The Junction: A Hub for Entrepreneurs
The Junction: A hub for tech entrepreneurs
The Junction has become a prime area for entrepreneurs and tech start-ups. Both the neighbourhood’s history and culture created a unique vibe, young businesses want to be part of.
Attractive area for businesses in the old days
The Junction used to be a very thriving area for businesses. At the end of the 19th century, foundries, mills, furniture assembly, meat processing, nail and wire factories were established. Also notable companies such as Canadian Cycle & Motor Co., Campbell Milling Company and the Heintzman piano company set up in the area. Firms were attracted to the area because of the proximity of the countries major railways, and because land, labour and taxes were cheaper than in Toronto. However, the Long Depression entailed the closing of factories and put an end to the construction in the area. A dry law, that came into force in 1901 and was only overturned in 1997, put the commercial stretch of Dundas west further into decline. At the end of the 20th century, the vacancy rate reached 17% and a significant part of the neighbourhood front space sat empty.
The Junction was also the location of the Ontario Stockyards for many years. For a time, the area was Canada’s largest meat packaging industry and reinforced Toronto’s nickname as Hogtown. The Ontario Stockyards however closed its site in 1993 and moved north of the city. Consequently, most of the meatpackaging plants that surrounded the Ontario Stockyards also left.
Today entrepreneurs find their way to The Junction
The elimination of the alcohol prohibition indicated a new start for the neighbourhood. Rapid gentrification occurred and new chic restaurants and bars opened up along Dundas West, attracting many your people. The cheaper rents and a surplus of vacant industrial spaces make the neighbourhood appealing to artists and now also entrepreneurs. Start-ups find in The Junction beautiful spaces that are affordable and large enough to grow into, and the creative vibe that lives in the area creates a unique culture where young businesses want to be part of.
Ubisoft, the Paris-based videogame giant, opened their Toronto studio in The Junction – they occupy the Old General Electric plant. They chose The Junction because of its unique vibe; they wanted to open in a growing area with a lot of artists, they could grow with together. It is safe to say that since Ubisoft Toronto opened its doors in the Junction many new restaurants and cafes opened up in the neighbourhood. Besides the gentrification, the unique culture attracts many more entrepreneurs to the area. Nuvango, a company dedicated to help artists earn a living and share their masterpieces with the world by printing their work on electronic devices, established in The Junction so that they can be part of the building of a culture that is unique and cares about its community. Also StyleKick, a fashion inspiration app, wants to be part of the blend of art and commerce that lives in the area.