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In Pictures: Raw industrial spaces transform into edgy event locales

Old buildings - Hamilton's Cotton Factory and Toronto's Roundhouse - shine in a second, celebratory act

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The former Imperial Cotton Co., a textile mill in Hamilton that dates to 1900, has been repurposed and rebranded as the Cotton Factory to cater to a burgeoning creative industries sector in the city’s once-dominant steel-making quarter.

Glenn Lowson/The Globe and Mail

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The majority of the 165,000-square-foot red-brick building is rented to creative professionals with their own workshops, studios and light manufacturing. Here, the Born Ruffians, a Toronto rock group, shoots a video to promote their upcoming album.

Glenn Lowson/The Globe and Mail

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Some of the space has been allocated for special events during the week and weekends. Here, Pop Up Hamilton hosts one in a series of Saturday summer celebrity-chef suppers in what was a derelict outdoor Cotton Mill atrium.

Shane McCartney/The Globe and Mail

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Developer Rob Ziedler last year purchased the Cotton Mill at 270 Sherman Ave. N. (in the shadow of Hamilton’s once image-defining steel mills), with an eye to designing spaces that would attract a community of creative-industry users keen to connect with each other.

Glenn Lowson/The Globe and Mail

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Film production company Digital Canaries is one of the residents in this creative arts hub. Here, a set on the third floor gives a sense of 270 Sherman’s vast indoor space.

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A jailhouse set, created by Digital Canaries, for the Murdoch Mysteries TV show. (At a Pop Up Hamilton supper event in July, to the surprise of organizers, guests requested to eat in the cells.)

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Annette Paiement, director of film and events for the Cotton Factory, stands in an unused courtyard in early July only weeks before its transformation for the outdoor dining events. She talked about how she planned to curate the space.

Glenn Lowson/The Globe and Mail

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The space transformed in July. The Pop Up Hamilton events featured hot local chefs, award-winning beer and wine and entertainment.

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The al-fresco Summer Nights events, with their six-course, tasting experience meals, sold out each Saturday.

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The emphasis was on local food – floral centrepieces were built from the bounty of Hamilton Farmers Market farmers and vendors.

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“If you are going to build a community and create ‘collision’ between your tenants, then there needs to be a place where that happens,” says landlord Mr. Ziedler.

Shane McCartney/The Globe and Mail

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In Toronto, another former industrial space has made a remarkable transition. The John Street roundhouse, seen in this aerial view near the foot of the CN Tower, was built in 1929 to service locomotives.

Steam Whistle Brewing

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Steamwhistle Brewing has made its home in a portion of the former roundhouse. The brewery has left much of the roundhouse’s wooden architecture untouched, giving the new beer hall an edgy, industrial feel.

Steam Whistle Brewing

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The beer hall and other hospitality spaces at Steamwhistle Brewery have evolved over time, in response to customers wanting to book the space for corporate events, weddings and special occasions. The large wooden doors that used to open for locomotives now open onto patio space, perfect for summer evening events.

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Decked out, the Steamwhistle space awaits wedding celebrants. “They are enjoying themselves with an emotional connection with Steamwhistle, which plays a significant role next time they are at the beer store and see our green package,” says Greg Taylor, a co-founder of Steamwhistle. Read the full story on industrial spaces that have evolved to event spaces at the link below: Event-hosting adds joie de vivre to reborn industrial buildings

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