Toronto Street Post Office

Toronto Street Post Office, const. 1853

Toronto Street Post Office, const. 1853

The stately Toronto Street Post Office is one of Toronto’s most illustrious buildings.   A small building with a big story, this iconic property began life in 1853 as Toronto’s Seventh Post Office, but came to be occupied in 1959 by Argus Corp and subsequently in 1979 by Hollinger International.   Indeed it was here that Conrad Black fought his final shareholder battle in 2003, before facing fraud charges in the US.   Prior to it’s service to Canadian business the building had been firmly in the public domain – previous occupants were The Bank of Canada, Revenue Canada and, of course, the Post Office.  Constructed in the Greek Revival Style the building is a very handsome structure, and makes an excellent architectural contribution to downtown Toronto.  The architect was Cumberland and Ridout, who also designed the nearby Cathedral Church of St. James and the Adelaide Court House.  The building was designated as a National Historic Site of Canada in 1958. Nowadays 10 Toronto Street is occupied by respected investment managers Morgan, Meighen & Associates, who completed an extensive restoration in 2006. Typically Toronto Street is littered with parked cars and I was very surprised (and delighted!) when I finally found the building unobstructed and was able to grab this shot.  The light wasn’t ideal, but a building of this quality shines in all conditions.

Old Toronto Store Fronts

Toronto Store Front

These colourful storefronts located in Toronto’s downtown east provide a fascinating glimpse back in time.  As Toronto’s inner city neighbourhoods continue to gentrify these unique storefronts will gradually vanish from the street, likely to be replaced by more generic facades. The fascia sign for the Acadia Book Store states that the store was established in 1931!  A small part of Toronto’s history for all still to enjoy.

Palm House

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I’ve lived in downtown Toronto for over ten years and often walk around the city, either for the joy of walking, or with my dog.  I’m pretty much happy to walk anywhere within the constraints of time and often take my camera with me for the purpose of creating images of Toronto’s architecture and streetscapes, and occasionally people.  Given all my walking around and looking and searching for good photo opportunities, I was shocked to only recently discover Palm House, a small architectural gem located in Allan Gardens in the heart of the city.  Comprising a conservatory with classic proportions and a glass dome, the building was designed by City Architect Robert McCallum and was constructed in 1910.  As might be expected, the building is designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.  The conservatory houses a permanent collection of exotic plants and is open to the public. This photograph shows the building bathed in early morning light.  Typically I would prefer side lighting, but the frontal light here seems to work.  As a bonus, the low easterly light creates interesting foreground shadows from the trees behind the camera.

Classic Painted Facade

 

It’s astonishing what you may see if you raise your eyes above street level. This brick facade is part of a small terrace of two storey commercial buildings in old Toronto, forming part of a full city block on the north side of Wellington Street, just west of Church Street, close to St.Lawrence Market and facing Berczy Park.  Many similar city blocks have been demolished in favour of more modern structures, but a good number of contiguous buildings survive. These old facades add tremendously to the visual appeal of the street and bring an historic resonance to the city that cannot be readily recreated, but comes only with the passage of time.
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