Pilkington Bros. Ltd – 15-31 Mercer St.

Banner photo is of Pilkington Bros. Ltd., 15-31 Mercer St in 2015.  Photo by K Taylor.

15-31 Mercer
Photo by K Taylor

Tucked away on Mercer St., between John and Blue Jays Way, is a healthy specimen of 19th century industrial architecture.  This marvelous warehouse was built for the Pilkington Bros. glass company by D. B. Dick in 1895.  In 1909, the company expanded and had an additional four-storey warehouse tacked onto the West end of the lot.  Remarkable how incredibly decorative simple brick can be, wouldn’t you agree?

Screenshot 2016-01-31 at 3.36.17 PM
Pilkington Bros ad from the Toronto City Directory, 1900.

In 1939, the Pilkingtons added the third and final piece to their Mercer St. warehouse complex – a two-storey Art Deco/Moderne gem that still showcases their own glass blocks.

31 Mercer Street - 1939
Photo by K Taylor

As with so many of these early industrial sites, there are developers who want to make changes to it … specifically, they want to shoot a 49-storey condo up through the middle of it.  So far though, I’m happy to say, they appear to have been stymied by the Heritage Act.

2017 Update:  Sadly, I was wrong.  Not one but two 49-storey towers will be raised above the Pilkington Bros factory.  The development will house a condo, hotel and restaurant owned by Nobu Hospitality – a chain founded by actor Robert De Niro, chef Nobu Matsuhisa and movie producer Meir Teper.

4 thoughts on “Pilkington Bros. Ltd – 15-31 Mercer St.

  1. Let’s hope they leave it standing. My grandfather worked for Pilkington Glass in St Helens in the UK then at this plant from 1911 when he arrived in Canada until the 1950s when he retired

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope so too! It’s a wonderful building with a great history. Thank you for your note – it’s a real treat to hear of your family’s connection to Pilkington Glass!


  2. I worked at Mercer Street as a phone order clerk and estimator for short while in 1950 – – Enjoyed the operations and the building but not Mr. Hesketh (Office Manager), tough task master

    Liked by 1 person

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