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Fischer•Arseneau•Hume

In Toronto, all roads lead to Queen, the street of many colours. Starting in the east at Neville Park, it cuts through the city all the way to its western edge. Along the way it passes through quiet residential neighbourhoods, historic districts, high-rise enclaves and one of the most exciting and lively shopping areas in the world. Mention Queen Street to any Torontonian of any age or background and he or she will tell you, it’s the place to be. Lined with some of the city’s most imposing structures, including both Toronto’s city halls, Old and New, as well countless low-rise buildings that are reinvented over and over again, Queen presents a different face to every successive generation. For tourists and locals alike, this is the street that never loses its appeal.

FISCHER ARSENEAU HUME nimbus.ca $29.95

NIMBUS


Fischer-QueenStreet_03-12_cover 12-03-30 7:32 PM Page 1

Fischer•Arseneau•Hume

In Toronto, all roads lead to Queen, the street of many colours. Starting in the east at Neville Park, it cuts through the city all the way to its western edge. Along the way it passes through quiet residential neighbourhoods, historic districts,

nimbus.ca

high-rise enclaves and one of the most exciting and lively shopping areas in the world. Mention Queen Street to any Torontonian of any age or background and he or she will tell you, it’s the place to be.

$29.95

Lined with some of the city’s most imposing structures, including both Toronto’s city halls, Old and New, as well countless low-rise buildings that are reinvented over and over again, Queen presents a different face to every successive generation.

NIMBUS

For tourists and locals alike, this is the street that never loses its appeal.


Fischer-QueenStreet_03-12_cover 12-03-30 7:32 PM Page 1

Fischer•Arseneau•Hume

In Toronto, all roads lead to Queen, the street of many colours. Starting in the east at Neville Park, it cuts through the city all the way to its western edge. Along the way it passes through quiet residential neighbourhoods, historic districts,

nimbus.ca

high-rise enclaves and one of the most exciting and lively shopping areas in the world. Mention Queen Street to any Torontonian of any age or background and he or she will tell you, it’s the place to be.

$29.95

Lined with some of the city’s most imposing structures, including both Toronto’s city halls, Old and New, as well countless low-rise buildings that are reinvented over and over again, Queen presents a different face to every successive generation.

NIMBUS

For tourists and locals alike, this is the street that never loses its appeal.


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Fischer-QueenStreet_03-12_end papers 12-04-02 9:49 AM Page 1


Fischer-QueenStreet_03-12_guts 12-03-31 9:03 PM Page 1


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Copyright © George Fischer, Pascal Arseneau and Christopher Hume, 2012 All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever including graphically, electronically, mechanically or through recording or data storage systems without the prior written permission of the publisher or, in the case of photocopying or other reprography techniques, without the permission of Access Copyright, 1 Yonge Street, Suite 1900, Toronto, Ontario M5E 1E5. Nimbus Publishing Limited P.O. Box 9166 Halifax, NS B3K 5MB 902-455-4286

DedicationS Dedicated to my long time friend and publisher at Nimbus – Dan Soucoup – who needed a little convincing but finally came around and without whom this book would not have been possible. Thanks and good luck in your retirement. — George Fischer To the firefighters at Kew Beach Fire Station No. 227, in particular Larry Lalonde for his dedication to preserving the history of this landmark Fire Hall. — Pascal Arseneau To Eileen, Jessica and Alex.

— Christopher Hume

Acknowledgments

Printed in China

GEORGE FISCHER: First and foremost I would like to thank

Graphics: Catharine Barker, National Graphics, Toronto, ON

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication Fischer, George, 1954Queen Street : Toronto’s urban treasure / photos, George Fischer, Pascal Arseneau ; text, Christopher Hume. Includes index.

my sponsors – Cary Green of Verdiroc Holdings. Ron Silverstein from Vistek and Bobby and Avi Ross of The Rex Hotel – all of these long time Queen Street establishments were a major force in producing this book. To Ryan Fischer, Sean Fischer and Pascal Arseneau – thanks for the great photography and the time spent with me walking up and down Queen Street. To the tattoo model Kailey Miller and Lance Murray – thanks for allowing me the opportunity to photograph your artistic creation. Thanks as well to David Liss from the MOCCA museum for graciously allowing me to take interior photographs and to Karen Green for modeling there. Sincere appreciation to Mike Geronimo for always having a fresh cup of Second Cup coffee and my favourite cookies available; and to my favourite restaurant, Epicure, to Mary-Ann Conly and Allison Dore. Thanks also to Harmony, who danced for me at Jilly’s. And as always – thanks to Jean Lepage for braving the cold winter days to photograph the skaters at Nathan Phillips Square and to Catharine Barker for another great piece of work.

ISBN 978-1-55109-891-3 1. Queen Street (Toronto, Ont.)--History--21st century-Pictorial works. 2. Queen Street (Toronto, Ont.)--Social life and customs--21st century--Pictorial works. 3. Queen Street (Toronto, Ont.)--Biography--Pictorial works. 4. Toronto (Ont.)--History--21st century--Pictorial works. 5. Toronto (Ont.)--Social life and customs--21st century--Pictorial works. 6. Toronto (Ont.)--Biography--Pictorial works. I. Arseneau,

PASCAL ARSENEAU: I would like to thank the people of

Queen Street: the shop owners, the street lovers, locals and visitors. Especially, Chris and Christina Blougouras of Sweet Bliss Baking Company, and Sharon Shoot of Chocolate by Wickerhead.

Additional Credits

Pascal, 1968- II. Hume, Christopher, 1951- III. Title.

Sean Fischer: photos pages 14, 54, 67, 70, 80, 82, 91 Ryan Fischer: photos pages 42, 66, 73, 81, 149 Catharine Barker: photos pages 52, 63, 214, 222

FC3097.67.F58 2012

Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, pages 32 and 33: Artwork in gallery by: Mat Brown, Jordan MacLachlan, Anders Oinonen, included in the exhibition Ineffable Plasticity. Exterior ants: Napolean Brosseau.

971.3'541050222

C2011-908716-2


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GEORGE FISCHER PASCAL ARSENEAU CHRISTOPHER HUME


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ians have hich Toronton the stage on w abiting the ew way of inh n a d re ve co is d ilities t raised possib ee tr S n ee u Q city. ue us. that still intrig to n ro To f o rt ture, hea e e road to the fu he road to the b th t o is n n ay ee m u Q It But if een Street. e past. As runs along Qu ect link with th re in ir fa d a gh u so ro al o ’s th it g sin back to the the most impo reets, it dates but it is the st , t st es ge ld n o lo ’s e ty th ci te eighteenth town, nor one of the successful, f York in the la t, o n n ra w b at vi To th st e et o th re m f the main e st liveliest, the earliest days o t Street, it was o y other, it is th L an as n an w th o re kn re o ly the ed. and popular. M ntury. Original ty was organiz led the way to ce ci as e h th at h th ic h d w an at , ng were re, a process th -west route alo defines Toronto undred acres, co h st e n ea n w o to y n el w at o d m f the approxi ation. urbanization o Large lots, each the fledgling n f o ts an rv . se ay l d ya n to continues to rth from Quee , especially in anded out to lo o h es n ti ed ci d n an te ic ex er e m ties ese estates wer many North A e huge proper th the great , es g ly h n T al ri u tu d n t ve u o E In contrast to tied loor Street. large nto never emp what is now B burbs. Though su e the U.S., Toro ld emerge. th to t h ig most and a city wou -class fl r, o le ed o d p p id o e m el th , ev ar d to re. Horse-w ed post ajor thoroughfa were abandon hy. m n lt a w ea to h as n w ly w n o re d ti ee f u o en wing ot t, Q swaths service the gro ned intact if n From the star to ai n d m re ee re u ea s Q p d f o ap o o y n rh io itive ickl neighbou wn trolleys qu the transformat placed by prim ra re d en se h ly lo w al to s, tu 0 g 7 en n 9 ti ev 1 ey were But by the ticated rbia was star population. Th er more sophis to began, subu n th ro ra To se d o h an w t , rs rly as Stree n today. As ea electric streetca beckoned. ee u ty Q ci e ly h p T ill l. st ty ea ts cting a e ci its app about constru dern descendan talization of th o g vi m in re lk e ta th e in er t w officials een Stree e. Instead, , cannot be the 1940s, city The role of Qu at was not to b idea of the city e th t th u f b s o , it n y, y, tl ee it u an an Q rt o th —or LRVs ’s path to urb and, more imp subway benea with streetcars ty. ecame Toronto ay si b st g er It iv . to d ed d ed at an id m ec ti ty nto d known. Runnin f densi ro w underes o o To d n rl e o ar w n ey er th d ost-mo icles) as as been more route to the p (Light Rail Veh ades, Queen h is ec d It l . ra er ve th o se r an That’s why fo one place to ay to get from w a , et re st a than

T

Lansdowne Avenue

Gladstone

nge Cadillac Lou ue Jameson Aven

ue Ossington Aven The Drake

MO CCA

Trinity Bellwoods Park

St. Nicholas

Cameron House

Queen Street et Dufferin Stre

CAM H

et Bathurst Stre

ue Spadina Aven

Hors Ta


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century. The the twentieth f o es ad ec d y Filtration from the earl e R. C. Harris th , re u n ct ee ru u st Q e e cation.” most impressiv east to west, th alace of Purifi “P m o e h fr rt th s o re as N et n in w m r kno combines st celebrated twenty-five kilo Plant, is bette of architecture among the mo ed ce ks d n ie w p ra o y , cr 1 ar r0 in 5 ve e o rd t urishes not Line, th This extrao complain abou d Art Deco flo f o rs an e s se n u ic o r s sa la n o u ai m eg m e America. R the route re tructure. Byzantine-styl ngestion, but ith civic infras co w c fi ed af at tr ci d so an as ast, . cars usually ueen Street E sed in Toronto Q u 4 ly 0 9 vi 1 ea h at , st 7 o 2 the m Station 2 the street od. Like the The 1905 Fire streetcar knits e neighbourho e th th to s, m ce n le an b ve eg gi ro el n history d Despite its p way could. An adds a note of me in Canadia b ti su a o m n o e fr at th th es s, at ay d mbols f use together in a w ration plant, it en as fitting sy eer diversity o lt fi se sh e e er th w . y, is et ed th ri at ss va such as hite North. underestim Queen’s endle when facilities in the Great W tion cannot be n ec io n n at ), co liz ld e vi O ci ac d rf g eaper the an need for su of a burgeonin y today—the ch mass ity Hall (New tl C n es re d fe u if cl d al in ti re n u en uct ave a critical low-rise resid After all, Quee We see infrastr fortunate to h and age buildings, it is s, p er to o h n sh s, ro er s, To w ct t teresting. to je u ro office better—b make things in -rise housing p to h ig gh h u o sk s, d en ta o s o e, it rh s ag neighbou es almost 501 perform of civic herit Queen becom ortunately, the er and , F es rd . o ts ch f n o ea ra B se n au e st se th much re ages to bring a ding west from rey houses line an ea to m H -s d o an tw y t tl es d an o road M brilli et. ly residential. eighbourhood re n re st t ti e ie en u th q to a e is ce b , coheren hich could turns back ’s main street ges as Queen of the street, w onge, Toronto an Y ch d n an o , n so ed ee er at u b notice Q th t num The corner of this point. Bu tors will start to Buildings are at si vi t. d es si ye u -e b p ’s ar n ty h S ster e ci ese are a main artery. still among th onge. At its ea se; typically th to Y u o in at h g ad n ti ro ar al st n ed west, the occasio to cater to ood road, lin both east and ry hotels built iet neighbourh tu u q en a -c is th n n ee ee u east. ninet extremity, Q ronto from the l stores. It To ca in lo g d n an vi , ri ks ar ar and people with houses, p Beach to the automobile e f h o (t t n es ve ch ad ea e B e Before th now use, soon reaches th id that drivers eighbourhood n gr e ay d w si h ke ig la h e e th purists), th live and r as a place to te af t gh u so ch y mu largel ings here date play. The build

ick Horseshoe St. Patr t e e r Tavern St The Rex

CTV

Old Eaton City Campbell Osgoode Hall City Centre House Nathan Ha Hall all illips 501

Ph Square

Osgoode Station University Four Seasons Avenue Centre

501

Bay Street

St. Michael’s Hospital Queen Station Yonge Stre et

h Churcet Stre

Jarvis Street

Moss Park Armoury Moss Park

River Street

The Dominion Hotel Vistek

Jilly

King Street East reet Parliament St

St. Paul's

Bayview Avenue

wy. Don Valley Pk


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n and transform soon hit Quee ood, too. this neighbourh rvis routes e of the main locks west at Ja n b o w as fe w A n ee u Q d enters the ook carefully an Street, Queen s are into the city. L lie es L at ples ted warehouse am va o ex n ce re ti y o el n m ill you w . Handso d n takes us ew Avenue, an downtown area h Street, Quee rc u h C t A t. Street, Broadvi . ee es nto the ic known as Toro Sherbourne Str now full of off as w ty , n ci o e ti th n te further west at nowned e at when community re g gets most of th back to a time n ri at ea th -f t d es o G W n ee rvative, e way to Church now Though it’s Qu Good, a conse om Leslie all th olitan United fr p y ro f sa et o t’s M es le e, rc er t— fo eless and the Queen Eas for its piety. H up of the hom self subject to e it s ad d n m fi d w w o o f n cr o Parliament— evident east parts. serves a grittier ty’s ound in these is is especially ci h ab T e . o th n h f w io o at e ed ic m iz if ier y so gentr marginal Toronto’s prem ueen is lined b ld as o Q le e e h ro er T h it s. w 0 es 0 m ew 8 Broadvi from the 1 Queen assu s north all e architecture But at Yonge, tre, which run e particularly en ar C g n o in at ild E u e B h most impressiv s T million ox’ opping street. structures, ts more than a and E. J. Lenn sh ac ck se tr ri u o at -b H d t, a re ee f er tr o p S , it is O ns eal for n at either end way to Dundas id so are the doze io e t s at th u n st b io , it ay le d b w n b ra co o su te for ha mem acing, that crea t help account rs weekly. Wit h -f to ig k, et si m ar re vi h m st d ic d n h la an w l e low-ris by transit, ressive loca l phases The most imp fully accessible cted in severa ru ueen and st n Q o at C l . ty te o ri revitalization. la H aton pu s enduring po New Broadview 0s and is designed in tleship-sized E it e at b th e is th s, s, 0 ap 7 h 9 er 1 p and 189 ting in the late te ws for tourists ates from the ar la d ra st e d It t th e. ea in rn gr r u ’s la o u b ty p Sher e so po of the ci ue Revival styl Centre is one ptimism in o s u o rm the Romanesq o en f ant ld City tury, a time o locals alike. o most import n be seen in O tw nineteenth cen ca e re th tu to ec s it er h ep ch st he fart me ar there, it’s only ld City Hall. T lf-confidence, m O se d ro Toronto. The sa F an an ri l al to ic H V y ument to ronto, Cit wn as the e latter, Hall, that mon buildings in To tel is best kno instructive; th o is h e o th tw , e lic ay re th d a n To e oning the n. wee that has becom ture by summ west on Quee difference bet b fu u e cl th p ri to e st av ks o h o tr n lo , , is a , a re of rehabilitatio ing from 1899 pleted in 1965 rs at home of Jilly’s u d m o co m , ru er gh rm s u fo n o t o e ti me. Th one of the fines By contrast, th defied expecta t. is r fa as th of an earlier ti p is so ly as n h o t ’s o years, Jilly rpiece. N stands of arrivals abounded for modern maste in Toronto, it growing army e gs in th t f ild u o u o b es gh p e u o iv h ro Phillips ss e th and dashed th and most expre ty halls in the world. Nathan ave popped up h at th s o d n ci s ring in e co ong the great e Torontonian who inhabit th er am h w l, al H y it e heart fC ood. are, in front o occasions, is th u t q the neighbourh S an d ic if ar w gn to si s k n head and mar on River, Quee the New Year one of s n ai apart. m re , Crossing the D ld th be to ty, a place set u ci tr in e , oode h er th ic f rn h o w co o e, egance of Osg tions. N el ec Sherbourn al rs ic te ss in la t -c ” an eo y, en -cit ne of unpleas that comes th rthouse and o e of the “inner u er ag ft co Toronto’s most im A ry ld tu o e en -c th presents nineteenth poverty, g gates, Toronto better Hall, an early nusual twistin frastructure of u in s s It it . h e gs it ar in w s ild re ge u co tb here, chan the abandoned Toronto’s oldes iction. Yet even ill d w ad e d rn u an o b s, er es h homelessn arching up S w of condos m ro a : ay w er d n u


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out distinctions ab ld o h it w ay is to do aw idea, of course, ho doesn’t. is as , ct still inta the city and w e in ar gs t, n u o o el s b w o ergy wh ned to keep co brought the en as h , n w o kn originally desig ’s est, as it street. lic park inside. West Queen W stretch of the ed ct le , the small, buco eg es n sé g ly n É lo to a to’s Champsdown, that’s of earlier times nds to be run Avenue, Toron Queen , te ty ly si p ck o er m st iv si n r g o U in t t, ild A dsome es Though the bu lined with han ueen Street W Q is n es ld ee m o u o f Q o ec , b e ct tr n n fa Quee ng. In ng the ce ell as retail quickly changi went from bei s to the new ile xt te e housing as w e d West. When it vi lin fro p -o d at en th d s re becomes structu ipment an e west, Queen as set for the th w to e industrial equ er ag h st rt e u th F , e els more cultural hub opportunities. ’s clear that th dscape here fe it n t la ec e sp th Bohemia and o ; tr al ti re siden sible across n of the city. In increasingly re sit and cheap rio suddenly vi an ta re-urbanizatio n tr O lic e b u ak p L — h it e in place Thirty years tments and celebratory. W conditions wer and diversity. —mostly apar s gs es in tn ild ac u p b e m es as co er. The th n, the road, th on with the wat d Queen Stree ti accommodatio an ec n in n d co t ve o ec m te ir ad s have ore corpora ss dignified houses—have later, the chain has become m architecture, le It ay s. es lid n o h ki f n f o fu o of d s es result is a kin lost much of it . Still, the forc ing. The heyday n le b ai rt ta ic te d en re p re ic o re so m , mo ng the eclect estination on and, therefore perhaps, but al cceeded in killi k, a popular d su ar t P o t n e en m av s, h se ar n u b own in gentrificatio Sunnyside Am s Street torn d rvives in cafes, le su al h sv ic ce h n w o , R et at stre e lake n Mother, diner vitality of the the edge of th The Rex, Quee e elevated Gar as th r ch fo su ay ts n w e ra l ak , al Queen. and restau it survives on the 1950s to m and Peter Pan ir , sp rn s ve it t Ta u e b o r, h long ove Rivoli, Horses he Expressway, is s. n o ti u it ost-war city. T p st e in th n to ee in u s Toronto Q ve ueen mo to the aught is that Beyond that, Q mmercial onsl ugh Etobicoke s, it co 0 ro 0 is th 0 t 2 th y f es o rl w lt ea es e su u contin One re west. By th y differs 501 streetcar d even farther the topograph t rocess, a u p b e , th ga In au t. ss si ee West has move is reet and Str border with M address the st Drake far as Dufferin to e d as th ee ed — n h ls r ac te ge o n re h had gs no lo -century wildly. Buildin rns into the wn nineteenth m remakes. o tt o -b o -t ays. Queen tu p pair of run-do w to h n ig h ve e gi m e o er ec w an. one— roads b s way to suburb with rooms ve s, gi b and the Gladst u h an al rb u ci d so artistic and Queensway an be to create Both are now s. challenge will st e ti h ar T l . ca ge lo an y b ch lood of g designed That, too, will n carry the lifeb tal Health, lon ca en at M th d s an et n re o een, st lliance of tre for Addicti at streets like Qu traffic. The bri Even the Cen o ugh Parkdale d ro ey th s th n as ru it ily of the p een as the city as hap into the urban disparate parts t ed ec a blight on Qu at n n gr te co in to n its ability eet, has bee and small, the first Queen lies in Ossington Str century when ld and new, big th O n e. ee m et ti in d n as an h te ace e la ne, Queen ed, the site city both in sp fabric. Since th was construct cred and profa sa m , lu te sy ra A o ic rp at co n d er matched Provincial Lu residential an t from the larg and vitality un ar e yl ap st t a se h lly it ce fu w la a p a l—and ng rebuilt as been isolated, embraces it al complex is bei e anada. th s et ay d re st To y. Toronto, but C od. New in o rh st communit u ju o t b o n gh ei n art of the blocks. The incorporated p n to form new ee u Q m o fr uth now extend so


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WEST QUEEN WEST

West Queen West is a living demonstration of urban renewal as done from the bottom up.


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T

1 PARKDALE VILLAGE RONCESVALES VILLAGE BEACONSFIELD VILLAGE

enue Roncesvalles Av

King Stree t West

his is the new frontier, the stretch of Queen Street where urban revitalization meets urban decay. The results can be fractious, but as the forces of gentrification gain strength, the longoverlooked charms of the area have been revealed for all to see. The quality of the housing stock in these parts leaves renovators drooling. Parkdale, a late-19th-century neighbourhood built to accommodate Toronto’s burgeoning haute bourgeoisie, fell into disfavour starting in the 1950s. Cut off from Lake Ontario by an elevated highway, the Gardiner Expressway, Parkdale was also a victim of suburban flight. Queen became rundown; its abandoned mansions were turned into flophouses. Many were demolished to make way for cheaply constructed apartment towers that exacerbated the decline. By the beginning of the 21st century, the very name Parkdale was synonymous with inner-city poverty and crime. At the same time, however, young Torontonians were rediscovering the neighbourhood’s charms. Old landmark hotels such as the Drake and the Gladstone were reinvented as cultural and entertainment hubs. With their rejuvenation in the mid-2000s, 50

Lansdowne Avenue

Gladstone

nge Cadillac Lou ue Jameson Aven

Also of special note is the on-going redevelopment of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health at Queen and Shaw. Dating from the mid-1800s, this was the Toronto Lunatic Asylum, a fortress-like structure hidden behind an enormous brick wall. By contrast, the new complex, which reflects more contemporary attitudes, has been opened up and fully integrated into the larger community. Pedestrian-scaled and wildly varied, rich in heritage architecture and modern design, West Queen West is a living demonstration of urban renewal as done from the bottom up.

ue Ossington Aven The Drake

et Dufferin Stre

years of neglect came to a grinding halt. Lined with impressive two- to four-storey buildings – shops at ground level, apartments above – Queen is ideally suited to the urban environment. This basic configuration allows for each generation to make of the street what it wants. The artists and designers who arrived here starting in the late 1990s did their job well, perhaps too well. The issue now is how to keep this extraordinarily creative precinct intact while allowing growth to occur, a difficult balancing act in any city.

MO CCA

CAM H

Trinity Bellwoods Park

St. Nicholas

et Bathurst Stre

West queen West 9


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10 West queen West


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West queen West 11


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West queen West 13


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14 West queen West


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West queen West 15


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West queen West 17


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This imposing landmark structure at the corner of Queen and Dufferin St. opened in 1889 to serve the Parkdale train station across the road. Now the longest continuously operating hotel in Toronto, it was purchased by the Zeidler family in 2000. They renovated the building and turned it into an arts hub, a place where musicians and artists show off their stuff. The dignified red-brick heap, a Romanesque beauty, has never looked better.

GLADSTONE HOTEL –

18 West queen West


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Hard to believe that the Drake Hotel as we know it today has only been around since 2004. But in a few short years, this old building, which opened in 1890 as Small’s Hotel, has become an important cultural hub. With rooms designed by local artists, this hugely popular venue has helped revive a stretch of Queen West that is now transformed. A happy mix of history and contemporaneity, the Drake was the first such place to harness the energy of the Toronto arts scene.

DRAKE HOTEL –

West queen West 19


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20 West queen West


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22 West queen West


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24 West queen West


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West queen West 25


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The elegant eight-storey building now under construction at the southwest corner of Queen Street West and Ossington Avenue is the first non-CAMH, private sector building to be developed on leased lands in the revitalized CAMH Urban Village. AndCo Architects designed the building to meet the needs of excellent design and affordability, to act as a gateway to the renewed CAMH community and to create an urban village that is integrated into the neighbourhood at large. Verdiroc Development Corporation and Greenwin Inc. partnered with Forum Equity Partners Inc. in giving back to this Queen St. community. This continues Greenwin/Verdiroc’s 65-year building history in Toronto.

26 West queen West


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West queen West 27


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Few sites do a better job illustrating how attitudes have changed over time. The original complex was an ominous 19th-century structure set behind a huge brick wall. The message was clear: Stay away. Its remains now form the backdrop to a new series of modernist buildings fully connected to the city beyond. What was once carefully hidden away from public view is now happily integrated into the larger neighbourhood. THE CENTRE FOR ADDICTION AND MENTAL HEALTH –

28 West queen West


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TRINITY PARK –

The epitome of the urban green space, Trinity is one of Toronto’s most active parks, a genuine neighbourhood amenity and gathering place for all. Laid out originally as the grounds of Trinity College, which opened in 1852, the expansive site still has an aura of Victorian gentility about it. The school eventually joined the University of Toronto and in the 1950s, the building was demolished, the first of many heritage structures to be torn down. The gates at the south entrance are all that remains of the college.

30 West queen West


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MOCCA – Installed in a post-war textile factory, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art is the only visual arts institution of its sort in Toronto. Since relocating from the suburbs of North York at the beginning of 2005, MOCCA has made significant contributions to the cultural and artistic landscape of the West Queen West neighbourhood. It has become a major player on the city’s artistic scene evolving alongside the emerging culture and vibrancy of the district. It’s also part of the wave of new development that has changed the face of Queen St. and brought new life to a long-neglected neighbourhood.


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ck the Cadillac

ro The Tiger Sharks

52 West queen West

Lounge.


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queen west

What began as an artists’ colony ended up a fashionable place to live, work and play.

St.


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T

2 ART & DESIGN DISTRICT TRINITY BELLWOODS FASHION DISTRICT SOHO

St. Nicholas

his is where Queen Street changed Toronto. It is a process that continues but which has already remade the face and feel of the city. That transformation, which started in the late 1970s, has taken the usual route. What began as an artists’ colony ended up a fashionable place to live, work and play. Happily, even the deadening effects of franchised retail and corporate branding haven’t yet managed to kill the street’s remarkable effervescence. Though not known for its architectural landmarks, Queen West has a continuity and sense of rhythm that feel profoundly in sync with the pace of walking. Storefronts, which are generally between 4.5 and 7 metres (15 to 22 feet) wide, sit close enough to one another that they create a strong and engaging streetscape.

Here, steeply peaked roofs and multi-coloured masonry facades speak of a deep and growing faith in the city.

Queen West is commercial landscape; that means most interest is focused on what’s happening on the ground floor. But those who make the effort to look up will find it’s worth the effort. Richly decorated gables and elaborate bay windows are the legacy of Victorian optimism in Toronto. The north side of Queen east of Peter St., for instance, is one of the great remaining blocks of an earlier era.

West of Bathurst, the architectural quality drops off, but not the appeal of the street, which remains diverse and utterly compelling. The imposing south entrance to TrinityBellwoods Park, refurbished in the mid-2000s, is all that remains of Trinity College, demolished in 1950, a time when heritage buildings were dropping like flies across North America.

Cameron House

Queen Street et Bathurst Stre

ue Spadina Aven

ick Horseshoe St. Patr t e e r Tavern t S The Rex

CTV

Unbeknownst to them, Toronto’s forefathers built a closely-knit, fully coherent, urban realm that remains viable to this day. There’s no better example than the CTV TV studios at 299 Queen (on the southeast corner of John St.). Constructed in 1912 as the headquarters of the Methodist Church of Canada, this exquisite neo-Gothic wedding cake is clad in white terracotta. The centuryold structure has been updated and turned into a giant television studio; even the parking lot with its landmark news truck breaking through the east exterior wall, is camera-friendly.

QUEEN STREET

Old Eaton City Campbell Osgoode Hall City Centre House Nathan Ha Hall all illips 501

Ph Square

Osgoode Station University Four Seasons Avenue Centre

501

Bay Street

St. Michael’s Hospital Queen Station Yonge Stre et

h Churcet Stre

Jarvis Street

Moss Park Armoury Moss Park

r Parliament St

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Looking west across University from the roof of the Sheraton Hotel.

The 501 Queen runs 24.8 kilometres – the longest route on the TTC, and one of the longest streetcar routes in North America.


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s be y circumstance an er d n u t o n ld ne hopes. u, graffiti shou is art. Or so o yo er ll te rm fo ld u e o th w ; artist of property ti has come in pecting graffiti dless marking b-genre, graffi in m su l a ra is u As any self-res lt er tt cu la a ose few as tagging. The their craft. Th of course, but at s, g er in th o liv a confused with an e th r mak xt may be ners are bette rm. The conte en manage to fo ev t s ar st ti ear th f fo o l Some practitio dfu e that stateral cold. A han eal places to se id e ar from the cultu l ga le is e spraying locations wher g but. lts are anythin rough, the resu

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64 QUEEN west

The recent popularity of tattooing could probably have been predicted. Along with body piercing and plastic surgery, body painting offers ample evidence of the primal urge to adorn ourselves. Just as Queen Street West has been appropriated by the mainstream retailers, tattoos have become respectable. They have also become ubiquitous; maybe that’s why parlours such as this have survived Queen’s transition into the 21st century so well. First it was kids who were interested; now it’s their parents.


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Except for the giant ants crawling up the walls, it would be easy to miss this drab but legendary club/hotel. The three-storey red-brick building was essential to the phenomenon that became Queen Street West. In its heyday, this run-down heap was the pre-eminent artists’ bar in Toronto. As a cultural and social hub, its importance was huge. Artists, musicians and writers gravitated to its shabby but vibrant spaces. The scene has since moved on, but the Cameron lurches on.

CAMERON HOUSE –


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One of Toronto’s most celebrated jazz clubs, The Rex has a long and colourful history that goes back all the way to the 19th century. A fixture on the Queen Street scene for generations, The Rex is an extremely popular musical venue.

THE REX HOTEL –

Family owned over three generations, The Rex has morphed from a working man’s beverage room and neighbourhood rooming house into a live jazz and blues mecca and a friendly little hotel providing a comfortable and interesting alternative to the standard accommodation available in the heart of downtown. With its outdoor patio and handsome red-brick facade, this is one of those buildings that has managed to find new meaning in the 2000s. Owner Bobby Ross

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One of the oldest buildings in Toronto, this marvellous 1822 Georgian house has lost none of its dignity in the intervening years. Built further east in what was then the Town of York, the Palladian mansion was dug up and trucked to its current location at Queen and University Avenue in 1972. The move helped focus attention on the wholesale destruction of Toronto’s heritage architecture then in progress.

CAMPBELL HOUSE –

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BELL MEDIA BUILDING – Clad in creamy terracotta, this exquisite Gothic Revival palace opened in 1913 as the headquarters of the Methodist Church. Its richly decorated facades tell an eloquent architectural story that connects the building to medieval precedents. By the late 1980s, however, the building had been transformed into a giant studio for CITY-TV. In the process, it also became one of those sites where crowds gathered regularly to watch what was happening inside.

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DOWNTOWN

New City Hall, including Nathan Phillips Square, has become the true civic heart of Toronto.

C

U


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Q

ueen St. doesn’t have one City Hall; it has two, Old and New. Situated on the north side of the street east and west of Bay St., these two buildings are a study in contrasts. Though each is remarkable in its own way, the pair couldn’t be more unlike one another. The older of the two, which Torontonians still call Old City Hall, opened in the last days of the 19th century. Designed by Toronto’s most famous architect of the time, E.J. Lennox, in the Romanesque Revival style, it was controversial at first, mainly because of costs. By the time New City Hall opened in 1965, Toronto was a community transformed. More than any other single building, this dramatic Neo-Expressionist essay, the work of Finnish architect Viljo Revell, brought Toronto into the modern age. Almost 50 years after its completion, Revell’s masterpiece still looks like a harbinger of architecture yet to come. With its circular council chamber, surrounded by two curved towers, this unique complex, including Nathan Phillips Square, has become the true civic heart of Toronto.

3 ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICT CORKTOWN MOSS PARK

Directly west, Osgoode Hall, started in 1832, is a stately neo-classical structure originally

Old Eaton City Campbell Osgoode Hall City Centre House Nathan Ha Hall all illips 501

Ph Square

Osgoode Station University Four Seasons Avenue Centre

501

Bay Street

St. Michael’s Hospital Queen Station Yonge Stre et

h Churcet Stre

Jarvis Street

Moss Park Armoury Moss Park

built as headquarters for the Law Society of Upper Canada. It has been added to over the decades, but retains its early 19th-century flavour, most notably in the green park in which its sits. The wrought-iron fence and gates that surround the building are a highlight. The entrances, which locals call “Cow Gates,” are said to have been designed to keep out wandering bovines. Across the road, on the southeast corner of Queen and University Ave., is the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Though its acoustics have been universally praised, Toronto’s new opera and ballet house received mixed reviews when it opened in 2006. Somewhat less than spectacular, it makes modesty a virtue.

QUEEN STREET

Also of interest are the Eaton Centre, a 1970s shopping centre that mixes elements of the Galleria in Milan and a typical suburban mall. It faces south onto Queen, and towards a handsome Chicago Style department store now occupied by the Hudson’s Bay Company.

River Street

The Dominion Hotel Vistek

Jilly’s

King Street East reet Parliament St

St. Paul's

Bayview Avenue

wy. Don Valley Pk

The Real Jerk Broadview A

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This imposing Georgian complex dates back to the 1830s. As the home of the Law Society of Upper Canada, it provides a fitting architectural expression of the legal profession and, indeed, of the legal system itself. Richly embellished interiors speak of an earlier age, a time when the idea of gravitas was taken very seriously. Sitting in a magical lawn surrounded by one of the city’s most imposing wrought-iron fences, Osgoode Hall remains a vital part of modern Toronto.

OSGOODE HALL –

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OLD CITY HALL –

Designed by E. J. Lennox, the most prominent architect in 19th-century Toronto, this Romanesque Revival heap crowns the “Bay Street Canyon” now as it did when completed in 1899. A rousing symbol of civic optimism, this was Toronto’s City Hall until New City Hall replaced it next door. Though the massive sandstone structure came close to being torn down in the 1970s, it is now firmly established as one of Toronto’s most beloved buildings, its future secure.

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Stained glass windows, Old City Hall

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This is the building that changed how the world viewed Toronto and how Toronto viewed itself. Opened in 1965, it made the city modern. Set back from Queen Street facing Nathan Phillips Square, this is a rare example of a civic space that really serves its purpose. Torontonians ring in the New Year here. Families come here to skate, attend concerts and gawk. Formal yet inviting, New City Hall comes closer than any other piece of architecture to expressing the meaning of a civic democracy. NEW CITY HALL –

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Toronto’s most popular downtown mall, this battleship-sized shopping centre offers one of the great commercial spaces in the city. Architect Eberhard Zeidler, inspired by the Galleria in Milan, created a soaring atrium large enough to accommodate a whole flock of carved Canada geese. Accessible from two subway stations, it attracts over one million visitors weekly. That makes it one of Toronto’s most popular spots. Recent additions along Yonge St. have made it more accessible than ever.

THE EATON CENTRE –

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This nondescript building, hidden behind an emergency entrance for ambulances, has emerged as a major presence on Queen. Located just east of Yonge St., it is the ultimate downtown health care facility. Recent additions – the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute and the Keenan Research Centre – have helped bring the hospital into the modern age.

ST. MICHAEL’S HOSPITAL –

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Constructed by carpenter Richard Bigley in the 1870s, this wonderful downtown building is a reminder that urbanism did not begin with us. With its oversized bay windows and extensive architectural detailing, Bigley’s place has lost none of its charm. In 1999, it was converted into “hard lofts,” and remains a part of the city to this day. Popular with photographers, this is one of Toronto’s most photogenic addresses.

RICHARD BIGLEY HOUSE –

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t brewing of a prominen er b em m a s, f Queen t Davie n the corner o o y er In 1878, Rober w re B n wing and e Dominio f Toronto’s bre o rt family, built th ea h e th out the late treets, then and Sumach S town. Through rk o C as n w o t kn e Dominion distilling distric ng in 1936, th si o cl s it l ti n u gers. 1800s and ous ales and la am -f d rl o w ed brew and video t professional es rg la s a’ ad ilding Vistek, Can ction of the bu se st ea e th to g an store, moved ter spearheadin af , 0 1 0 2 In . 3 moved in 199 project, Vistek n o ti va o n re ing extensive the west build to es ic ff o ve ti their execu o-thirds of s more than tw ie p u cc o w o n and ndmark. this historic la

138 Downtown


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THE DOMINION HOTEL –

This 1889 building was one of a number of hotels built along Queen Street when it was the main road into town. Today it has been resurrected as a jazz club and restaurant. Though off the beaten track, the former hotel would be a noticeable element in any location. Here it serves as a reminder of a time when Queen St. E. bustled with visitors and activity. The neighbourhood has evolved into something more residential, a place to live rather than stay.

Satin Dolls performing at the Dominion on Queen.

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leslieville

These days, Queen East is quickly evolving into a fashionable area‌

st Do


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E

ast of Yonge St., which divides Toronto north/south up the middle, Queen continues to be diverse and varied. The office towers that line the street at Yonge quickly give way to hospitals and then, at the aptly named Church St., to several impressive 19th-century cathedrals – St. Michael’s (1848) and Metropolitan United, known as the “Cathedral of Methodism” when it opened in 1872. Both structures show signs of decay and are in need of cleaning, but neither has lost its neo-Gothic splendour, hidden though it may be under many decades of grime.

4 QUEEN BROADVIEW VILLAGE GARDEN DISTRICT RIVERSIDE

River Street

Bayview Avenue Jilly’s

st wy. Don Valley Pk

East of Church, Queen retains many of its original buildings, though some have been painted garish colours to serve the marketing needs of their new owners. The two pizza joints at Church – one covered in a coat of yellow paint, the other in orange-and-white tiles – are examples of the fate that can befall heritage sites in such a fast-changing city. Beyond that, Queen enters a stretch that awaits rediscovery. The corner of Queen and Sherbourne St. has seen better days, though antique lovers will want to check out the block

Jimmy Simpson Park The Real Jerk Broadview Avenue

west of the intersection where numerous dealers peddle their wares. The large green space across the road on the north side of Queen is Moss Park Armoury, not an architectural icon, but a landmark. Continuing along Queen, the landscape becomes more residential, a row of workers’ cottages can be seen on the south side west of River St. Once Queen crosses over the Don River, it returns to a more commercial orientation. Though it hasn’t been fashionable for many decades, the intersection of Queen at Broadview Ave. is a gateway to Leslieville, a neighbourhood awash in superb architecture, much of its overlooked. The Opera House (1909), the former Postal Station G (1913) and the old Bank of Commerce (1905) are three examples of the high quality of design characteristic of the neighbourhood’s early years.

QUEEN STREET

These days, Queen East is quickly evolving into a fashionable area whose shops, restaurants and various attractions have attracted the attention of a larger audience. Though it has yet to reach the stature of Queen West, there’s every reason to believe that will happen. It’s only a matter of time.

Jones Avenue

Coxwell Avenue

Jonathan rk Ashbridge Pa

Kingston

Woodbine Park

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neering RK – This pio JE L A E R E TH t to one of the firs restaurant was to aican cooking introduce Jam irty years was almost th Toronto. That ueen the eatery at Q en th ce n si ; o re. ag become a fixtu as h ew vi ad ro and B ood old neighbourh Installed in an pular o e 1970s, the p bank built in th e turn around th eatery helped rsection. te in st-end ea is th f o es n fortu success, sult of its own Perhaps as a re is th own future at the Real Jerk’s threatened. location is now

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JILLY’S – This dignified but playful building, officially the New Broadview Hotel, has seen better days; though it still functions as a hotel, it’s best known locally as the home of Jilly’s, one of Toronto few remaining strip clubs. Constructed in 1893, the four-storey Romanesque hall has been an east-end landmark for more than a century. As the neighbourhood comes under pressure from the forces of gentrification, Jilly’s days would appear to be numbered. Who knows what fate awaits the building?

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THe Beach

‌this primarily residential area has a feel unlike any other in the city.

C

k


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U

5 THE BEACH FALLINGBROOK RIVERDALE

nique among Toronto neighbourhoods, the Beach community is the one whose connection to Lake Ontario is central to its identity. For that reason, this primarily residential area has a feel unlike any other in the city. Wandering the side streets that extend north and south from Queen, one can see houses originally built as cottages, recreational properties situated to take advantage of the waterfront location. And, yes, there really is a beach. Indeed, there are several, all accessible and though many would feel leery about actually getting their feet wet, city officials insist the water is clean and safe for swimming. Still, for most Torontonians, the appeal of the Beaches is the Queen St. commercial strip that extends east of Woodbine Ave. almost to Neville Park, where the old City of Toronto ended and the old Borough of Scarborough began. That also happens to be the site of the extraordinary R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant. This remarkable structure, which became operational in 1941 but remains a vital element of the urban infrastructure, is known locally as the “Palace of Purification.” By contrast, the bulk of the architecture here is not nearly as grand as the plant. Harris’

Coxwell Avenue

k

Kingston Road

Woodbine Park

ue Woodbine Aven

Fire Station 227

Kew Gardens

heroic scale and exotic architecture contrast with the humble, mostly two- and three-storey semi-detached houses that make up the neighbourhood. The heavy presence of beaches and parks gives the area a holiday atmosphere not found anywhere else in the city. Though the architecture along Queen is not uniformly of the highest quality, it hardly matters. The attraction of the Beaches lies in the sheer variety of what’s available. This continues to be a part of town where individual merchants outnumber the retail chains with which we are so familiar. As is so often the case in turn-of-the-century Toronto, the major buildings are those that serve a larger societal purpose. The delightful Fire Station No. 227, for example, dates from 1905 but is also still in active service. Keep in mind, however, that it was designed to accommodate horse-drawn fire engines. In many respects, the neighbourhood has hardly changed since then. Though new development has occurred, the Beaches remains defiantly low-rise. The condo towers that define so much of the city are nowhere in evidence around here. The result is that Queen East has a pleasant retro feel, something that seems to grow more important with the passage of time.

St. Aidan’s

Avenue Victoria Park The Fox

Fallingbrook Road

R.C. Harris Plant ion Water Filtrat

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fire stations ber of superb m u n a h ers, it w ssed their clock tow sider itself ble n th centuries. With co n ca to n 0 Toro th early 2 ailing, these e late 19 and chitectural det ar urhood te ra dating from th o ab el one a neighbo ces and ch an ea tr , ty en ci e ed th ch large ar roughout lebratory uch beloved th an especially ce is , 5 0 9 1 in d buildings are m ng te when firefighti n 227, comple o e ti m ta ti S a e ir m o F . fr n ico dates day. tly restored, it mains in use to example. Recen wn by horses. The station re dra equipment was


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R. C. HARRIS WATER FILTRATION PLANT –

Dubbed the Palace of Purification, this extraordinary structure is far and away the grandest facility of its kind in Toronto. Given its utilitarian purpose, such architectural ambition seems all the more remarkable. Constructed in the 1930s, it stands among the great monuments of a society that valued infrastructure – and took it very seriously. Designed by Thomas Pomphrey, this Art Deco masterpiece still filters 950 million gallons every day, almost half the city’s water supply.


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Change never stops on Queen Street. Speakers’ Corner, where anyone could unload their rant for a loonie, is long gone. It was part of the original CITY-TV building, now the Bell Media building. Torontonians were also saddened by the 2002 closure of the Bamboo after 25 years in the area. Not only did this restaurant/music hall help launch Queen Street West, its famous murals, painted by Toronto artist Barbara Klunder, gave the ’80s its look. It is remembered fondly.

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yne Photo: Sue Co

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one of

George Fischerreisnowned and

Canada’s most ape prolific landsc He has photographers. 40 books and produced over His work has 50 art posters. of on the covers also appeared rnational numerous inte newspapers, magazines and motional and in the pro f tourism publications o d the world. n agencies arou nt publication His most rece anada, was on Unforgettable C r Mail’s bestselle The Globe and ld so eeks and list for eight w pies. Other over 50,000 co nforgettable titles in the U Unforgettable series include: rence, Tuscany & Flo e, aris Inoubliabl Unforgettable P a, tlantic Canad Unforgettable A s– The 1000 Island d Les Îles de la an , Unforgettable bliables. Madeleine Inou resides in George Fischer a. Toronto, Canad rk at rge Fischer’s wo See more of Geo m co y. erphotograph www.georgefisch

is a Pascal Arseneapuhotographer

Toronto-based Îles de la originally from uebec. Madeleine, Q , George Fischer Together with f o d a series he has produce gional cuisine books on the re of Quebec. landscape His travel and as been photography h itorial and featured in ed in d he received advertising, an y h ap l Photogr 2001 the “Trave s ard” by Island of the Year Aw Magazine.

e is the Christopher Humture critic and

ec veteran archit lumnist of the co es urban issu addition to Toronto Star. In ional winning a Nat ard, Canada’s Newspaper Aw in print highest award 2009, he has journalism, in NA received five N , That same year nominations. n the Royal Hume was give Institute of Architectural r ent’s Award fo Canada Presid is H Journalism. Architectural James’ Toronto book, William e ronto Heritag Views, won a To , 5 . In 200 Award in 2000 ed Toronto’s Hume was nam columnist by best newspaper e in 2005 and NOW magazin in 2006. More Eye magazine e hosted and recently, Hum our special wrote a one-h n cities for about Canadia ship series, CBC TV’s flag Things. The Nature of e University Educated at th Glendon of Toronto and a e is known as College, Hum e th ties and champion of ci in Toronto. arts. He lives


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Queen Street, Toronto's Urban Treasure (excerpt)