Ever since I first set eyes on the building I have been in awe of it; a beautiful red brick building with tall factory windows, Ivy climbing up the walls and trees almost as tall as the building. Richmond 401 was originally a lithographic print house which has been converted into a space for creative art and design communities – architects and design studios, art galleries, workshops and classes in print, textile, arts and crafts, craft shops and bookstores and more.
The first thing I thought when I discovered Richmond 401 was “I want to work here one day”. That day hasn’t come, but I still go back often to experience the vibrant buzz of creativity within the building.
The entrance of the building is a comfortable, open space of century-old brick and Douglas fir ceiling where you can wait for friends or lounge and read a book. Art sculptures and framed artwork are displayed throughout the building, with hallways lit by natural light shining through the factory windows.
Musideum is home to a quirky collection of interesting instruments from all over the world which the owner, composer Donald Quan has collected over time. Of course, it isn’t only a display of musical instruments as they also host intimate performances in the museum throughout the year.
Swipe Design is a Mecca for design-concious shoppers; one of the very few book stores in Toronto that sells such a diverse range of modern design books it also has a fantastic collection of kitchenware, household gifts and other interesting examples of modern product design. I can spend hours scouring the shelves here.
This visit wasn’t just for the purpose of having a wander around the galleries and shops as I was also lucky enough to have been a guest at my friend’s gorgeous wedding being held in the courtyard. A fantastic, eclectic space which I didn’t even realise they used for weddings and special events until now.
There are actually two gardens at Richmond, including the courtyard where my friend’s wedding was held and the huge roof garden, a massive green space on the roof of Richmond 401 with spectacular views of Toronto.
Richmond 401 is always a great place to visit and be inspired by the energy of the creative community that calls it home, there’s always something going on.