Leon’s in the round

As part of its 100th anniversary this year, Leon’s Furniture — the Canadian home furnishings chain — has opened a Leon’s store like no other. In this case, location is everything: it’s in Toronto’s historic John Street Roundhouse, a semi-circular structure built in the late 1920s and formerly used by Canadian Pacific to service trains. Leon’s first large downtown store offers 40,000 square feet of modern furniture, electronics and appliances on one floor.

Completed as part of a $25-million rejuvenation of the Roundhouse area, the store was created by a team of many people: the IBI Group’s heritage architects; Leon’s architects, Turner Fleisher; mechanical and electrical engineer consultant MCW; interior design consultant Danielle Josette Design; LEED consultant Green Reason Inc.; and the John Street Roundhouse Development Corporation.

Every effort was made to preserve the Roundhouse Building — complete with 32-foot-high ceilings, wooden beams, floor-to-ceiling windows and train-track foundation — while balancing the requirements of the Leon’s store. Every fixture is clamped in space to ensure that the historic wooden framing isn’t compromised, and the unique poured and polished concrete floor can be lifted without harm to the retired train tracks below. Leon’s even revised the landlord’s original plan for a mezzanine in order to preserve the building’s spectacular sightlines.

The result is a loftlike 40,000-square-foot space that showcases the Roundhouse and its stunning views of the Toronto skyline as much as the furniture.