An excellent example of early 20th century industrial architecture, the Wychwood TTC streetcar repair barns are located on a 4.3 acre site between Wychwood Avenue and Christie Street, south of St. Clair Avenue West along Benson Avenue. The facility consisted of five attached brick buildings ranging from 198 to 326 feet long and 38 to 44 feet wide. Built between 1913 and 1921, the barns were the hub of the Toronto Civic Railway. From 1921 to 1978 it was one of seven streetcar houses operated by the TTC.
At their peak, the barns serviced ten routes and 167 streetcars. During the 1980s, the Wychwood TTC streetcar repair barns served as a testing and development facility for new streetcars and for the retrofitted Scarborough rapid transit trains. Upon completion of the retrofit in the mid-1980s, the barns were left vacant.
In January 2004, Artscape was selected by the City of Toronto as the preferred proponent for the redevelopment of the former TTC Barns. Artscape’s vision for the reuse of the barns was developed through an extensive process of community consultations and a feasibility study published in May of 2002.
The Artscape Wychwood Barns is a community-driven project that demonstrates that people and organizations can accomplish much richer and more sustainable goals working together than they can on their own. The project began as a collaboration between Artscape and The Stop Community Food Centre supported by a lead donation from the George Cedric Metcalf Charitable Foundation.
Since the City of Toronto embraced the project in 2004, the partnership has continued to grow with the support of the Taddlewood Heritage Association, Friends of a New Park, Wychwood Heights BIA, and Hillcrest BIA. The Artscape Wychwood Barns owes a debt of gratitude to the unwavering support and determination of local champion and City Councillor Joe Mihevc.