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Toronto Old City Hall

Future City of Toronto Museum

In an “Opinion” article on January 22nd, Alex Bozikovic wrote in the Globe & Mail that “Old City Hall towers over Toronto. The grand sandstone pile stands at the top of the Bay Street canyon, its carvings and gables testifying to Victorian Toronto’s ambition and craftsman-ship.” This was a few days before a report was to be presented by city staff to the City Council’s Executive Meeting, recommending that the building be repurposed to house – among other things – a new Museum of Toronto.

In the March issue of The Aldernews (Etobicoke Historical Society), Joel Winter, President, in his Reflections column writes “…that the time may have finally come: City Council is ready to vote on a proposal to develop part of the old city hall into a Toronto Museum. The beautiful old city hall would be a great location for it.” He goes on to say that he’s written a letter of support to councillors urging them to vote in favour of a proposal to develop part of Old City Hall into a Toronto Museum.

The North York Historical Society’s Board of Directors, at their March 7th meeting, voted in favour of a similar action.

In 1965, following the battle to save the building, the City of Toronto’s government moved into the structure which has served simply as courts since then. As fairly new immigrants to Canada, long-time NYHS member Gunild Spiess and her late husband were among a group of citizens protesting the demolition of the then not necessary old building. She is still pleading for the ongoing future of the building.

Long before amalgamation in the ‘60s, plans for the Eaton Centre included a number of skyscrapers around a large plaza leaving only the cenotaph. After a public outcry these plans were abandoned and the Eaton Centre was constructed leaving the landmark civic building untouched. Interesting note: the Church of the Redeemer (a little north) was also slated for demolition.

Originally published in the March-May 2018 North York Historical Society Newsletter

 

Photo Old City Hall by sean hill is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0