Supply Depot (Toronto)

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Supply Depot
Supply Depot, Downsview Park - Toronto, Canada.jpg
The Supply Depot, from Carl Hall Road
Supply Depot (Toronto)
Alternative namesBuilding 151, Supply Depot #1, The Bunker
General information
TypeMilitary, industrial
Location40 Carl Hall Road, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Coordinates 43°44′59″N79°28′46″W / 43.74985°N 79.47935°W / 43.74985; -79.47935 Coordinates: 43°44′59″N79°28′46″W / 43.74985°N 79.47935°W / 43.74985; -79.47935
OwnerDownsview Park
Technical details
Floor area81,470 m2 (876,900 sq ft)
Other information

The Supply Depot is a large warehouse located at Downsview Park in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Built to withstand a nuclear attack, the former military structure is today used as a farmers' market, film studio, and venue for Toronto Roller Derby.

Entering the Supply Depot after a nuclear attack
CFB Downsview Supply Depot, Toronto, Canada - post-nuclear attack Decontamination Centre (1).jpg
The decontamination centre was underground near the office building
CFB Downsview Supply Depot, Toronto, Canada - post-nuclear attack Decontamination Centre (2).jpg
Individuals would shower and dress in clean clothing
CFB Downsview Supply Depot, Toronto, Canada - post-nuclear attack Decontamination Centre (3).jpg
Then join others in the Supply Depot's bomb shelter


In 1952, the Canadian federal government acquired an airfield and several buildings located in the then North York neighbourhood of Downsview. A de Havilland Canada aircraft production facility was already located on the property, and the site would eventually become Canadian Forces Base Downsview. [1]

Several new structures were erected, including a large building which would be used for storage and shipping. Completed in 1954, the building consisted of a one-story 81,470 m2 (876,900 sq ft) warehouse with an adjoining two-story office building. [1] de Havilland referred to the building as "Building 151" in accordance with a numbering system used by the company, and the Department of National Defence adopted this and officially named the structure "Building 151". [1] The Treasury Board of Canada later referred to the building as "Supply Depot #1", and it was commonly called the "Supply Depot". [2]

The Supply Depot's location was well-suited for shipping and receiving, with a Canadian National Railway mainline located along the building's east side, connected to the north side of the Supply Depot by a spur-line. The recently-constructed Ontario Highway 401 was a short distance south. [1] The building became the central supply location for the Canadian military, and contained small items such as screws and nails, as well as larger inventory like aircraft engines and wings. [3] The warehouse portion of the Supply Depot was so expansive that workers moved from station to station using bicycles. [4]

When CFB Downsview closed in 1996, a portion of the former baseincluding the Supply Depotbecame part of Downsview Park, the first national urban park in Canada. In 1998, the Supply Depot became one of 11 properties at the site listed on a municipal heritage inventory. [1]


The Supply Depot is a unique example of Cold War military construction in Canada, with heavily reinforced concrete used to create a fortress-like structure designed to survive a nuclear blast. [1] The walls are 1.5 ft (0.46 m) thick, and the flat roof is a 2 ft (0.61 m) thick slab of exposed concrete supported by columns spaced 40 ft (12 m) apart. [1] [3] [5]

In the Supply Depot's basement are two 6 ft (1.8 m) deep, 660,000 imp gal (3,000,000 L) water reservoirs used to supply the fire sprinkler system, and the roof was designed to store up to 1 ft (0.30 m) of water as a backup supply. [3] [6]

On the building's south side is a door leading to a "Decontamination Centre", where individuals could enter the Supply Depot following a nuclear attack. The heavily-reinforced building also contained a bomb shelter. [7]

An architectural review from 2009 wrote, "the building was constructed during the period of Cold War and reflects the uncertain mood of the time with its tough envelope and back-up systems". [3] :56


The Supply Depot is used as a farmer's market and movie studio. Doors Open Toronto tours have also been conducted there. Since mid-2011, Toronto Roller Derby has played its home games in the south end of the building, known as The Bunker, [8] [9] including hosting the inaugural Roller Derby World Cup in 2011. [10]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Inclusion on City of Toronto Inventory of Heritage Properties – 1133-1377 Sheppard Avenue West" (PDF). Director, Urban Design, City Planning Division, City of Toronto. February 4, 2014.
  2. "Supply Depot #1". Treasury Board of Canada. Retrieved November 8, 2016.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "Downsview Area Secondary Plan, Heritage Building Conservation Study Review: Built Heritage Resources" (PDF). E.R.A. Architects. May 2009.
  4. Rich, Marv (1998). Gardam, John (ed.). History of the Toronto & Region Division. The Commissionaires: An Organization with a Proud History. General Store. p. 55.
  5. "Downsview Park Film Studios". Downsview Park. Retrieved April 2014.Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  6. Kidd, Kenneth (January 10, 2010). "Downsview Dilemma". Toronto Star.
  7. "Reinventing Downsview". January 23, 2010.
  8. "On Wheels". Downsview Park. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
  9. "Toronto Roller Derby". Toronto Roller Derby. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
  10. Ormsby, Mary (26 November 2011). "The inaugural World Cup of women's roller derby sparks Olympic hopes". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 12 April 2014.