Waterworks Food Hall promises Toronto a new landmark cultural destination within a beautiful heritage space
Doublespace Photography

Waterworks Food Hall promises Toronto a new landmark cultural destination within a beautiful heritage space

8 May 2024  •  News  •  By Allie Shiell

Opening this June, Waterworks Food Hall promises a new multi-faceted dining experience and landmark cultural destination within a beautiful heritage space in the King West neighbourhood of Toronto. The restored heritage industrial building is a 55,000 sq ft space that opens directly onto the recently revived St Andrew's Playground Park and has been repurposed as a European-style food hall by Woodcliffe Landmark Properties in collaboration with architectural firm Diamond Schmitt, ERA Architects, and Steven Fong Architect as part of a larger Waterworks mixed-used development in partnership with MOD Developments. Interiors were completed by award-winning firms Cecconi Simone, Design Agency, and Futurestudio. 

photo_credit Steven Evans
Steven Evans

The architectural team was tasked with an ambitious adaptation of the original 1932 'Great Hall,' a former machine shop while preserving many of its original historical and Art Deco details. 

At the centre of this adaptation, the massive original pitched ceiling is now embedded with oversized skylights and new 29-foot windows that flood the space with natural light, recalling its industrial origins. Reclaimed wood from the original floor was also used to create a mosaic spanning the height of the main stairwell wall. 

photo_credit Doublespace Photography
Doublespace Photography

Functionally, a 15-foot-deep, 14,000-square-foot basement excavation beneath the building contains all back-of-house amenities, washrooms, delivery, storage, and garbage areas. These uses are tucked discreetly out of sight from The Food Hall, which sits within the larger Waterworks mixed-used development. The development will include a YMCA and 290 condominiums, including affordable housing units. Seventy-five underground parking spaces are also included beneath the building, so visiting with a car is hassle-free.  

Waterworks Food Hall is the culmination of eight years of extensive research and travel. Lewis, her partners from MOD Development, and their extended team visited renowned food halls in London, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Lisbon, Madrid, New York and beyond, gathering inspiration from the world's best culinary destinations. This dedication to authenticity and quality is reflected in the innovative ordering platform, which allows guests to order seamlessly from multiple vendors during a single transaction, receiving an alert when dishes are ready for pickup, while drinks are delivered directly. 

Waterworks Food Hall will accommodate more than 20 different food stalls, including culinary favourites from around the world such as Aburi Sushi, Harry's Charbroiled, and Musoshin Ramen, as well as beverages from Grape Witches, Civil Works, and Boxcar Social. The food kiosks, designed by Futurestudio, Design Agency, and Cecconi Simone, layer individual identity within the cohesive hall.  
There will also be 12,000 sq ft of private event space and two stand-alone spaces: Lee Restaurant from iconic chef Susur Lee and SOBR Market, downtown Toronto's first non-alcoholic bottle shop. 

Woodcliffe and MOD also worked closely with the City of Toronto throughout the project process to redevelop St. Andrew's Playground Park, adding permanent outdoor seating, an expanded off-leash dog park, and an expansive playground area. Waterworks Food Hall opens directly onto the park through several entrances, seamlessly integrating into the vibrant King West community. 

photo_credit Courtesy Waterworks Food Hall
Courtesy Waterworks Food Hall

Eve Lewis, President and CEO of Woodcliffe Landmark Properties, says of the project: "We believe beautiful, heritage-designed spaces can transform the neighbourhoods they are a part of and elevate our city. Every detail in the hall, from the hidden courtyard and soaring ceilings to the beautifully restored mezzanine event spaces and the floor-to-ceiling, south-facing windows, has been meticulously executed to reflect our vision of creating an experience unlike anything else in Toronto. We hope that Waterworks Food Hall becomes a community gathering spot that is the heart and soul of King West for decades to come."