Toronto’s architectural gems—the Victory Building at 80 Adelaide Street West


I often take daily walks in the downtown area, in search of buildings that might be worth researching. One morning, I had finished photographing the Concourse Building on Adelaide Street and strolled north on Sheppard Street. Upon reaching Richmond Street, I noticed a building that had previously escaped my attention. It was an Art Deco building, located at 80 Richmond Street, a short distance west of Yonge Street.

When I began researching it, I discovered that it was built on the site of the old Gaiety Theatre. Following the demolition of the theatre, they planned a 29-storey skyscraper, designed by the architectural firm of Baldwin and Greene. This company also designed the Concourse Building on Adelaide Street.  They began work on the Victory Building in May of 1929 and worked feverishly through the summer months and early autumn. However, construction stopped when the stock market crashed in October of that year. It had been completed to about the 20th floor, the bricks reaching as high as the 18th. It remained in an unfinished state for 8 years. One of the the newspapers at the time referred to it as a ghost tower, a reminder of better days. When completed in 1937, it was topped at 20 storeys, shorter than originally planned. The first tenants moved in April 1, 1937, enjoying year-round air conditioning and heating from equipment supplied by General Electric.

In its day, the Victory Building was thoroughly modern, a departure from the Neo-Gothic and Neo-classical forms of ancient Greece and Rome that had prevailed during the first two decades of the 20th century. The grill over doorway of the new structure was the work of Emil Wenger. It was subsequently removed. The sculptor who created the detailing on the building was Aaron Goodelman, a Russian immigrant who was brought from New York City. On the top of the building is a structure that is set back from the street. It is invisible from the ground level. The tall rectangular windows and the column-like spaces between the windows all lead the eye upward. However, no detailing was placed on the cornice as it was felt that the height of the structure would prevent it from being seen from below. Above the doorway, on the second floor, there are horizontal rows of bricks, consisting of contrasting colours. They are striking in appearance and easily seen by those who enter the building or pass by on the street.

Unlike the Concourse Building, I am not aware of any plans to demolish this structure, keeping only one or two facades as token reminders of the city’s past. I sincerely hope that this magnificent building escapes this fate.

I am grateful for the information contained in an article by Kevin Plummer that excellently describes the Victory Building. To view this article, follow the link: 


The Victory Building in 1936, when construction was halted at the 20th floor, with brickwork complete to the 18th. This was a high as the structure was to extend. When construction resumed, the bricks were simply added to the two top floors. The view looks east on Richmond Street toward Yonge Street. Photo from the City of Toronto Archives.


The top of the Victory Building, viewed from Adelaide Street to the south, the structure on the top of the building, set back from the street, being visible. As stated, the cornice is plain with no detailing.


The base of the building, on the north side of Richmond Street. The bands of decorative bricks on the second storey can be seen.


                        The rows of bricks with contrasting colours.


                                   Entrance to the Victory Building

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             The Art Deco lobby with its chrome and marble trim

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                            Detailing on the ceiling of the lobby


                         The Victory Building in June of 2013.

To view the Home Page for this blog:

To view other posts about the history of Toronto and its buildings:

The Concourse Building on Adelaide Street

The old Bank of Commerce at 197 Yonge Street

The Traders Bank on Yonge Street—the city’s second skyscraper

Toronto’s old Union Station on Front Street, built in 1884

St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church at King and Simcoe Streets.

The row houses on Glasgow Street, near Spadina and College Streets

The bank at Queen and Simcoe that resembles a Greek temple

The cenotaph at Toronto’s Old City Hall

The magnificent Metropolitan Cathedral at King East and Church Streets

St. Stanislaus Koska RC Church on Denison Avenue, north of Queen West

The historical St. Mary’s Church at Adelaide and Bathurst Streets

The Bishop’s (St, Michael’s) Palace on Church Street, Toronto

The Union Building at Simcoe and King Street West

The Ed Mirvish (Pantages, Imperial, Canon) Theatre, a true architectural gem on Toronto’s Yonge Street

The Waverly Hotel on Spadina near College Street.

The Art Deco Bank of Commerce building on King Street West.

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

The Bellevue Fire Station on College Street

The Bank of Nova Scotia at King and Bay Streets

Toronto’s old Sunnyside Beach

Toronto’s architectural gems—the Runnymede Library

Spadina Avenue – sinful, spicy and diverse

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.

To view other posts about Toronto’s past and its historic buildings:

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

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