Whatever’s left of the west side of Yonge St. from College to Grenville is on the endangered species list. That includes Old Fire Hall #3’s clock tower. The fire station itself is long gone, but the elegant little tower lives on – so far.
<PHOTO – west side of Yonge Street between College St. and Grenville, ca1950’s>
Built in 1872, the structure had a checkered career from once being a tire emporium to a hotel to Canada’s largest gay dance hall, restaurant and tavern. In 1939 a fire destroyed the whole building, but the little tower survived.
<PHOTO – the clock tower in the 1950’s; foreground future site of the Westbury Hotel>
The clock, perpetually stuck, will soon be surrounded on all sides by tall buildings.
<PHOTO – street-level businesses have all been closed>
In 2015 it was announced that Kingsett Capital was planning to transform the site into a 45 storey mixed-use condo and retail project designed by Quadrangle Architects. The centre piece would be the clock tower. Will the St. Charles Tower survive as a monument to gay culture in TORONTO? We can only wait and see.