EXHIBITION PLACE - YOURS TO RE-DISCOVER, YOURS TO RE-IMAGINE
by Richard Longley
Theme: Arts & Culture, Environment, History & Culture, Diversity & Inclusion
Accessibility: Family - Friendly, Triggering Content
A self-guided tour of a great Canadian architecture, from Toronto’s oldest building through beaux arts and art deco to mid-century modern and beyond. Amazing buildings scattered in a landscape that is desolate when big events are not on. How would you revitalize Exhibition Place, make it greener, more accessible, more beautiful, more creative, more entertaining and more active, year round? A walk that connects to Ontario Place where the same questions need to be asked – and answered.
IN A LANDSCAPE THAT YEARNS FOR REVITALIZATION
(CONNECTS TO JANES WALK ONTARIO PLACE - TRILLIUM PARK)
TRANSIT to TTC loop, Exhibition GO Station (north of the Coliseum (#24):
509 Harbourfront streetcar (Union Station - Exhibition Place)
511 Bathurst streetcar (Bathurst Station - Exhibition Place)
29 Bus (Dufferin Station - Exhibition Place)
BY BIKE OR ON FOOT:
Princes’ Gates (#1 – from the west)
Dufferin Gate (#15 – from the east)
Ontario Place – Martin Goodman Trail (from the south, east and west)
If on the day of your walk there is little happening at Exhibition Place, you will be dismayed by its emptiness, its bleak deserts of parking lot (among the most valuable land in Canada) that are needed for the staging of the CNE, the Caribbean Festival the Molson Indy and other big events but are otherwise almost empty. How would you make Exhibition Place more accessible, greener, more humane, with activities that would keep it alive, creative, entertaining and contemplative, year round, in ways that mesh well with Ontario Place, the communities around it and the City as a whole?
For Exhibition Place thoughts on its future: Next Place – Exhibition Place go to Master Plan then Phase 1 Proposals Report (you may want to skip to p97, Emerging Master Plan Strategies)
EXHIBITION PLACE MAP
STOP 1: PRINCES' GATES, CHAPMAN & OXLEY, ARCHITECTS 1927
Opened by H.R.H. Edward, Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VIII) and his brother, Prince George (the future King George VI and father of the present Queen, Elizabeth II). Nine pillars on either side of the centre arch represent the then provinces of Canada (Newfoundland joined Confederation in 1949).
"Goddess of Winged Victory," by Charles McKechnie, sculptor.
STOP 2: BEANFIELD CENTRE, DOUGLAS KERTLAND, ARCHITECT, 1929
Originally the Automotive Building, now a Beanfield Metro Connect conference centre
STOP 3: HOTEL X, NORR ARCHITECTS 2018
(Excellent views from its penthouse restaurant)
PROPOSED: 7,000 seat “Esports Performance Venue” with second X tower, Populous Architects for OverActive Media, to open 2025.
To be built on the parking lot west of the Stanley Barracks;
STOP 4: STANLEY BARRACKS
1841, built to replace Fort York originally six buildings around a parade square.
Named for Governor General who donated the Stanley Cup. Between 1951 and 1953, five of the buildings were demolished, leaving only the Officers' Quarters, which housed the Marine Museum from 1959 until 1998. Here, as they were in their glory days.
STOP 5: BMO FIELD, BRISBIN BROOKS BEYNON ARCHITECTS, 2007, FORMER EXHIBITION STADIUM
Fifth of four Grandstands; first built 1879. Enlarged 1895. Destroyed by fire 1906, replaced 1907.
Destroyed by fire 1946, replaced 1948.
Stadium added to the south side in the 1970s. Home of Toronto Blue Jays 1977-1989. Grandstand and Stadium demolished in 1999. Currently home to BMO Field, Canada's first soccer-specific stadium, home of the Toronto FC and the Toronto Argonauts.
STOP 6: BETTER LIVING CENTRE, MARANI, MORRIS & ALLEN ARCHITECTS, 1962
Streamlined midcentury modern, replaces the Manufacturer's Building which burned down in 1961.
STOP 7: SHRINE MONUMENT
June 12, 1930, the Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.
A "Peace Memorial," to commemorate over 100 years of peaceful relations between Canada and the United States. Charles Kreck Sculptor (a member of the Kismet Temple of Brooklyn, New York.)
STOP 8: BANDSHELL, CRAIG & MADILL ARCHITECTS, 1936
Modeled after the Hollywood Bowl, Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians, Louis Armstrong, the bands of the Scots Guards and the Royal Marines have played here.
STOP 9: FORT ROUILLÉ, 1750-51
named for Antoine Louis Rouillé, Secretary of the Navy for King Louis XV of France. Burned 1759 (year of Wolf’s victory at Quebec) when threat of English invasion forced its destruction.
Path around the obelisk built in 1887 marks the outline of the fort walls.
STOP 10: SCADDING CABIN, 1794
Toronto's oldest existing home, built for John Scadding who accompanied Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe to Upper Canada in 1792. Moved to the Exhibition grounds from the east bank of the Don River (at Queen Street) in 1879 by the York Pioneer and Historical Society to mark inauguration of the Toronto Industrial Exhibition.
STOP 11: WIND TURBINE, 2002
$1.4 million dollar joint project of Windshare Cooperative and Toronto Hydro. It stands 95m and produces 1,800-megawatt hours of energy per year, enough electricity to power 250 homes.
(Photo from Ontario Place, with the Liberty Grand).
STOP 12: LIBERTY GRAND, CHAPMAN & OXLEY, ARCHITECTS,1926
Unique, three-sided structure in Beaux-Arts style built to house exhibits of the Ontario Government.
Marilyn Bell, age 16, swam 51.5km across Lake Ontario from Youngstown, New York to Toronto September, 8-9, 1954. Slowed by attacks by blood-sucking lampreys and 5m high waves that forced her to swim much further, her swim took 20 hours, 59 minutes. This plaque in her honour is fixed to the plinth of one of the two lions in front of the Liberty Grand.
STOP 13: MEDIEVAL TIMES (SINCE 1993) GEORGE W. GOUINLOCK, ARCHITECT, 1912
Originally the Government Building, later the Arts, Crafts and Hobbies Building.
STOP 14: OVO ATHLETIC CENTRE, 2016, TORONTO RAPTORS BASKETBALL TRAINING CENTRE.
STOP 15: DUFFERIN GATE
rebuilt 1895, 1910, 1959. Before the Princes' Gates it served as the main entrance to the Exhibition grounds. In 1959, construction of the Gardiner Expressway necessitated the demolition of the 1910 gate, which was replaced with the current parabolic arch.
STOP 16: HORTICULTURE BUILDING
George W. Gouinlock architect, 1907. Built to replace the Crystal Palace, which burned to the ground in 1906. Currently leased to Grand Bizarre Beachclub Restaurant that offers “Poolside Eats; a four-days Socially Distanced Brunch & Supper at Toronto's largest poolside patio restaurant.” and to Toronto Sport Club “A new arena to feel the energy of live sporting events in a specifically designed suite, complying with all municipal and provincial bylaws regarding COVID-19.” But on the outside, hidden by hideous hoardings
Garden of the Greek Gods, E. B. Cox, Sculptor, 1960s. Hard to find, crammed in between the fence and event space hoardings on the south side of the former Horticultural Building.
STOP 17: PRINCESS MARGARET FOUNTAIN, 1958.
Replaced "A replica of a fountain in St. Peter's Square, Rome, that was presented to the Canadian National Exhibition in 1911 by Mr. George H. Gooderham during his final year as President.”
STOP 18: PRESS BUILDING, GEORGE W. GOUINLOCK ARCHITECT, 1905
Administrative Building of the CNE Association, 1905-1957 when it became the Press Building; now, gain the CNE Association.
STOP 19: QUEEN ELIZABETH BUILDING, PETER DICKINSON ARCHITECT, 1957
Originally the Women's Building midcentury modern masterpiece with folded plate roof by a wunderkind architect who died one week short of his 36th birthday.
Mother and Child, on the Queen Elizabeth Building, Frances Loring Sculptor, 1957
STOP 20: MUSIC BUILDING, GEORGE W. GOUINLOCK, ARCHITECT, 1907
Originally the Railways Building, showcased displays of the Grand Trunk, Canadian Northern and Canadian Pacific Railways.
Music Building since 1968. Now the Toronto Fashion Incubator.
STOP 21: FIRE HALL AND POLICE STATION, G.W. GOUINLOCK, ARCHITECT, 1912
Houses the Toronto Fire Department during the CNE. Toronto Police year-round.
STOP 22: FOOD PRODUCTS BUILDING, 1954
Replaced the original Food Building constructed in 1921.
STOP 23: HORSE PALACE, JAMES JOHN WOOLNOUGH, CIVIC ARCHITECT, 1931
in Art Deco style with bas reliefs of horses on its façade. 1942-1946, barracks for Canadian Army recruits. Today, home to Toronto Police Mounted Unit and Exhibition Riding Academy.
STOP 24: COCA-COLA COLISEUM, GEORGE F. W. PRICE ARCHITECT, 1922
Home of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and the Royal Horse Show
STOP 25: ENERCARE CENTRE, ZEIDLER PARTNERSHIP AND DUNLOP-FARROW, ARCHITECTS, 1997
Originally National Trade Centre then Direct Energy Centre; largest trade show facility in Canada, sixth largest in North America.
END OF EXHIBITION PLACE WALK
Recommend next jane’s walk ontario place – trillium park access bridge over lakeshore boulevard to ontario place a second, connected opportunity to discover or re-discover to imagine, to wonder: how to revitalize, beyond special events, to year round?