The Liberty Village name was introduced as a positive ‘brand’ by the property owners and developers in the area in conjunction with the City of Toronto. The neighbourhood aims to distinguish itself from Parkdale, which now begins west of Dufferin Street. Its location is considered one of its finest assets being a 15-minute walk to the Lakeshore, 20-minute streetcar ride to the financial core and a 20-minute walk from the entertainment/fashion/gallery districts of King St. West.
Partly because of this, Liberty Village has experienced phenomenal growth from 2004 to the present in terms of new condos/lofts, office space, a new park, and a multitude of new shops and restaurants.
The ongoing gentrification of downtown Toronto has been pushing farther outwards from downtown (see Queen Street West, Niagara, Distillery District), encouraging rapid development. It has become a trendy neighbourhood for young professionals and artists pushing farther west for less established areas, while still remaining a short walk or streetcar ride from the core.
Many old factories have been repurposed as lofts while others have become restaurants, gyms, furniture stores and galleries, as this area was primarily a former heavy industrial area.
The industrial building that used to house a paper company and up until 2003, the Irwin Toy Factory, was converted into industrial residential lofts and mixed commercial use spaces. The Toronto Carpet Factory Building on Mowat Avenue and its surrounding campus of industrial structures is an example of 1900s’ turn of the century industrial architecture and currently houses a mixture of design, technology, media and marketing companies.
Artscape, a non-profit urban development organization that revitalizes buildings, neighbourhoods, and cities through the arts has a strong presence in Liberty Village, providing mixed live/work spaces for local artists. Its influence can be seen throughout the neighbourhood and maintains the valued tradition of a neighbourhood that was once dominated by artists searching for affordable living and studio spaces.
Liberty Village is known for its successful Art and Design studios, but media and technology companies also have a strong presence in the community. Many Canadian and US design and technology firms have located to Liberty Village, creating many jobs for the increasing number of citizens that have moved into the growing neighbourhood.
Offices are mostly concentrated in the west end of Liberty Village. New residential developments are currently focused on East Liberty Street, which begins east of Hanna Avenue. Over 20 new restaurants have opened in the past 3 years, providing the residents and workers in the community with many eclectic places to dine and enjoy their developing neighbourhood.