Dundas + Carlaw: MADE IN TORONTO
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Illustration of a figure holding a bubbling soda bottle

William Painter
invented the
bottle cap.

In 1892, the Irish-born businessman founded Crown Cork and Seal in Philadelphia to manufacture his latest and greatest invention, which he called the “crown cork”.

Painter also patented a machine for capping bottles and (conveniently) a handheld bottle-opening device.

Illustration of a bottle cap

Crown Cork
and Seal Co.

316 Carlaw Ave.

1929 (with additions)


Bottle caps, cans, aerosols

Former Crown, Cork and Seal factory at 316 Carlaw Ave, March 2019.

Former Crown, Cork and Seal factory at 316 Carlaw Ave., March 2019.
Image by Susan Drysdale

This bottle cap factory opened in 1929 and was expanded several times.

Like a number of plants on Carlaw, it was a subsidiary of its American parent company.

Colour image of the front of a promotional calendar made by the Crown Cork and Seal Co. It prominently features and painting of a naked woman with large butterfly wings on her back, leaning against stone with blue skies in the background, titled 'The Mountain Fairy'. Above reads: 'Compliments of Crown Cork and Seal Co. Toronto.'

Crown Cork and Seal advertising calendar, 1900
Toronto Public Library

Like Wrigley, Crown Cork and Seal moved to a new plant outside the citys core in the 1960s.

It was north of the city limits on Keele Street, directly beside a massive new Canadian National Railways freight yard and a major highway.

Illustration of an aerosol can

The new
factory was
especially designed
to handle a popular
new product line —
aerosol cans.

Many of the 240 staff at the Carlaw factory followed their job north and the total number of staff employed by the company in Toronto increased to 300.

The Diament Knitting Mill later used this building for several decades.

Still, the area declined economically as factories continued to close into the 1990s.

Living Memory

“[In the mid-1980s] everything
closed down at 5 p.m. Then the
hookers came out. I was afraid to be
on the street. It was desolate. Windows
were boarded up. There was a lot of
vandalism. Landlords were desperate
to just cover their costs and were
letting their buildings deteriorate.”

Nancy Jain
co-owner of several Carlaw
Avenue buildings, speaking to the
Toronto Star, June 2001.

Illustration of speech bubble

This building was
one of the first in the
area to be fitted with
live/work units.

In 1996, Gyan Jain, an engineer who migrated from India to Canada in 1964, bought this building and installed hundreds of small, affordable units that were popular with photographers, artists, entrepreneurs, and professionals.

Colour photograph of the Reliable Toy factory on Carlaw Avenue. The factory is closed and there are 'For Rent' signs on the outside of the building. Several cars are parked outside and a delivery person is walking with a package.

Reliable Toy factory in 1986, shortly after it closed.
Note the “for rent” signs on the building.
Toronto Public Library

In 2008, the Jain family also bought and converted part of the former Rolph-Clark-Stone plant into residential lofts.

Living Memory

“We took a mortgage back from
the vendor. He had a toy factory. Half
the building was vacant, the other half
rented out. When he saw me taking the
plywood off and replacing the windows,
he said, 'Mr. Jain, what are you doing?
They will just be vandalized again.'
I said, trust me. If I respect my
buildings, they will as well.”

Gyan Jain
speaking to the Toronto
in June 2001

Illustration of speech bubble
Illustration of a figure taking a picture with a camera phone

it out ...

Crown Cork and Seal lives on

Look carefully at your next canned drink. A small crown symbol indicates that it was made by Crown, now one of the continent’s leading packaging companies.

Read the plaque

1929 (with additions)

Built by the company that invented the bottle cap, this factory made tin caps sealed with cork disks. It reached its present size in 1959.

Compass pointing north

Ready to hit the next stop?

Continue north on Carlaw Ave. until you reach the Dundas St. E. intersection. Our next stop is at the southwest corner of Dundas and Carlaw Ave.

Full steam

Next Stop