone general manager and secretary.
The company started out printing a variety of books, maps, posters, and other material, and began printing postcards about 1898. Toronto Litho’s leading Toronto rival was Rolph, Smith and Co., which merged with Stone Ltd. to form Rolph Clark Stone in 1917. While an essay in the periodical Industrial Canada (1967) dates the present building to 1913 (when it was commissioned by Rolph, Smith and Company), it was first recorded in the tax assessment rolls in 1916. By the later 20th century, Rolph Clark Stone Limited was described as one of Canada’s largest graphic arts companies.
Note that the Printing Factory Lofts were actually built when it was just Rolph, Smith and Co., in 1913. It was 4 years after the company moved into the building at 201 Carlaw that the merger happened and it took the name Rolph Clark Stone. Many write the name as “Rolph-Clark-Stone” but the remains of the sign above the door does not appear to have the hyphens.
The property at 201 Carlaw Avenue was included on the City of Toronto Inventory of Heritage Properties in 2007 for its cultural heritage value or interest. The Rolph Clark Stone Limited Building has physical or design value as a representative example of an industrial building from the World War I era with a high degree of craftsmanship. The long west façade facing Carlaw Avenue is treated in the Classical manner with a centrally placed frontspiece containing the main entrance to the complex.
The contextual value of the Rolph Clark Stone Limited Building relates to the structure’s role in maintaining, defining and supporting the industrial character of Carlaw Avenue, where the Toronto Hydro-Electric Power Station at #369 Carlaw is also recognized on the City’s heritage inventory. Tell me that the pair of Wrigley buildings just south of Dundas should not also be added to the heritage list…
The heritage attributes of the Rolph Clark Stone Limited Building are found on the principal façade, the first three bays on the south elevation (before the wall is stepped back), the flat roof above the latter walls and, on the interior, the entrance lobby and staircase. The preserved lobby staircase really is amazing.
The structure rises two stories above a raised base with window openings at the north and south ends of the west façade. Clad with red brick, the building is trimmed with brick and cast stone. A cornice with stone coping extends along the west wall and wraps around the south elevation to mark the flat roof. The west façade is organized into three sections with an elevated frontispiece in the centre. The frontispiece is divided into three bays by two-storey fluted piers with Corinthian capitals. At the base, a trio of round arches has stone surrounds, with the main entrance is entered through the centre arch (unfortunately the original doors had to be replaced).
Three tall flat-headed window openings are placed in the second storey of the frontispiece beneath an entablature with a stone cornice. The remains of the painted sign reading “ROLPH CLARK STONE” is still visible on the entablature. The west façade extends 18 bays on either side of the frontispiece. Symmetrically placed flat-headed window openings have stone sills, and stone band courses link the window heads. At the north and south ends of the west elevation, secondary entrances are set in arches with Classically-detailed stone surrounds.
Situated in Leslieville, the Printing Factory Lofts is in an area that’s bordered by the waterfront to the south, The Beaches to the east, the Danforth to the north, and the downtown core immediately to its west. Decades removed from its beginnings as the city’s industrial hub, Leslieville and Carlaw Avenue underwent years of gentrification and revitalization to become one of Toronto’s most chic and popular neighborhoods.
Over the last few years, the area has seen the erection of a number of condominium buildings, and the subsequent emergence of an urban lifestyle that is the envy of most other parts of the city. The neighborhood is a vibrant community that is teaming with restaurants, bars, lounges, eclectic shops, and cafes. Leslieville now boasts new construction combined with a touch of history, making it a unique neighbourhood.
In short, the Printing Factory Lofts is where it’s at, period. It doesn’t get much better than authentic loft living in one of Toronto’s hippest and most vibrant neighborhoods.
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.