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Kawneer Company Canada

For many years, my daily commute included the Scarborough RT system, passing by Ellesmere Station. On these commutes, I would pass by an industrial establishment, simply marked as Kawneer, the only things catching my eye as I passed by being a large water tank and another tank marked simply as "Sulfuric Acid". Once I moved, however, the RT was no longer part of my daily grind, and I forgot about Kawneer.

Location attributes for Kawneer Company Canada
Location   Toronto, Ontario
Built :: Closed   1963 :: 2011
Status   Demolished
Difficulty   ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Hazards Risk   ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Security Risk   ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
AUE Rating   ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

At least, until last week, when I inexplicably found myself riding on the RT once again, passing by Kawneer. Except, this time it was different. Gone were the water and sulfuric acid tanks. The gantry supporting the incoming three phase power system? It was lying in a pile of scrap. A door adjacent to the RT was propped open. And I wondered to myself... how long had the building been closed and was it accessible?

A couple of days later, amid a thunderstorm, fellow explorer neX_ and I decided to find out. Initial scouting didn't bode well - the door I had previously observed was now closed, meaning someone had been around in those few days. The building was also equipped with CCTVs, but we figured that they were inactive on the basis that the power connection was a twisted wreckage of metal.

Needless to say, we eventually found an entrance after further scouting, to discover that there wasn't much left of the plant... if there ever was much. It appeared to be more and enclosure of space than an actual factory, which detracts from the enjoyment, in my opinion. I find these buildings don't have large, old industrial equipment to the same scale that establishments with interior walls and such have.

We did manage to entertain ourselves regardless, finding excellent shots in one part of the building near where those original tanks had stood. Here some tanks,a waste sulfuric acid tank and a caustic soda tank, still stood guard, along with water connections and power distribution. Demolition had obviously begun, with the obvious signs of plasma torches having had their way.

The building had ceased operations sometime in 2009, based on documents were found in the plant. There wasn't much to find - the office area was completely gutted so it took to rooting through papers in the manufacturing area to get the information. The last date we could find fell in summer 2009, when Kawneer North America closed facilities, so it seems likely that the Scarborough facility quietly closed then as well.

As for equipment left behind, nothing really gave away what the facility had been manufacturing... but Google was able to answer that. And that answer was building supplies, such as doors, windows, and skylights.

The property is slated to become town homes, which isn't surprising as industrial areas in Scarborough have been squeezed out for the last decade. It was a fun afternoon all in all, but I don't expect to be back at Kawneer before it becomes a pile of rubble.

Had a reader who worked at the facility for 32 years write in earlier today to let me know that I had the open and close dates wrong. I originally had the plant opening in 1963 and closing in 2009; when it actually opened in 1963 and closed in 2011.

Thanks for the update, John!

This Is Your Home - September 2011
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