This week's Throwback Thursday takes us to Yonge Street and Charles Street West in Downtown Toronto, comparing two images captured over five years apart that bookend a heritage restoration. Back in May, 2015 the 1889-built Robert Barron Building at 728 Yonge Street was showing clear signs of disrepair and age. Anchored by Shoppers Drug Mart, the three-storey building had been cleared of tenants in preparation for a project that would restore parts of the building to resemble their original condition, while replacing others with new-build sections to host an expanded retail footprint.

Looking west to 728 Yonge, May, 2015, image by Craig White

Just over five years later, the project is now complete. The heritage building's east and north elevations have been meticulously restored—heritage element restoration was overseen by specialists ERA Architects—while a lost cornice has been replicated above. The original retail entrance was faithfully recreated, with signage that now fits into the period design. New modern frontages have been added to the south and west, designed by architects Brook McIlroy. Behind these facades, the new structure—rebuilt with cross-laminated timber—is home to an expanded Shoppers Drug Mart. 

Looking west to 728 Yonge, June, 2020, image by Forum contributor AlbertC

We will return next week with another look at the changing face of Toronto. In the meantime, you can submit your own Throwback Thursday comparisons in our dedicated Forum thread for your chance to be featured in next week's edition.

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