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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 the late 20th-century movement. 31-39 Broadcast Lane are not heritage homes but must still be acknowledged as Post-Modern architecture in Cabbagetown.

Post-Modern Architecture 31-39 Broadcast Lane

Post-Modern Architecture Characteristics and Purpose

Architects define Post-Modern architecture as a movement that combines “new ideas with traditional forms;” the celebration of “wit, ornamentation, and reference” that had been neglected in the Modernist era. Often through symbolism, Post-Modern architecture communicates, expresses, and constructs a cultural context. Instead of minimalism, straight-lines, and blandness — characteristics of Modernist architecture — architects during this time favoured embellishment, incorporating the following details: gabled roofs, sculptures, double coding, flying buttresses, high ceilings, and trompe l’oeil. Post-Modern architecture is predominant in many major North American cities. Although the most famous structures are not residential, many homes in Canada adopted the style’s characteristics from the 70s onward.

Post-Modern Architecture 288-296 Sumach St.

Elsewhere in Toronto

It’s hard to miss some of the Post-Modern architecture downtown Toronto. If you look towards the water, you will see Toronto’s beloved CN-Tower glistening in the sun, standing tall not only as our city’s icon, but as a distinct example of this style. The new Leslie Dan Pharmaceutical Building off Queen’s Park, most of Bay Street, and Toronto’s City Hall are all commercial forms of Post-Modern architecture, differing from the residential forms in Cabbagetown, but still categorized the same.

Post-Modern Architecture 11-13 Millington St.

About Addy Saeed

Addy is a full time REALTOR® in Toronto, ON with RE/MAX ® and is involved in different real estate projects alongside community and charity events. An avid investor, auto enthusiast, music lover and long time adventurer. He can be contacted by calling 1-877-439-2339