The E. W. Gillett Building at 276 King Street West is one of the structures that will be demolished if the Mirvish Condo project receives approval from the City of Toronto. This four-storey building, containing a full basement level, was constructed in 1901. In the 19th century, the campus of Upper Canada College was on the site, before it relocated to the hill atop Avenue Road. The Gillett Building was the headquarters of a company that manufactured baking ingredients. An Edwardian gem, it has survived for over a century, although because its bricks have been covered with white paint, it is difficult to appreciate the attractiveness of the structure.
The windows on the top floor, below the unadorned cornice, have Roman arches. The other floors possess rectangular windows, curved at the top. The magnificent porch on the King Street entrance of the Gillett Building is supported by square columns, which have Doric designs at the top. The cornice of the roof of the porch contains simple parallel lines, and below them is a row of small dentils (teeth-like designs). On the porch roof is an arch that also has dentils. When the Gillett Building was constructed, the grand porch was considered appropriate as the building was situated across the street from the palatial Government House, on the southwest corner of Simcoe and King Streets. Government House was the residence of the Lieu. Governor of the Province. Today, Roy Thomson Hall occupies the site.
During the First World War, the Gillett Building was the home of the Russell Motor Company. In the 1940s, the James Morrison Brass Manufacturers occupied the site. Today (2014), the building contains offices.
The portico of the Gillett Building (left) and the designs on its roof, above the Doric columns.
The Roman arches above the windows on the fourth floor, on the south facade, on King Street West.
View of the narrow south facade of the Gillett Building on King Street, and the east facade that extends to the north from King Street, on Duncan Street.
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To view the links to posts that rediscover Toronto’s old movie houses:
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.
To place an order for this book:
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)