Monday, May 28, 2012

Faces On Places: Doors Open Toronto

Yesterday I started my Doors Open exploration of Toronto with the walking tour gathering at the City Hall lobby, in search of gargoyles and griffins around the CBD.

Terry Murray was our guide, and she was so interesting and keen to share her hobby of checking out these little faces and details in the city buildings. She was also able to share a lot of building history, and quirky stories about many of the buildings she pointed out, which gave me more character back story to Toronto.

Starting by getting to Old City Hall, Terry pointed out many of the details on this Roman designed impressive building. The gargoyles at the top tower are no longer gargoyles in their functional sense, nor are they the originals, being replaced as the first ones crumbled due to the water draining, and become drop hazards to people below. She also explained the architects revenge in his naming rights of the structure, of which my new friend on the tour Tanya had also just explained as we approached.

Getting to the city CBD streets itself, Terry pointed out griffins and the Furious Broker on the panels of the massive, tall buildings all around us.

This building to the left has 4 faces at the top level. There used to be an observation level here, and after inquiring after why these faces had ear piecings, Terry had been informed that these holes were actually where the hand rails used to be!

Our group managed to weave through the masses on Yonge Street to see more quirky details on the many buildings - but missed the panels down in the Queen Street subway entrance due to track works this weekend - one to keep an eye out for!

Finishing at the awning of The Elgin and Wintergarden Theatres to see these little guys, the group had shrunk a little from the large mass at the start, but everyone was so thankfully to Terry for this unique look at the city. She sold many copies of her book, right there. I totally recommend her tour, but I would imagine that you can reconstruct and find many more faces in the city buildings via her book. Or through her very sound advice at the end of the tour - look up!

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