EVERY METROPOLIS HAS HIDDEN SECRETS – THE WHITNEY IS ONE OF TORONTO’S

I’ve admired it often, but had no idea it was empty and possibly haunted.  The Whitney Block and its tower are located within Queens Park, between Bay Street and the University of Toronto, close to Ontario’s Parliament. Util lately very few people knew the tower was abandoned some time in the 1960’s. It was designed by architect Francis Heakes who died in September 1930 before the building was completed. His ghost is said to haunt the tower. Since 1968 it hasn’t been inhabited. There is only one staircase, which makes it unsafe in the event of fire or any emergency evacuation. There is no mechanical ventilation system, meaning windows had to be opened to get fresh air. The limestone cladding came from Queenston; interior limestone from Shelburne; marble for the floors from Bancroft and granite from Coe Hill, all in Ontario, except for some marble imported from Indiana. A downtown work of art for sure, and it’s empty.

TODAY’S PHOTO – #14 – FIRST RESIDENTIAL BLDG. IN CANADA BEING DESIGNED BY JEANNE GANG

One Delisle, in the St. Clair/Yonge neighbourhood will be designed by the visionary architect JEANNE GANG. The rendering above shows what she’s planning for Toronto’s skyline over the next two years. The Studio Gang, founded and led by Jeanne Gang, is an architecture and urban design practice headquartered in Chicago with offices in New York, San Francisco and Paris. Creating architectural landmarks for the future is their goal.

THE CARLU, COLLEGE PARK, YONGE ST. AT COLLEGE – A TORONTO ARCHITECTURAL TREASURE

TORONTO’s Carlu is named after its original designer/architect, Jacques Carlu, whose most famous work is the Palais de Chaillot near the Eiffel Tower from 1937’s Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne.  The Carlu is one of TORONTO’s finest examples of Art Moderne.  It occupies the seventh floor of College Park – formerly an Eatons department store – which was supposed to be a skyscraper, but got stunted by the Great Depression.The Carlu is the reincarnated Eaton Auditorium, one of the few public performance venues in 1930’s TORONTO.  The Canadian Opera Company, National Ballet, Eaton Operatic Society, and celebrities of all descriptions performed on its stage.CBC used the auditorium for live radio broadcasts; Glenn Gould regularly made recordings here.After years of neglect and threat of demolition, the Round Room (with its long-lost Lalique Fountain) has survived; as has the foyer designed in the style of ocean liners of the thirties; and the Clipper Rooms, renovated in 2008.<PHOTOS  – Colin Rose, wikipedia; and <www.stipcophoto.com>

THERE’S STILL REAL MONEY IN TORONTO REAL ESTATE. INTEGRAL HOUSE SELLS FOR $18,000,000.

One of the most famous houses in TORONTO and North America has just sold for $18-million, along with a $13-million home in Forest Hill, and a $9-million condominium in Yorkville. In this pandemic market, these would seem to be all positive signs. Integral House was commissioned by the late mathematician and musician JAMES STEWART. Five storeys tall, it was finished in 2009, built into the side of a Rosedale ravine. It cost around $24-30-million to build, plus an additional $5.4-million for the original home which was torn down. GLENN LOWRY, director of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, calls the house “one of the most important private houses built in North America.”  The 18,000-square-foot curvaceous home has 5 floors, a concert space, a stairwell ensconced in handblown blue glass, and heated limestone floors. It took six years to build. The concert space seats 150. Small theatre groups, music festivals, dance companies and fashion designers have all used the house for fundraisers and/or concerts.  JAMES STEWART passed away on Wednesday, December 3/2014 from a rare form of cancer. “My books and my house are my twin legacies. If I hadn’t commissioned the house, I’m not sure what I would have spent the money on,” he once said.  <INTERIOR PHOTOS by James Dow, Edmonton, Alberta>

TORONTO IS KNOWN FOR ITS “INDIVIDUALIZED HOUSES” – HERE ARE TEN CITY-WIDE EXAMPLES OUT OF MANY

<LESLIE & BOND STREETS><LITTLE COTTAGE, BRIGHT STREET, INDIE88 photo><CRAVEN ROAD HOUSE, Greenwood/Coxwell neighbourhood – TORONTO LIFE photo><TORONTO ISLANDS, photo – SANDRO GRANELLA><INTEGRAL HOUSE, Rosedale, PHILIP CASTLETON photo><TINY BUNGALOW – FLICKR><WOOD CAKE HOUSE, Clinton Street><SKINNY HOUSE – photo TORONTO STAR><HALF HOUSE, ST. PATRICK STREET, photo HUFFINTON POST><CASTLE HOME – MAYBOURNE ROAD, photo CTV NEWS>

AN UP-AND-COMING , EVER-GROWING LIST OF TORONTO’S MASS TIMBER CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS

<ABOVE – 77 Wade Avenue by BNKC Architecture & Urban Design, will be a hybrid of timber, concrete and steel. With seven storeys it also aims to be Canada’s tallest mass timber commercial structure. Wade Avenue is near the Lansdowne subway station on downtown’s west side.><ABOVE – T3 Bayside by 3XN. The Danish firm plans to construct a 10-storey office building – possibly the tallest such building in North America. Occupancy is expected in late 2021.><TORONTO Tree Tower by Penda is a proposal for an 18-storey residential tower constructed of prefab modular panels with patio garden spaces creating a tower of greenery. Plans have not been announced.><Now open and fully functioning where Yonge Street meets Charles, the Shoppers Drug Mart Flagship store by BrookMcilroy. Construction began in 2016, and the heritage aspects of the building have been carefully preserved.<It’s a beauty.>

WE SELDOM GIVE OLD CITY HALL A GLANCE, BUT UP CLOSE IT’S ONE FINE BUILDING

TORONTO’s population in the 1880’s was about 100,000, and the city fathers believed it was time to erect a public building that stood out from all the others. They hired E.J. Lennox, a local architect, to create a $200,000 court house, which soon expanded to a $1.5-million courthouse and city hall. The good fathers were shocked.Work began in 1889, and kept on going for the next 10 years. Lennox attended 520 meetings, arguing with politicians about the mounting bills. Finally in 1907 the final bill arrived, calculated on six sheets of paper. The tab – $242,870.82, with $181,255.71 still owing. That was serious cash in those days.E.J. Lennox was originally supposed to take home $68,000, but additional duties brought a hefty additional paycheck. He finally pocketed $120,000. Lennox also managed to leave his marks on the building – his engraved smiling face for one, and a string of letters spelling out E.J. Lennox Architect along all four sides of the structure.Just desserts for the penny-pinching city councillors.