The Anderson Building at 284 King Street West will be demolished if approval is received from the City of Toronto for the new complex of condo towers that David Mirvish is proposing to build on King Street West. Built in 1915, the Anderson Building is an excellent example of the commercial warehouses constructed in the early decades of the 20th century. It hearkens back to a time when companies deemed it advantageous to present an impressive image to those who passed by on the street, as it reflected that the firm was prosperous and reliable. The architect of the Anderson Building was Scottish-born William Frazer, who won a prestigious award in Glasgow in 1896 for designing the memorial to the famous poet, Robert Burns.
The facade of the Anderson Building is impressive, containing glazed terracotta tiles, with simple but elegant designs. Perhaps the most well-known building in Toronto with a terracotta-tile cladding is the Bell Media Building on the southeast corner of John and Queen Street West, that at one time was the Methodist Publishing House. The tiles on the Anderson Building are in excellent condition, providing texture to the streetscape, in contrast to the towers of glass and cement with their smooth surfaces and few decorative details. These modern structures lack individuality.
The Anderson Building is a unique structure. If it is demolished, Toronto will have lost a true architectural gems.
View of the south facade of the Anderson Building in August 2013.
Detailing on the south facade and a partial view of the cornice with modillions that resemble large dentils.
Ornate doorway of the east side of the Anderson Building. In the interior there is an excellent antique showroom on the first floor. On the third floor are the sales and subscription offices of the Mirvish Enterprises.
Detailing surrounding the windows on the south facade facing King St.
Glazed terracotta tiles on the Anderson Building
It would be a true pity to lose this fine example of early-20th century industrial architecture.
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To view previous blogs about other movie houses of Toronto—old and new
To view links to other posts placed on this blog about the history of Toronto and its buildings:
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)