Walk Liberty | Location 8

Welcome to Walk Liberty!

Walk Liberty is an interactive, online portal that showcases the rich history, public spaces, and dynamic and eclectic businesses of Liberty Village. Get outside, explore the neighbourhood and support your local businesses. 

This is one of thirteen stops along a walking tour of Liberty Village. 


📍Dufferin Gate


Liberty Village’s history is closely tied to the Canadian National Exhibition and to the grounds on which Toronto’s grand annual fair occupies. The CNE began as the Toronto Industrial Exhibition in 1879 to promote Canadian agriculture and technology, occupying the western portion of the Garrison Reserve. For many years, Dufferin Street was the CNE’s main entrance, with streetcars and railway trains unloading fairgoers right at the gate. 

Expansion of the fairgrounds in the 1920s saw new elaborate beaux-arts and art deco buildings constructed, including the Horse Palace, the Automotive Building (now the Beanfield Centre) and the Ontario Government Building (now Liberty Grand). With the dedication of the Prince’s Gates, the CNE got a new main entrance at Strachan Avenue and Lake Shore Boulevard, drawing much of the fair’s activity away from Dufferin Gate. Exhibition Station itself moved further west in 1968, though fenced-off staircases on the west side of Dufferin Street descend to abandoned train platforms below. 

After an absence of many years, regular streetcar service returned to Dufferin Loop in 2016, with the introduction of the 514 Cherry Streetcar line, and later the 504B King Streetcar. These services were introduced to provide additional, more reliable service to Liberty Village and the busy King Street corridor. 

This spot marks the western terminus of the South Liberty Trail, a partnership between Mural Routes, StreetARToronto, and local developers York Heritage Properties and Adgar Canada, to provide a year-round pedestrian connection through South Liberty Village to Exhibition GO Station in advance of a future permanent east-west link across the southern edge of the neighbourhood. 

Learn more about the South Liberty Trail at Stop 10, at the south end of Fraser Avenue. 

Continue your tour…

Location 7 Dufferin and Liberty Streets – 200 metres north (233 Dufferin Street) 

Location 8 Liberty and Mowat Streets – 350 metres north-east (67 Mowat Avenue)

Location 12 Exhibition GO Station – 900 metres east via Exhibition Place (12 Manitoba Drive)

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Dufferin Gate, July 1937. The elaborate structure was demolished to make way for the Gardiner Expressway in 1957.

City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1231, Item 1446

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Abandoned stairway leading to the old Exhibition Station from Dufferin Street

Explore the amazing history of Liberty Village. Check out the full walking tour here!

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