Learning Unlimited
Winter 2021 Tuesday Lecture Series

Toronto’s Architectural History:  Examining the Buildings, Design, and Evolution of Toronto’s Historic Streets

ran from Tuesday, January 12 to March 16, 2021 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon

ZOOM Session


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Coordinator and Presenter: Marta O’Brien, Architectural Historian

Course OverviewHave you ever wondered about the stories behind some of Toronto’s oldest streets? Using archival and recent images, we’ll examine the history of a selection of streets through the changes in built form.

January 12: Front Street – Running just north of the original shoreline, Front is one of Toronto’s oldest streets. Parts have come full circle with the return of residences after a long commercial period.

January 19: Adelaide Street – This Street has held important civic buildings and distinctive commercial towers. At the same time, there are still modest houses outside of the downtown.

January 26: Jarvis Street – Once home to the city’s wealthiest families, Jarvis experienced a significant downturn in the 20thcentury. Its remarkable renaissance includes heritage building restorations.

February 2:  College Street – This long street features a wide variety of building types. We’ll see an iconic former department store, parts of the University of Toronto, and intriguing “lodge” halls.

February 9: Spadina Avenue – Distinctive districts that call Spadina home include the Fashion District and Chinatown. Condo towers crowd its southern end, yet houses are still found further north.

February 16: Bay Street – Bay St. hosted modest houses and neighbourhood churches long before becoming the spine of the Financial District. Further north, it’s condo towers instead of bank towers.

February 23: University Avenue – Toronto’s grand boulevard began as a road to its first university. It has since seen important public buildings, hospitals, and some of the first Modern architecture in the city.

March 2:  St. George Street – This once-posh street still has some grand houses – some occupied by university departments. There’s also a wide assortment of old and new academic buildings.

March 9:  King Street – Repurposed factories, new condos, and century homes can all be found on King along with the Financial District, Entertainment District, and new neighbourhoods.

March 16: Queen Street West – Much of the built form along Queen West has not changed since the early 1900s. There’s a variety of commercial, civic, and residential architecture in its various neighbourhoods.


Books, websites and Archives

Researcher/Committee Contact and Chair:  Loretta Fines