Lofty Ambitions: Hard Loft vs Soft Loft? | The Christine Cowern Team

| Buying


There are TONS of loft buildings in the city of Toronto, from large scale to small and boutique. Whether you lean more toward a clean and modern style, or your heart beats just a little bit faster at the sight of exposed brick, there are plenty of buildings to choose from. However, loft units are in high demand and often get snatched up quickly when they hit the market. It’s important to understand what your wants and non-negotiables are so that you can act quickly when something new becomes available.


In order to help you narrow down, we’ve composed this handy guide of our favourite hard loft vs soft loft buildings based on a variety of lifestyles. We hope you find it helpful in your search!


Hard Loft vs Soft Loft; what’s the difference?

They may look similar – soaring ceilings, exposed ductwork, pop-out windows – but there is one key difference between hard and soft lofts. In order for a building to be considered a hard loft, it must be an original structure that has been converted from its initial use to become individual units. A soft loft can have all the aesthetic features of a hard loft, however, it is purpose-built, and not converted from a previous use. So in short, the easy way to tell the difference between a hard loft vs soft loft is that a hard loft is a conversion, a soft loft is a new building.


Which loft is right for you?


For the History Enthusiast

You’re a lover of historic charm, and prefer buildings with a story behind them.


Via Toronto Life

Via Toronto Life

Wrigley Lofts, Leslieville

Completed in 1916 and converted in 1998, the name of this building honours its former use (you guessed it, a chewing gum factory!). This is one of oldest hard loft buildings in the city and the land on which it sits was originally purchased for $42,000. Wrigley was one of the biggest employers in Leslieville during its time in operation and was a desireable place to work due to their above-average wages – a whopping $3 per day.


The Wrigley Lofts contains 79 units ranging from 300-3000 square feet, and the units were originally sold as blank canvases for $100 per square foot. As a result of this, every unit is quite different from its neighbour, and you’ll find tons of unique features in each of them. That being said, soaring ceilings, exposed brick, and framed loft-style windows are prominent throughout. The building also houses commercial space along with residential.


Via Toronto Life

Via Toronto Life

The Abbey Lofts, High Park-Swansea

Holy moly, these lofts are GORGEOUS (see what we did there?). Formerly operating as Howard Park Methodist, this 19th-century church conversion is one of the most well known in the Toronto loft world. When you take a look at the units you’ll understand why. Stained glass, peaked ceilings and wood beams adorn nearly every suite, creating a one of a kind canvas for the owner’s personal touch. With only 24 units this hard loft building is much more exclusive than most of the others on our list, and no two units are alike within the entire building.


For the Bragging Rights

Iconic in their own right, there’s no shame in wanting to live somewhere that boasts an undeniable cool factor.


Via Pinterest

Via Pinterest

Seventy5 Portland, King West

With interiors designed by the famed French designer Phillipe Starck, Seventy5 Portland is truly a modern architectural gem. Known for his iconic hotel designs in cities like Miami, Los Angeles and Rio de Janeiro, Starck has dabbled in a variety of industries, from furniture to tableware. Upon entry to Seventy5 Portland, you are greeted by a slick lobby and flows seamlessly to the courtyard, connected by a massive stone slab. Each unit incorporates high-end design elements throughout, including European style kitchens and premium appliances. With 211 residence ranging in size and storeys, this building features enough layout variety to suit every need and lifestyle.


Via Toronto Life

Via Toronto Life

Candy Factory Lofts, West Queen West

You can’t take walk through West Queen West without taking a moment to gawk over the well-known Candy Factory Lofts. From the street, you can catch a glimpse of the soaring wood-panelled ceilings through the massive windows, perhaps left curtain-less deliberately by the residents just to show off their gorgeous spaces. A true trendsetter as one of the earliest hard loft-conversions, the former Ce De Candy Co. (the maker of Rockets) was turned into residential units in the year 2000. Known for its traditional loft-style elements, each unit stays true to the building’s original character, and from the moment it was complete this project set the bar for hard lofts around the city. With only 121 lofts and a highly desirable location, living in this building is likely to give your friends some serious envy.


For the Modern Maven

All the bells and whistles of a hard loft, but with the amenities of newer condo buildings.


Via BlogTO

Via BlogTO

Toy Factory Lofts, Liberty Village

Featuring both hard loft and soft loft units, Liberty Village’s centrally located Toy Factory lofts is one of the neighbourhood’s most desirable addresses. It is comprised of 213 units and a variety of layouts. Built in 1912 and operational a first a paper factory before it was sold to Irwin Toys, and the building was converted to house residential suites in 2008. Although it boasts the characteristics of a traditional loft both inside and out, the multitude of amenities adhere to modern living standards. A 24-hour concierge and beautifully designed lobby welcomes residents home. Reward yourself after a workout in the fitness centre with a trip to the steam room, or unwind in the rooftop hot tub. A beautifully landscaped courtyard is the perfect spot to enjoy a morning coffee, while the rooftop terrace provides an excellent space to gather with friends and admire the skyline views.


Via Toronto Life

Via Toronto Life

Tip Top Lofts, Waterfront

The Tip Top loft building is easily recognizable due to its massive Tip Top Tailor’s sign that hangs above the lower section of the building. Authentic hard lofts occupy the lower levels and soft lofts are on on the higher levels, with many units spanning two storeys. With its waterfront location and boutique appeal, units at Tip Top are coveted among loft lovers. This art-deco building was constructed in 1929, and converted in 2006. Along with its effortlessly cool persona and gorgeous suites, this building features some pretty awesome amenities. Entertainers can take advantage of the generously sized party room or outdoor common area for their next soiree. A decent sized gym and sauna allow residents to sweat it out or take it easy without leaving their building. And last but not least, the 24 hour concierge adds security and convenience (no more collecting those missed package tickets in your front lobby!).


Still wondering which loft is right for you? Send us a message by filling out the form below and let us know what you’re in the market for. We’d be more than happy to help you!

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