A Tour of Toronto Architecture

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The staircase at the Royal Fairmont Hotel. They wouldn't reveal whether or not their frequent guest, Queen Elizabeth II, had ever slid down the banister.

As part of a conference we attended in Toronto in Spring 2013, our gracious Canadian hosts offered us several organized tours of their lovely city. I luckily chanced into the “Toronto Today and Yesterday” Toronto architecture tour led by the very knowledgeable architecture and city history expert, Bruce Bell. We indeed got to see the best of modern and classical building in a diverse and well-planned city. Thanks Bruce, and thanks Toronto for a great time and tour. A great mixture of classic and modern Toronto architecture. And, any city that has a big building by Santiago Calatrava is ok in my book.

You can see more work by Calatrava in this post: Valencia City of Arts and Sciences.

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The CN Tower is tallest building in the western hemisphere. Sort of plain, though.
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Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, perhaps most famous for the City of Arts and Sciences in his native Valencia, did this gallery of the Brookstone Tower, which he says was inspired by the rain forest canopy.
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Looking up gives a great sense of the mixture of the old and new in this beautiful city.
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Every city worth its architectural salt has Flatiron Building.
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The vault at the old Dominion Bank was more of a publicity stunt than an actual strong point. The vault was never used for money; only for safety deposit boxes.
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Berczy Park: a bit of green in a sea of modern architecture.
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Commerce Bank of Toronto: this is what money looks like.
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The steeple of St. James Cathedral makes itself visible above the neighborhood. The churches of Toronto are particularly difficult to shoot. They all seem to be surrounded by the cables used for public transport. Makes a photographer choose his angle carefully.
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The Gladstone Hotel, in the funky district of town, has the best elevator in Toronto.
Finally, a shot of the Toronto skyline at dusk, from a boat out in the lake.

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11 thoughts on “A Tour of Toronto Architecture”

  1. As stunning as the photo of that staircase is I think you would really need to see it in person fully appreciate the architecture.

  2. Hello to you!

    I wish to see if your office is aware of any needs in Toronto for a 57 year old senior design architect to offer design instruction tours to tourist groups. I am interested in discussions with people about spatial dynamics….and Toronto has some great spaces. 

    I am an english speaking Canadian and have just returned home after working over 4 years in China as a design director. Though my Chinese is minimal, I have seen some incredible places there and think this can be a great platform to discuss Toronto to tourists. 

    I think there are some unique possibilities here. I look forward to speaking with you further.

    My best,

    Michael Warren, Architect (US)

      • Thank you. I think the idea of discussing design with people would be an interesting tour technique. Many people find architecture interesting and I think I can help them understand why!
        Thanks again. I will try the Toronto Tourist Bureau.


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