Historic Toronto Interiors

Discussion in 'Design and Architectural Style' started by thecharioteer, Feb 5, 2012.

  1. thecharioteer

    thecharioteer Senior Member

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    Inspired somewhat by Urban Shocker's thread on Top 10 Toronto Rooms, I thought it would be worthwhile to look at a range of historic interiors (most gone, some still here) available on the various archival sites. While we all tend to concentrate on the architectural exteriors of Toronto's buildings, the interiors have much to tell us.

    Starting at the high end of the food chain is a lovely set of interior photos of Beverley House, taken in 1911, just prior to the house's demolition. Situated at the NE corner of Richmond and John, and soon to be replaced by what we now know as the CityTV Building, it was the home of Sir John Beverley Robinson, built in the early 1810's and later became the official residence of the Lieutenant-Governor, before reverting back to the Robinson family.


    The site in 1842:

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    1884:

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    From the TPL website:

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  2. a lark

    a lark New Member

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    Wow, this is really great, thanks for sharing. Such detail in those days.
     
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  3. thecharioteer

    thecharioteer Senior Member

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    Thanks, a lark!

    Another house with a Lieutenant-Governor connection is the John Gordon House on the SE corner of Clarence Square and Wellington West, later inhabited by Sir William Mortimer Clark, L-G between 1903-1905. An Italianate mansion built most likely in the 1860's, by the end of the century the railroads were already impinging on this once-aristocratic quarter.

    1892:

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  4. Tewder

    Tewder Senior Member

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    The exterier reminds me of Castle Kilbride down near Waterloo, which is open to the public for tours by the way.

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  5. thecharioteer

    thecharioteer Senior Member

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    Beautiful house, Tewder.

    One of the centres of late 19th Century Toronto society was Government House, on the SW corner of King and Simcoe (1868-1912). From an interiors point-of-view, any resemblance with Scarlett O'Hara's Atlanta house is purely coincidental (from the TPL website):

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    The future George V and Queen Mary at Government House 1901:

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    From the Ontario Archives (1912):

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    The Farewell to Government House Ball:

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    Last edited: Feb 8, 2012
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  6. Tewder

    Tewder Senior Member

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    Wow. I just love the theatricality of it all.
     
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  7. thecharioteer

    thecharioteer Senior Member

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    For pure theatricality, nothing surpassed the next Lieutenant-Governor's residence, Chorley Park, used for that purpose between 1915 and 1937 and demolished in 1960 (http://torontoist.com/2008/08/historicist/)

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    Demolition of Chorley Park 1959:

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    From Anne Michael's book Fugitive Pieces (1996):

    One of the last walks Athos and I took together was along the floodplain of the Don River, past the brick quarry and cliffs embedded with marine fossils. We intended to sit for awhile in the terraced gardens of Chorley Park, the Government House, built spectacularly on the edge of the escarpment…. We ascended the valley. The hills were scorched with sumac and sedge, cloudy with fraying thistles and milkweed…. We emerged from the scrub of the ravine into the garden and lifted our heads to emptiness. Chorley Park, built to outlast generations, was gone, as though an eraser had rubbed out its place against the sky….

    ‘How could they have torn it down, one of the most beautiful buildings in the city? Jakob, are you sure we’re in the right place?’

    ‘We’re in the right place, Koumbaros….How do I know? Because it’s gone’ (106-08).
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2012
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  8. Tewder

    Tewder Senior Member

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    My word, what a marvelous folly of a place!
     
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  9. LordWanker

    LordWanker Active Member

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    oh yes, past lifestyles of the rich and famous....Shame only one shot was in colour.
     
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  10. thecharioteer

    thecharioteer Senior Member

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    At the bottom end of the food chain;

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  11. Ladies Mile

    Ladies Mile Active Member

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    The large interior reception hall is rather stirring - even dramatic - but the rest of it I find curiously unappealing and stiff.

    The exterior was one of the great eyesores of its day--unconvincing, wooden, bristling with spikes. At least Casa Loma has a genuinely sculptural presence regardless of its innate absurdity as architecture.
     
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  12. thecharioteer

    thecharioteer Senior Member

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    "Eyesore" may a bit harsh. French Renaissance/Loire Valley Revival is not an easy style to carry off and was better done by more talented architects such as Richard Morris Hunt in his Fifth Avenue Vanderbilt mansions. Chorley Park would have benefitted from a lighter touch, less symmetry and more playfullness. Perhaps the stiffness came out of its political programme as a government institution a la Rideau Hall (provincial-style).

    One of the more interesting grand homes of the Edwardian age was Flavelle House on Queen's Park Crescent, which now forms part of the Faculty of Law. Built in 1902, its interiors reflect traces of both Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau influences, in contrast to its rather stolid exterior:

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    Last edited: Feb 10, 2012
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  13. thecharioteer

    thecharioteer Senior Member

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    Thought I'd revive this thread with a little bit of Sherbourne Street in the Gilded Age (or is it just High Victorian?):

    Ermeleigh (SE corner of Sherbourne and Wellesley):

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    Culloden House, home of John Ross Robertson, East side of Sherbourne South of Gerrard (still standing, now Robertson House, a woman's shelter), 1888:

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    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
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  14. archerwinter

    archerwinter New Member

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    They look all very classic yet elegant. Good thing they all maintained its original designs and interiors.
     
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  15. thecharioteer

    thecharioteer Senior Member

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    Ontario Parliament Buildings:

    1901:

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    The original Legislative Assembly in 1893, with what seems to be William Morris-inspired décor (gone by the 1929 photo below):

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    Premier's office 1893:

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    West wing today:

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    East wing today:

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    The Legislative Chamber today:

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    Last edited: May 28, 2014
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