Finding Inspiration and Respite at Toronto’s 401 Richmond

A city rich in culture, character, and things to occupy your time, it will come as no surprise that underneath Toronto’s vast collection of spots that attract thousands of visitors year-round, lies a no less impressive reserve of hidden gems that are known to locals and locals alone. One such gem can be found on the south block of Richmond St West between Spadina Ave and Peter St. A building simply named for it’s address, 401 Richmond is an understated red-bricked low-rise in a corner of the city that is increasingly known for it’s cutting-edge architecture and ostentatious designs. It provides balance in more ways than one, however, which you notice as soon as you enter through the doors off the patio closest to Spadina Ave. Any city noise is softly muted as the door shuts behind you, and you assess your surroundings. Part of the pleasure of visiting this building is the sense of removal from the city. Another pleasurable aspect of the hallways and creaky floors is the sense that you just don’t know what’s behind the next corner!

401 Richmond_illustration

If you’ve planned your visit, you’ve probably already taken a look at the 401 Richmond website and perused the event listings that are posted. The space hosts several events a year, and these postings can be found at http://www.401richmond.net/events/specialEvents.cfm. If you have the good fortune of being in Toronto during an event, take it as a sign to check out the rest of the building as well. The space is definitely worth a walk through on an idle Sunday afternoon and can act as a quick respite from the cold and bustling city or can offer hours worth of discoveries if you have some extra time. Walking through the halls, ascending and descending staircases, and peering through doorways, you’ll likely discover one of 401 Richmond’s quiet art galleries, a dance studio, one of the building’s coffee shops, and you may even stumble upon the roof top garden. 

To create your own personalized visit plan for 401 Richmond, I’d recommend mixing and matching from the following unforgettable sites:

The Roastery Coffee House

Upon entering The Roastery, you immediately are grabbed by the sense that you’ve stumbled upon one of Toronto’s secret spots and have transitioned into someone who is now “in-the-know”. Grab a coffee to keep you company as you stroll through the building, or sit down and take in the local artwork adorning the exposed brick walls. For travellers the cafe’s wireless network will allow you to confirm dinner reservations before trotting down to Spacing to load up on trendy Toronto themed souvenirs. 

The Roastery 401 Richmond

The Roastery Coffee – 401 Richmond

Spacing

As a visitor to Toronto, you’re no doubt keeping an eye out for unique and cool exclusively “Toronto” souvenirs. Your search is over because Spacing has you covered. The store can deck you out from head to toe in trendy Toronto themed gear, and if you’re on a roll it doesn’t have to stop there. Their selection of books, posters, decor, and stationary will supply you with everything to reflect what a lover of Toronto you’ve become on your trip. The retro TTC posters and maps of the city on their own are worth a stop in Spacing. 

Spacing Store: Toronto's City Store

Spacing Store: Toronto’s City Store

Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art

One of the several galleries worth checking out in 401 Richmond is Prefix. Along with displaying Photography, media, and digital arts, Prefix publishes a contemporary photography and related arts magazine. Walk through the gallery and take in the work of Canadian contemporary artists or check their Facebook page for upcoming events! 

Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art

Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art

It’s also worth mentioning that 401 Richmond is a Heritage-designated building. Toronto Heritage Preservation Services designates buildings within Toronto as being significant to the history of Toronto, and as a Heritage building, 401 Richmond is recognized as being culturally valuable to the city. As you walk through the building, notice the architectural design that was typical of a factory built in the late 19th century (401 Richmond was originally completed for MacDonald Manufacturing in 1899, with additions added until 1923). We look forward to showing you around 401 Richmond on your next visit to Toronto! 

To read more about what else you can check out at 401 Richmond, visit their website at 401richmond.net

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