artscape weston common toronto

Artscape Weston Common is Toronto's newest arts hub

Artscape Weston Common is officially open, transforming what was once an abandoned grocery store into a colourful cultural hub in the Weston neighbourhood

Made in partnership with developer group Rockport and the City of Toronto, this 8,200-square-foot building marks Artscape's farthest project from the downtown core. 

artscape weston common torontoJust like its other facilities, Daniels Spectrum, Artscape Sandbox, Youngplace, Wychwood Barns, and Gibraltar Point, this newest project is a mix of venue spaces and community projects, providing a much-needed focal point to a resource-starved Weston area. 

artscape weston common torontoUnlike the other five Artscapes, however, Weston Common is both a hub and an affordable housing initative—some refreshing news, given how quickly affordable housing and artists spaces are disappearing.

artscape weston common torontoConnected by its the buildings colourful facade are 26 affordable live-work units for artists and their families.

artscape weston common torontoThe majority of Weston Common's tenants—a mix of multidisciplinary creators from photographers to dancers—have already settled in to a mix of one- and two-bedroom units. artscape weston common torontoMaking up the cluster of residential buildings is Rockport's next-door project, West22, a 30-storey rental apartment building, and 33 King Street, an older apartment which shares the podium of Weston Common. 

artscape weston common torontoThe main building, an unfinished supermarket that sat empty for more than 40 years, was actually fronted by a surplus parking lot that gave rise to the Weston Farmers' Market: one of the oldest markets in the GTA. 

The market has since moved to the GO Parking lot of 1865 Weston Road, but the courtyard in front of Weston Common may still play a part in the market's future, as well as other initiatives spearheaded by residents in post-Kodak plant Weston.

artscape weston common toronto"Our fastest growing communities are outside of the downtown core, but they don't have the facilities they deserve," said Artscape's COO, LoriAnn Girvan.

"It really speaks to what we need to be doing." 

artscape weston common torontoWeston Common has a number of amenities that are free to use for community members. Encased in concrete and equipped with floor-to-ceiling windows in nearly every room, the space is warm and inviting. 

artscape weston common torontoThere's a bookable board room, a Flex Studio, a green room, and a catering kitchen.

artscape weston common torontoA hallway gallery program stretching through the corridor gives wall space to emerging artists. 

artscape weston common torontoThe Rockport Performance Hall can be booked out for events and shows: good news for an area sorely lacking in venues. 

artscape weston common torontoThe accessible community art council UrbanArts is an official tenant of the building.

artscape weston common torontoTheir spacious office, decked out with sewing machines for their sewing workshops, marks their second location, from where they'll be running programming with a focus on visual and textile arts.

artscape weston common torontoYou can expect their yearly Block Party to take over the building every summer. 

artscape weston common torontoNext door is Shakespeare in Action, where the 30-year-plus program finally has its own physical space to run its theatre program, prop boxes and all. 

The revival of the Weston area (post-Kodak era) has been a long time coming, with this splash of colour representing a vibrant step toward a promising future.
artscape weston common toronto

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim

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