This week's Throwback Thursday takes us to Overlea Boulevard in the Thorncliffe Park area of the former Toronto borough of East York. Like many of Toronto's inner suburban areas, the mid-20th century saw the area built out with many high-rise residential developments following the Tower-in-the-Park style typical of the era. Supporting all this residential density, low-rise business parks and office buildings were built to similar standards, featuring Modernist designs with wide lawns separating them from sidewalks and roads.

Among these, beverage giant Coca-Cola moved into a sparkling new Mathers and Haldenby-designed office and bottling facility at 42 Overlea Boulevard in 1965. Coca-Cola would relocate its offices to a new Downtown location in 2012, and the following year, the heritage-designated building on Overlea was the subject of a redevelopment proposal. Plans were eventually approved with the retention of the 1965 building's front to be incorporated into a new Costco big-box store. The image below, captured in October, 2017, shows the retained front shortly after the main structure's demolition while new steel construction is taking shape in behind.

Former Coca-Cola HQ, October, 2017, image by Forum contributor Fidlefadle

The same angle three years later shows the cleaned up old front of the office building, dazzlingly lit and incorporated into the new structure. Through the glazed walls, you can see incongruence between the architectural style and the building's new use: the former front doors of the office building—which once led to an interior with an aesthetic straight out of Mad Men—now serve as an exit for one of Costco's nondescript eateries, known more for their loss-leader food items than their sense of style.

Former Coca-Cola HQ frontage, now part of Costco, October, 2020, image by Jack Landau

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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