Monday, September 18, 2023

Modern Scenes on St. Claire

A Modern Building

When you hear something referred to as “modern”, you think of things recent or new, but in fact, I discovered that when referring to architecture, “modern” refers to building built in the 1960’s. Duh . . . I did not know that.

I got a notification on an online newsletter for a walking tour of “modern” buildings on St. Claire Street. This was a reasonable distance from the condo and easily accessible via the subway, so I decided to register for the event. It was being run by The Toronto Heritage Society and the tour leader was a photographer, so I was interested in not only learning something about the city but also the picture taking aspect of the tour. 

The tour started and ended at the St. Claire/Yonge St. subway station and it was only two km

The subway station at St. Claire

long and mostly on city sidewalks. All we actually did was walk around the city block where the subway station is located. 

The actual theme of the walk was about the “modern” architecture on St. Claire St. I discovered that the “modern” referred to the buildings built in the 1960’s. The subway was extended up to this area of the city in the 60’s and the area rapidly expanded as a popular residential area. The leader is a photographer who is working his way around the city recording all the buildings from this period of the city’s history. He stopped and explained the features of various commercial, residential, and government building. For example, did you know that buildings built with brick, usually have five rows of bricks laid lengthwise and then one row laid with the narrow side facing out, or that zig-zag patterns were popular in “modern” buildings? 

The "Ugly" building (In the back)

Personally, I found that most of the buildings he was so fond of were kind of boring, and one building from the 60’s that he said had been ruined when it was renovated recently, I felt was actually quite attractive. He felt that it would have been better to have been torn down, but I laughed with  another participant that in ten years we would be going on a tour which focused on the “ugly” buildings which he disliked. 

At one point he explained how one building was one of the most beautiful and advanced “Condo” building in the area and actually started the concept of the “Condo”, where people actually owned their apartments. He explained that he had been in the building’s entryway, but would have liked to see one of the actual condo’s, but that most of them were still occupied by the original owners so he wasn’t even able to pretend to be interesting in purchasing a “for sale” unit. He was pleasantly surprised when a lady along on the walk, came forward and said she lived in the building and had been there since it was built and was willing to invite him to come visit her condo. 

Discussing the tour

Not only did I get a nice walk in, I met some nice Toronto folks, and I learned a bit more about the city. I will be watching the society’s website for any other interesting walks. I notice that there is one about the Necropolis in my neighbourhood that might be interesting?

Below are some of the "Modern" buildings we visited.

Can you see the Zig-Zag wall here

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know the 60's thing either. Go figure! Just think how close we came to being "modern" folk!