26 Ernest Ave (Former Solways scrap / metal sales site): Townhouses

The former G. Solway and Sons scrap yard and metal sales has been sold to developer Tom Falus, who is proposing to build seventy-two three-story townhouses on the site. Most details are in the July 22 2014 Meeting Notes. Let's use this forum to discuss the development throug the initial proposal, planning, building, etc.

We will keep this forum updated as things progress.


Original post to this thread, Nov 6 2012:
It has been here since the 1920's and finally closed it's gates last Saturday. There is still some wrapping up going on but it's essentially done.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Metal treasures

i will miss this place.


I can't even imagine what driving would be like in the J Triangle two years from now. Good luck to everyone living there - hope you never own a car!!

i use to go there in rush

i use to go there in rush hour many times during the day never trafic thers lots of very good routs
Miss howard very good peaple

i use to go there in rush

i use to go there in rush hour many times during the day never trafic thers lots of very good routs
Miss howard very good peaple

Traffic 2

Elsie Lane will be extended through the site creating a new road that will almost link up with the road through the Wallace development. Eventually when the land on the south side of Ernest gets developed the road will continue down to Randolf. The JT traffic committee has looked into this future and has suggested some ideas to keep traffic at a safe speed and to stop cut through traffic.

I would point out that the one house one car theory doesnt take into account visitors and the fact that sadly some people make many trips a day. The City of Toronto's traffic projections for new developments have proven to be inaccurate and based on the 1950's idea that people make only one trip out in the morning and one trip home in the evening. Looking out onto Perth I see the same cars and trucks sometimes 4 or 5 times a day.

Hopefully with Railpath expansion in 2016 and the mobility hub in 2015 at Dundas people will only drive when they have to.

Ernest traffic

There will have to be a traffic study done for this proposal before it gets approved.

I wouldn't expect the impact to be tooooo bad though. 72 units, 1 car each. And like many households around here, probably zero cars. And even those with cars would undoubtedly use transit, or walk/cycle frequently. ...And they all wouldn't be driving in/out at the same time. It's a pretty amazingly ideal location for bike/transit car-free living, especially once the Railpath expansion happens.

Building new residential units in places with poor bike/walk/transit options does far worse for traffic.

Signs going up at Solways?

I noticed this morning that there are structures being built on the Solways property that look like the kind that hold promo/advertising material. Anyone know if they have plans in the works?

Link to poor-quality photo of sign structure: https://twitter.com/vgedris/status/473431529235177472/photo/1


Tom Falus may be testing the

Tom Falus may be testing the market but dont expect any building any time soon. There are often reasons why a developer puts in an application and sets up signs that have nothing to do with a start date. From past experience Falus can take his time.

As part of this Elsie Lane will be extended south to Ernest Avenue (and eventually to Randolf).

Can you recommend a good

Can you recommend a good alternative to Solways? What I liked was being able to purchase small amounts of metal for one-off designs and prototypes. I also liked being able to walk amongst the stock. Thanks!

Metal shopping

There will never be another place like Solway Metal. I enjoyed shopping and browsing around for over 30 years and always found treasures. Even my Wife enjoyed coming along.
i will miss this place in the future. It is a shame that most people have no interest and hobbies and need for Metal treasures.

Last Shift

This was taken on these gentlemen's last shift at Solways in December 2012.

Editor's note: I updated this post with a link to the photo.

Dang ! Myself and a legion of

Dang ! Myself and a legion of other artists have been visiting Solways for over a decade to search through the mystery bins for parts and inspiration. All communities have their characters I somehow don't draw the same inspiration from a condo highrise. Pleasant banality does not necessarily add to a city.

solways may have been an

solways may have been an eyesore but i have been going there along with a legion of other artists for more than a decade to search through the mystery bins for raw materials and inspiration...condos and starbucks and spiffy stores don't inspire the imagination in quite the same way. Pleasant banality hurrah!

Solways crane is gone

Via a friend on Facebook:

"i just saw a truck hauling away the solways crane and the lot is completely empty. no metal whatsoever."

Bittersweet Ending

I have bittersweet feelings about Solways closing. I'll miss seeing dinosaurs while walking on the Railpath and how my kids were always in awe over the claw that picked up huge piles of metal.

So goes the evolution of our neighbourhood...

Solways on Streetview, and nostalgia

I was just browsing around on Google Streetview in front of Solways:

Streetview really captured a great moment in time here. It was a weekday morning, in August 2011. Ernest Ave. was packed with trucks, the sweeper guy was out working hard (they even managed to miss censoring his face in one of the views), other Solways workers are checking out the Streetview car, the Georgetown GO train is pulling into Bloor station.... and everything has a nice glow to it from the sunrise.

There are many things I will actually miss about Solways. Having some rough-around-the-edges type of business still working here gives this neighbourhood some character. I enjoyed watching the trucks and heavy machinery moving piles of metal around, especially with my son. And I'm not the only one....It's funny how often I'd see parents with their kids hanging out watching the show! Sometimes you'd see large, strange metal objects stored there. And who can forget the dinosaurs?

Solways also provided a valuable service for people in the neighbourhood and from elsewhere. It was convenient for anyone who wanted to get some cash for recycling metal rather than throwing it out. Even the scrap collectors patrolling our laneways do a valuable service. I never throw out any kind of recyclable metal into the garbage...it gets separated and put in the lane, because I know someone will take it, recycle it, and earn some money for doing so. This kind of "service" will likely slow down a bit once the scrapyard isn't so close-by.

I keep bumping into artists, especially anyone who does sculpture, who sing the praises of Solways for buying new metal and for finding really interesting odd'n'ends to put into their works. They will miss this place.

Of course, I won't miss the trucks on Symington and Ernest (especially those who decide to do crazy/dangerous stuff like back up down the block without a spotter during the morning school rush). I won't miss the noise and dust either (and I'm sure the "Brownstones" residents would agree). No more fires here, I hope. And I can live without the more enthusiastic scrappers who steal wire, building materials, or other stuff that can be carted away quickly for good money. I can't imagine how badly contaminated the ground is under that site too.

So long....farewell.


They are closing on Dec 14th for good but its essentially empty there now for metal. Heartbreaking. I, like many artists, have been going there for over 20 years. Those guy always treated me with respect which is rare to find as a female metal artist in the trades. As if we need more condos. Was it so bad to leave one family business there so locals could get supplies without a minumum order and without driving to Concord? Sad sad days that's for sure. Wishing the best for the Solway staff. Top notch guys.

Best freaking news yet

You say Sad,
If you seen what I seen Living on Symington ave since 1966, 15 yrs just north of Ernest best news for the community. No more:
1) Unsafe Trucks
3) No more drivers driving without a lic with unsafe trucks
3) No more Loose metal that falls off the truck scattered on the road way
4) No more theft from individuals wanting to make money stealing metal from peoples properties(homes)
5) No more huge trucks 18 wheelers and sort carring mental.
6) No more contaiming from freon coming from(frig and freezers) into the soil and air
7) No more riff rafts walking into the Solways with shopping carts full of stolen goods

I can go on. There are many other scrap metal places in Toronto that you can get your mental from. No I am also not a big fan of Tom Falus and his institutional design. I rather have condos then a scrap metal place

Miss you Solway's

No More:
1. Employees - we all lost our jobs
2. Drivers - they all lost their jobs
3. Thieves - or so you think
4. Owner to harrass - now you can move on and harrass someone else.

Only memories left. Thank-you to the neighborhood for not caring about anyone but yourselves!!!

Most Danced With Joy

Solways had a documented history of licensing problems and was forced by the city to change its operations many times. In fact a licensing tribunal clearly stated "The Tribunal is cognizant of, and concerned about, the impact felt by the neighbourhood from the operations of the scrap yard". On file at City are hundreds of complaints going back to 1983 when M&S took over the site.

Also on file are the complaints from residents who had their bikes, BBQs and other metal stolen from their property by scrap hunters. If there was no thieving going on then how come it was the number one area complaint to Councillor Giambrone? And why did Solways agree to stop accepting BBQ's as scrap? Knock on some doors on Perth and see what they have to say about stolen property. As metal prices went up the theft of metal made the news worldwide so why would it be different here?

If the community actually had any power to close Solways it would have happened in the 1990's when Francis Labelle organized the community or in 2003 when residents again appealed to the City for relief. 2003 was the year there were 3 fires in one week at Solways.

But the reality is that because of a grandfathered zoning clause, which the City came to regret, the only way for Solways to close was if the owner Howard Bettel decided to. And he did. He alone is responsible.

While it is sad that many people, including locals, lost their jobs, most people were happy to see it go. Your last line is a sad cheap shot that reflects the "screw the community" attitude that Solways and its customers sometimes exhibited. If Solways had actually tried to work with the community proactively maybe things would have worked out differently. If you think a community caring about itself is a bad thing then we are guilty as charged.

Blah blah blah. There's

Blah blah blah. There's always someone like you that has to complain about everything.

Solways legacy/history in the JT is one to move on and forget

Thanks Scott,
I guess you would know all about Solways and it's history more then anyone eles in the JT according to your neighbours, to what I been told by them. It's Bitters sweet. Best thing that could of happen to the community/JT and to those who owners who bought next to Solways on wallace. What an eye sore it must be to look out the window and see a mountain of metal. JF

Scott and Jack Agree!!!!!

When Jack Fava and I agree on something you know its right !

And remember the weekly fires? Or the Solways 18 wheeler that knocked down the traffic lights on Bloor?

Solways has had many negative influences on the community over the years and thankfully there was a crossing guard at Ernest for the kids. The Solways mess was created with good intentions but it came back to haunt the City. While people are sad about locals loosing their jobs everybody is still happy to see them go.

A couple points

Three things.

One:Condos are also called housing and intensifying housing in the city is a good thing. I dont know why people have to sneer at the word condo but in most cases we are talking about stacked townhouses in which lots of regular folk live.

Two: Nobody forced Howard to leave it was his choice. He was legally entitled to stay there as long as he wanted.

Three: There are other metal suppliers with no minimum orders in the GTA like Metal Supermarket that has 5 locations in the GTA including one 4 miles from here in Etobicoke.


I'm mainly saddened because I get around almost exclusively by bicycle, and Solway was the only shop where I could get the metal I needed to fix the things in my life that break from time to time, without having to take half a day off work to ride out to the burbs (or pay a small fortune in shipping).

I find it a touch distressing that while people keep getting excited about crap like 3D printers enabling people to actually fix the things they own instead of replacing them, we keep having to travel farther and farther afield in order to get the parts or materials we need for those repairs.

Tom Falus Buy Solways

Developer Tom Falus has purchased Solways and will probably want to put, let me guess, stacked townhouses on the property.

This will facilitate the city's long standing dream to continue Elsie Lane down to Ernest (and eventually Randolf).

Solways is closing Confirmed

I spoke with Solways staff and they are 100% closing. No reason was given but everybody has been given notice.

Before people get overly excited I believe that Howard could sell the business to somebody else.

As much as we disliked the impact on the community and grew weary of the inability of MLS and Transportation to enforce their own rules we should remember that some locals will be losing their jobs and lets hope they can land on their feet somehow.

By the way Mr. Solway got a license to operate a second hand metal yard in 1950. M & S Waste bought Solways out of receivership in 1983 and MLS unwisely granted them a non-conforming zoning in an attempt to keep jobs even though all the other industry was leaving the area. It was then that the site expanded into what we would call a scrapyard.Prior to 1950 and as far back as 1939 photographs show that there was no scrapyard, just the large building. In 1900 the area featured a Methodist church which moved to Perth and Wallace a few years later.


They are still selling new structural metal today.


Seriously? Any more information about this?