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Toronto’s Oddfellows Hall at 2 College St.

28 Dec

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The ornate red-brick building at 2 College Street (450 Yonge Street) is on the northwest corner of Yonge and College Streets. Constructed between the years 1891 and 1892, its architects were Norman B. Dick and Frank W. Wickson, who designed the old club house for the Royal Canadian Yacht Club on the lakeshore, at the foot of Lorne Street. It was demolished around the year 1950, but many of the houses and offices these architects created survive to this day.

The building at Yonge and College was constructed for the Independent Order of the Oddfellows. Even today, the structure today inspires images of mystical secret rites, which might have been performed within the wall of this building in the 19th century. Its architecture is a fanciful mixture of Romanesque and Gothic, with many of the ornamentations being Gothic. The fourth floor on the south side has pointed gables, similar to a French chateau, and there are octagonal towers on both corners of the east facade that faces Yonge Street.

In the 19th century, many men belonged to secret organization, fraternal societies or clubs. They were places to socialize and create business contacts in an age without electronic communication. Many of these organizations erected buildings to create places to hold their meetings, and it was customary to include auditoriums or offices that could be rented to generate income to offset the expenses of maintaining the premises. Some of the structures these organizations constructed are today among Toronto’s finest heritage buildings.

It is hoped that the structure at College and Yonge will not be demolished and replaced with a faceless, undistinguished tower of glass and concrete. Because it is located at a busy intersection, on the corner of two of Toronto’s main streets, it is in danger of being demolished to create a taller building. If this were to occur, likely only the facades would be maintained. This would be a true pity, as it is an excellent example of Toronto’s 19th-century buildings.

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The east facade of the Oddfellows Hall, facing Yonge Street.

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The tower on the southeast corner of the building, with the ornate trim at the top.

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           A window with its Gothic tracery in the upper portion.

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The base of the hall, on the southeast corner, which contains the heavy foundation stones and the plaque with the College Street address.

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The doorway on the Yonge Street side (left) and on the College Street side (right).

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The south facade of the building, facing College Street, across from College Park (the old Eaton’s College Street store.)

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Gazing north on Yonge Street from south of College Street. The building in the foreground is College Park, and the Oddfellows Hall is visible in the distance, at the corner of Yonge and College.

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

To view the links to posts that rediscover Toronto’s old movie houses:

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

      Theatres Included in the Book

Chapter One – The Early Years—Nickelodeons and the First Theatres in Toronto

Theatorium (Red Mill) Theatre—Toronto’s First Movie Experience and First Permanent Movie Theatre, Auditorium (Avenue, PIckford), Colonial Theatre (the Bay), thePhotodome, Revue Theatre, Picture Palace (Royal George), Big Nickel (National, Rio), Madison Theatre (Midtown, Capri, Eden, Bloor Cinema, Bloor Street Hot Docs), Theatre Without a Name (Pastime, Prince Edward, Fox)

Chapter Two – The Great Movie Palaces – The End of the Nickelodeons

Loew’s Yonge Street (Elgin/Winter Garden), Shea’s Hippodrome, The Allen (Tivoli), Pantages (Imperial, Imperial Six, Ed Mirvish), Loew’s Uptown

Chapter Three – Smaller Theatres in the pre-1920s and 1920s

 Oakwood, Broadway, Carlton on Parliament Street, Victory on Yonge Street (Embassy, Astor, Showcase, Federal, New Yorker, Panasonic), Allan’s Danforth (Century, Titania, Music Hall), Parkdale, Alhambra (Baronet, Eve), St. Clair, Standard (Strand, Victory, Golden Harvest), Palace, Bedford (Park), Hudson (Mount Pleasant), Belsize (Crest, Regent), Runnymede

Chapter Four – Theatres During the 1930s, the Great Depression

Grant ,Hollywood, Oriole (Cinema, International Cinema), Eglinton, Casino, Radio City, Paramount, Scarboro, Paradise (Eve’s Paradise), State (Bloordale), Colony, Bellevue (Lux, Elektra, Lido), Kingsway, Pylon (Royal, Golden Princess), Metro

Chapter Five – Theatres in the 1940s – The Second World War and the Post-War Years

University, Odeon Fairlawn, Vaughan, Odeon Danforth, Glendale, Odeon Hyland, Nortown, Willow, Downtown, Odeon Carlton, Donlands, Biltmore, Odeon Humber, Town Cinema

Chapter Six – The 1950s Theatres

Savoy (Coronet), Westwood

Chapter Seven – Cineplex and Multi-screen Complexes

Cineplex Eaton Centre, Cineplex Odeon Varsity, Scotiabank Cineplex, Dundas Square Cineplex, The Bell Lightbox (TIFF)

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

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

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/torontos-old-movie-theatrestayloronhistory-com/

To view links to Toronto’s Heritage Buildings

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/canadas-cultural-scenetorontos-architectural-heritage/

 

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