The Studio Building, 1914 – earliest purpose-built artist studio in Canada

STUDIOBLDG7STUDIOBLDG2Thousands of Torontonians pass this building daily, and few probably even notice it.  The Studio Building is adjacent to Ellis Portal, through which the Yonge subway trains run.  It’s the earliest purpose-built artist studio in Canada, and so significant that the Canadian government recently erected a red and gold plaque.

Many of the greatest Canadian painters lived and worked here – including A. Y. Jackson, Frederick Varley, Lawren Harris, Harold Town, J. E. H. MacDonald, Tom Thomson, and several others.  Tom Thomson’s shack stood in behind, before being moved to the McMichael Gallery, Kleinberg, where it’s now a Group of Seven artist’s “shrine”.  <PHOTOS BELOW – Tom Thomson, A.Y. Jackson and Lawren Harris>

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McCleary “green” Playground, assembled in one day by volunteers

A couple of years ago, a unique playground was created from a disheveled city parkette.  With the help of 500 citizen volunteers, and $300,000 from ING Direct, this kid-friendly “green” space was assembled in one day.  An elderly white elm was incorporated, along with toys, a slide, climbing ropes, hand-crafted furniture and, best of all – a carpet of soft sand.  Leslieville parents and youngsters love it.  80 McGee Street at Queen Street East.

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Koerner Hall, Royal Conservatory of Music – one of 5 downtown concert halls

The spectacular Koerner Hall seats 1135; it’s surprisingly warm and intimate; the sightlines and accoustics are excellent.  Over the past year, Koerner Hall has brought concertgoers a full program of large scale performances, which is continuing apace.

The concert hall is one part of the Royal Conservatory of Music’s renovation and expansion.  Studios, classrooms, a new-media centre, library and rehearsal hall have all been added to the original building.  Architects – (KPMB) Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg.

For tickets & schedule go to http://www.performance.rcmusic.ca

Box office – 273 Bloor Street West.   Subway stop – MUSEUM or ST. GEORGE

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The Alexandra Studio, 1870-1970’s

The Alexandra Studio was established at 322 Queen Street West around 1870.  In 1908, photographer Louis Turofsky bought it with $165 in borrowed cash, and went into partnership with his younger brother, Nathan.

Among their clients over the years – the Canadian National Exhibition, Ellis-Don, the International Union of Operating Engineers and the Subway Property Committee.  The Turofsky’s photographs of  life in early TORONTO are much valued today.

<PHOTOS BELOW – The Turofskys & friends outside Alexandra Studio, ca1950; Grey Cup “mudbowl”, Varsity Stadium, 1950; Eatons College Street, 1937; and King Street West at York, 1930’s.>

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Massey Hall, 1894, the ‘Old Lady of Shuter Street’

Massey Hall was built for about $150,000 in 1894.  It’s the oldest of five concert halls in TORONTO’s core.

The clock, above the distinctive red lobby doors, once hung in the Parliament of Upper Canada.  The walls of the basement bar are hung with programs and photographs of the countless “great ones” who have performed here – and still do, most nights of the week.  At one time, Massey Hall was home to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Mendelssohn Choir.  Excellent accoustics, seats about 2700.
Subway stop – QUEEN or DUNDAS

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