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Old June 3rd, 2016, 06:48 PM   #1
Taller, Better
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E.J. Lennox

I'd like to tell you all a bit about an early Toronto architect who played an important role in the building of this city. Right off the bat I'd like to acknowledge and thank some sources that I used to learn about this architect:
sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._J._Lennox
http://canadianculturething.com/if-y...stcards-of-it/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Ci..._%28Toronto%29
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casa_Loma
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toront...rating_Station


Edward James Lennox was born in 1854 to Irish immigrant parents, and eventually designed over 70 buildings here in Toronto, including some of our most notable institutions. I would say the style that influenced him the most was Richardson Romanesque, a variation of Romanesque Revival style. To me, this style suited some of his structures, but looked too heavy and masculine in others. But if nothing else, his buildings always packed a visual wallop.
While thinking of a way to approach this thread, I remembered that I had an old fold out postcard of hand-coloured illustrations of Toronto from the 1930's. I thought it might be a way to introduce some of his structures and show them in a "Now and Then" context. Unless otherwise stated, all contemporary photos were taken by myself.









I'll start first with the Old City Hall downtown, built in 1899 to house the municipal government and courts for York County and Toronto. It was actually our third City Hall; it is now used as an Ontario Court of Justice courthouse, and we use the newer fourth version as our City Hall. When completed it was the largest civic building in North America, and a huge project for this city, costing a whopping 2.5 million dollars and taking over ten years to build. Also it had the distinction of being the tallest structure in Canada for the next 18 years. It was built from two shades of sandstone transported all the way from New Brunswick on the east coast. From my picture postcard:



























The building is covered with rich and intricate stone carvings, in the style favoured by Romanesque Revival architects:





EJ Lennox couldn't resist having them install one of the gargoyles in a flattering depiction of himself:






But many of the more unflattering ones were caricatures of City Hall councillors that he had locked horns with over the planning and building of this project!
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Old June 3rd, 2016, 06:48 PM   #2
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Second on my list is perhaps his grandest project of all; the lavish Casa Loma he built for local businessman Sir Henry Pellatt in 1911. The house cost a flabbergasting $3.5 million and took 300 workers three years to build. It was designed as a hodge-podge mixture of design styles: Gothic, Norman, and Scottish Baronial thrown in for good measure. A wag at the time described the style as "Twentieth Century Fox" because of it's movie-like theatricality. Because of this feature, Casa Loma has been used many times for making films and is currently where they are filming the remake of Rocky Horror Picture Film. Here is my 1930's picture post card view:






The first part of the project was to build the huge stables, which are quite a sight unto themselves; even Sir Henry's horses had their own private castle:







Herringbone-patterned tile floors and mahogany stables:














Here is the fairytale like Casa Loma itself:

























Thankfully, Sir Henry had very high standards and insisted on the finest craftsmanship available:





















The Peacock Alley:






The show-stopper Conservatory, with its spectacular stained glass dome above:












The Library:






The Oak Room is perhaps the most stunning room in the house, and the wood carvings (done in the style of Grinling Gibbons) took three mastercarvers three years to produce in London. The elaborate plaster ceiling was created by Italian craftsmen; all at exorbitant cost of course:










The Grinling Gibbons style carvings are very similar to those you would see in Windsor Castle:

















This beautiful house is now a major tourist attraction in Toronto.
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Old June 3rd, 2016, 07:07 PM   #3
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I'll just do a quick entry on my favourite of his buildings, because sadly I don't yet have photos of my own; I will remedy that this summer. Lennox designed this superb Toronto Power Generating Station at Niagara Falls, Ontario in 1906. Blessedly he gave his beloved Romanesque Revival favoured style a break and came up with this Beaux Arts beauty:




https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toront...rating_Station


He was commissioned by the same Sir Henry Pellatt of Casa Loma. Sir Henry made his mega-bucks by harnessing the power of the Niagara Falls, and turning it into electricity.
Unfortunately the building is now unused, and hopefully there will be a future re-adaptation of it.

I will add more entries as I go along! Hope you enjoyed Mr Lennox's works.
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Old June 3rd, 2016, 10:41 PM   #4
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I recently took some photos of/in the Casa Loma, I'll have to upload them soon
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