On this 2km excursion, you’ll see some of the most innovative buildings constructed in Toronto during the last decade, including those by international “starchitects” Frank Gehry and Daniel Liebeskind, along with several heritage gems. Our walking tour takes us from the intersection of St. George and Bloor Streets, where the Annex, a historic residential neighbourhood, meets the University of Toronto campus, down to the Art Gallery of Ontario. Along the route you will notice how the city and campus flow into and out of one another, enriching the urban fabric. We’ll view the work of Toronto’s own KPMB Architects and learn how they respond to the context of each project, utilize a unique material palette and foster a distinct creative ethos.
Highlights include such historic gems as the polychromatic Victorian Royal Conservatory, Romanesque University College, once described as “one of the most beautiful buildings in Canada” by University of Toronto Professor of Architecture Eric Arthur, and the newly restored Munk Centre, formerly the Meteorolgoical Society.
Philosopher’s Walk, a treasured space that continues to evolve, once marked the course of Taddle Creek, one of a series of creeks that have been buried underground by the city. Incredible though it seems, the present site of Hart House was once dammed up to create a pond.
Farther south, the iconic OCAD University creates a gateway to Grange Park, while the billowing facade of the Galleria Italia, a spectacular glass and Douglas Fir “corset” spans the entire front facade of the Art Gallery of Ontario. Gehry’s design, his first for Toronto, enables museum-goers to see 10,000 new works on display, including Canadian collector Kenneth Thomson’s 2,000 artifacts.