by Serdar Gurbuz Photography
The city of Toronto is preparing a new adjustment that will award local architects with much more credit than before and help with acknowledging their efforts. The proposal suggests that each building should have its architect’s name written in front, thereby providing them with more recognition while motivating them to do their work at their best. Consequently, Toronto could become a world centre of architectural design, attracting architects willing to present themselves to the public. On the other hand, we are not doing badly in that regard so far. In this series of articles, I will provide you with a brief account of some of the architects that have shaped the face of Toronto as we know it.
David Roberts, Sr.
David Roberts, Sr. is the person who is largely responsible for the spirit of the Distillery District. We owe David Roberts, Sr. especially for the design of two spectacular building complexes: the great Stone Distillery (1858-1860) and the Maltings & Cooperage (1863-1864). After he was asked to produce a design for the “the most ambitious industrial building erected in the city to that time,” he prepared a plan for a simple and elegant, grand limestone building that catapulted him to the first class of architects: the Stone Distillery. After receiving much credit for the designs, he was also asked to work on the the red-brick buildings extending north along the west side of Trinity street to Mill Street. Roberts‘ style changed considerably here with this project. He began using decorative features and panel-and-pier constructions instead of plain, thick-walled limestone buildings. His son and successor, David Roberts, Jr. continued with his work and delivered several designs for the area himself.
Hockey Hall of Fame
by Adam Campbell
Darling is one of the main architectural figures in Toronto. He is probably the most important Ontarian architect working in the beginning of the 20th century, and he was a keen promoter of the Beaux-Arts style (a school of neoclassical architecture). He cooperated with several partners but never gave up his trademark style. His designs include many of the city’s landmarks: a University of Toronto building, the Bank of Montreal (now the Hockey Hall of Fame), the Victoria Hospital for Sick Children, and the Dominion Bank Building. He is famous as an author of dignified designs hosting respectable institutions. His innovative usage of granite and good, old-fashioned columns, together with other classical elements, as well as the overall grandeur that his buildings seem to possess make his style easily recognizable. In 1915, he became the first Canadian to be awarded the Royal Institute of British Architects Gold Medal.