Reduce, recycle and rejoin
It was probably inevitable that someone would come up with the idea of turning E.J.Lennox’s Beaux Arts heap, or at least part of it, into a condo
Christopher Hume – Yourhome.ca
For a few precious blocks in the heart of the city around King and Yonge, Toronto looks, feels, smells and sounds like a metropolis. The buildings are tall and the streets narrow. Everywhere there’s a sense that space is too valuable to leave unused. Small patches of green are gobbled up by locals; sidewalks and even dead-end alleys serve as gathering spots, all of them used, if not loved. Then there are the layers of history; this is where Toronto started. The streets are lined with buildings erected by optimists long since vanished. Later decades also left their mark — the 1960s, ’70s and through to our time.
Indeed, King St. E. has been remade by developers; its most neglected corners now eagerly sought after as locations for condos. Our grandparents would have shaken their heads in disbelief, but it all makes sense. Here, Old Toronto and New Toronto meet, for the most part, happily. It’s hard to imagine now, but a landmark as important as St. Lawrence Hall was allowed to fall into disrepair before it was refurbished by the city as a Centennial project in 1967. It would be hard to imagine such a monument being ignored today, but after the civic election in October, anything will be possible.
That, too, is the beauty of the city; it outlives its builders and its inhabitants, first being changed by them then returning the favour.
Condo Critic – The King Edward Hotel, 37 King Street East
It was probably inevitable that someone would come up with the idea of turning E.J.Lennox’s Beaux Arts heap, or at least part of it, into a condo. Built by George Gooderham — he of Gooderham & Worts Distillery and one of the richest Torontonians in the 19th century — in an attempt to push the business centre east of Yonge, its traditional boundary, it has long been a landmark.
But the exuberance of Lennox’s architecture is deadened by the 1917 addition directly east, which lacks the detail and sheer pleasure of the original.
Though it was a social and business centre of Edwardian Toronto; for decades it never quite fitted in as anything more than the Grande Dame of King St. In the 21st century, that’s all changed. The gilded splendour of the old King Edward now shines brighter than ever. Who wouldn’t want to live there? If that isn’t an idea that occurred to anyone sooner, it is definitely one whose time has come.
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