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TOUR: Art & Architecture of Old City Hall

Updated: Mar 22, 2023


Old City Hall is full of nooks and crannies because it was the second largest municipal building in North America after Philadelphia's when it opened in 1899. It was designed by Toronto architect E. J. Lennox in the Romanesque Revival style developed by H. H. Richardson. His finest example is the Allegheny Country Courthouse in Pittsburgh, completed in 1888. Lennox's version has British-Canadian flourishes like the fearsome, crowned lion by the front doors.

It took 10 years to build OCH out of sandstone from the Credit River valley, grey stone from near Orangeville and brown stone from New Brunswick. The workmanship in stone, wood, metal, tile, paint and glass is outstanding. Only an unfixed rip in a faux "marble" column reveals some clever fakery.


Fortunately, block-sized OCH is so massive that even if construction happens in one or more sections of it after the courts leave, there is more than enough space to conduct tours.

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