Carlaw: Palmolive Building

A Visual Tour of the now-demolished Palmolive Plant on Carlaw Avenue, Toronto

Credit: Library and Archives Canada
Credit: Library and Archives Canada
Credit: Library and Archives Canada
Credit: Library and Archives Canada
Credit: Library and Archives Canada


Credit: Library and Archives, Canada
Credit: Library and Archives Canada
Credit: Library and Archives Canada
Credit: Library and Archives Canada
Announcing the construction of the new building on Carlaw, Construction, Vol. 10, No. 10, Oct. 1917


Construction, Vol. 11, No. 5, May, 1918
Construction, Vol. 11, No. 5, May, 1918


Women packing soap, Palmolive Canada. Photo by Pringle & Booth, January 9, 1919. Credit: Toronto Public Library

An addition, 1936.



Credit: The Canadian Courier, Vol. XXII, No. 24, Nov. 10, 1917

Credit: The Canadian Courier, Vol. XXIII, No. 25
Everywoman’s World, April, 1917





For my favourite Palmolive ad, meet Madge on Youtube:

Colgate Palmolive Plant, Carlaw Avenue, 1986. Credit: Toronto Public Library. The plant was torn down in the summer of 1999 by Greenspoon Brothers. A subsurface investigation was conducted in 1992 by Dames & Moore Canada (DMC) and Greenspoon Brothers also did water sampling. Some material to a depth of 3 metres was removed to Keele Valley Landfill site. Below about a metre below the surface the contractors and environmental consultants hit the water table — which makes sense since Holly (also known as Heward) Creek flowed through the area crossing Carlaw Avenue about where the condo was built.
The Showcase Loft condominium project, 88 Carlaw Avenue, on the site of the Palmolive Building. Aragon Properties Ltd. built this condo in 2014. The neighbouring townhouses and a small park were also built on the Colgate-Palmolive site. Photograph by Joanne Doucette, 2016.

Published by Leslieville Historical Society

Welcome to the Leslieville Historical Society's website. Please feel free to join us, to ask questions, to attend walking tours and other events, and to celebrate Leslieville's past while creating our future. Guy Anderson, President, Leslieville Historical Society and Joanne Doucette, local historian and webmaster.

4 thoughts on “Carlaw: Palmolive Building

  1. The plant was demolished in 1995. Greenspoon Demolition started to mobilize at the site in October 1994. Interior demolition, mechanical and tank removals took place until January of 1995 when structural demolition commenced. The warehouse on Logan Avenue was the last structure to be demolished which was complete by early 1996. The plant was closed in stages starting in early 1992. The steam boilers were turned off for the last time in November 1992 signalling the conclusion of production and operations at the site. Major processing and packaging equipment were purchased by Union Standard equipment of New York and shipped to their Chicago plant to be refurbished and resold. I believe someone told me that they removed some 13 truckloads of equipment. Other processing equipment such as the glycerin recovery plant located at the northeast corner of the building with two evaporators, distillation column and condensers – extending from the basement to the 2nd floor – were removed and/or scrapped in the summer of 1993 when the plant was undergoing asbestos abatement. Remaining equipment was sold off throughout 1993 and 1994 and the remainder – including the rooftop pollution control and powders handling equipment – were either scrapped or removed by Greenspoon to be sold off by others. While the site remained dormant throughout 1993 and 1994, the movies “Darkman Returns” (fall 1993) and “The Santa Clause” (spring 1994) were filmed in the warehouse and parts of the plant. When I attended the site in July 1992 and did a walkthrough with their chief stationary engineer, Hans Kwa, the soap kettles were already disconnected from the fats, caustic and water pipes – bar soap production was sent to their Kansas City plant. Powdered detergents and Ajax scouring powder were continued to be made at the plant until later in the year when their production was transferred to the Jeffersonville plant. Similarly, toothpaste production was transferred to a newly constructed toothpaste plant inside the Mennen plant on Northwest Drive in Malton. Some tanks and equipment were moved from the Colgate Ave. plant to the Mennen plant to facilitate production of toothpaste. Colgate had acquired the Mennen company in 1992. The Mennen plant at Malton was subsequently closed and equipment auctioned off in 2012 ending nearly a century of Canadian production by Colgate-Palmolive or it’s predecessor companies.

    1. Hi Dennis,

      Thanks for getting in touch with me. I enjoyed talking with you on the walk and I appreciate the information.


    1. I collected them from various Archives over the years, includig the Toronto Public Library, the City of Toronto Archives, and others.

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