Liberty Village: City wants to save early 1900s industrial building

Dennis Hanagan–

An old Liberty Village industrial building—once owned by the world’s largest maker of billiard tables and now facing development—is expected to be historically designated by the city to make sure it stays intact.

City staff has determined the 4-storey property at 40 Hanna Ave. is worth preserving as an example of a 20th century industrial complex based on research by Toronto’s Heritage Preservation Services.

The site was developed by American recreational equipment producer Brunswick-Balke-Collender Co., once the world’s largest maker of billiard tables and other recreational equipment.

Toronto and East York Community Council wants city council to designate the property under the Ontario Heritage Act. It was put on the city’s inventory list of heritage properties in the mid-2000s but still needs a formal designation “to ensure” it’s preserved, according to a planning report.

The original building was constructed in 1905 with three additions made between 1907 and 1913. Brunswick-Balke-Collender Co. occupied the building (valued at $14,000 when built) for half a century.

Site owners Design District Properties Inc. have submitted a development application to the city to construct an 8-storey office building on the parking lot at 99 Atlantic Ave. adjacent to 40 Hanna.

A revised proposal eliminates the 2-storey retail building originally planned for the southeast corner of Hanna and Liberty St. and replaces it with publicly-accessible space.

The old on-site boiler house will be retained likely for retail, restaurant or service uses. The property owner will pay for the loss of 13 city trees on Hanna Ave.