Constructed in 1904, 168 Bannatyne Avenue has seen a variety of tenants over the years. It was originally erected for the Franklin Press Printing Company, a printer and publisher that provided stationery, book binding services and office supply to the general public. However, with competition from the growing print industry, including upwards of 80 local firms, the business shut its doors in 1926.
In 1927, 168 Bannatyne Avenue was taken over by Empire Wholesale, a tobacconist and confectionery wholesaler, who operated out of the location for the next decade. In the 1940s, the Canadian Office Supply and Specialty Company moved into 168 Bannatyne Avenue, using the location as offices and warehouse space.
Finally, The Orient took over the building - a manufacturers’ agent and importer that specialized in Asian antiques from mainland China. They moved into 168 Bannatyne in 1967 and operated out of the location until 1998 when they ceased operations.
The ghost signs on the west of the building provide a glimpse into all of the products and services offered through these companies. Unlike a layered palimpsest, these fading ads don’t interfere with each other. Try to see how many products are listed and which businesses they’re linked to.
- Ghost signs on west side of building