Operated by Artscape since November 2008, the Artscape Wychwood Barns is a community cultural hub in Toronto’s Wychwood neighbourhood. It includes spaces for 26 artist live/work studios, 15 artist work studios, 9 non-profit arts and environmental organizations and a 7,680 square-foot event venue in Barn 2.
The Barns are designated heritage structures. The original streetcar repair barns were built between 1913-1921 for the Toronto Civic Railway and later the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) – an excellent example of twentieth-century industrial architecture. By 1985, however, they were declared surplus and boarded up.
Following extensive community consultations and approval by the City of Toronto, Artscape was named developer of an adaptive re-use plan for the building in 2006. The $23-million redevelopment was completed in 2008, designed by architects Joe Lobko and DTAH.
Read the full case study of the history of the Barns and how they were transformed into the community cultural hub of today on the ArtscapeDIY website.
Today, the Barns are owned by the City of Toronto and operated by Artscape under a 50-year lease. As the property manager, Artscape manages building operations and tenancy of the building. Artscape Non-Profit Homes Inc. administers the residential component of the Barns as part of its arrangement with the Canada-Ontario Affordable Housing program and the Affordable Housing Office of the City of Toronto. The City of Toronto Parks, Forestry & Recreation operates the park and space surrounding three sides of the Barns. For more information on the park space, including obtaining a permit for its use, please consult the City of Toronto’s website.
Artscape On-Site Office
To find a specific Artscape Wychwood Barns staff member’s contact information, click here.
The Barns a gorgeous, unique space both inside and on its grounds, making it a popular spot for special-occasion photography. Book your indoor photo shoot at artscapeeventvenues.ca/contact.
Your preferred date can only be confirmed within 10 days of photo shoot. For Photo Shoots in Covered Street Barn, the charge is $50/hour with a four-hour minimum for individuals and $100/hour with four-hour minimum for organizations. A Venue Supervisor will be present during the entire booking. A Photo Shoot is defined as a small production crew (under 30), limited lighting equipment, limit to three cameras and no amplified sound during business hours.
For outdoor photo shoots, please contact the City of Toronto Parks Forestry and Recreation for permits to shoot outdoors in Wychwood Barns Park.
What’s Public, What’s Not
The Barns mixes public and private spaces. We welcome you at our public events, but live/work studios are private. Avoid knocking on doors unless you are expected by the tenant or organization, or you know they are holding a public-facing event.
The washrooms in the building are open to the public.
Wychwood Barns Park
Wychwood Barns Park, run by City of Toronto Parks, Forestry & Recreation, surrounds the site of the Artscape Wychwood Barns on three sides. For more information on this park, please consult the City of Toronto’s website.
Artscape and WBCA
Artscape (as property manager of the Artscape Wychwood Barns) enjoys a uniquely collaborative relationship with the Wychwood Barns Community Association (WBCA). WBCA and Artscape enjoy a long history of collaboration and jointly contribute to projects and initiatives that benefit the community. The WBCA encourages members of the community to join them and get involved as volunteers in their current and upcoming projects and initiatives–read more on their page.
We’re one of the first designated heritage sites in Canada to be awarded LEED Gold Canada certification. Environmental and energy-efficient features include:
- A geo-thermal heating, ventilation and air conditioning system
- Stormwater harvesting and reuse system
- Energy efficient lighting and appliances
- Water-conserving plumbing fixtures
- White roof (reflects solar heat; reduces need for air conditioning in summer months)
- 100% recycled environmentally-friendly siding panels
- 2011 Zerofootprint Re-Skinning Award: Institutional (finalist)
- 2010 Federation of Canadian Municipalities Brownfields Award
- 2009 OAA Award for Design Excellence
- 2009 OAA Best in Show Award
- 2009 Congress for New Urbanism Charter Award
- 2009 Canadian Green Building Awards
- 2009 Green Toronto Awards for Green Design (finalist)
- 2008 Brownie Award for Excellence in Project Development: Neighbourhood Scale
- AND… we are proud that two 2015 Heritage Toronto Award Nominees included Barns-related contenders: in the Media category, Teresa Casas and her blog Back to the Park, and in the Short Publication category, Stephanie Lever and her article “Before the Barns: The Edwards Family and their Leather Factory,” published by the York Pioneer and Historical Society.
Artscape acknowledges Toronto as a sacred gathering place for many Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island. We recognize the long history of First Nations and Métis Peoples in Ontario, and show respect to the Mississaugas of New Credit.