Doors Open Toronto, Old City Hall & Osgoode Hall, part 3 of 5

Old City Hall sits at the corner of Queen St. and Bay St. It took the architect Edward James Lennox 3 years to design and 20 years to build. A truly marvelous testament to the highest level of craftsmanship of the time, it was finally completed in 1899.

DSC_0075It took 1360 train car loads of stone, the grey from the Credit River Valley in Ontario and the brown from New Brunswick. It also took 8354 barrels of cement.

DSC_0076It was Toronto’s third City Hall and served as such from 1899-1965. Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to take any photos inside the building but as anyone that has ever fought a traffic ticket knows, Lennox’s attention to detail runs throughout the building and it’s cavernous halls.

DSC_0078The cenotaph was added in 1925 as a tribute to Torontonians that lost their lives in WWI, and other wars since. Like every great building this one has it’s share of stories too. Because of time and massive cost overruns, from $600,000 budgeted to $2.5 Million actual, the councillors of the day refused to allow a plaque honoring Edward Lennox, so Lennox had the masons inscribe his name in the stonework around the upper levels of the building. These faces were said to be the faces of the city councillors of the day, but Lennox had his own face chiseled among them. He’s the one with the big moustache.

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When the new City Hall was opened in 1965,Old City Hall became a municipal court and was saved from the wrecking ball, thankfully, by being made a National Historic Site in 1989.

Osgoode Hall sits on the other side of the new City Hall at Queen St. and University Ave.

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It is one of the oldest buildings in Toronto and houses the Court of Appeal for Ontario, parts of the Superior Court of Justice and the Law Society of Upper Canada.

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Designed by architects John Ewart, Henry Bowyer Lane, William Warren Baldwin the building opened in 1829 and the southern face has remained the same since. It has gone through many additions, expanding north, as the City and the needed services grew.

DSC_0096 DSC_0102 The interior is quite inspiring and features oil paintings of former Chief Justices of Ontario, and carpeted halls and woodwork that seem to create a very somber hush throughout. The Atrium features an original tile floor from England and the pillars are of the same stone that was used to build the Tower of London.DSC_0098

DSC_0113 DSC_0105 DSC_0114These courtrooms are quiet elegant places and one can well imagine some of the most important decisions of our history to have been argued here.

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A couple of buildings where many men and woman have come to pay the piper.

As always Enjoy Toronto!

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