The Dupont Files: A Pre-Pre-construction Update


Photo by Elisa Gonzales If there's one thing I can tell you about clichés, it's that I love to use them in blog posts, especially when the sound of jackhammering from the street outside is infiltrating every nook and cranny in my pea-sized brain. So I'm gonna give it to you straight, today we're going to talk about what's been going on with the expansion since our last update -- but first, let's get a few things covered right off the bat:

1. We are giving this project 110%. 2. If we had a nickel for every time someone asked about the production brewery we'd be so rich that we could buy the entire building, and every tank within it, and maybe even a full-time employee to make us cotton candy and popcorn on demand. 3. Time flies when you're having fun...right? (If you have any other well-worn motivational slogans, please send them our way, we could certainly use them). Now to the main event, and the reason you bought your ticket to the Bellwoods show: A DUPONT UPDATE (this is gonna be a long one).

You've probably been wondering why the building still looks the same as it did last year, but it's important to note that the period of time spanning from August 2014 until June 2015 was eaten up by municipal zoning clearances (fun!), making space use plans (funner!), building code analysis (funnest!), mezzanine design and feasibility study (fun if you like things that require geotechnical analysis), final leasing contracts (the funnest of all!), and multiple other engineering studies (have I communicated this whole 'fun' thing enough yet?). This window of time involved lots of headaches, one strange feeling we momentarily self-diagnosed as a stroke only to later have that theory disproved at the hospital, and several responsibly consumed Witchsharks to assuage our frazzled nerves. We emerged victorious, and without performing amateur lobotamies on each other. High-fives all around.

But that's in the past now (amen), and looking forward, the timeline is as follows: The landlord is in the final stages of emptying a building that, half of which, has been sitting in idle storage mode since the early 90's. Once it's completely empty the final measurements and building permit drawings can be completed. Those drawings will take 60 days to create. Then begins the 30 day drawing revision period with the landlord's engineers, then the submission for building permits which is another 30-60 days. Once permits have been received the landlord will be completing his restoration of the "glass box" portion of the building (restoring window frames and replacing windows, new flooring and drainage, mezzanine construction, new electrical, new HVAC, and a few other cosmetic improvements). How long will the restoration take? Why don't I ever go to bed early? What is the meaning of life? All valid questions, all without concrete answers. All we can say is that renovations often take longer than anticipated, and we expect delays. We can imagine a scenario where we receive the restored building by the summer of 2016. We can imagine a scenario where we receive the building significantly later than that. We can also imagine a scenario where the apocalypse comes, money is rendered useless, and we live in our foeders to hide from the uprising of a minority, cannibalistic rebel gang. We have really good imaginations. [Keep in mind that it'll be at least an additional 6 months from the time that we get the building, to the point when we can welcome the public into the space].

In order to survive through these next, uncertain months, we've put together an informal list of things we're looking forward to about life at the Dupont location.

5. We're excited to set up shop in a new neighbourhood, especially one that has such a stark contrast between industrial and residential areas. The new brewpub will be a great place to have delicious beer and food, the retail store an easy way to grab beer on the way home, and we're hoping to provide a small but thriving hub like our Ossington outpost. Some neighbours bake cookies when they arrive in a new neighbourhood, we'll be making several thousand hectoliters of beer to enjoy. (You tell us which one is better).

4. Knowing that we'll be manufacturing in the downtown core and creating a bunch of local jobs is rewarding. The history of the building is rich, the architecture beautiful, and we're glad that we get to breath new life into it while providing locally brewed beer to the surrounding communities.

3. Dark. Horse. Espresso. Thank thy heavens. Without Crafted by our side, we were relieved to find out that we'd still have a cafe to give us our daily fix.

2. The proposed Green Line project that would see the creation of a 5km connected linear park and trail spanning from St. Clair to Geary avenue. For those who might be unfamiliar, The Green Line is a trail that would connect 9 existing city parks into a safe corridor for active transportation like walking, running, and cycling. Spanning several neighbourhoods that have both under-utilized urban spaces and a need for more parkland, The GL sounds like a perfect way to increase urban transportation routes (and provide a shortcut to our brewery). Find out how you can get involved, or head on over to the launch party of their new mural at Dupont and Dovercourt, happening this August 26th.

1. Having enough beer to keep up with demand, and then some. It sounds like one simple sentence, but it's one giant leap for Bellwoods. It'll be nothing short of life changing for us. We'll be able to improve and expand on what we already do, with vastly upgraded technical capabilities. We're so used to an aggressive brew schedule that never rests, and finally getting to a point where we're not just keeping our heads above water? I can already feel my blood pressure stabilizing!

This probably isn't the update you were looking for, nor is it the update that will see you drinking beer on either of our Dupont patios by mid-September. However, it is the current state of things, and an entirely realistic depiction of what opening a brewery in Toronto looks like. If it were any easier, there'd be a brewery on every corner instead of Starbucks. If it were any harder, well...just picture us in the fetal position with tears streaming down our faces.

As construction picks up we'll be devoting an entire section of our website to documenting the changes and updating you regularly on the progress of the building. We felt it best in the interim, not to send out monthly updates in the newsletter that just say "still waiting for a bureaucrat to sign a piece of paper...". So when you ask us how the Dupont location is coming along and we pause, just know that we've got a few thoughts running through our heads.