Craft brewery moves into historic Toronto site once called 'the destructor'

Junction Craft Brewing has been in business for seven years, but this week it's expanding its operations and moving to a new home at a Toronto historical site - the former Symes Road Incinerator.

Junction Craft Brewers has taken over former Symes Road Incinerator

Bartender pours a beer at the new Junction Craft Brewers (Greg Ross/CBC)

If you are opening a new bar in Toronto, three very important things to consider are location, location, location.

Tom Paterson, who owns Junction Craft Brewing, admits his new location is not exactly a high-traffic area.

Tom Paterson serves up a new business plan for Junction Craft Brewing. (Greg Ross/CBC News)

"Getting people here is definitely going to be a challenge," Paterson said.

In business for seven years, the brewery is expanding its operations and moving to a new home at a historic Toronto site — the former Symes Road Incinerator.

Paterson said the plan is to continue brewing dozens of different beers, which is the bread and butter of his business. But now he also has a bar that will be open until 2 a.m. every day of the week, and a huge event space available for rent.

A bird's-eye view of Junction Craft Brewery's new event space. (Greg Ross/CBC News)

While the building looks great, it's in an industrial area that's not easily accessible by public transportation. That's why, Paterson said, like his beer, he's going to have to be crafty when it comes to attracting business.

First and foremost, Paterson believes the site will help make his bar a destination.

"It was originally called the destructor on Symes, because they used to incinerate garbage here," he said.

The building, which opened in 1934, is a rare survivor of West Toronto's early-20th-century industrial era and has been designated a heritage property.  

The old Symes Road Incinerator was also known as the 'the destructor,' Paterson said. It was built by the City of Toronto in 1934. (City of Toronto Archives)

"There's been a big trend in the craft industry where brew tours are a huge thing," according to Paterson.

He's hoping to partner with some other breweries in the area and offer bus tours where people could come in for beer tastings, food and a history lesson about the building.   

"People bring us customers basically all day long on weekends," he said.

Paterson is hoping to see more craft brewers move to the area, which would create a brewery district, following the mould of Toronto's theatre district and the Distillery District.

Bartender pours a beer at Junction Craft Brewery's new bar (Greg Ross/CBC News)

Paterson said there's one other reason for people to come.

"We make a lot of really great beer."