Signs of the Times: Documenting Toronto’s Heritage Signage

Article by Debbie Adams

HAVE ALWAYS BEEN FASCINATED by signs. My great uncle made neon signs. My grandfather was a sign painter. As a child, I recall visiting his Nanaimo sign workshop in the dirt-floored basement of his house, watching him hand-letter signs. As early as 1978, I photographed the then plentiful neon signage in Vancouver for a …

What Buildings Tell: Fossils Hidden in Plain View

Article by Ingrid Birker

HE DECORATIVE FEATURES OF BUILDINGS are usually the result of an intentional design process that begins with the architect’s vision and develops through a myriad of choices about materials and construction. But sometimes serendipity enters the picture, offering surprising adornments that can yield rich decorative treasures.

As someone who teaches paleontology, I am used …

Editorial: Utilities in the City

John Fleming
OWEVER SIMPLE A STREET OBJECT in an urban setting may be in form and function, it carries through its material presence an innate aesthetic content, within the concrete manifestation of services provided in a public space. From a plain, apparently unadorned lamp standard (pure function perhaps) to an Art Nouveau subway entrance in an identifiable style (direct …

The Beauty of the Thing: The Chapel of Sainte-Cécile in the Village of Calixa-Lavallée

Chapelle de Sainte-Cécile

Article by Jacques et Nicolas Boulerice


eaning on his shovel in silence, a man called Pierre Moussard stands in the snow. In the madness and folly of the world, he dreams of creating his own historic “folly,” but of a very
different kind. His intention is to build a perfect Quebec chapel: perfect dimensions, perfect curves, perfectly set …

A Passage Through Time And Space: The Hall in Victorian Row-house Architecture

Ground-floor hall of Mackenzie House Museum in Toronto

Article by Lindsay Rose-McLean


s a gateway into the home, the front hall serves to convey an important first impression of wealth, status, and aesthetic taste. Nowhere more consciously constructed was this
impression than in typical row-house architecture of the mid-Victorian period. Also referred to as town-house, or terrace architecture, row housing was a popular solution of the …

The School of Restoration Arts at Willowbank


Julian Smith


The idea for a School of restoration Arts at Willowbank came to Laura Dodson,
a Heritage Canada Board Member, during the time she was president of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Conservancy. She happened to visit a church in Toronto and saw young people learning to gild under the guidance of a master gilder, as part of the restoration …

deco in the detail

The Aldred Building

Article by Paul G. Russell

he complex background of forces that lies behind what came to be called Art Deco retrospectively in 1966 is an amalgam of political movements, competing aesthetic theories, painterly avant-gardism and interest in exotic and ancient sources of inspiration. All this led to a major shift in architecture, as in the arts generally, away …