51 Camden Street in Toronto’s old garment district was the home of Reactor Art + Design from 1982 to 2014. And for 19 years before that, home to Camden Cooper Garments, my dad Nathan’s schmatta business. Nathan and his partner Sam Warner bought the building in April 1963 for $53,500.
Throughout my teenage years, I spent summers and weekends working for my dad, hauling rolls of textiles up to the third floor, and helping to lay down hundreds of layers of cloth on the long cutting table, to be cut into the pattern pieces for the stretchy slacks and ski jackets that were the mainstay of the business.
In 1982, upon my dad’s retirement, I took over the second floor space where Bill Grigsby and I started Reactor Art + Design. I was Reactor’s creative director for 13 years until 1995 when I decided to pursue life as a freelance designer/art director/illustrator. Through up-sizing and down-sizing, Reactor was a tenant in the building for over 30 years until it was sold in 2014.
Top photo: sometime in the 1990s.
Bottom photo taken June 25, 2015