Top 5 Buildings in Toronto

Toronto Skyline at Centre Island
Toronto Skyline at Centre Island (photo by Bruce Christie 2016)

Toronto’s skyline has undergone many changes over the decades, many of which were in the name of “progress”. Unfortunately, this so called “progress” saw the demolition of many historic buildings which we will never get back. Here is my list of Toronto’s top 5 buildings:

#5 – Canada Life Building

Canada Life Building
Canada Life Building (photo by Bruce Christie 2016)

The Canada Life building opened in 1931 and is situated on University Avenue just north of Queen Street. There were plans to build similar structures along University Avenue, but the Great Depression halted such construction.

#4 St. Lawrence Hall

St. Lawrence Hall
St. Lawrence Hall (photo by Bruce Christie 2015)

Built in 1850, St. Lawrence Hall was known as Toronto’s meeting place where prominent individuals such as Sir John A. MacDonald and George Brown addressed citizens. It was also a venue for musicians and other entertainers who performed in its 1,000 seat amphitheatre. St. Lawrence Hall can be found at the corner of King Street and Jarvis.

#3 Manulife Building (Manufacturers Life Insurance)

Manulife Building
Manulife Building (photo by Bruce Christie 2016)

Built in 1926, the Manufacturers Life Insurance building (Manulife Financial) is situated at 200 Bloor Street East near Church Street. It is the Headquarters of Manulife Financial which is also the parent company of its John Hancock division in the US. Its first president was Canada’s first Prime Minister – Sir John A. MacDonald. More information on this building can be found in my Manulife post.

#2 Osgoode Hall

Osgoode Hall
Osgoode Hall (photo by Bruce Christie 2016)

Construction of Osgoode Hall began in 1829 and was completed in 1832. The buildings are home to the Law Society of Upper Canada, Ontario Court of Appeal and the Superior Court of Justice. More information on the building can be found in my Osgoode Hall post.

#1 Gooderham Flatiron Building

Gooderham Flatiron Building
Gooderham Flatiron Building (photo by Bruce Christie 2016)

With construction completed in 1892, the Gooderham building was the Head Office of famed Canadian Distiller George Gooderham. It is an early example of such architecture and was built prior to New York’s famous flatiron building. There were plans to demolish it but thankfully it remains as part of Toronto’s skyline. More information on the building can be found in my Gooderham Building post.

Osgoode Hall

Osgoode Hall
Osgoode Hall (photo by Bruce Christie 2016)

Construction of Osgoode Hall began in in 1829 when Toronto was known as York. It is built in the Georgian Palladian and Neoclassical styles which are techniques virtually unknown by today’s architecture community, especially Daniel Libeskind who is responsible for the L Tower Disaster and the defacing of the ROM.

Osgoode Hall
Osgoode Hall (photo by Bruce Christie 2016)

The building is surrounded by iron gates which were originally to keep grazing cows off the six acre site. The cows protested but to no avail. The gates remain today and still keep cattle and other bovine species away from grazing the well maintained grounds.

Gated Fence at Osgoode
Gated Fence at Osgoode to Prohibit Bovines from entering (photo by Bruce Christie 2016)

Wedding couples are allowed in, however. Others that make their way in include those that appreciate one of Toronto’s last remaining works of architectural magnificence.

Osgoode in Spring
Osgoode in Spring (photo by Bruce Christie 2016)

Those that are usually on the grounds are red-clad women and grey pigeons.

Osgoode Hall Interior
Osgoode Hall Interior (photo by Bruce Christie 2016)

The interior is more stunning than the exterior and is adorned by arches and fine marble from Italy and other marble producing countries. If one were transported here by the Starship Enterprise, they would think they were in Rome!

Osgoode Floors
Osgoode Floors (photo by Bruce Christie 2016)

The main foyer was crowded by iPhone picture taking suburbanites!

Osgoode Great Hall
Osgoode Great Hall (photo by Bruce Christie 2016)

The Great Hall is the absolute hallmark of this magnificent building. Fine architectural detail is an art lost and will never be seen again. Today’s architecture is bland and only creates shadows.

TTC Queen Streetcar
TTC Queen Streetcar at Queen and University (photo by Bruce Christie 2016)

There is a restaurant at this Toronto Landmark. One can make reservations for a midday meal. The gruel is exceptional! May I have some more, Sir?