The city of Toronto has the 3rd best skyline in North America, according to the building website Emporis. There are more than 60 buildings at least 500′ high.
We had the opportunity to take an architectural tour with Daniel, from the Toronto Society of Architects. If there was someone you wanted to wander downtown Toronto with to learn about the history of the city, and the buildings, it is Daniel, as he has over 40 years of experience designing many of them.
Not all the buildings on this posting were seen on Daniel’s tour, but with the knowledge from him we were able to seek out more than what he had time to cover.
Included in these is (to me) the Mecca of Hockey – Maple Leaf Gardens. The Gardens were closed to NHL hockey more than 20 years ago, but the good folks of Toronto had the sense to retain the building and re-purpose it.
Most of the 1st level is a large grocery store, while Ryerson University uses the remainder of the building for athletics.
The highlight is on the current 3rd level – the ‘original ice’, as well as the exposed original ceiling!
Since the 1970s Toronto has had a near continual skyscraper building boom.
There are pockets of historic buildings scattered throughout downtown. In the distance is the clock tower of the ‘old’ city hall.
Completed in 1899 it was used as city hall until 1966 when the new city hall (feature photo for this posting) was completed.
E J Lennox was the primary architect for the old city hall in the 1890s. As was custom at the time he expected to have his name engraved on the building. When city council told him no – he got his revenge – by doing a ‘grotesque’ of himself. He is in the center with the mustache.
Even better was his revenge on his bosses in the city council – he included them as goofy looking people in grotesques, which means 120 years later he is still getting his revenge.
If you look enough you find many art deco touches, including these nice skylights in the Toronto Coach Lines building. Not bad for a bus station.
Another art deco entrance along Yonge Street.
All around you get glimpses of old and new.
The Bank of Nova Scotia building is one of the better art deco examples.
As is the Canadian Bank of Commerce.
A portion of the Hockey Hall of Fame is in the ornate lobby of an old bank.
Union Station is another example, and will shine even more when the renovations are completed in a few years.
Not downtown, and not a skyscraper the ‘Palace of Purification’ is the R C Harris Water Treatment Facility in Scarborough. It is an art deco masterpiece with a great setting along Lake Ontario.
Toronto is a city on the move, and their architecture shows it.