Toronto’s architectural gems—Queen’s Quay Terminal

20 Feb


When the Queen’s Quay Terminal at Toronto’s Harbourfront was constructed in 1927, it was the only large building on the western shoreline of the harbour. It was built as a result of the expansion of shipping on the lake and the increase in rail traffic during the 1920s. The architects were Moores and Dunford of New York  City, a firm that  specialized in warehouse buildings. The eight-storey structure at 207 Queen’s Quay began life as the Terminal Warehouse. It possessed dry-storage for general merchandise and cold storage facilities. It is reputed to have been the first poured-concrete building in Canada, although I have been unable to substantiate this claim.

However, it is definitely one of the largest buildings in the Art Deco style ever constructed in the city. The walls are of concrete, with metal-sash windows arranged vertically.  The facade on Queen’s Quay has a tower with Art Deco detailing and a clock.  The warehouse was renovated in 1983 by Zeidler Roberts Partnership. The southwest section of the terminal, which aesthetically was an attractive part of the building, was demolished. The name of the building was changed to Queen’s Quay Terminal, and it is now a multi-use complex containing shops, restaurants, and condos in the top four floors, which were added during the remodelling. The building also houses the Premier Dance Theatre.

f1568_it0456[1]view from tower-1930

This photo was taken in 1931, from the Observation Gallery of the Bank of Commerce Building on King Street. On the shoreline is the Terminal Warehouse, built four years before the picture was taken.  The western wing of the building, which was later demolished, can be seen. The Toronto Islands are visible in the background. The Harbour Commission Building is isolated, amid open spaces and parking lots. Today, the building houses “The Harbour 60 Steakhouse,” at 60 Harbour Street. Prior to landfill being dumped into the harbour, this building was located beside the water.



Harbour Commission  Building in 1917, when it was beside the waters of the harbour

For a link to further information about this building:

f1244_it1439[1]  from Royal York. 1929

View of the Terminal Warehouse in 1929, taken from the top of the Royal York Hotel. This photo also shows the now demolished southwest section of the terminal.

f1257_s1057_it0128[1]  1930s

View c. 1935 from the lake, showing the Terminal Warehouse, the Royal York Hotel, and the Bank of Commerce Building.  This photo also reveals the unattractive southwest section of the terminal.

f1231_it0390[1]   1936

Unloading cargo on the east side of the Terminal Warehouse in 1936. Railcars are positioned beside the terminal, ready for unloading.


The original schooner the “Bluenose,” moored beside the Terminal Warehouse in 1933. This is the famous ship from Nova Scotia that appears on the back of the Canadian dime. The “Bluenose” that now visits Toronto every few years is a replica of this ship.


      A Canada Steamship Lines vessel at the Terminal Warehouse

f1257_s1057_it0108[1]  pre-1980

    Terminal Warehouse and a sailing boat with its masts flat against the hull


         The Terminal prior to the renovations of the 1980s.

            Series 1465 - Urban Design photographs

Artist’s sketch of the Terminal Warehouse after renovations, with condos built on the top. After remodelling it was renamed the Queen’s Key Terminal.


The Art-Deco clock tower on the north side of the Terminal as it appears today.


The east facade of the Terminal, after the renovations. It has landscaping and attractive shops on the ground-floor level.


                   Modern windows installed on the east facade.


                   The southwest corner of the Terminal


                                Shops in the interior on the first-floor level


One of the multi-level atriums in the interior of the Terminal, with the skylight allowing natural light to enter the building.


                     North and east facades of the Queen’s Quay Terminal

To view the Home Page for this blog:

To view other posts about Toronto’s architectural gems:

The Bank of Commerce Building in Commerce Court on King Street West.

The Waverly Hotel at Spadina and College

The Bellevue Fire Station on College Street

The Postal Delivery Building, now a part of the Air Canada Centre (ACC)

The Art Deco bus terminal at Bay and Dundas Streets.

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

The old Dominion Bank Building at King and Yonge Street

The Canada Life Building on University and Queen Street West.

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

A study of Osgoode Hall

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

Toronto’s Draper Street, a time-tunnel into the 19th century

The Black Bull Tavern at Queen and Soho Streets, established in 1822

History of the 1867 fence around Osgoode Hall on Queen Street West at York Street

Gathering around the radio as a child in the 1940s

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

122 persons perish in the Noronic Disaster on Toronto’s waterfront in 1949

Historic Victoria Memorial Square where Toronto’s first cemetery was located, now hidden amid the Entertainment District

Visiting one of Toronto’s best preserved 19th-century streets-Willcocks Avenue

The 1930s Water Maintenance Building on Brant Street, north of St. Andrew’s Park

Toronto’s architectural gems-photos of the Old City from a book published by the city in 1912

Toronto’s architectural gems in 1912

Toronto’s architectural gems – the bank on the northeast corner of Queen West and Spadina

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

The St. Lawrence Hall on King Street

Toronto’s streetcars through the past decades

History of Trinity Bellwoods Park

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

Toronto’s Old City Hall at Bay and Queen Streets

The Reading Building, a warehouse loft on Spadina Avenue

The Darling Building on Spadina Avenue

The amazing Fashion Building on Spadina Avenue

Toronto’s architectural gems – the Tower Building at Spadina and Adelaide Street

The Balfour Building at 119 Spadina Avenue

The Robertson Building at 215 Spadina that houses the Dark Horse Espresso Bar

An architectural gem – Grossman’s Tavern at Spadina and Cecil Streets

History of the house that contains the Paul Magder Fur Shop at 202 Spadina

An important historic building that disappeared from the northeast corner of Spadina and College

Historic bank building on northeast corner of Spadina and Queen West

History of the Backpackers’ Hotel at King and Spadina

Hamburger corner – Spadina and Queen Streets

Lord Lansdowne Public School on Spadina Crescent

The Victory Burlesque Theatre at Dundas and Spadina

The Dragon City Mall on the southwest corner of Dundas and Spadina

Buildings on the west side of Spadina a short distance north of Queen Street.

History of the site of the Mcdonalds on northwest corner of Queen and Spadina

A former mansion at 235 Spadina that is now almost hidden from view.


Military hero of the War of 1812 lived near corner of Spadina and Queen West.





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