What is known today as Toronto
's Old City Hall was completed in 1899 and was the third of the city's four city halls. In addition to being used by city council, the building was also used as a courthouse
History and Architecture
Old City Hall was designed by Edward James Lennox between 1886 and 1888. The construction of the building was a massive undertaking, taking eleven years and going almost two million dollars over its initial budget. At the time, it was the biggest municipal building on the continent.
Old City Hall was designed and built in the Romanesque style, complete with arches and towers. Both its exterior and interior were crafted with an incredible attention to detail. Stone gargoyles are common fixtures on the hall's clock tower and in other places at the building's top. There are also several stone carvings of people near the building's main entrance. Lennox even incorporated his own likeness alongside the other carvings, which are believed to represent city councillors from the era.
The interior features a mosaic floor, ornate doorknobs, marble walls and a detailed stained glass window which symbolizes commerce and industry. The interior is two floors high.
The building was also originally used as one of Toronto's many courthouses, as well as for legal offices.
Old City Hall Today
The municipal government of Toronto stopped using Old City Hall for municipal business in 1965 after the completion of the city's fourth (and current) City Hall. The building was nearly demolished but it was deemed a National Historic Site in 1989. The building is still used as one of Toronto's main courthouses and is a popular tourist attraction.
Old City Hall is located on Queen Street, near Nathan Phillips Square and the current Toronto City Hall. Tours are offered at regular intervals, but due to the sensitivity of the building and its interior, photographs are not permitted.
One of the most striking things about Old City Hall is that it's so different from the current City Hall and from other buildings in the city.