RSS

Tag Archives: Entertainment District

The Reid Building at 266-270 King West

King and Duncan

There are several historic buildings on King Street West that will be demolished if the Mirvish Condo project is approved by the City of Toronto. The Reid Building at 266-270 King Street West is one of them. Located on the northeast corner of Ed Mirvish Way (a part of Duncan Street), the facades of the building are today covered with white-grey paint, which obscures the beauty of the bricks, wood and stone of which it is constructed.

The Reid Building is in reality three separate buildings, joined to create a single complex. The first building was constructed in 1904, and is on the corner of the intersection. It was built after the Great Fire of that year, which occurred on April 19, a bitterly cold spring night. Burning for over nine hours, it destroyed over 100 buildings in the downtown core. Though it did not spread as far as King Street West, the building codes instituted to prevent another such disaster, influenced the construction of the Reid Building. When completed, the Reid Building contained the most up-to-date fire prevention technology of the decade. The building was among the first of the warehouses that appeared on the north side of King Street. It was preceded by the Gillett Building at 276 King Street  (1901) and the Eclipse Whitewear Building (1903) at 322 King Street, farther to the west. 

In the first few decades of the 20th century, King Street was a prime location for businesses, since the home of the Lieutenant Governor was situated on spacious grounds on the southwest corner of King and John Streets. This site is today where the Roy Thomson Hall is located.  When the Reid Building was constructed, businesses were eagerly seeking building sites on this section of King Street, as they profited by being in the prestigious neighbourhood. Adding to the appeal of the neighbourhood was the opening of the Royal Alexandra Theatre in 1907. It was capable of seating almost 1500 theatre patrons and is today one of the oldest theatres in Canada in continuous use.     

The Reid Building was named after Alexander T. Reid, who financed its construction. He was the manager of the Featherbone Novelty Manufacturing Company, for which the building was constructed. It was situated on land that had formerly been Russell Square, the original site of Upper Canada College. The first structure that became part of the Reid Building, has massive brick pilasters, which are bricks that are raised on the facade to resemble pillars. They rise from the first-floor level to the unadorned cornice above the fifth storey. The pilasters segment the south facade into three distinct parts, the windows recessed between the various sections. There are five storeys, and a basement level that is partially above ground. The architect for the Reid Building was A. Frank Wickson, who is best known as one of the architects who designed the original Toronto Reference Library at 244 College Street, at St. George Street. The building is now the Koffler Student Services Centre of the University of Toronto.

In 1909, a second building was added to the north side of the Reid Building, on Ed Mirvish Way. Then, in 1913, another building was added to its east side, along King Street. The three separate building, with their Edwardian Classical styling, compose the complex that is today the Reid Building. They appear as a single structure as they are unified in design and detailing.  

In 1913, the year that the third building was added, the complex became the head offices for the McLelland and Stuart Publishing Company. However, following the Second World War, the area around King Street, where the Reid Building was located, declined as an industrial district. Seeking cheaper land prices, companies relocated further away from the downtown core. The Reid Building is presently owned by David Mirvish and is rented to various retail enterprises, the upper floors containing offices. 

It would truly be a pity to lose this excellent example of an early-20th century industrial warehouse.

Note: some of the information for this post was obtained from a City of Toronto Web site—Public Notice—Heritage Lands.

DSCN4233

The Reid Building on a frigid December day in 2013. The photo gazes east along King Street, a short distance west of Ed MIrvish Way, which is the south section of Duncan Street.

 

DSCN4237

The south facade of the 1904 section of the structure (left-hand side) and the 1913 addition (on the right-hand side). The windows differentiate the 1904 section from the 1913.

King and Duncan 2

Gazing north on Ed Mirvish Way, which is a section of Duncan Street. The west facade of the 1904-section of the Reid Building is in the foreground, and the 1909 section, is on the north side of it. 

DSCN4238

Detailed view of the windows of the Reid Building on the south facade that faces King Street. A row of dentils (teeth-like ornamentations) can be seen above the rectangular windows of the second and third floor (the bottom rows of windows in the photo). The windows on the fourth and fifth floors are separated into three sections, the top of the windows curved. 

DSCN4236

The south facade of the Reid Building viewed from inside Metro Hall, December 2013.

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

To view previous blogs about old movie houses of Toronto—historic and modern

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

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.  

                      cid_E474E4F9-11FC-42C9-AAAD-1B66D852[2]

   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)

.

 

Tags: , , ,

Toronto’s Anderson Building at 284 King West

              DSCN8988

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.

                  284 King St. Anderson Blg.

View of the south facade of the Anderson Building in August 2013.

DSCN8989

Detailing on the south facade and a partial view of the cornice with modillions that resemble large dentils.

                     284 King Anderson Blg 2

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. 

DSCN8993   DSCN8992

Detailing surrounding the windows on the south facade facing King St.

 DSCN8992

             Glazed terracotta tiles on the Anderson Building

                    DSCN8991

It would be a true pity to lose this fine example of early-20th century industrial architecture.

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

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

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

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.  

                      cid_E474E4F9-11FC-42C9-AAAD-1B66D852[2]

   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)

 

Tags: , ,

The alleys where Rick Mercer films his “rants.”

DSCN8077

       Alley that runs north from Richmond toward Queen Street West.

The laneway pictured in the above photo extends north from Richmond Street, west of Portland. It seems to be one of the favourites of Rick Mercer when he films his “rants” and rages in his inimitable style about some issue or another. His biting words are outrageously funny but also contain a great deal of truth. Another alley he frequently employs runs parallel with Queen Street West, extending from Portland to Bathurst Street. It is known as Graffiti Alley.

Rick Mercer personally writes the material for the “rants” and walks past the graffiti in the laneways as he talks. You may recognize some of the graphics below. Most of them were created by Uber5000, one of the most prolific graffiti artists in the city. He came to Toronto from Nova Scotia and has painted numerous pieces of colourful art on the walls in Graffiti Alley and the surrounding laneways, as well as in the Kensington Market. I have also seen his work on Queen Street West and on Spadina, commissioned by the owners of the shops.

Many tourist groups and Torontonians from throughout the city are often seen in the alleyways near Queen and Bathurst/Spadina. Most of them are avidly taking photos and videos of the art work. You may recognize some of the artwork below from the Rick Mercer Show.

DSCN8853

              The yellow bird frequently appears in Uber500’s graffiti murals.

DSCN8154    DSCN8085

                    The above murals are the work of Uber5000

DSCN9302

This sea world fantasy covers the complete east and north facades of a building in the laneway.

DSCN8087

          The north wall of the building with the sea world fantasy.

DSCN8092

                                    Creating the sea world fantasy.

DSCN3117

              An artist at work on a brick wall in McDougall Lane.

DSCN3697

                    The mural in McDougall Lane when completed

DSCN8082

            Toronto is fortunate to have so many talented graffiti artists.

To view others posts about the Toronto graffiti scene:

New graffiti art in McDougall Lane

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/11/01/mcdougall-alley-has-a-new-display-of-graffiti-art/

The graffiti-decorated “hug-me-tree” on Queen Street West.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/10/25/queen-street-wests-graffiti-adorned-hug-me-tree/

Graffiti in a laneway amid the colours of autumn

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/10/23/graffiti-amid-autumn-in-the-city/

A mural in the Kensington Market, with tongue-in-cheek humour:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/10/17/clever-humorous-graffiti-in-the-kensington-market/

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

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

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

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.  

                      cid_E474E4F9-11FC-42C9-AAAD-1B66D852[2]

   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 .

Another book, published by Dundurn Press, containing 80 of Toronto’s old movie theatres will be released in the spring of 2016, entitled, “Toronto’s Movie Theatres of Yesteryear—Brought Back to Thrill You Again.” 

“Toronto Then and Now,” published by Pavilion Press, explores 75 of the city’s heritage buildings. This book will also be released in the spring of 2016. 

 

Tags: , , , ,