soap factory toronto

How a Toronto factory gets ready to host a major festival

Toronto's getting a  massive festival inside an abandoned soap factory. The dates and programming have been announced, but how does one get a monstrous raw factory space ready for such an event?

Set across five separate floors inside a 150,000-square-foot space, the EDIT culture and design festival kicks off on September 28.

Just as Luminato transformed the Hearn Generating Station in the Port Lands, the EDIT organizers have a lot of work ahead of them to ensure the space is safe for the thousands of visitors expected to show up. 

"The process has been eye-opening," says Joe Sellors, vice-president and EDIT's director of operations. "The building is still so authentic. Before moving in, it is important that we neutralize the space.

"This means working with the authorities and other professional services [City Planning, Toronto Fire, code consultants, architects, engineers] to establish occupancy capacities and other mechanics related to how we operate the 10-day expo and accommodate 100,000 people."

The retired factory was left in pretty good shape when it closed eight years ago, but it's not people ready quite yet.

Over the summer, crews will install washrooms on the sixth floor, create a fully functioning gourmet kitchen on the third floor and build a pipe system to get potable water up to the fourth floor.

The most interesting feature of the building? It's the building itself. "The factory still has remnants of its original purpose, which lends to its new life in the entertainment industries, like photoshoots and private events," says Sellors.

After First Gulf completes its clean up, the building will once again be available for rent for film and photography shoots until the monstrously huge East Harbour project begins in 2018.


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