Thursday 21 June 2012

The Great Hall, Toronto, ON

Since we went on the Doors Open: Faces on Places Walking Tour - Gargoyles and Other Architectural Ornaments last month, Gord and I have been conscious of looking up up up.

On our way home from the Dog & Bear this evening, we walked by the Great Hall on Queen Street W.

The Great Hall was built in 1889 and housed the first west end YMCA in Toronto. The "Y" offered athletic facilities that included a gymnasium with a raised running track, and a basement swimming pool.

In 1912, the property was sold to the Royal Templars of Temperance, who conducted business in the building until 1940s when there was a major shift in the buildings use. It was acquired by the Polish National Union, and soon, presses on the ground floor were rolling out copies of The Polish Voice newspaper. On the top floor, rooms were pressed into service as temporary shelter for Polish refugees fleeing the war in Europe.

In the mid 1980s, the rumble of the presses were replaced by the sound of experimental music and avante-garde art. The Toronto School of Art eventually helped to establish 1087 Queen St. West as an important address for Toronto's arts community.

Gord looked up and noticed a face on the NW corner of the building.

We looked to the left and right of the face and discovered one on each side.  To the left ...

And to the right ...

I've been living in this 'hood for 11 years and have never noticed them before.

Very cool!


Isabel said...

very cool building!

Terry Murray said...

I didn't know about this building and these faces! Thanks for the tip - I'll come out and have a look.

Teena in Toronto said...

We were pleasantly surprised, Terry.