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Monthly Archives: November 2012

The alleys where Rick Mercer films his “rants.”

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       Alley that runs north from Richmond toward Queen Street West.

The laneway pictured in the above photo extends north from Richmond Street, west of Portland. It seems to be one of the favourites of Rick Mercer when he films his “rants” and rages in his inimitable style about some issue or another. His biting words are outrageously funny but also contain a great deal of truth. Another alley he frequently employs runs parallel with Queen Street West, extending from Portland to Bathurst Street. It is known as Graffiti Alley.

Rick Mercer personally writes the material for the “rants” and walks past the graffiti in the laneways as he talks. You may recognize some of the graphics below. Most of them were created by Uber5000, one of the most prolific graffiti artists in the city. He came to Toronto from Nova Scotia and has painted numerous pieces of colourful art on the walls in Graffiti Alley and the surrounding laneways, as well as in the Kensington Market. I have also seen his work on Queen Street West and on Spadina, commissioned by the owners of the shops.

Many tourist groups and Torontonians from throughout the city are often seen in the alleyways near Queen and Bathurst/Spadina. Most of them are avidly taking photos and videos of the art work. You may recognize some of the artwork below from the Rick Mercer Show.

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              The yellow bird frequently appears in Uber500’s graffiti murals.

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                    The above murals are the work of Uber5000

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This sea world fantasy covers the complete east and north facades of a building in the laneway.

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          The north wall of the building with the sea world fantasy.

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                                    Creating the sea world fantasy.

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              An artist at work on a brick wall in McDougall Lane.

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                    The mural in McDougall Lane when completed

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            Toronto is fortunate to have so many talented graffiti artists.

To view others posts about the Toronto graffiti scene:

New graffiti art in McDougall Lane

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/11/01/mcdougall-alley-has-a-new-display-of-graffiti-art/

The graffiti-decorated “hug-me-tree” on Queen Street West.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/10/25/queen-street-wests-graffiti-adorned-hug-me-tree/

Graffiti in a laneway amid the colours of autumn

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/10/23/graffiti-amid-autumn-in-the-city/

A mural in the Kensington Market, with tongue-in-cheek humour:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/10/17/clever-humorous-graffiti-in-the-kensington-market/

To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

To view previous blogs about other movie houses of Toronto—old and new

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/links-to-toronto-old-movie-housestayloronhistory-com/

To view links to other posts placed on this blog about the history of Toronto and its buildings:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/links-to-historic-architecture-of-torontotayloronhistory-com/

Recent publication entitled “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” by the author of this blog. The publication explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It also relates anecdotes and stories from those who experienced these grand old movie houses.  

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   To place an order for this book:

https://www.historypress.net/catalogue/bookstore/books/Toronto-Theatres-and-the-Golden-Age-of-the-Silver-Screen/9781626194502 .

Another book, published by Dundurn Press, containing 80 of Toronto’s old movie theatres will be released in the spring of 2016, entitled, “Toronto’s Movie Theatres of Yesteryear—Brought Back to Thrill You Again.” 

“Toronto Then and Now,” published by Pavilion Press, explores 75 of the city’s heritage buildings. This book will also be released in the spring of 2016. 

 

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Toronto’s architectural gems – mysterious little house on Richmond Street W.

front of 618

I have lived in the Spadina/Richmond area for over a decade. On my daily walks, I have often passed the small yellow house at 618 Richmond Street West, a few doors east of Bathurst Street. The reason it attracted my attention is that the architectural style of the house is that of the 1850s or 1860s. Scattered throughout rural Ontario are many brick farm houses that were constructed in this style. On Huron Street, there remains about a dozen houses of a similar style, and date from the middle of the nineteenth century.

I recently researched the origins of a house built in this style on Oxford Street, in the Kensington Market, and was surprised to discover that the house was built in the 1890. I was surprised that this style of domestic architecture was employed in this decade.The house has since been demolished. To view this post :https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/demolished-house-on-oxford-st-in-the-kensington-market/

I encountered considerable difficulty researching the yellow-painted house on Richmond Street. The street has changed names several times, and this added to my difficulty. The section of Richmond Street between Brock (Spadina Avenue) and Bathurst Street was a originally named Little Richmond, and later was changed to Farley Avenue. In 1870, the houses on Richmond between Portland and Bathurst had no postal numbers. However, the most westerly house on the north side of the street, before Bathurst Street, was the home of James Irwin, a fitter with the Grand Trunk Railway. This was likely the small yellow house that remains on the site today. In 1872 and 1873, the Toronto Directories of those years do not list any houses on the street.

In 1875, the most westerly house on the north side of Richmond, before Bathurst Street, was the the house of Solomon Phillips, a labourer. In 1876, it was the home of Miss Mary Franklin, a teacher.

I find it amazing that this house has survived for over a century, and remains on its original location. I must admit that I fear for its future, as the property has a “For Sale” sign on it. .

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Another house that I consider amazing is the Farr House, opposite Trinity Bellwoods Park.

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             To view the post about this house.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/exploring-torontos-architectural-gems-the-farr-house-at-905-queen-street-west/

To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

To view other posts about Toronto’s historic buildings:

Photos of the surroundings of the CN Tower and and the St. Lawrence Market in 1977

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/photos-of-the-surroundings-of-the-st-lawrence-market-and-cn-tower-in-1977/

The old Dominion Bank Building at King and Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/the-old-dominion-bank-buildingnow-a-condo-hotel-at-one-king-st-west/

The Canada Life Building on University and Queen Street West.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/exploring-torontos-architectural-gemsthe-canada-life-building/

Campbell House at the corner of Queen Street West and University Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/08/18/a-glimpse-at-the-interior-of-campbell-house-at-university-avenue-and-queen-street/

A study of Osgoode Hall

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gems-osgoode-hall/

Toronto’s first City Hall, now a part of the St. Lawrence Market

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/torontos-first-city-hall-now-a-part-of-the-st-lawrence-market/

The St. Lawrence Hall on King Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gems-the-st-lawrence-hall/

Toronto’s streetcars through the past decades

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/memories-of-torontos-streetcars-of-yesteryear/

History of Trinity Bellwoods Park

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/the-history-and-beauty-of-trinity-bellwood-park/

A history of Toronto’s famous ferry boats to the Toronto Islands

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/remember-the-toronto-island-ferries-the-bluebell-primroseand-trillium/

Toronto’s Old City Hall at Bay and Queen Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gems-old-city-hall/

To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2012 in Toronto

 

Some media reports on Rob Ford’s court decision miss the point

It does not matter if you are supporter of Rob Ford or despise the man or feel neutral about him. The fact that Rob Ford was raising money for a good cause (his football team) is also  irrelevant. Because he did not personally receive any money, is also not important, or is the fact that the sum of money ($3500) involved was inconsequential. Some of the news media seem to be stressing these point as if they have bearing on the judgment.

Fortunately, some members of the media have stressed the important issues.

1. In a democracy, no one is above the law. Ford has been a councillor for ten years, he knew the law, but figured it did not apply to him. 

2. If the judge had ruled that  Ford was innocent, despite clearly breaking the conflict of interest rules, it would imply that such rules are not important. This would open the door for other politicians to vote on issues that would directly benefit them, and destroy the integrity of anyone elected to public office .

It is reported that a bi-election would cost 7-8 million dollars. This is an enormous amount of money, and is not to be taken lightly. However, has anyone considered the cost to the city if Mayor Fords remains in office for two more years? The extra money that will be required because of Ford’s obstruction on the transit file has already cost the city hundreds of millions of dollars. Every day the projects are delayed, costs more money. 

As a graffiti message on a wall on Augusta Avenue stated, “We cannot afford Ford.”

To view other posts about Rob Ford:

Rob Ford in butter rather than the proverbial hot water

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/rob-ford-in-butter-rather-than-the-proverbial-hot-water/  

Graffiti in Toronto depicting Rob Ford is highly disturbing

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/10/31/graffiti-about-rob-ford-is-highly-disturbing/

To view the Home page for this blog:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2012 in Toronto

 

Help ! Will you share memories or photos of old movie theatres of Toronto ?

                     Shea's Hippodrome 

I have placed many posts on this blog about the old movie houses of Toronto. In order to learn more of the the history of the theatres, I recently purchased a copy of “The Nabes – Toronto’s wonderful neighbourhood movies houses,” written by John Sebert. Because the book is out of print, it required a month for the bookstore to secure a copy, and it was a better price than on Amazon.com. The owner of the book shop stated that books about the old Toronto movie theatres are now as rare as the theatres themselves.

I have collected about thirty photos of theatres. Some are from my own collection, and others are from the City of Toronto Archives. A few are from from the Ontario Archives and the Toronto Reference Library. I have many fond memories of these theatres, and have begun writing them down. I would like to produce another book about these theatres. I thoroughly enjoyed “The Nabes,” but it only covers the neighbourhood theatres and does not include any of those that were downtown.

The above photo of Shea’s Hippodrome on Bay Street was taken from the rear window of the family Pontiac about 1959. The picture below was taken about 1959 as well, as it shows the 1956 film “Bus Stop.” It is also from my collection.

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Do you have any photos, black and white or in colour, of the old movie houses of Toronto that you are willing to share. If you do not have any photos, are you willing to share memories?  Saturday afternoon matinees, evening performance, movie clubs ? Please give your name and in which city you presently reside if you wish to have your name mentioned in the book. 

I can be contacted at tayloronhistory@gmail.com

To view the Home page for this blog and the names of other books that I have written: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/ 

To view previous blogs about the old movie houses of Toronto

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/06/27/old-movie-houses-of-toronto/

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/attending-the-movies-in-toronto-during-the-golden-age-of-cinema/

The Odeon Carlton theatre on Carlton St., east of Yonge St.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/07/02/colour-photo-of-the-odeon-carlton-in-1956-a-marilyn-monroe-film-playing/

2011/07/02/colour-photo-of-the-odeon-carlton-in-1956-a-marilyn-monroe-film-playing/https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

The Victory burlesque and movie theatre on Spadina at Dundas:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/09/08/the-sinful-victory-burlesque-theatre-at-dundas-and-spadina/

The Shea’s Hippodrome Theatre on Bay St. near Queen

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/07/04/sheas-hippodrome-theatre-where-the-nathan-phillips-square-exists-today/

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/09/07/photographs-from-the-1950s-of-sheas-hippodrome-theatre-located-on-the-site-of-torontos-new-city-hall/

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/03/06/old-movie-houses-of-toronto-fond-memories-of-sheas-hippodrome/

Attending a matinee in the old movie houses of Toronto during the “golden age of cinema”

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/attending-a-movie-matinee-in-toronto-during-the-golden-age-of-cinema/

The University Theatre on Bloor St., west of Bay Street.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/the-opening-of-torontos-university-theatre-on-bloor-street/

Archival photos of the Imperial and Downtown Theatres on Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/02/04/archival-photos-of-torontos-old-theatres-give-reality-to-historical-novel/

The Elgin/Winter/Garden Theatres on Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-elgin-winter-garden-theatres/

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2012 in Toronto

 

Toronto’s architectural gems–Metropolitan United Church

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Metropolitan United at Queen and Church Streets, in early spring and mid-winter.

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View of Metropolitan looking east from Bond Street on a Sunday morning in October of 2012

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The above sketch depicts the log cabin on the south side of King Street, where the first Methodist Church in York (Toronto) commenced services in 1818. 

Plaque, Jordon and King Sts.  Plaque- Bank of Com

The site of the log cabin today, on the corner of King St. W. and Jordan  Street. A small plaque on the facade of the building (lower left corner of the picture) commemorates the 1818 structure. The enlarged photo shows the wording on the plaque. 

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By 1833, a larger church was required. Land was purchased at Toronto Street and Adelaide Street (then called Newgate), and they constructed a fine Neo-Georgian style building.

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In 1868, the congregation purchased land on the north side of Queen Street East, between Bond and Church Streets. It stretched as far north as Shuter Street. The 3 1/2 acre parcel of land, known as McGill Square, was bought for $25,000.  Henry Langley designed a magnificent structure in the Neo-Gothic style. It held over 1900 people. The cornerstone was laid in 1870 by Edgerton Ryerson. The first service was held in 1872.

In 1922, a 22-bell, 17-ton carillon was installed in the tower with money donated by Chester Massey. In 1925, the church joined with three other denominations to form the United Church of Canada. The name of the church on King Street East was changed to Metropolitan United.

                 Met Tower

In January of 1928, a disastrous fire destroyed all of the 1872 structure except for the tower and narthex. In June of the same year, they decided to rebuild.

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The new church was designed by J. Gibb Morton. The first service in the new church was in December of 1929. The sanctuary was 15 feet higher than the previous building, and the transepts 8 feet deeper. The Globe Furniture Company of Waterloo, Ontario, was contracted to install the woodwork. Robert McCausland installed the windows. The new building cost $400,000. A new 7852-pipe Casavant organ was installed for Easter of 1930.

Today, the church is a vibrant part of the downtown scene. Its “out-of-the-cold” program is vital to those in need. The musical programs of the church are well known, as well as the music for the weekly services.

Much of the information for this post was obtained from the book, “Firm Foundations,” by Judith St. John. It is available at the church, which is open daily during the week to host visitors who may wish to see the interior of the building. The ornate wood carvings and the stained-glass windows are fascinating to examine, and the hosts are knowledgeable and welcoming.

194 th. Anniver. Nov 4, 2012

                   A Sunday morning service at Metropolitan United.

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The annual outdoor service in June, and the blessing of the animals.

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    The Kirkin’ of the Tartans ceremony in Metropolitan United

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                  The Thanksgiving altar display in October of 2012

To view a post about Metropolitan’s Kirkin’ of the Tartans.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/kirkin-of-the-tartans-service-for-queens-silver-jubilee-at-torontos-metropolitan-united/

Metropolitan’s participation in Toronto’s “Doors Open” program

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/05/31/doors-open-at-metropolitan-united/

To view other posts about Toronto’s historic buildings:

Photos of the surroundings of the CN Tower and and the St. Lawrence Market in 1977

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/photos-of-the-surroundings-of-the-st-lawrence-market-and-cn-tower-in-1977/

The old Dominion Bank Building at King and Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/the-old-dominion-bank-buildingnow-a-condo-hotel-at-one-king-st-west/

The Canada Life Building on University and Queen Street West.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/exploring-torontos-architectural-gemsthe-canada-life-building/

Campbell House at the corner of Queen Street West and University Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/08/18/a-glimpse-at-the-interior-of-campbell-house-at-university-avenue-and-queen-street/

A study of Osgoode Hall

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gems-osgoode-hall/

Toronto’s first City Hall, now a part of the St. Lawrence Market

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/torontos-first-city-hall-now-a-part-of-the-st-lawrence-market/

The St. Lawrence Hall on King Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gems-the-st-lawrence-hall/

Toronto’s streetcars through the past decades

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/memories-of-torontos-streetcars-of-yesteryear/

History of Trinity Bellwoods Park

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/the-history-and-beauty-of-trinity-bellwood-park/

A history of Toronto’s famous ferry boats to the Toronto Islands

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/remember-the-toronto-island-ferries-the-bluebell-primroseand-trillium/

Toronto’s Old City Hall at Bay and Queen Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gems-old-city-hall/

To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2012 in Toronto

 

Toronto’s architectural gems- an 1870s house with a Moorish-style porch

The house at 445 Adelaide Street attracted my attention for two reasons. The first reason is its attractive porch, with an enclosed area above, which has Moorish influences. The only other house I have discovered in the city that has Moorish designs on the east side of Church Street. The other reason is that it is located in an area where heritage homes are being demolished to construct high-rise condominiums. I sincerely hope that this house survives, as its architecture is a rarity in Toronto. 

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The house at 445 Adelaide Street West, a block west of Brant Street, opposite St. Andrew’s Park

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The porch and the room above the porch, with hints of Moorish design

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This house was built in 1877 as a home for Isaac Hanna, a paper stainer. In 1878, John Potter, a moulder moved into the premises. The house was constructed of attractive yellow and red bricks, in designs that were popular in the 1870s. The yellow-brick trim above the windows is particularly appealing. The gable in the roof has interesting barge board trim, painted blue-grey. The bay window on the first floor allowed plenteous light to enter the parlour, in an decade that did not possess the convenience of electricity.

To view other posts about Toronto’s historic buildings:

Photos of the surroundings of the CN Tower and and the St. Lawrence Market in 1977

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/photos-of-the-surroundings-of-the-st-lawrence-market-and-cn-tower-in-1977/

The old Dominion Bank Building at King and Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/the-old-dominion-bank-buildingnow-a-condo-hotel-at-one-king-st-west/

The Canada Life Building on University and Queen Street West.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/exploring-torontos-architectural-gemsthe-canada-life-building/

Campbell House at the corner of Queen Street West and University Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/08/18/a-glimpse-at-the-interior-of-campbell-house-at-university-avenue-and-queen-street/

A study of Osgoode Hall

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gems-osgoode-hall/

Toronto’s first City Hall, now a part of the St. Lawrence Market

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/torontos-first-city-hall-now-a-part-of-the-st-lawrence-market/

The St. Lawrence Hall on King Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gems-the-st-lawrence-hall/

Toronto’s streetcars through the past decades

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/memories-of-torontos-streetcars-of-yesteryear/

History of Trinity Bellwoods Park

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/the-history-and-beauty-of-trinity-bellwood-park/

A history of Toronto’s famous ferry boats to the Toronto Islands

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/remember-the-toronto-island-ferries-the-bluebell-primroseand-trillium/

Toronto’s Old City Hall at Bay and Queen Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gems-old-city-hall/

To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2012 in Toronto

 

Toronto’s iconic buildings in autumn

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                       Autumn colours in Toronto’s High Park

Autumn in Toronto has disappeared for another year. The fall season always creates fond memories of my childhood – jumping in the leaves, collecting chestnuts and acorns, and the inevitable leaf collection at school. This year, during my walks around the downtown area, I photographed a few of the city’s iconic buildings, the shades of autumn enhancing their appeal. 

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       The 1821 Campbell House, at Queen and University, its lawn littered with leaves

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The Canada Life Building on University Avenue, the trees tinged with a hint of autumn 

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              Historic Queen Street West, looking west toward Bathurst Street.

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The south facade of the AGO, the OCAD building in the background. In the foreground is the fountain that in former decades graced the Walker Court inside the AGO.

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                  St. Michael’s Cathedral on Bond Street, its tower wrapped in scaffolding


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       Metropolitan Church on Queen St. East, a single tree announcing the autumn season

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Osgoode Hall, the east wing constructed in 1829, and the leaves of fall surrounding the historic building

To view other posts about Toronto’s historic buildings:

Photos of the surroundings of the CN Tower and and the St. Lawrence Market in 1977

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/photos-of-the-surroundings-of-the-st-lawrence-market-and-cn-tower-in-1977/

The old Dominion Bank Building at King and Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/the-old-dominion-bank-buildingnow-a-condo-hotel-at-one-king-st-west/

The Canada Life Building on University and Queen Street West.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/exploring-torontos-architectural-gemsthe-canada-life-building/

Campbell House at the corner of Queen Street West and University Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/08/18/a-glimpse-at-the-interior-of-campbell-house-at-university-avenue-and-queen-street/

A study of Osgoode Hall

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gems-osgoode-hall/

Toronto’s first City Hall, now a part of the St. Lawrence Market

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/torontos-first-city-hall-now-a-part-of-the-st-lawrence-market/

The St. Lawrence Hall on King Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gems-the-st-lawrence-hall/

Toronto’s streetcars through the past decades

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/memories-of-torontos-streetcars-of-yesteryear/

History of Trinity Bellwoods Park

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/the-history-and-beauty-of-trinity-bellwood-park/

A history of Toronto’s famous ferry boats to the Toronto Islands

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/remember-the-toronto-island-ferries-the-bluebell-primroseand-trillium/

Toronto’s Old City Hall at Bay and Queen Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gems-old-city-hall/

To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2012 in Toronto