Castlepoint was thrilled to provide the public an opportunity to visit and take in the views from the top two floors of the Auto BLDG during Doors Open Toronto in 2017 and 2019.
The Auto BLDG, which celebrated its centennial in 2019, was, for a brief time, the tallest building in Toronto when it was completed in 1919. Designated under the Ontario Heritage Act, this historic landmark building was rehabilitated by Castlepoint Numa in partnership with Greybrook Realty Partners and is now home to MOCA, Akin Studios, and a number of other fantastic tenants.
In 2017, alongside MOCA, we provided tours of the entire building just as the historic restoration work was getting underway. Visitors could really see how the historic components in the interior of the building were getting some much-needed TLC!
In 2019, the extensive renovations to safeguard the historic building were completed, but tenant fit-out had not commenced, so we were able to once again showcase the space to visitors during Doors Open Toronto!
Doors Open Toronto is an annual event in which spaces that are typically closed to the public become accessible such as the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant, Osgoode Hall, and Bay Lower Subway Station - did you know there’s another subway station underneath the existing Bay Station?!
Like the Lower Bay Subway Station, the Auto BLDG at 158 Sterling Road was a little known gem in the Lower Junction neighbourhood until it was acquired and rehabilitated by Castlepoint Numa in partnership with Greybrook Realty Partners. During the years preceding its acquisition by the partnership, it had been left vacant and exposure to the elements had destroyed the roof, top floors, and many other parts of the building. Working with architects Alliance and ERA Architects, we developed a plan to rehabilitate the building as a new home for MOCA (formerly known as the Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art) as well as offices for numerous creative tenancies above and retail space at grade.
The top floor of the building was once occupied by the Northern Aluminum Company (ALCAN). They manufactured aluminum products in the warehouses connected to the west side of the building for almost 100 years. Those warehouses have since been removed, but the physical scars they left on the Auto BLDG have been preserved as evidence of their existence. The zig-zag shaped scars were inspiration for the new entrance motif on the west side. Other building upgrades included a new roof, new mechanical and electrical, and new windows. Most importantly for our Doors Open visitors, the new elevators were operational!
We hired students from the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Ryerson University to act as docents for the Doors Open visitors and they did a fantastic job sharing the history of the building, the evolution of the neighbourhood, and the work we put in to ensure the building will be with us for at least another hundred years!
*Photography by Nathan Cyprus.