ICONIC ONE SPADINA CRESCENT, 143-YEARS-OLD, NOW HOUSES U. OF T.’S ASPIRING ARCHITECTS

<PHOTO ABOVE – One Spadina when it was KNOX COLLEGE from1875-1915>

Thanks to the University of TORONTO and the foresight of John H. Daniels, the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design has a sparkling new home. The old neo-Gothic building with its spires, peaks and turrets has been thoroughly renovated and connects to a new, award-winning northern wing.

<PHOTO One Spadina under construction, Jasonzed/urbantoronto.ca>

Designed by architect James Avon Smith, a specialist in religious buildings, the structure housed the Presbyterians’ Knox College from 1875 to 1915. During World War I it reopened as the Spadina Military Hospital for wounded soldiers. Amelia Earhart was among the nurses.

<PHOTOS ABOVE – Ross Winter, architect/photographer>

When the war ended, the building was converted into provincial government offices. Then came the first calls for straightening Spadina Avenue and a proposal for a circular arena complex. Next occupant in 1943 – Connaught Laboratories, producing penicillin and training scientists and lab technicians.

Escaping demolition for the never-completed Spadina Expressway, One Spadina’s tenants included the university’s fine arts and sociology departments, a student newspaper, an eye bank, a low-level radioactive waste storage facility, and the campus parking office.

<PHOTO ABOVE – the new northern wing, now part of One Spadina The building received an Architectural Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects in New York (AIANY)>

<PHOTO – © John Horner, courtesy American Institute of Architects (AIA)>

One Spadina’s Eye Bank got the attention of Matt E., a former student “I’d heard rumours about the eye bank in there and it always gave me the creeps, mainly because I just imagined some dark little room with shelves covered in disembodied eyeballs.”

The old building was also the site of one unsolved murder, and an accidental Hallowe’en death when a young woman fell off the roof.

<PHOTO ABOVE – Ross Winter, architect/photographer>

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