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Architecture Spotlight: Toronto Dance Theatre

The Toronto Dance Theatre, located at 80 Winchester Street, Cabbagetown, was first built in 1891 under the influence of architects Gorden & Helliwell, as well as Molesworth, West, & Secord. As one of the few bold Romanesque Revival structures in Toronto, and the only example of such style in Cabbagetown, the Toronto Dance Theater plays an important role culturally and historically in the Metcalfe Heritage Conservation District. A part from the Toronto Dance Theatre, one must also recognize the University of Toronto as Toronto’s most iconic form of Romanesque Revival. Together, these two buildings attract much admiration from architects all ... Read More »

New Ideas, Old Forms: Post-Modern Architecture in Cabbagetown

Cabbagetown is renowned for its diverse architecture, remaining the “largest continuous area of Victorian housing” in the country. Although most homes in the neighbourhood are over a century old, not all heritage properties are from the 1900s. In fact, there are multiple examples of Post-Modern architecture from as late as 1997 in Cabbagetown, sitting with elders in the Metacalfe Heritage Conservation District. The Robert N. Wertheimer House and the J.A. Maclean House are two notable examples of Post-Modern architecture in the community, just as the eclectic rowhouses of auburn, grey, and brown roof-tops on Sumach Street capture the essence of ... Read More »

Arts and Crafts Architecture in Cabbagetown: The Homes of Nasmith and Gifford

In Ontario, Arts and Crafts architecture may be referred to as English Domestic Revival, English Cottage, or Cotswold Cottage. Many other terms may be in common use, reflecting pastoral ideals or country influence on a particular design, but most commonly architects and home owners are familiar with the term Arts and Crafts. In Cabbagetown, among many other old architectural forms, the Arts and Crafts style can be found on two streets in the Cabbagetown South Heritage District: Nasmith Avenue and Gifford Street.    The Arts and Crafts Movement Arts and Crafts originates back to the Industrial Revolution, when a social ... Read More »

Something New Amid the Old: Contemporary Architecture in Cabbagetown

The Cabbagetown Northwest Conservation District is abundant with cherished Victorian homes. This neighbourhood’s rich diversity of 19th-century properties coalesce into one distinct identity for Toronto. Architectural styles such as the Bay and Gable, Gothic Revival, Second Empire, Georgian, and Worker’s Cottage are common in this area; however, there are three properties in the heritage district that stand-out from the rest: 29 Aberdeen Avenue, 216 Carlton Street, and 5-7 Millington Street. What’s so special about these homes is that they are examples of contemporary architecture; they mark the turn of the 20th-century in Cabbagetown. Contemporary Architecture Characteristics Defining contemporary architecture is ... Read More »

The Homes of Wellesley Cottages

A large portion of the properties on Amelia Street are either influenced by or are strict forms of the worker’s cottage (some times referred to as the working man’s cottage). We’ve reviewed many of these homes before — so it is now time to turn our attention on the comely blue-trimmed, white-walled rowhouses of Wellesley Cottages laneway, located north-east of the Sackville St. and Wellesley St. East crossing. Dating back to 1887, the homes on Wellsey Cottages emit vibes of a small Victorian village, hidden off the main path, both beautiful and undisturbed. Each property is an idealistic example of ... Read More »

Surviving History: The Winchester Hotel of Parliament Street

The Winchester Hotel is a three-and-a-half storey red brick structure, adjoined to the equally renowned Winchester Hall, located at the south-east corner of Parliament and Winchester. Sometimes referred to as the Lake View Hotel, architects Kennedy and Holland completed the building’s construction in 1888, contributing a much needed low-rise lodge to the neighbourhood. In 1941, architect Benjamin Swartz altered the hotel’s interior, changing the design to fit the tropes of the Art Moderne style. Today, the Winchester Hotel is still opened for business and stands as a fundamental Second Empire example in Cabbagetown, despite alterations to the interior. Key Characteristics ... Read More »

The History and Architecture of St. James the Less Chapel

The St. James the Less Chapel has served as both a parish church and cemetery for the historic St. James Cathedral for over a century, making it one of Toronto’s central cultural facilities. The rich origins of the St. James the Less Chapel compel tourists and historians from all around the world to visit the Cabbagetown community and walk the Chapel’s religious grounds every year. As St. James the Less Chapel is a also a bold example of Gothic Revival architecture, the structure is considered to be a great pride of the Cabbagetown Conservation District. A Brief History of the St. ... Read More »

John Douglas House: Classical Revival in Cabbagetown

The John Douglas House stands placidly in the heart of the Cabbagetown Metacalfe Heritage Conservation District as a 2 storey residential rowhouse of unique Classical Revival features. Unlike many other prominent styles in Cabbagetown, the Classical Revival trend can only be found at this location and one other — the Canadian Bank of Commerce on Carlton Street. Interestingly enough, the John Douglas House was first modelled after the Italianate style in 1875. It wasn’t until 1891, when architect John Wilson Gray took the initiative to remodel, that the home transformed into an example of Classical Revival, which by that point had become outdated. By ... Read More »

The Toronto Necropolis Chapel

Built in 1872, the Toronto Necropolis Chapel remains a stellar example of Gothic Revival architecture in Cabbagetown,  attracting many visitors from around the world each year. Known literally as the “City of the Dead”, the Necropolis Church’s 7 hectare grounds became Toronto’s second non-sectarian cemetery, after replacing Potter’s Field of Old York. During the transition, 984 bodies were transported from Potter’s Field to the Necropolis Chapel, where they were buried in a special section known as “The Resting Place of Pioneers”. Of the bodies currently buried at 200 Winchester Street, William Lyon Mackenzie, Toronto’s first mayor, and George Brown, a confederate ... Read More »

A Second Empire in Cabbagetown

Second Empire architecture is among the most popular styles that can be found throughout Cabbagetown and in many other districts of Toronto. Originally introduced at the end of the 19th century, many luxury homes were built in accordance to this style. Of course, this was not always the case, and there are many modest homes in the city that resemble the characteristics of Second Empire architecture. 130 Amelia Street One example of a Second Empire heritage home in Cabbagetown is 130 Amelia Street, another property a part of the Metacalfe Heritage Conservation District. As can be seen with the predominant black ... Read More »