I decided to supplement my website with shorter, more frequent blog posts. These “shorter posts” will be about various interesting and innovative things related to city building, economic development, geography, technology and investing. The goal of this is to engage more with my readers and learn from them.
For my first “short post”, I wanted to share some interesting information about my favourite historic and heritage designated buildings in Toronto.
Excelsior Life Building, 36 Toronto Street (Adelaide Street and Toronto Street)
The Excelsior Life Building was built in 1915 in the Beaux-Arts architectural style. The building was designed by Edward James Lennox, a famous Toronto architect responsible for the design of Old City Hall, Casa Loma and the King Edward Hotel (among many other notable buildings).
My favourite pieces of the building include the white enamel terracotta cladding, and the exterior detailing and columns on the top floors.
St. Lawrence Hall, 157 King Street East (King Street and Jarvis Street)
The St. Lawrence Hall was built in 1850 in the Renaissance Revival style, and was designed by William Thomas. Thomas was born in England but completed the majority of his architectural work in Canada, with a focus on designing churches. Some of his most notable works include St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto and the Don Jail.
The St. Lawrence Hall was a popular social and cultural institution for many prominent Torontonians. It was said that Sir John A. Macdonald and George Brown would address the public in the Hall.
The domed cupola and the decorated rooftop are among the favourite design elements of the St. Lawrence Hall.
MaRS Discovery District, 101 College Street (University Avenue and College Street)
The College Street Wing of the Toronto General Hospital was completed in 1913 and designed in the Beaux-Arts style by Toronto-based architecture firm, Darling and Pearson. Darling and Pearson were responsible for designing the Royal Ontario Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario and Commerce Court.
Some innovative medical breakthroughs took place in the building, such as the development of insulin to treat diabetes.
One of my favourite architectural detailing’s include the set-back terraces on either edge of the centre block with the balustrades (as shown in the bottom-right picture).
McMaster Hall, 273 Bloor Street West (Bloor Street and Bedford Road)
McMaster Hall was designed in the Victorian architectural style by Toronto-based architectural firm, Langley, Langley and Burke. The project was financed by William McMaster and completed in 1881. The Hall was the home of McMaster University and the Toronto Baptist College, until William McMaster moved to Hamilton in 1930. McMaster Hall was purchased by the University of Toronto in 1936 and used as a main teaching and rehersal space for the Royal Conservatory of Music. In 1963, the Conservatory moved in permanently and has occupied the space since.
The founders of Langley, Langley and Burke – Henry, Edward and Edmund, respectively, designed over 70 churches throughout Ontario, with the Jarvis Street Baptist Church as one of the firms first projects. The trio were also instrumental in the development of the Ontario Association of Architects.
Hope you enjoyed this list!
I find Toronto is full of architectural gems if you look hard enough.
Do any of my readers have any particular favourite historic buildings in Toronto? If so, what are some of your favourite ones?
Excelsior Life Building – http://torontoist.com/2015/10/historicist-toronto-street/
*image on left is from Torontoist.com
St. Lawrence Hall – http://www.stlawrencemarket.com/st_lawrence_hall
MaRS Discovery District (101 College Street) – http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2007/te/bgrd/backgroundfile-4837.pdf
McMaster Hall – http://torontoplaques.com/Pages/McMaster_Hall.html