Saturday 5 January 2013

The Fairgrieve building, Toronto, ON

When I moved to the 'hood in 2001, Fairgrieve building was being used as a garage and some artists had studios.  It was demolished to make way for more condos.

The Fairgrieve in Fairgrieve & Son was Archibald Fairgrieve. He emigrated to Toronto from Edinburgh by himself as a teenager in about 1880. The "Son" was Frederick who was born in 1885 (the start date for Fairgrieve & Son). Fred's three sons (Bruce, Donald and Douglas) all worked for the family company. Donald died in 1990 and Bruce and Douglas died in early 2010 at the ages of 92 and 87.

Fairgrieve & Son started as a metal stamping company but they made it big as manufacturers of wringer washing machines. The old Eaton's Viking wringer washers were made there. The family company was taken over in 1971 but the factory was in use until 1979.

December 2010
Alas, they didn't preserve the sign
December 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
February 2011
This apartment building (the "Essex") is just north of
where the Fairgrieve building used to be.
Until the summer of 2010, it was a pink crackhouse called "Casa Stefania".
It was renovated and now they charge $2000+ an apartment.
February 2011
The side view of the Essex.
It's interesting to note that four windows in in the Essex
(two upper and two lower in the back) look like they
have been blocked up for many years.

January 2012
February 2012
January 2013
January 2013

Because of all the condos in the area now, the corner of Dovercourt and Sudbury has recently become a three-way stop.


Masshole Mommy said...

Wow - that's quite an improvement!

Unknown said...

I worked at the Duffern St plant for a few years. Wow the memories of working there. It was before safety standards mostly. A lot of fingerless men back then. One of the reasons I refused to do punch press work. I drove forklift. That was a fairly safe place to work although I came close to being killed one afternoon when lowering a basket full of metal plates when the front door suddenly opened shower the top of the forklift. If you seen what protected me then you'd think a miracle saved my sorry butt. Basically it was a minimum wage factory until we got a Union. Then the wages increased and so did the safety standards

Unknown said...

Donald Fairgrieve was my grandfather- Id love to speak with you more about the building and what made you write about it. Any response would be appreciated if possible. Thank you

Unknown said...

Gina Gillis

Unknown said...

I worked at the dovercourt plant on the assy. line making wringer washing m achines Then we moved to dufferin street stayed there till before it closed.STAN

John S said...

Did any od you people remember John Szymanski. He worked at the dovercour plant then switched to the Dofferin st plan

Downtown Girl said...

My grandfather, Joe Liebowitz, was foreman in the plant . I remember my grandmother baking Xmas cookies for the Fairgrieve family .

Laura said...

My Father worked there from a teen to when it closed. The comment above I read about fingerless men, may have been directed at my Dad, who lost 4 fingers at the age of 3 and not at the factory. I do remember John Szymanski by name, Tiny(Len Gregg), Walter Bourgeois,Ray Godfrey, Anna Jablonski, Hank Mount, & my Dad Darrell.

JW said...

Are there any remnants of the building? My grandmother (the forgotten daughter of fairgrieve and sons and the only remaining of the family, would love to see a momento!

Teena in Toronto said...

Alas, no remnants. We were hoping they would at least keep the sign.

Tom Fairgrieve said...

It has been nice to read names that I recall hearing when I was a child. I have an old home movie from a party attended by Joe Liebowitz and Mrs. Liebowitz in the 1960s. I remember Tiny and Anna Jablonski, and I'm sure the others who were mentioned, though not by name. I see that the factory at 440 Dufferin has also recently been replaced by housing. The company used a building on Lisgar St too, mostly for shipping, I think.

Tom Fairgrieve (a son of Doug's)

Donna Dunlop said...

September 16, 2022

My father, William (Bill) John Dunlop, worked in the office at Fairgrieve & Son(s) as an accountant until his retirement. He sometimes worked on Saturdays and took me into the office with him. He gave me a tour of the dark and still factory where the washing machines were made. I saw them in pieces. Sadly, my father died at age 65 in 1970. His parentage was Irish. He was born in a house on Riverdale Avenue in Toronto in 1905. I remember the Christmas card we received each year from Fred Fairgrieve and his family. He was a good man. He gave a lot to the company. I would love to connect with anyone who knew my dad. It's sad, really tragic, that the building is gone. Part of our history sacrificed in that demolition job.

Ray Dimmock said...

Hi all
I worked at the Dufferin plant for about 3 years. Started in 1966 when I was 16.I worked with Len Gregg (Tiny), Darrell in shipping (missing fingers but from a childhood accident, Frank and Don in maintenace, John Tati was line foremean. Renee in the paint room, man could that man play the guitar and sing. My father was foreman of the enamel section. It seemed like a week didn't go by without someone losing a finger or more in the press area. Young ones today have no idea of the conditions we worked under back then. I started on the crating section of the washing machine line and later got to be forklift driver. I basically left when the new owners took over. We got the union in but it was never the same place.