Saturday, April 16, 2011

Wabash Avenue Abandoned Linseed Oil Factory

The Canada Linseed Oil Mills buildings have been standing on Wabash Avenue in the Dundas Roncesvalles area for nearly one hundred years. For forty of these years, they have been vacant.

In the spring of 1910, the Montreal-based Canada Linseed Oil Mills, Ltd. began construction of a new
facility on Wabash Avenue.

With the popularity of linseed oil at its peak, Canada Linseed Oil Mills selected their site along the rail
corridor on the north side of Wabash Avenue, just east of the Dominion Bridge works. The Oil Mills buildings were designed by architects Langley and Howland, who are credited with many Toronto buildings in the early 20th Century, including eight branches of the Imperial Bank. A notice in the Toronto Star says contracts were given to the Leach Concrete Company for the reinforced concrete construction, and C.W.

Wood for the brickwork. The same notice mentions that J.H. Tromanhauser was given the contract for the grain elevator, which "will be absolutely fireproof, thus doing away with the necessity of insuring contents. This is the first type of elevator to be erected in this city." Fireproofing was vital in buildings designed to manufacture highly-flammable oil.

Canada Linseed Oil Mills itself appears to have closed its Toronto operations in 1969, likely due to a gradual decline in the popularity of linseed oil. 

Since 1970, then, the buildings have remained vacant, and have gradually become a popular destination for vandals and urban photographers like myself.

The Oil Mills site was purchased by the City for $2 million dollars in 2000, and efforts were taken to decontaminate the surrounding soil and remove the buildings asbestos fire-proofing. There was talk that it
might one day be  turned into a community center.For the time being,the property serving no use to the community other than as a reminder of the area's industrial heritage.