BET U DIDNT KNOW: BUILDING #9
Guest post by Hadi Khan
Urban Photographer from Toronto
Ever wondered why New York is called ‘New’ York? That’s because the old town of York lies about 800 km north in the present day location of Toronto. Toronto has seen several changes to its history, including two catastrophic fires, Hurricane Hazel, flash flooding to black outs, and more recently, internationally recognized and peculiar mayor Rob Ford.
One thing is for certain, Toronto constantly changes. However, the unique aspect about Toronto’s changing personality is that it usually incorporates old designs. For example, the Greek-inspired architecture of the demolished Bank of Toronto can be seen well-preserved in Guildwood Park, also home to the first/oldest building in Scarborough.
One such relic from Toronto’s past resides in the old manufacturing zone of Kodak Heights. In its peak, about 900 people used to march up on Photography Drive to work in one of the many buildings, designing photography and film equipment. Its last standing building is Kodak Building #9.
Kodak used to be one of the major names in photography for much of the 1900’s, however, with the birth of the digital age, the buildings saw little use; they were shut down in 2005 and many were demolished in the following years. Building #9 stands in the middle of nowhere (essentially) and contrasts drastically to its quiet neighborhood as its windows have been smashed and walls vandalized with beautiful graffiti. Urban photographers/bloggers Jen Grantham and Rick McGinnis have ventured into the building to document its disarray.
Today Kodak Building #9 is seen with a security car circling its parameter, and it’s heavily fenced and gated. If you are interested in the building, it will be seeing a facelift starting in 2016 when Metrolinx will turn it into a mobility hub and a home for Metrolinx’s Eglinton Crosstown LRT.
Toronto may have two seasons (winter and construction), but if you look hard enough, you will find snapshots and stories of what Toronto used to be, and also what it will be in the coming years.