Sunday, March 10, 2019

Life after Frosted Flakes

When the cereal runs out
London, ON
August 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
This building was built over a century ago, and for much of its history churned out millions of boxes of breakfast cereal. Little did I know when I was a child that the multicolored, bilingual boxes that dominated my kitchen table came from a faraway city I'd someday call home.

Changing times and tastes eventually led to the factory's closure. Kellogg's pulled out of London a few years ago as it rebalanced its global production portfolio. Corporatespeak notwithstanding, we just don't eat cereal like we used to. Given its questionable nutritional value that's probably not an entirely bad thing, but it left open the question of what to do with a hulking piece of industrial history.

We got lucky, and the massive space has since been redeveloped into a popular indoor activity centre and craft brewery, with a children's museum and more yet to come. We're even luckier that the architecture has been wonderfully preserved, its history still on prominent display even if no one here ever remembers or cares who Tony the Tiger was.

I adore buildings like this, and spent my first day inside wandering the halls drinking in what made - and continues to make - this place such a resonant monument to London's history.

A not-so-small group of developers, investors, civic officials, community activists, and others had the courage to honor its rich legacy, and we owe them all a debt of thanks. Imagine if every once-vibrant property were lucky enough to be similarly rescued from oblivion.

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