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Old October 14th, 2010, 06:51 PM   #761
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After seeing the nice old buildings in Shayaman's latest post, I retract my comments. It seems that the earlier posts just focused on the new towers.
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Old October 14th, 2010, 07:56 PM   #762
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Toronto, like many other cities was a "boom town" in the 19th century, and to this day we have many thousands of Victorian buildings (both commercial and residential) still in good use. A neighbourhood like Cabbagetown has one of the largest collections of Victorian brick houses on the continent. Many of these neighbourhoods are close to downtown, but are not on the beaten track of the casual tourist who comes to the city and stays in a downtown hotel; and Toronto is not a city that generally markets itself as a museum city to its visitors. I think we rather tend to think of our city as an ongoing project still in the works! Our existing historical architecture dates back to modest log cabins from the late 1700's, and includes a few Georgian structures that managed to evade the two Great Fires of 1849 and 1904. After that there is a plethora of varying Victorian styles of architecture in the city, mostly influenced by contemporary British styles. Toronto is a city that requires a bit of exploration to uncover the various neighbourhoods. It is not Paris and it is not London, but it does have a character of its own!
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Old October 14th, 2010, 08:10 PM   #763
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I see the architectural diversity with the newly posted photos. Very nice!
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Old October 14th, 2010, 11:59 PM   #764
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nouvellecosse View Post
I must say that I disagree. Of course there are always exceptions, but when I said Toronto's strength wasn't in its grand architecture and that it's historic buildings tend to be rather staid, I should have known someone would make a point of arguing that the exceptions someone invalidate the overall trend.
When you said "grand architecture" I assumed you meant the exceptional landmarks. There are plenty of staid buildings lining the streets of virtually every other North American city, with New York being no exception. Toronto's more modest pre-20th century history makes those architectural achievements in grand buildings all the more impressive and noteworthy. Toronto was a colonial town of around 50,000 people when University College was built in 1857, a building that wouldn't look out of place in many European capitals.

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But I was referring to the architectural baseline, not a small number of the city's most cherished architectural masterpieces. Toronto does have a few elaborately designed historic buildings, but the vast majority of the built form is either much simpler and provincial historic architecture, or fairly utilitarian contemporary architecture. This is not to say that the historic architectural portfolio is an area of weakness, it just isn't an area of strength compared to the leading cities in this regard.
I find this idea of the architectural baseline more agreeable considering the standing of Toronto in the 19th century compared to other North American cities. But Toronto was a city with plenty of elaborate baseline buildings too, though many of which were demolished in the postwar era. My neighbourhood has buildings like this Carrere and Hastings bank that wouldn't make some small list of exceptional landmarks; it's just a normal part of the streetscape. Notable Canadian architect John Lyle designed many neighbourhood buildings in Toronto, as did E.J. Lennox and Cumberland and Storn.

Look at some photos of our Victorian housing: 1, 2, 3 Browse the architectural database of TOBuilt.ca and I'm sure you'll find a surprising number of interesting buildings at the local, neighbourhood context too.

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When you say you're tired of the city being misinterpreted, I think the real mistake is assuming that the city needs to lead in every category in order for it to be appreciated. There are some people who won't like it just like some people don't like NY, Paris, Tokyo and each of the world's most beloved cities. But that's no reason to fall into the "needs to be best at everything" trap. That's just not a realistic expectation, and it will only make you appear defensive and arrogant.
I don't claim that Toronto's architectural heritage to be the best, but if it's downplayed, I'll certainly stand up for it. It wouldn't be arrogant, it would be healthy and normal. Contemporary architecture in Toronto has plenty of new Modern gems and is hardly mostly utilitarian, though at this point there might be some bias against new Modernism. Look through the Projects and Construction section of the Urban Toronto forum (it's the most comprehensive). There are plenty of attractive buildings going up as well as some stunning new landmarks too.
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Old October 15th, 2010, 07:05 AM   #765
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taller, Better View Post
Toronto, like many other cities was a "boom town" in the 19th century, and to this day we have many thousands of Victorian buildings (both commercial and residential) still in good use. A neighbourhood like Cabbagetown has one of the largest collections of Victorian brick houses on the continent. Many of these neighbourhoods are close to downtown, but are not on the beaten track of the casual tourist who comes to the city and stays in a downtown hotel; and Toronto is not a city that generally markets itself as a museum city to its visitors. I think we rather tend to think of our city as an ongoing project still in the works! Our existing historical architecture dates back to modest log cabins from the late 1700's, and includes a few Georgian structures that managed to evade the two Great Fires of 1849 and 1904. After that there is a plethora of varying Victorian styles of architecture in the city, mostly influenced by contemporary British styles. Toronto is a city that requires a bit of exploration to uncover the various neighbourhoods. It is not Paris and it is not London, but it does have a character of its own!
Yes, Toronto definitely has a unique and appealing character. Toronto certainly does have examples of grandeur, and of course quaint and charming buildings can be just as appealing as grand and imposing ones.
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Old October 15th, 2010, 02:11 PM   #766
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Thanks for the informative posts guys.
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Old October 15th, 2010, 02:14 PM   #767
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TORONTO

ONTARIO LEGISLATIVE BUILDING & SURROUNDS





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Old October 15th, 2010, 02:18 PM   #768
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Old October 15th, 2010, 02:22 PM   #769
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University of Toronto





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Old October 15th, 2010, 02:25 PM   #770
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Old October 15th, 2010, 02:27 PM   #771
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Old October 15th, 2010, 07:01 PM   #772
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Gotta love UofT!
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Old October 16th, 2010, 11:39 AM   #773
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TORONTO MUSEUMS


Metro Museum station






Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art

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Old October 16th, 2010, 11:42 AM   #774
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Royal Ontario Museum





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Old October 16th, 2010, 11:46 AM   #775
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Old October 16th, 2010, 11:49 AM   #776
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Bata Shoe Museum



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Old October 16th, 2010, 11:52 AM   #777
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Art Gallery of Ontario







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Old October 16th, 2010, 11:56 AM   #778
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Nearby is the Ontario College of Art



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Old October 16th, 2010, 12:01 PM   #779
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Surrounding the Art Gallery are these old houses







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Old October 16th, 2010, 12:04 PM   #780
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