Canadian Westinghouse Company
355 King Street West
Old meets new. Old becomes part of new.
These are the mantras for the King Blue Condominiums as the new complex gives new life to the former Canadian Westinghouse building at 355 King Street West. By incorporating two façades of the historic building into the condominium towers, the development team, Easton’s Group of Hotels and The Remington Group , pay homage to the area’s rich past while enhancing the vibrancy and attraction of the neighbourhood for the future.
The Westinghouse Building’s rich history began in 1927 when a three-storey structure, designed by architect Bernard H. Prack was built as the district sales office for the Pennsylvania-based Westinghouse Company to support its factory in Hamilton, Ontario factory, opened in 1897 as the first company factory outside of the United States. The company continued to flourish with the office in Toronto, and three more floors were added to the building in 1934/35 for the company’s sales and service departments by the Prack+Prack firm, which Bernard founded with his brothers Arthur and Frederick.
This now six-storey building, with the terracotta frames that articulate the brick façade, became a significant part of the Westinghouse company’s history, which had its humble beginning in 1886 when George Westinghouse founded the Westinghouse Electric Company, and with whom the Pracks worked for many years.
It’s no wonder that the buildings in this block have earned their designation under the Ontario Heritage Act for meeting the municipal criteria under the three categories of design, associative and contextual values. One of the Westinghouse building’s features is its classical detailing highlighted by the rare application of terracotta trim on its brick surface. The structure was also home to the much-loved Indian Motorcycle Café and Lounge, one of many destinations in the Entertainment District.
This entire area has a unique history with a mix of brick, glass, and steel buildings, and an eclectic blend of the old and the new. The crossroads of King Street West, Blue Jays Way [to the south,] and Peter Street [to the north] represent an intersection that blends Toronto’s rich history with its exciting future. The 44 and 48-storey towers built on a seven-storey podium will be accessible from King Street and Mercer Street.
The Mercer Street podium will also be a home for Theatre Museum Canada, complementing the Royal Alexandra and Princess of Wales theatres, and the fact that the history of King West Village started with the theatres. On the street level on King Street, Blue Jays Way, and Mercer Street, residents and visitors will be welcomed into restaurants and shops. The public courtyard will come as an unexpected space and will quickly become memorable for all who frequent the area. It is the heart of the development and captures what King Blue is: residences, retail, a museum and more—all integrated to enrich the quality of life in Toronto’s trendiest neighbourhood.
King Blue’s towers will give new life to the old structure that will embody the vibrancy, energy, and mix of styles, combining historic and contemporary elements. The principal façades are being retained without trying to mimic them. Old will meet new. Old will become part of new. George Westinghouse himself would have envisioned no less.
The King Blue development team envisions more.