Toronto's Top 10 : Architectural Highlights

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  1. BCE Place

    Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava designed the striking atrium of this 1990 office complex. Its steel-and-glass canopy creates enchanting patterns of light and shadow. Façades of 19th-century buildings have been preserved in the Yonge Street frontage.

    • 181 Bay St

  2. Toronto-Dominion Centre

    Two austere, perfectly proportioned towers and a single-story pavilion of glass and black metal, all set on a broad plaza, are Toronto’s only design by International Style architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886–1969). Built between 1964 and 1971, the complex spurred the skyscraper boom that gave birth to the city’s financial district. Four more towers were later added .

  3. CN Tower

    Defining the skyline, Toronto’s most recognizable architectural icon is also the world’s tallest freestanding structure .

  4. University of Toronto

    Founded in 1827 as King’s College, this institute has many refined, stately buildings, such as the Romanesque Revival-style University College .

    Trinity College, University of Toronto
  5. City Hall

    Causing a significant stir in 1960s Toronto, the design of New City Hall is bold, daring, and unique. Finnish architect Viljo Revell’s two curving towers seem to embrace the central domed structure between them. A sweeping public plaza out front, Nathan Phillips Square, is the symbolic heart of the city .

    City Hall
  6. Old City Hall

    Now a courthouse, this Richardsonian Romanesque building, completed in 1899, was designed by the architect responsible for many of Toronto’s grandest historic buildings, E. J. Lennox. For the best view of the clock tower, look north up Bay Street .

    Old City Hall
  7. Sharpe Centre for Design

    Propped up on 100-ft (30-m) stilts, British architect Will Alsop’s addition to the Ontario College of Art and Design is playful and audacious. The two-story “tabletop” building connects to the main building via a sloping tunnel.

    • 100 McCaul St

    Sharpe Centre for Design
  8. Royal Bank Plaza

    The 14,000 mirrored windows of the two towers (1977) are insulated with 24-karat gold – $70 worth on each window, for a total of some $1 million, money saved on heating.

    • 200 Bay St

  9. Ontario Legislative Building

    The best view of this massive Richardsonian Romanesque building (1892), the seat of provincial government, is from College Street, looking north past the expanse of lawn. Built on the former site of a lunatic asylum (political pundits take note), the richly carved exterior is matched by the ornate interior .

  10. Union Station

    The Great Hall of this 1920s monumental stone railroad station has an 88-ft- (27-m-) high vaulted ceiling .

    Union Station

Top 10 Public Art Sites

  1. The Pasture

    Joe Fafard’s seven bronze, life-size cows in gentle repose.

    • 77 King St W

  2. Three Way Piece No. 2

    Aka The Archer, this Henry Moore bronze, controversial when installed in 1966, is now a local favorite.

    • Nathan Phillips Sq

  3. Wall and Chairs

    Curved walls intersected by a triangle of three chairs echo the severe beauty of city towers.

    • TD Centre

  4. Toronto Sculpture Garden

    Rotating exhibits of contemporary site-specific works.

    • 115 King St E

  5. Elevated Wetlands

    Don River water is recycled as it filters through plants atop large white bearlike forms.

    • Taylor Creek Park

  6. Search Light, Star Light, Spot Light

    Three hollow metal columns are pierced by hundreds of stars; lit from within, they glow like searchlights.

    • Air Canada Centre

  7. Untitled (Mountain)

    A gorgeously layered aluminum sculpture, cut with water jets, by Anish Kapoor.

    • Simcoe Park

  8. The Audience

    Boisterous “fans” spill out of the SkyDome in this frieze by Michael Snow.

  9. Woodpecker Column

    Woodpeckers strike at a 100-ft (30-m) column.

    • 222 Bremner Blvd

  10. City People

    Colorful aluminum figures spin softly in the breeze.

    • Royal Bank Plaza

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