Exploring the Tower Automotive building on Sterling Rd.

Ground floorGround floor

On December 7th 2009 I had the opportunity to do something I've wanted to do since moving in to this neighbourhood: I explored the Tower Automotive building Sterling Rd. Four of us from the TLR Club photography group spent the snowy Monday afternoon wandering through the building, admiring the architecture and views, and of course taking many photos.

The Tower Automotive building on Sterling Road is a fascinating place. Because of its height and location (no other tall buildings nearby) it's one of the most easily recognizable features of this neighbourhood, from miles around. I won't go into too much detail about the property or development plans, which you can read about here, so I'll just move on to the photo tour.

These first two photos were taken on the ground floor of the building. I'm not sure why, but the main level had a hardwood floor instead of concrete like everywhere else.

Ground floorGround floor

Second floor:

Empty factory floorEmpty factory floor

One interesting feature is this spiral-shaped chute that connects through most of the levels of the building. Not sure what they used it for. Trash? Parts?

Spiral chuteSpiral chute

The staircases are mostly a drab grey colour, but the natural light coming in through the windows and brightly painted doors and firehose pipes really perk it up.

StairwayStairway

Most levels of the building have an identical structure and layout, but there is great variation in colours and other accents that make each floor unique.

Green curtainsGreen curtains
The green and yellow floorThe green and yellow floor

For a vacant building, there is surprisingly little graffiti and damage, but it's starting to spread. When I entered this floor, it smelled like fresh spray paint and I was expecting to run into a tagger.

GraffitiGraffiti

The elevators still have these old wooden doors on them. Some of them have been propped open so you can see down the elevator shaft.

Elevator and fire extinguishersElevator and fire extinguishers
Looking down the elevator shaftLooking down the elevator shaft

A few shots of some other features of the building:

Fire doorFire door
Flithy windowFlithy window
DoorwaysDoorways

The top floor is where the company's offices, board rooms, and other non-industrial areas were.

Top floor offices and board roomTop floor offices and board room

The top floor isn't the end. Go up one more level and you're up on the roof.

On the roofOn the roof

Above the roof level is the elevator control and motor room.

Elevator motor and controlsElevator motor and controls

And finally, at the very top of the building, is a large room that is full of massive water tanks that were used for feeding the building's fire sprinkler system.

Highest point: water tanksHighest point: water tanks

Just outside the back door sits a pile of scrap metal and a massive steel claw.

Gigantic metal clawGigantic metal claw

Being one of the tallest buildings in this part of Toronto, Tower Automotive provides an amazing view of this whole area. I'll finish off this post with a selection of photos of our neighbourhood as seen from inside / on top of the building. Unfortunately, the day we went in to take photos was overcast and snowy, so the photos did not turn out too well. I'm hoping to go back again soon!

View towards Bloor and LansdowneView towards Bloor and Lansdowne
View towards downtown TorontoView towards downtown Toronto
The view south on Sterling Rd.The view south on Sterling Rd.
View towards Dundas and BloorView towards Dundas and Bloor
The view north toward Bloor St.The view north toward Bloor St.

Thanks to Castlepoint for letting us in to look around!

All photos © Vic Gedris, 2009.

You can see the rest of my photos from inside the building on my website. And here are the links to other TLR Club photographers photo sets on Flickr.com:

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General Manager of Algoods

My dad was General Plant Manager of Algoods, Sterling Road, Toronto in the 1950's. I remember riding in the service elevator when my dad gave me a tour of the plant. All the factory workers spoke with him. They called each other by name. I remember the company Christmas parties in the factory and the company picnics in Muskoka. I vividly remember the great sweeping pillars with lines of sheet metal (aluminium) presses in between.

Interesting Fact

Steven Seagal move Exit Wound (2001) was filmed on the 6th floor of the office tower.

1:16 into the You Tube movie trailer shows the cylindrical pillars. In the movie this was the drug lords condo.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hg4yUJj9lqI

Tower - Thanks for the comments

Thanks, I'm glad you like the photos from inside Tower Automotive. I too hope that it gets redeveloped in the best possible way, and that most of the aesthetic features can be preserved. So much potential for awesomeness! Art spaces, offices, even going back to light industrial uses.... or heck, even fun things like an indoor skatepark could work (and the graffiti is already there, eh?).

The ceiling height is amazing. I mean...who the heck builds factory buildings more than a couple of stories high anymore? And since it was built for heavy industrial uses, this place is SOLID.

The window photo is one of my favourites. I call it "Filth Trees" because of the forest of dirt sprouting up from the bottom.

Watermarks

I agree with Kristen about the filthy window -- it looks like a gloomy landscape to me. The height of the ceilings are incredible! Perhaps you should consider adding a watermark to your photos in the future.

gorgeous

Gorgeous photos Vic. What a great documentation. The filthy window looks like a painting.

What a fantastic location!

What a fantastic location! Great shots Vic. It's a good thing you recorded much of it before the grafitti takes over.

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