Historic Buildings of Toronto

Victoria Hospital for Sick Children

Hospital for Sick Children - click to enlarge

Located on the south-east corner of College and Elizabeth Streets, the Toronto Historical Board plaque on the building reads in part: “Designed by the architectural firm of Darling and Curry and built of red sandstone, the Victoria Hospital for Sick Children opened in May 1892. It was the first hospital in Canada designed exclusively for paediatrics. Through the generosity of its benefactor, John Ross Robertson, the hospital incorporated the most innovative techniques available, such as x-rays in 1896 and a milk pasteurization plant in 1909. The Hospital for Sick Children vacated the building in 1951.” Since 1993 it has housed the Canadian Red Cross Regional Blood Centre.

The Grange

The Grange - click to enlarge

Located immediately south of the Art Gallery of Ontario on Dundas St. at Beverley, the Grange has a beautiful approach from the south of a long driveway through the front lawn of the original estate, which is now Grange Park. The historic plaque reads as follows: “The Grange was built about 1817 for D’Arcy Boulton Jr. At one time the town of York (now Toronto) was surrounded by residential estates belonging to prominent citizens and The Grange is one of the few to survive. Its symmetrical five-bay facade and central pediment reflect the conservative influence of the British classical tradition of the 18th century. The west wing represents two later additions. Given to the Art Museum of Toronto in 1911 The Grange is now owned by the Art Gallery of Ontario and is restored to the 1835-1840 period.”

Old City Hall

Old City Hall - click to enlarge

What Torontonians refer to as “Old” City Hall is located on Queen Street at the top of the original Bay Street. The historic plaque reads: “City Hall was designed in 1887 by E.J. Lennox to fit this central site at the head of Bay Street. In one structure, these municipal buildings combined a City Hall, in the east portion, and Court-House, in the west. The building, constructed mostly of Credit River Valley sandstone, was begun in 1889 but not opened until September 18, 1899. Massive, round-arched, and richly carved, it is in the Romanesque Revival style, then popular in expanding cities throughout North America. The interior, as complex and monumental as the exterior, includes a large stained glass window by Robert McCausland. The building was acquired by the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto in 1965, when the City moved to a new City Hall on the adjacent Civic Square.”

Osgoode Hall

Osgoode Hall - click to enlarge

This photograph shows a portion of Osgoode Hall, located on Queen Street at University. A plaque on the property reads: “In 1829-32 the Law Society of Upper Canada erected the east wing of this imposing building. Named after William Osgoode, the province’s first chief justice, the Regency structure housed law courts and judicial offices, and provided accommodation for lawyers and students. It was severely damaged during the six years in which provincial troops were stationed here following the Rebellion of 1837. Plans for its reconstruction were drawn up by Henry Bowyer Lane, an accomplished Toronto architect, and in 1844-46 the west and central portions were erected and the east wing remodelled. In 1857-60 the celebrated architectural firm of Cumberland and Storm rebuilt the centre section. Later extended and renovated, Osgoode Hall remains one of the finest examples of Victorian Classical architecture in Canada.”

Toronto General Hospital

Toronto General Hospital - click to enlarge

Toronto General Hospital is located on College Street between Elizabeth and University Avenue. Over the years it has expanded south of this structure in other buildings along University Avenue. The historic plaque reads: “This institution, the first general infirmary in Upper Canada, began operation in 1829. It was periodically hampered by administrative and financial difficulties but through the initiative of the influential businessman, Sir Joseph Flavelle, Chairman of its Board of Trustees (1904-21), services were reorganized and steps taken for the construction here of a new hospital. Designed by the firm of Darling & Pearson, it was begun in 1911 and officially opened two years later. Toronto General Hospital quickly moved to the forefront of Canadian medicine as an outstanding teaching and research centre. In association with the University of Toronto, Connaught Laboratories and other institutions, it achieved international recognition in the fields of radiology, heart surgery, and the treatment of diabetes, arthritis, and kidney and vascular disease.”

Queen’s Park

Queen's Park - click to enlarge

“In 1859 the city leased land here from King’s College, and in 1860 a park, named after Queen Victoria, was opened by the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII. Queen’s Park was long considered as a location for new parliament buildings and in 1879-80 their construction was authorized by the Ontario Legislature and city council, and an inconclusive design competition was held. In 1886 the commission was awarded to Richard Waite of Buffalo, one of the adjudicators. This decision generated considerable controversy among Ontario architects. The main block of the massive Romanesque Revival structure, with its towering legislative chamber, was completed in 1892 and on April 4, 1893, the first legislative session in Queen’s Park was opened under Premier Sir Oliver Mowat.”