Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Damn, That's One Fine-Looking Post Office

This was our eighth General Post Office. It was on Adelaide, just a couple of blocks east of Yonge, at the head of Toronto Street. And it was, as you can see in this postcard from the very early 1900s, totally awesome.

That's because it was designed by Henry Langley, one of Toronto's most totally awesome architects. He also built a whole hell of a lot of our most beautiful churches: St. Michael's Cathedral at Church and Dundas; Metropolitan United at Church and Queen; Trinity-St. Paul's at Bloor and Spadina; Jarvis Street Baptist and St. Andrew's on the edges of Allan Gardens. He even did the delicate chapel at the Necropolis cemetery in Cabbagetown, where he's buried on the slopes of the Don Valley alongside the likes of William Lyon Mackenzie and George Brown. And he built plennnnty more than that, too.

Of course, due to people sometimes being stupid, the General Post Office was torn down. That was in 1958, as Toronto was swept by a short-sighted orgy of modernism. It was replaced by the nondescript glass office tower that stands boringly at the head of Toronto Street today.

And it's not alone. The two blocks of Toronto Street, between Adelaide and King, were once two of the most gorgeous blocks in the entire city. But now, just about all of the old buildings you can see in the photo below have been demolished and replaced. One of the few survivors is the impressive columned building on the very left – which just so happens to have been Toronto's seventh General Post Office.

I stumbled across the postcard on Wikimedia Commons here. And learned about the photo of Toronto Street thanks to a Heritage Toronto posts here. There's another photo of the eighth General Post Office here, from the '50s, not long before it was demolished.

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