Toronto Facadism

Toronto is an interesting city, and one thing is apparent when strolling through Toronto: so much of this city is new. And new as in post urban renewal. Or newer, if you saw the condo construction behind Roundhouse Park. Much of downtown Toronto and Toronto’s historic neighborhoods were struck by urban renewal, though churches remain scattered between their large-scale, large massed neighbors. And today, high-rise tower construction continues at a rapid rate. Redevelopment continues. New development has its place, of course. However, sometimes when new development takes over, crazy things can happen. Take, for instance, this building near the University of Toronto.

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What is your initial thought? Historic? Disney World? Building constructed around it?

Just a façade.

Just a façade. There’s actually a Starbucks in there.

You might be asking, what in the world? As was I. See that plaque on the left. Here’s a photograph of it:

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It says: John M. Lyle Studio, 1921.This façade was part of a studio designed by John M. Lyle for his architectural practice. Lyle, one of Canada’s most distinguished architects, trained a number of noteworthy Canadian architects at the studio and worked there until his retirement in 1943. The building was set behind the homes that fronted Bloor Street, and was accessed by a pedestrian laneway located at 230 Bloor Street West. A portion of the studio’s façade was dismantled and reconstructed in its current location as part of a residential development completed in 2011.

That is to say: the building was in the way of development, so the façade was moved and stuck on this new building. Not ideal preservation, huh? The good part is the plaque that at least identifies where it was located and why it was moved.

What do you think? Acceptable? Not? I’d say it’s a case of relocated facadism, and the historic integrity no longer remains. Still, it’s interesting. I’d love to hear your thoughts! Please share below.

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4 thoughts on “Toronto Facadism

  1. franbrz says:

    I remember seeing this building the last time I was in Toronto. My friend (who is from Toronto) and I were both kind of confused by it. It looks especially odd since, if I remember correctly, the façade is at a right angle to the street. Oh well, at least it catches your eye!

  2. Chad says:

    I have always liked the stark contrast of old and new. I love the fact that there is an actual description of what’s going on. That is so rare! I just went by a state park in Atlanta today and there is an old I-House right at the entrance. Yet, there is nothing, no explanation at all, of what it is or if it belongs there. This happens all the time. Based on the fact that it is on a slight rise and there is a cedar tree in front of it, I am guessing its the orginal location of the I-House. (Cedar trees are typically found at old home sites in the South, they kept the bugs away and chickens like to roost in them.)

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