Thursday, February 8, 2024

Bamboo & Gargoyles

The Bamboo Garden

We set out today to find a bamboo garden at The University of Toronto. Yup, another suggestion from that “111 places” book, and although we did find the garden we ended up finding a lot more as well. I find this often happens when you set out to explore on foot; you see things you did not expect. 

The bamboo garden was a lovely green space within the Terrence Donnely Centre on the University of Toronto campus. Within the garden are wooden platforms with seating areas for students to enjoy. The greenery of the bamboo was lovely in the rather dreary Toronto winter. 

University College Building

Rather than going back out onto College St. and making our way home, we decided to walk through the Medical Sciences Building and discovered a hallway where photos honoured all the graduating classes of the Medical Students, and we spent a while searching the photos to see when females started to graduate with Medical degrees. As far as we could tell, 1907 was the first year with women in the photos.  

We exited out the back of the building onto a large green space surrounded by beautiful old brick and stone university buildings. We had walked through here previously while looking for another attraction, but today I decided to walk around and look closer at all the buildings. I was particularly interested in the architecture of a large building directly across the green. 

Creatures "hanging around"

I discovered that this was the University College building; the original building of the University of Toronto. I first came to a round building at one end and discovered that the detail in the stonework was really spectacular. The stone trim around the windows and the roof were all completely different. All carved in stone and from a distance looked identical but a closer examination showed that every one was a different design. The more I looked the more amazing details I discovered. The gargoyles in the corners were especially interesting. 

We couldn’t get into the round building, but a door gave us access to the main building and inside was just as amazing. The wood trim around every door and window had corner blocks each with a unique carved design. Everywhere I looked I saw repeated architectural details with  completely different carvings. 

Sculpture of chipboard & shingles

We then found signs indication an art gallery and twisted and turned our way to it, where we enjoyed some really interesting artwork. 

After an interesting day exploring the University of Toronto I came home and did some research on the University College building, discovering that it was built in 1856, burnt down in 1890 due to a tipped Kerosine lamp, and rebuilt in 1892. The building was designated a National Historic site in 1968, and “revitalized” in 2018. It really is an amazing building and a nice way to end a day exploring Toronto. 

Every divider was a different design

Every column was a different design

Every column top was different

Ceiling detail

Banister beast

More columns . . .

The round house

University College Building

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