Friday, March 04, 2016

Spacing on Toronto urban history, the town hall and market

A 1985 model of the town hall and market, built at Ryerson U.

On the anniversary of the incorporation of the city of Toronto in 1834, Spacing, the lively Canadian mag on urbanism, blogs a detailed account of Toronto's first ever city hall  (NOT the clamshell one by Viljo Revell)

The article itself is almost historic. Toronto man-about-heritage Stephen Otto first wrote it in 1985 as text for an exhibit catalogue that was never published. (Know the feeling?  What's in your filing cabinet?) Since archaeological explorations were undertaken last summer on the surviving footings of the building, it's new too.

From the outside the market structure resembled nothing so much as a defensible farmstead of the Middle Ages – one erected in straight-forward style using “staring red brick” as the writer Anna Jameson described the favoured local building material. Great wooden gates closed the wagonways after market hours, and below the second storey the long exterior side walls were broken only by narrow “loopholes” that ventilated the butchers’ stalls.

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