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Toronto

The 10 ugliest buildings in Toronto

Posted by Rick McGinnis / September 28, 2010

ROM CrystalThe greatest challenge with making a list of Toronto's ugliest buildings -- or, more accurately, its worst architecture -- isn't where to start, but where to end. Of all the people I consulted on these lists, only architect Graeme Stewart, author of Concrete Toronto, declined to name names: "At my firm, our philosophy is that there are no bad buildings," he said. Everyone else was happy to contribute, and like the top 10 landmarks list, it would have been a cinch to name 50 buildings. Unlike the landmarks list, you probably wouldn't have had many disagreements.

The problem with Toronto isn't that we have so much bad architecture, but that so much of it is mediocre, a legacy of being the country's utilitarian "second city" for so long, combined with a "developers first" municipal bias that's encouraged expedience over excellence, even after we overtook Montreal decades ago as the country's business nerve centre. A lot of very dull buildings have gone up in the wake of our condo boom, but it's as hard to be offended by most of them as it is to get excited.

This list, then, is a collection of real clunkers, notable for either their wildly failed ambitions as their aggressive, daunting mediocrity. Compiling and shooting this list left me with a lingering sensation of collecting locations for a horror movie; not the creaky, dim Victorian haunted house type, but the cold-daylight-and-green-fluorescent-lit urban modern creepshow pioneered - no coincidence - by Toronto residents like George Romero and David Cronenberg. These are Toronto's worst buildings; be afraid, be very afraid.

1. ROM Crystal - I've tried to warm to Daniel Libeskind's showpiece addition to the Royal Ontario Museum, but the three years since it opened have seen my wary curiosity turn to impatience, anger and disgust. The interior spaces are alternately claustrophobic or disorienting; the exterior is a flailing assault on both the original building and the adjacent neighbourhood, and now that the hype is past its half-life, we're starting to get some inkling of how dispiriting it will be to live with it ten, twenty-five, or even fifty years from now.

Which might not be our problem; the Crystal is, after all, a mulligan by the museum, which tore down the 1984 Queen Elizabeth II Terraces to make way for Libeskind's starchitect turn. With that sort of precedent, some future ROM board might not consider another shot unthinkable, and since Libeskind's buildings have a spotty record for holding up to weather - Toronto has a lot of it - it might actually be imperative.

Hudson Bay Centre2. Hudson's Bay Centre - Located as it is at the very heart of the city, it's hard to ignore this brutalist monstrosity, and Shawn Micallef has no intention of doing so: "People bemoan the Eaton Centre for turning its back on the street, but this is worse, at arguably Toronto's most important intersection. This one puts the brutal in brutalism - another thing I'm a fan of, but it's important to call out the bad stuff. I kind of like the Bay store inside - am nostalgic for the big department stores though I wish they'd spruce themselves up British-style - but the wall of concrete along Bloor is unforgivable."

"That entire side should be blown out and replaced with glass, then we'd have a glittering box and we could see the people shopping, and it would continue Bloor's Mink Mile east of Yonge. The squat and dumpy Royal Bank branch sitting high and snooty above the intersection should be completely renovated or destroyed. It is a shame the G20 vandals didn't go further up Yonge Street and attack this one."

Adam Sobolak is willing to play contrarian, admitting that "my treatment of the place practically became a love letter, invoking Black Sabbath and rock-star debauchery, primordial ooze and sludge, gates-to-hell metaphors...and with genuine admiration of how Toronto's "worn" this oft-loathed bunker through the years." He adds, however, that "where while others might single out the Hudson's Bay Centre in toto as Toronto's worst, I'd rather focus upon the astonishingly crude pasted-on refacing of the NE corner of the HBC's parking-garage base on behalf of a postmodern condo tower looming above. As I often like to say: "if you think brutalism is bad, 'fixing' it can be worse."

Bathurst & Vaughan3. St. Clair Place (Bathurst & Vaughan) - "I write about this building in the Bathurst chapter of Stroll and call it 'poo-brown,' says Shawn Micallef. "The brown is fine but it represents one of problems with modernism (of which I'm generally a big fan): they often screwed up how the ground floor meets the sidewalk. This could be a fantastic 'flatiron' building (Vaughan meets Bathurst here at a 45 degree angle) greeting people as they come up Bathurst towards St. Clair, but we're met with a wasteland of wasted opportunity."

"If it was redone (not torn down, but make that podium hospitable for humans) it would be a link from St. Clair to the Bathurst retail strip and the gem of a Library (a Carnegie branch) across the street wouldn't be overshadowed. Now that there is another tower on the northwest corner of St. Clair and Bathurst, it isn't the only thing that catches the eye, and it's beginning to disappear into the neighbourhood more."

Sheraton Centre4. Sheraton Centre - Many sins were committed in the name of modernism, and the Sheraton Centre is one of the worst. The area around old City Hall was once startlingly shabby, with the slums of The Ward on what would be the site of the new City Hall, and a slightly shabby but undeniably urban row of theatres and storefronts facing what would become Nathan Phillips Square.

The burst of civic pride following the opening of Viljo Revell's City Hall meant that they all had to go, and it was Toronto's tragedy that we replaced them with this monstrous slab of hotel rooms and pedestrian-repellent concrete. This is the point where modernism took on a dystopic edge, embodied in the Sheraton's "forest behind glass" atrium, which feels like something right out of '70s bummer sci-fi flick Silent Running.

Even its relationship to the civic centre it faces is dysfunctional; there's a bridge over Queen Street linking the hotel's mezzanine to the pedestrian walkway overlooking Nathan Phillips Square but if you try to enter the hotel from the bridge, you'll find the door locked.

Old Mill Inn & Spa5. Old Mill Hotel & Spa - "I still can't help singling out the Old Mill Inn & Spa as Toronto's most astonishingly wrong-headed act of heritage destruction over the past generation," writes "meta-preservationist" Adam Sobolak. "Out of an Etobicoke heritage realm of Mariposan naivety combined with McMichaelesque stiff-upper-lipped 'we know best,' the ruins of the Old Mill, whose fundamental ruinousness became an emblem of the Home Smith real estate empire as well as Etobicoke and the Humber watershed, were dismantled and rebuilt into an insultingly de-ruined, faux-timbered (but 'useful') concoction, curdling the Home Smith 'old English' vocabulary into overbearing Disney kitsch - an insult to the memory of the Old Mill ruins, an insult to Home Smith, an insult to Etobicoke, an insult to heritage, archaeology, and what have you."

"Such a solution would have been laughed out as destructively time-warped retro-Viollet-Le-Duc absurdity most elsewhere within the GTA; but Etobicoke, I suppose, constituted its own stunted heritage microclimate. Believe me, those of you who want to condemn the ROM Crystal on monstrous-carbuncle grounds - when it comes to disrespect for heritage, the Old Mill Inn is a far worse case in point. Roughly speaking, it's like Richard Serra versus Thomas Kinkade."

Bloor Dundas Square6. Bloor Dundas Square - My sister and her husband lived in this building in the '70s, not long after it was built, and they've both confirmed my salient memory of the place - a ghostly, moaning wind that came from the unfriendly corners of Bloor and Dundas West outside and seemed to seep through the windows and balconies. It was an atmosphere straight out of a J.G. Ballard novel, or an early Cronenberg film like Shivers or Rabid.

Sonics aside, this building is an eyesore, even without the Soviet-style stained and crumbling concrete. (Concrete was invented by the Romans - you'd think by now someone would have figured out its poor response to Toronto's rain and sun, freeze and thaw?) From a safe distance, it's more like three buildings - a banal low-rise apartment stuck on a stump of "poo brown" office block, crowning a bland stretch of retail storefront squatting on a much-tortured intersection. My sister endured roaches and abusive landlords, but a few unsettling months here sent her running to Mississauga.

Metro Convention Centre7. Metro Convention Centre - The words "convention centre" tend not to evoke architectural excellence, and designing a stylish wrapper for a large, utilitarian space is probably an unwinnable war, but did anyone remember that the much-used MCC was located on a downtown city street? The MCC did manage one unlikely miracle, in making smoked glass a plausible surfacing for a bunker-like design; trudging unhappily along this inhospitable stretch of Front, there's never really anything to see behind all that glass. Not that you look, since you're either speeding your pace to get to a more pleasant stretch of street or looking for the next crossing.

The MCC also proves the inverse of my ad hoc "great architecture" rule, discovered while shooting Robarts Library for the landmarks post: I walked the whole circumference of this porridge-brown concrete hulk, and couldn't find a photo-worthy vista anywhere.

Wolfond Centre8. Wolfond Centre - Phil and Margaret Goodfellow, architects and authors of A Guidebook To Contemporary Architecture In Toronto, nominated this recent addition to U of T's architectural makeover for its inability to do one thing well. "Chock with every architectural reference imaginable," they write, "this campus life centre does not communicate strongly what it is and its relation to the overall campus."

Postmodern without being particularly playful, the jaunty copper awning slammed through the upper stories evokes a dull but pun-addicted junior faculty member donning a lampshade to help liven up a tedious mixer, to no one's particular amusement. There's not a lot going on with this building, but it still seems like too much, and probably wouldn't be much improved if it was allowed to spread out or grow a few more floors.

Canadian Tire at Main & Danforth9. Canadian Tire (Main & Danforth) - "Canadian Tires are fine," writes Shawn Micallef. "They sell actual useful stuff, not frilly letterhead or cupcakes or special cheeses, but they seem unable to understand that when they build a store in an urban environment it's different than when they're out in the 'burbs or on the outskirts of Orillia."

"They plop down the same cookie-cutter, one storey design everywhere, so on the Danforth we're left with a 100+ metre wall of dead sidewalk. Same with the Lake Shore and Leslie location. The urban neighbourhood eventually created here will have to deal with this big box blight. Happily, they're not built very substantially and a wrecking ball or tornado could easily take care of them quickly."

77 Elm10. Alan Brown Building (77 Elm) - Architect Uno Prii filled the Annex with at least half a dozen apartment buildings that showed the antic side of modernism, which are probably as close as mid-century Toronto ever got to the high style of Miami Beach or Palm Springs, and he even managed to infuse a bit of that into his Jane Exbury Towers. He tried to bring that playfulness to brutalism with this later project, and might have succeeded were it not for the massive, glaring flaw where this hospital district building meets the street.

Look up and notice the sculptural concrete work on the terraces, looking down on the street below like minimalist gargoyles, and the vertical slab window shades, now considered cutting edge passive climate control. The only problem is that they're perched atop a five-storey parking garage that treats the street below like a potential war zone, to be defended against at all odds. Those five floors of parking will doubtless come in useful when Lake Ontario rises thirty or forty feet, or when they're barricaded and booby-trapped to defend residents from a zombie holocaust.

This the second in a series of top 10 lists on Toronto architecture and landmarks. The first entry was the top 10 Toronto landmarks, which was followed by an impromptu part II, and the conclusion will come later this week with a list of the best architecture in Toronto.

Discussion

156 Comments

The Shakes / September 28, 2010 at 01:21 pm
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OCAD is by far the ugliest P.O.S. in the city, probably in the country, and likely in the world. Also just want to point out Main and Broadview don't intersect, but then again you could leave the intersection out, as all Canadian Tires, regardless of intersection are egregiously ugly.
unimpressed / September 28, 2010 at 01:21 pm
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you forgot to mention the CN Tower
analahs / September 28, 2010 at 01:23 pm
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I think a list of the 10 ugliest landmarks rather than just 10 ugly buildings at random would make more sense. 3,6,8,9, and 10 are really just random buildings. Seriously, Canadian Tire?? They all look the same. Why not put Future Shop, Wal-mart, and Staples on the list. There are also some pretty ugly building in the Jane and Wilson area.
skeeter / September 28, 2010 at 01:25 pm
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every big box power centre should be on the list.
Chuck / September 28, 2010 at 01:27 pm
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I like the ROM crystal...

analahs replying to a comment from analahs / September 28, 2010 at 01:28 pm
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...and the costco near dufferin and wilson...UGLY!!!
Adrian / September 28, 2010 at 01:29 pm
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Actually, that Canadian Tire is at Main and Danforth, not Main and Broadview (which don't cross, being several kilometres apart and both running North-South).
EAST SIDE REPPIN LUMSDEN BOYYYEEEE / September 28, 2010 at 01:29 pm
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Re: Canadian Tire

Main and Broadview don't intersect. Main and Danforth is what I think you should have written.
Wrogz / September 28, 2010 at 01:30 pm
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One day, Toronto will be a homogeneous city of glass and steel towers. I cannot wait!!!

Daniel / September 28, 2010 at 01:30 pm
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Most subway stations are pretty ugly.
June replying to a comment from Chuck / September 28, 2010 at 01:31 pm
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I like the ROM as well. It's a great mix of old and new. Can't believe it's on the same list as most of these tired monstrosities.
rick mcginnis / September 28, 2010 at 01:32 pm
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Main & Danforth - fixed.
Vic / September 28, 2010 at 01:32 pm
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6. Bloor Dundas Square

This one! "Poo brown" barely scrapes the surface. This is definitely three distinct pieces of crap stacked on top of one another. The Crossways complex kitty-corner to here seems to get the bad reputation for some reason, perhaps because it's much taller and visible from much farther away, but Bloor Dundas Square is a thousand times worse. That photo almost makes it look good compared to real-life.
mybulge / September 28, 2010 at 01:33 pm
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The ROM is a masterpiece. I don't know why people keep knocking it. Everything else on this list is spot on.

I despise boxstores and from what I heard their going to put a Home Depot at Queen and Portland. The politicians who approved this should be shot with a nailgun.
qwerty / September 28, 2010 at 01:35 pm
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The ROM is ugly, it's just different. There are plenty of uglier buildings in Toronto than the ROM.
qwerty replying to a comment from qwerty / September 28, 2010 at 01:36 pm
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^isn't ugly
Welshgrrl / September 28, 2010 at 01:36 pm
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I would also add the abortion that is Robarts Library
rick mcginnis / September 28, 2010 at 01:39 pm
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I'd like to point out that I didn't want to duplicate any buildings on the three lists, and that the landmarks were introduced with the proviso that quality wasn't an issue. Judging an ugly famous building forced me to compare the ratio of ugly to famous - this is the result.
Matthew / September 28, 2010 at 01:40 pm
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I’d agree that it’s hard to get worked up at the blandness of individual condo buildings, but the ugliness they create en masse is something to get very upset over.

I really like the Alan Brown building, actually, though the parking garage is unfortunate. But it’s the kind of building I like in scarcity. I admire it as much as any high-Victorian storefront, but in a different way: a city chock-full of Victorian architecture is human and warm. A city rife with these things would look like a city designed by some malevolent artificial intelligence. It’s cool in small doses though, like most things brutalism-y.

Box stores deserve criticism because they’re not just one mistake—they repeat their errors again and again, all around town. Shoppers Drug Mart is a particularly bad example. (Not just in Toronto… in every city I’ve lived in, Shoppers is an architectural scourge.)

And finally, Bloor/Dundas has got to be in the running for ugliest intersections. How about a post on the coolest/least cool intersections, taking into account all four corners? Hmm…
rick mcginnis replying to a comment from Matthew / September 28, 2010 at 01:44 pm
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I want to like the Alan Brown building, and do - above the fifth floor. But the bottom is such a hostile nightmare that it makes the list by failing so badly. When an architect you like - Prii - lets you down this badly, you can't help but take it personally.
scottd / September 28, 2010 at 01:49 pm
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If you are going to mention the building at Dundas and Bloor you should also take a look kitty corner to the Crossways .
adam / September 28, 2010 at 01:53 pm
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i cannot argue with a single entry. i'm sure there are worse. but that is a comprehensive start.
rick mcginnis replying to a comment from scottd / September 28, 2010 at 01:54 pm
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I think I described the awfulness of Bloor & Dundas, scottd, but like Vic said above, if you have to choose, this takes the prize.
Robb / September 28, 2010 at 01:56 pm
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Well, we'd all like to live in super buildings that look great, but let's be realistic. Likely making them "look good" would cost lots of money.

I certainly wouldn't move into a building that was 25k more I needed to spend, but looked fantastic outside, while it's ugly sister across the street gave me the same sized unit.

It's a bit of a curse of our system really, we're not socialists, thus I make my home as pretty as I can, and enjoy it alone or with friends and family.

Why should I spend good money making others feel good about a city? I just live here, and rarely look up! Sad, perhaps...but reality!
Tomasz / September 28, 2010 at 01:56 pm
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Good article.

Though Robarts library, which I'm writing this comment from and am tortured by nearly everyday, is conspicuously missing from your list!
Matthew replying to a comment from rick mcginnis / September 28, 2010 at 01:58 pm
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Yeah... I also usually see it from a slight distance, since I'm rarely on that block, and the parking garage portion is mercifully invisible.

Here's an even worse example of a parking garage facade in my old Calgary neighbourhood: http://www.flickr.com/photos/27908634@N02/3174074673

Plus they clad the concrete in some strange green material. Just awful.

(Not my flickr account, btw.)
bob / September 28, 2010 at 01:59 pm
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How is it that you included the ugly building at Dundas/Bloor, but failed to turn around while standing on that corner to face the hulking, monstrous, sprawling, juts-out-at-weird-angles Crossways building/complex/shopping centre/horror, the horror?
PT / September 28, 2010 at 02:01 pm
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I also find it odd to single out Canadian Tire, given the fact that they're one of the few traditionally big-box retailers who have been relatively successful at integrating themselves into an urban environment with their Dundas and Bay location.
JB / September 28, 2010 at 02:01 pm
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I live near Bloor & Dundas and I can confirm it's a hideous intersection, with the building featured being the worst of the bunch. It's a shame because Roncesvalles is just to the south, and Bloor going west from the intersection is a nice neighbourhood as well, this corner could link the two areas together, instead it fails miserably.

For some reason, folks around here and Gord Perks were opposed to this development across the street: http://www.giraffeliving.com/ and got it dismissed by the OMB. The main reason being that "it was too big for the area" (even though it would be smaller than the crossways complex on the other corner) and that it was "cookie cutter" (I actually think it's pretty distinctive).

I just wish these people would put the same effort into pressuring the owners of Dundas Square to do something to make their property less oppressive.
Alan / September 28, 2010 at 02:02 pm
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there's a building at yonge and adelaide, ne corner that has got to be the butt ugliest building in town...i don't know the name....
Kenny / September 28, 2010 at 02:02 pm
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90% of the condos downtown are ugly. Notable exceptions include 1 King, Tip Top Lofts, and even though they're in Mississauga, the Absolute Towers (Marilyn Monroes). The L Tower too, if it's ever built.

Visually, the MTCC isn't all that bad, but geometrically, it sucks! One winter our work vehicle was getting pummeled by the sliding ice and snow off the roof since we had to park directly under the edge of the slant. Luckily none of it fell on me as I exited the vehicle, but my driver got jumpy everytime the winter debris came down.
Adam replying to a comment from Robb / September 28, 2010 at 02:05 pm
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That's completely ridiculous. Living in a dull glass condo will cost me $400,000. Living in my two-bedroom Edwardian-era apartment near High Park costs 1,450 a month. There is no direct correlation between cost and aesthetic quality--there are many, many factors. (Spending money on high-quality construction materials does tend to result in better looking buildings, but you save in the long run with more energy efficient buildings that require fewer repairs.)

Attractive architecture doesn't have to be considerably costlier. Look at the new TCHC buildings, most of which are far more attractive than their private sector counterparts.
rick mcginnis replying to a comment from Matthew / September 28, 2010 at 02:05 pm
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That is some powerful slab of awful, Matthew. I especially love (by which I mean hate) the way they've crushed the retail at street level under this oppressive overhang. It's like someone took all the rules learned with centuries of city-building and threw them away.
Diego / September 28, 2010 at 02:06 pm
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This entire article pisses me off. I feel like I'm reading Torontoist.

"Out of an Etobicoke heritage realm of Mariposan naivety combined with McMichaelesque stiff-upper-lipped 'we know best,' the ruins of the Old Mill, whose fundamental ruinousness became an emblem of the Home Smith real estate empire as well as Etobicoke and the Humber watershed, were dismantled and rebuilt into an insultingly de-ruined, faux-timbered (but 'useful') concoction, curdling the Home Smith 'old English' vocabulary into overbearing Disney kitsch"

Does writing/talking like this actually make people feel smart?
Veronica / September 28, 2010 at 02:11 pm
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This list is way too subjective.
kmi / September 28, 2010 at 02:12 pm
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the problem with people from Toronto is that they are still trapped in an old puritanist state of mind and when we give them cool looking building like the ROM, or OCAD because someone mentioned it, they spit on it... a shame !
Brandon / September 28, 2010 at 02:15 pm
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As I'm sure people above have mentioned, you forgot the CN Tower, the AGO and OCAD.
uomojon / September 28, 2010 at 02:17 pm
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I like the ROM
T.O. replying to a comment from mybulge / September 28, 2010 at 02:17 pm
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Actually, Queen & Portland is not getting a Home Depot, but a Loblaws, which I'm quite happy about because a good grocery store is very badly needed around the Queen west neighborhood.
C. / September 28, 2010 at 02:27 pm
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I think Ryerson University is far uglier than OCAD.
PC / September 28, 2010 at 02:28 pm
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The ROM is an eyesore
MadeTheList / September 28, 2010 at 02:32 pm
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I live at #6! You should see the craptastic wallpaper jobs on the inside. The landlord turns off the AC from 11pm -6am during the summer because its on the same system as the commercial property! There's 56 residential units... and we sweat it out in the summer night heat! I don't find our side too windy and the balconies are all getting redone. It may be ugly but its home!
Greg / September 28, 2010 at 02:38 pm
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The ROM is #1 in ugly.

The guy at the Gardiner Museum complained to me how he had to look at it all day. I lol'ed.
Geet Dhillon / September 28, 2010 at 02:44 pm
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Rick good effort, just good. Not great.
Mark Dowling / September 28, 2010 at 02:47 pm
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Another upside of demolishing the HBC centre would be that a second East-West platform could be added at Yonge-Bloor station (same idea as being done at Union).

At present that's not possible due to the platform/track location under HBC's foundations.
James H replying to a comment from Welshgrrl / September 28, 2010 at 02:54 pm
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There are many that would argue with you. Robarts Library is one of the primary examples of Brutalist architecture. A good friend of mine thinks it's one of the most lovely buildings she's ever seen. It's a matter of taste. I think it looks like a giant cement turkey though.
MadeTheList / September 28, 2010 at 02:54 pm
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I forgot to mention the guys that play dice for money in front of Coffee Time across the street... that's the best view!
JWA / September 28, 2010 at 02:55 pm
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St. Clair Place is so wonderfully dystopian on a cloudy day. Tears in the rain, na mean. I love it!
hammertime / September 28, 2010 at 03:15 pm
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Most of these are bang on but you forgot:
Rogers Building
Eaton Centre


Canadian Tire? They're all ugly, as are all malls.

mikeb / September 28, 2010 at 03:15 pm
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While I applaud the list, I can't help thinking that without at least one North York building, the list is incomplete. The land of Mel Lastman really has a few uglies.

The TDSB Education Centre would be my choice. It looks like a bunch of German pillboxes were stolen away from a Normadie beach and piled upon the side of Yonge St.
Daryl Fritz / September 28, 2010 at 03:20 pm
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I strongly disagree with Old Mill Hotel. I really like the way it looks.
Derek replying to a comment from Veronica / September 28, 2010 at 03:24 pm
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As opposed to...? The very nature of lists like this is that they must be subjective. I should also note that the author spoke with numerous architectural experts around the city in compiling the above.
jennifer replying to a comment from James H / September 28, 2010 at 03:27 pm
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Ha! I've always thought of it as a Canada Goose.
Marlon / September 28, 2010 at 03:29 pm
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ROM is definitely not in the top ten of ugly. I would have added such malls as well welfare square at pape and gerrard and sufferin mall on sufferin south of bloor. Atrocities!
Aaron / September 28, 2010 at 03:29 pm
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I could do with a lot less Adam Sobolak.
Andrew / September 28, 2010 at 03:48 pm
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I work at the Sheraton and I agree it is very ugly from the outside. Another hotel that is pretty horrible is the Delta Chelsea.
MattB / September 28, 2010 at 03:54 pm
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I would offer up the new Opera building at Queen and University. the front on University is boring, but the back, at York and Queen is criminal. What does this "temple of the arts" offer up to both Osgoode Hall and the new City Hall? A parking garage entrance in a brick box. It's hideous and an insult to the city.
Tai / September 28, 2010 at 04:19 pm
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I'm tired of people ragging on the ROM Crystal. It is such a great addition to a city that is completely mundane architecturally. The ROM Crystal is a step in the right direction for a city suffocating from monotony. I hope one day Toronto is free from the people holding it back and realizes its full potential. Hats off to those of us who can see if for what it really is. Brave, Bold, Daring and at the very least Avant Garde.
rag / September 28, 2010 at 04:49 pm
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ROM = failure.

A hodge podge of bandaids because we were sold a ludicrous architectural bill of goods by people who didn't do their f*cking architectural homework.

That building pis*es me off every single time I walk past it.
Jacob / September 28, 2010 at 04:49 pm
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I love OCAD's "tabletop". The fact that the building pisses some people off makes it even better.
W. K. Lis / September 28, 2010 at 04:54 pm
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To The Shakes, I like the OCAD building. It is not ugly, it is different, and is a piece of art.
The Shakes / September 28, 2010 at 05:03 pm
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Yes, it is "different", i'll give you that. But please don't confuse "different" or "interesting" as "beautiful". It's like sometimes when i take a crap, the crap has corn or maybe nuts in it. That too would be "different", but at the end of the day, it's still a piece of crap.
huh? / September 28, 2010 at 05:22 pm
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okay we get it.

Question is, what are YOU doing to make things better?
Mg / September 28, 2010 at 05:34 pm
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Main & Broadview may not cross, but if you were to extend them both northward, they would intersect near Fairview Mall. I think that fits the bill for an ugly North York building.
Morga / September 28, 2010 at 05:40 pm
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Everyone I have brought to the ROM from out of town loves it. Torontonians just love to complain. I don't mind people not liking it, but the disgust that comes with it is just annoying. I have a feeling the people of this city will have much more respect for it 20 years from now.
Morga replying to a comment from Tai / September 28, 2010 at 05:47 pm
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Well said, The ROM of all places doesn't deserve harsh criticism. Just because its not your taste doesn't make it ugly. It gives the city character, and there is obviously one too many people in Toronto who don't enjoy a little character.
bob / September 28, 2010 at 06:12 pm
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Architecturally, the ROM is far from perfect, but separately the building is gorgeous.

However, if any distinct new building in Toronto is a failure, I would have to say that it's the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.

ps. I really disagree with people saying that the Eaton cEntre should be on the list. Maybe with the renovations, but it's winderful from the inside. Now only if they could make the exterior look like one unified building..
a / September 28, 2010 at 06:16 pm
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Toronto is divided in two classes of people;
"the lost in the past people and the lost in the dream of being cool people".
Joel / September 28, 2010 at 07:25 pm
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I think this list probably misses out on most of the ugly buildings in Toronto by almost completely skipping the inner burbs. You don't know pedestrian-repelling architecture until you've visited Scarborough's strip mall and bunker tower hell.

How about Ryerson University Library though? Quite surprised actually that it didn't make the list.
Jason / September 28, 2010 at 08:39 pm
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How is the Canada Malting Co. NOT on this list?

http://img820.imageshack.us/img820/2040/captureyf.jpg

It is disgusting. And ruins the lovely view from the music gardens
Jay / September 28, 2010 at 08:41 pm
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How did the Canada Malting Co NOT make this list?
It's disgusting

http://img820.imageshack.us/img820/2040/captureyf.jpg

and it ruins the lovely view from the toronto music gardens
Adam Sobolak / September 28, 2010 at 09:01 pm
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Interesting that one of the commenteers mentioned the Lumsden Building at Yonge + Adelaide
http://www.emporis.com/application/?nav=building&;lng=3&id=235503
...because, in the broader sense of "ugly", I'd agree, albeit affectionately. (It's like Edwardian quoining gone Aspergers.)

Oh, and as 70s high-rise urban form, I don't mind the Crossways.
mario83 / September 28, 2010 at 09:20 pm
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lol cdn tire? ever since the big box stores cdn tire has been bulding these monstrositys everywhere getting rid of older cdn tires that were perfectly fine (theres a new one 10 mins from me that replaced one that was a decent size 15 mins away, its now been split into a liquidation store and a immigration services office thats in the old car repair bays) i cant stand the big cdn tires its like going to a home depot (which is just down the street!
seanm / September 28, 2010 at 10:03 pm
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I cannot respect this list as it does not include both towers of the Residences of College Park complex; truly the worst development Toronto has seen in decades.

A lot of the buildings listed here are great as well, but just aren't as pretty as our Victorians from the street. The Sheraton Centre? Sure it's a mess on the ground, but the tower is a fantastic monolith of a thing. A little bit of creative development would go a long way towards increasing the value and our understanding of the era.
piqued / September 28, 2010 at 10:11 pm
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I like the premise but some of the writing here is so pretentious it's borderline unreadable. I'm looking at you, Old Mill Inn & Spa paragraphs.
Keith / September 28, 2010 at 10:14 pm
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Rick McGinnis should stop writing "Best ***" and "Worst ***" articles, because he sucks badly in them.
Jake / September 28, 2010 at 11:05 pm
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I'm also going to toss my name in as liking the ROM. Most people who have written comments about the ROM seem to like it as well. Personally I think the author of this article only put it as number one to echo the comments made by the Washington Post
Greg / September 29, 2010 at 01:41 am
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Count me in as disliking the ROM for one reason. It's not so much that it eliminates the original entrance from the street and I don't find the spaces claustrophobic (but they can be disorientating) it's the quality of materials used on the exterior that makes me bow my head in shame each time I pass by. It stuns me that there wasn't a lawsuit to whoever manufactured the mismatching slats and further, that the slats were never replaced to match. The fact that windows are cracking under the load of the structure and leaks being patched gives me hope that we'll see this mess addressed within the decade.
rick mcginnis replying to a comment from Jake / September 29, 2010 at 03:09 am
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Jake, I've never read the Washington Post piece on the ROM, or any other, for that matter. My dislike for the building is hard-earned and genuine, trust me.

And Keith, it's "sucks badly AT them," not "sucks badly IN them." If you're going to insult me, at least be grammatically correct. You don't even have the excuse of being French, like the guy who called me a "puritanist."
marco / September 29, 2010 at 03:25 am
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Well I agree that different doesn't equal beauty but I also agreet that beauty is subjective.

I think people are missing the point about the CDN tire entry. It is true they all look the same but the one in East York on the Danforth is a major problem because the street has an entire stretch of shops (Danforth Village) and then you have this massive wall of a building that disconnects everything. Architecture is more than just aestetics (sp?) people! (although I do realize the heading of the article) This is why it is bad and moreso than other CDN tires. The same thing is repeated further east on the Danforth with the Zellers store. The BIA has tried to do something with it by adding flower boxes and lamp post banners designed by a local store owenr and it looks nicer but it's not nice to walk or hang out (and not because the stores aren't all Gucci or Versace).

I am one of the Rom haters. I don't dislike the idea. It is visionary in its concept but the inside space is a disgrace to the senses. I don't find it claustrophobic but a padded cell has more charm and the materials probably cost more. Luckily the Rom has a good collection to distract. The outside is another story. I love the entrance and the shop. I also like the outside space where you can sit and reflect, thoughtfully and literally if you look up at yourself in the glass. I love how it reflects the street life but this is where my love affair ends because it was REALLY badly executed. Greg is correct in calling the materials a shame. It's called the crystal but where is the brilliance? There are small little panels of glass and tons of what I assume to be the dullest looking aluminum siding I've ever seen. I would use this material on a parking garage at best but make sure it's in the suburbs connected to a bad big box mall. I think if more effort was made into the finishing touches (both inside and out), it could be a fantastic peice of architecture.

and speaking of mediocrity. I love the AGO; however there are parts that are almost as bad as the Rom in its execution. If anyone has walked up the spiral staircase to the very top and looked at how the spiral is abruptly cut off rather than smoothly blending upwards. It's like the construction workers got to that part and didn't know how to finish it and said "close enough". I have a hard time thinking this was Frank Gehry's vision but this is the first building of his I've entered so maybe he is ok with mediocre workmanship. You also see the half thought out plan when you look out some of the viewpoints. On the south side spiral staircase if you are looking towards the OCAD building there is this amazing reflection of it within the AGO building. Despite me hating the OCAD buiding, this viewpoint is magnificent. I have a hard time believing this was coincidental but if you go to the middle spiral staircase and look out some of the viewpoints you see building supports and/or equipment like heaters or a/c units. Why go to great lengths making all the south side views spectacular but fail miserable in the middle spiral staircase which rivals the italian galleria as a show stopper of the building. It's a shame and shows how we accept mediocrity over excellence. If you are one of the people that says you like some of these buildings you are barely glancing at them rather than really looking at them with a close eye not only for their "beauty" but also for the functionality and craftsmanship!

and the Ocad...again I appreciate the idea and creativity. It's supposed to represent a design college so using a bland boring square box of glass wouldn't cut it. But why does it have to look like something pulled from a kindergarden class? A table held up by colored crayons? I can see a child liking it but that's it. It's the same opinion I have walking through koreatown. The BIA recently painted the flowerboxes with "cute" scenes that would fit as a mural in a childs play center. Maybe if I was looking through teletubby eyes these things would be attractive but I am an adult. I am not saying things shouldn't be fun, colorful or playful but don't architectects understand the difference between a child and adult audience?

and lastly the comment made by someone that made reference to the cost. I would agree with you if we were talking about a suburb bungalow but we are talking about projects in the hundreds of millions that have access to great fundraising and mulimillion dollar donors. If a project like the rom cost close to 300 million and it took another 25 million (just pulling out a number for arguments sake) to ensure that the finishing materials would last but also be attractive then fundraise for that extra 25 million if they needed to. I really don't understand why we have to accept mediocrity in this city. We want to be a world class city but people that visit from REAL world class cities see the half assed work we do and laugh and I laugh right along with them when I am not hanging my head in shame.

I can't stand mediocrity and this list if full of it, rarely for lack of money! Luckily we haven't torn all the Victorian gems (and a few early 20th century ones as well) that I can still be proud because craftsmanship went out to the big garbage landfills after WWII (with a few notable modern exceptions)
Rae / September 29, 2010 at 10:56 am
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You neglected Robarts Library, a building whose hideousness is inexplicably defended by pointing out that it's "supposed to look like a turkey."
abigail replying to a comment from Welshgrrl / September 29, 2010 at 11:33 am
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yes! robarts is terribly ugly, especially compared to the other nice buildings on st george/at u of t.

i do NOT agree that it's a top 10 landmark - studying inside of it is soul-sucking, not 'cozy'.
Dave / September 29, 2010 at 02:02 pm
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The ROM and OCAD are fine. Actually I'd argue OCAD is a fantastic building. It's playful, distinctive and creates a wonderful street level space bellow it. It's interior isn't that great, but utilitarian like an art school should be.

Toronto is often way too puritanical in its architectural morass. Many of the "classic"s people point to now (TD Centre, City Hall or Queen's Park) were once considered disgusting monsters out of place.

Quit being so uptight, and then we'll equal Montreal.
saltspring replying to a comment from Diego / September 29, 2010 at 02:42 pm
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Agree. Reads like one of those mewling, narcissistic, pompous iTunes music reviews.
kurtjerk / September 29, 2010 at 03:50 pm
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I hope nobody paid Rick for this.
hellokyliep replying to a comment from hammertime / September 29, 2010 at 04:14 pm
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hell yeah. that roger's buildling on jarvis is probably one of the most hideous buildings in the entire city. godawful.
we all may disagree about the rom crystal (i like it but understand how/why others feel different) but the rogers building is so godawful that...i can't even...godawful!!
Joseph Walters / September 29, 2010 at 05:27 pm
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The ugliest building in Toronto stands on the North West corner of Dundas / Church St. (it's an apartmment bldg or a Condo.)

It wins hands down as ugliest bldg in TO.
Adam Sobolak / September 29, 2010 at 08:49 pm
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I like how "poo-brown" has become some kind of architectural epithet--for the record, the apotheosis of "poo-brown" in Toronto must be the former Tilden(!) Building at 920 Yonge; and I mean no epithet--true to Tilden, that place is so totally Canadian Prime Time 1970s. (And given how the Veterinary Emergency Clinic's there, it must be dog poo we're talking about)
Gary / September 29, 2010 at 09:01 pm
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I don't hate the ROM crystal, though I don't totally love it either. There are many worse buildings in the city. It's a shame the original idea of a more transparent crystal was not viable due to light exposure to the exhibits inside. The final result is underwhelming yet not horrible.

But I do love the OCAD building. It's unique, colourful and original. We have thousands of gray and brown boxes in Toronto, why can't we have *one* building that is totally unique without getting upset about it? It's an arts college after all, as good an excuse to go crazy as any.

The worst architecture in Toronto is found in the hundreds of non-descript condo, apartment and box stores that meet the street with blank bricks, exhaust vents, or dank unused units set too far back from the sidewalk under looming overhangs that discourage pedestrian activity. There are too many of these to count, but the good news is that we (slowly) seem to be learning and many newer buildings built in the last decade seem vastly superior to their ancestors in many ways.
rapi / September 30, 2010 at 07:42 am
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the sears building on jarvis... THAT is the ugliest building in toronto, also all the pizza pizzas that wrap their red and white diamonds around old victorian buildings and also all the shoppers drugmarts everywhere...
rapi replying to a comment from Adam Sobolak / September 30, 2010 at 07:43 am
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...should be "pooh brown" to sound trully canadian
HUK replying to a comment from rapi / September 30, 2010 at 08:23 am
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Life's so rough, eh?
Matt replying to a comment from rapi / September 30, 2010 at 09:27 am
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You're crazy! That's such a perfectly proportioned and graceful building. It's just damn impressive. It looks massive, heavy, yet somehow, it seems to float there.

Count me in on hating the Rogers building though. And, horror of horrors... I WORK inside it.
Marc / September 30, 2010 at 11:11 am
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These days, around 80% of the whole Toronto's buildings are ugly.

The other day I had come across photos of Toronto and the Front/St. Lawrence Market district from sometime before the 1890s or so, and it was breathtaking but at the same time very depressing. You see the beauty and the REAL Toronto, as well as what could have been, but you also realize the destruction that happened and what had replaced many of the buildings and Toronto's real identity. Toronto's look and buildings were consistent throughout and it was all endless rows of beautiful buildings which resemble a mix of English, Dutch and French basic building style. Think the preserved buildings of Front Street, but continuous throughout the city! Even the layout of the buildings and blocks were like something out of Amsterdam, Paris, and even Quebec City's main area! The type were the buildings work into a square or rectangle, with a courtyard inside in the centre. Good for Quebec City for preserving theirs! At least if a classic building had to be torn down, then aim to rebuild it like the exact original style and character. Oh Toronto, what could have been!
Brian / September 30, 2010 at 12:11 pm
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hahahaha... #3... I couldn't agree more! Fortunately it's now been dwarfed by a much nicer building at Bathurst-St. Clair.
This building could be so much better... someone should rent out the vacant commercial space at the buildings base.
Matthew replying to a comment from Marc / September 30, 2010 at 02:35 pm
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But I think what we have today is our REAL identity. Certainly we've lost too much heritage (and we have to preserve everything we've got left) but the kind of structures we see in St. Lawrence today weren't really continuous throughout the city, or even today's inner city. They were continuous throughout that area and a little ways further.

Toronto never looked like as consistently beautiful as Quebec City, for the most part. We've always been a bit motley and scattered, and still are.
yes! replying to a comment from Matthew / September 30, 2010 at 07:16 pm
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Toronto is beautiful, not like those superficial, fake citites, like Boston, San Francisco, or Quebec City. No one wants to live in a museum, it takes the allure and spontaneity so away.
Marc replying to a comment from Matthew / September 30, 2010 at 09:52 pm
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In a sense, the structures in the St. Lawrence zone were continuous throughout the city, because if you look at photos of the downtown core west of Yonge at that time, the buildings and layout of them were not exactly like those in the St. Lawrence, but were mirroring traditional UK high streets like those from London to other towns there. This type of style is definitely related to those in the St. Lawrence zone, so you had one big Toronto (ie. today's downtown core) that was with marvelous architecture, consistency and flow. This is identity.
Marc replying to a comment from yes! / September 30, 2010 at 09:58 pm
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Boston, San Francisco and Quebec City are much superior than Toronto in terms of architecture, consistency and identity. Are you on crack?! And they are not museums, because their respective architectures and style are what make them and continue to do. It shows their history, present and future. That is why when someone mentions "San Francisco" especially "Paris", a person would automatically thing of a description, image or words about those places. Toronto would not garner quick thoughts or visions. And remember, a museum is a BUILDING itself and holds things/exhibits in it that are yes, old, but are culture and identity. So you cannot call those beautiful cities, museums.
Adam Sobolak / October 1, 2010 at 07:51 am
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Well, those of you exasperated (or enlightened) by my inclinations can always put your money where your mouth is...

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Toronto-ON/Chicken-Fat-Perambulation/178286999119?ref=nf#!
Seanna / October 1, 2010 at 10:30 am
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How did the Old Mill make this list?!?! It's so quaint! If it's so ugly, why are their weddings there every Saturday???? And the apartment on Elm is not deserving of the list either. Everything else, probably.
Matthew replying to a comment from yes! / October 1, 2010 at 11:55 am
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Whoa, whoa, I wasn't saying Toronto is ugly. I love Toronto. I'm just saying it's a patchwork and there is a fair bit of mediocrity in the mix. (I don't think the cities you cite are museums either, but I get what you're saying.)
Dirk / October 1, 2010 at 04:41 pm
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People take comment sections way out of hand. They use it to pretend they are the authority.

Very nice list.
Paulo / October 1, 2010 at 09:25 pm
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ROM Crystal is great, IMO...,controversial, yes, but not ugly. Shearton Centre is a great pick on your list though.

You might want to add:
- Westin Harbour Castle - what's up with that "spaceship" on top?
- 250/260/270 Queen's Quay - awful, fugly, concrete-bunker buildings with massive lake-view-blocking parking garages, right in a great spot. Easily among the Top 3 ugliest condo buildings in the city.

-P
rapi replying to a comment from Matt / October 2, 2010 at 11:21 am
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reminds me of socialist brutalism...and i find it opressive...
The Yid / October 2, 2010 at 01:56 pm
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Re. the Wolfond centre -- Regardless of opinion on the ugly factor, the (quoted) argument that "this campus life centre does not communicate strongly what it is and its relation to the overall campus" seems a little ironic when considering that a) it is the centre for *Jewish* campus life and b) the building is shaped like a very obvious giant chai (חַי) the symbol of life in Hebrew. Just sayin.
no replying to a comment from Marc / October 2, 2010 at 04:02 pm
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FALSE.

Those cities are not better than Toronto architecturally.
chephy / October 3, 2010 at 01:23 pm
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ROM, OCAD, AGO, Robarts and the CN Tower kick ass. They might not exactly be the style you prefer, but they are unique, distinctive and special. I've seen people on foreign websites look at OCAD and say "Wow, I don't know where this is, but it must be a truly creative city to come up with a fun piece of architecture like this!" And Old Mills is all right.

Everything else on this list, though, is ugly all right. #3 and #6 do seem a bit random, and unfortunately that's because we have a ton of buildings like this in Toronto - huge "poo-brown" or grey concrete slabs. Many parts of Toronto are downright depressing.
Yvonne / October 4, 2010 at 02:20 pm
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Toronto IS UGLY!!!
TimL replying to a comment from Diego / October 5, 2010 at 04:27 pm
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I was going to comment on that same ridiculous paragraph. Does it make me dumb to not know what any of those references mean? Is is all architect in-jokes?
The Shakes replying to a comment from TimL / October 5, 2010 at 08:38 pm
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Those are references to the history of the Old Mill, and the historic neighbourhoods that surround it (Kingsway Park, Baby Point and Riverside). The Old Mill and these neighbourhoods were all part of a planned community created by Robert Home Smith around the ruins of an old mill. The ruins can be seen here:

http://torontoist.com/attachments/toronto_kevinp/2010_05_08f1244_it1239__425.jpg

I think Adam's saying the new owners of The Old Mill, have more money than taste.
BRIAN Sokoloski / November 13, 2010 at 04:24 pm
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do not be a snob...a lot of people are jealous they do not own a building in TORONTO...do u want all buildings to look the same..all buildings in TORONTO are good looking...I LIKE CANADA MALTING COMPANY...
Peter / December 20, 2010 at 03:35 pm
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Your comments regarding the Alan Brown Building had me in stitches. Spot on.
ChristieLea / March 16, 2011 at 02:59 pm
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A list of Toronto's ugliest buildings, and you've somehow overlooked the Ross Building at York U?
cheeselover55 / April 22, 2012 at 09:58 am
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this makes me cry no amount of swiss could stop me from crying!
Adam / May 21, 2012 at 08:46 am
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I like the ROM Crystal, despite how inefficient the interior space is. I think it makes the ROM stand out to visitors and people living here alike, making the combination of it and the older wings unique instead of just some other museum in an old building.

Then again I also like the Louvre Pyramid.
Gregory Alan Elliott / May 23, 2012 at 11:24 pm
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The ROM is by far the dumbest piece of architectural garbage in Toronto. Repairing leaks will become so costly it'll be torn down. I give it 25 years. Or... Maybe a bigger ego will be hired to build an uglier structure around it?
EH / May 23, 2012 at 11:29 pm
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Disagree with the inclusion of Old Mill, the interior is due for a Reno, but certainly not the exterior.
Really surprised that Eaton Centre, Mel Layman Square, Yonge+Eglinton, the fill-in-the-blank generic condo development were omitted.
Like many others, the ROM redesign is starting to grow on me.
mark / May 23, 2012 at 11:50 pm
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Ryerson Library Building and POD building.
Najia / May 24, 2012 at 12:07 am
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Rom crystal definitely ugly.
I think the city hall bldgs are just plain concrete ugly... Even the inside is dark and ugly.
JP / May 24, 2012 at 12:50 am
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I like the Rom Crystal too.

Even if it is kind of 'ugly', at least it creates strong feelings looking when looking at it. That feeling may often be 'WTF', but I think there's a place for big, challenging, striking things like that in a city. I like the OCAD building for the same reason.

To me, bland mediocrity (like the Sheraton Centre, the Dundas/Bloor building or the St Clair/Vaughn building) is much, much worse.
Moose / May 24, 2012 at 01:10 pm
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I'd like to add the Peter Street building.

http://g.co/maps/gprze

Cold & lifeless
DAVID replying to a comment from rick mcginnis / August 3, 2012 at 12:43 am
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Dear Mr McGinnis:

Absolutely agree with you about the ROM, and am annoyed that, whenever something new and atrocious is criticised, the, insecure, yokel Toronto trendies level "fuddy-duddy" at the reviewer.

It is utter, pretentious TRASH, perpetrated on this fawning hick town by an even hickier Edmontonian, who blew in here like a great, raw blizzard to publish the Globe and Mail (from whom it has never recovered).

I am delighted, BTW, at your pointing at the "poo" at St. Clair and Vaughan, but I think you err in calling St. Clair Bathurst.

DAVID replying to a comment from rick mcginnis / August 3, 2012 at 12:44 am
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Forgive the extra commas; it is very hot.
Denis / August 27, 2012 at 07:32 pm
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Sorry, but you are all fools indeed... You do not understnad anything about architecture and aesthetics and yet you judge it. You have listed there some of the most progressive and beautiful buldings, but apparently the quality of the people in Toronto does not deserve them. Ok, I understand if you know nothing about some subject, and you would simply restrain from judging. Yet you begin with such vigour talking about the things you have not a faintest idea of. Say, I know nothing about biochemistry, or programming. Have I the right to make any legitimate comments or even decisions about either craft? When you fly a plane as a passenger, do you tell the pilots what to do? So leave the architecture alone too, and do not make your ignorance a public subject. Brutalism, for instance is one of the finest styles. If you do not understand it, you have no right to criticise it. Similarly the ROM, although it is not perfect, it is a great building, amongst just a few in Toronto of such style, which was thankfully built DESPITE the uneducated rednecks as you are, who can only understand muskoka chairs and the ugly birdhouse looking homes.
karol / August 27, 2012 at 07:44 pm
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ROM is fantastic to be honest.
I hate people complaining about slick condo buildings and CN Tower. Juts because you live in Toronto for most of your life and It's cool to not like the obvious, doesn't mean these buildings are ugly. Same like Parisians "hate" Eiffel Tower. Well, they say they do because it's cool to say so, in fact they all love it :)
Dominic / December 28, 2012 at 05:21 am
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Many of the foreign students that I have met in university here in Toronto all tell me that architecturally Toronto is one ugly city. They compare it to their home cities, often either London (U.K.), Shanghai (China) and Hong Kong (China). Many of the foreign students from London just tell me how cold and uninteresting the city is. Many of the foreign students from Shanghai and Hong Kong just tell me that the buildings in Toronto aren't very special or unique, they look mediocre.
Rob / December 28, 2012 at 09:16 am
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I too think many buildings including my own condo are not that great to look at. Problem is...this costs money, and I am assuming lots of it. I do admit ignorance on the cost but can only assume its in the millions to go from utilitarial to "pretty". If my home purchase jumps 20k or perhaps much more....well....perhaps the people who wish to see that can pay for it...not me! We sadly step over the poor on our way to work...what makes one think I care to improve the lives to others...and simply on a visual level. Now if they can give us a nice exteriour for say 1k per unti maybe we can talk. ;)

Does anyone know the costs jumping from average to wow?
Don / December 28, 2012 at 09:33 am
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ROM and The Crystal,fine.

Robarts Library: Hated it when it went up. Now it's grown on me after several decades. It almost works for me. Think it's kind of dark and gloomy inside tho.

Tabletop is fun,love it. But how is it inside? Works well? If so, building is great.
Aaron / March 2, 2013 at 12:00 pm
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The ROM is ugly. Probably one of the ugliest buildings in the world.
Aaron / March 2, 2013 at 12:03 pm
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Some buildings in Toronto are very beautiful (Queen's Park, Old City Hall, University College, Royal York Hotel, Spadina House) but sadly in the mix of all these very beautiful buildings in a string of very ugly ones. Toronto in the 1960s and 70s tried to 'modernize' the city and instead outdated it and made it one of the least attractive cities in Canada.
Ben Smith replying to a comment from ChristieLea / April 6, 2014 at 11:19 pm
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Came for this. Found this article while working on a research project, and I am confident that the Ross building was designed by Satan himself. As bad as it is outside, the inside is Hell (most classrooms have no windows, can never figure out if you need to or are in the north or south tower, etc).
Bob / April 27, 2014 at 04:44 pm
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The ROM crystal is part of a building. Ross Building on the YorkU campus gets my vote.
d / April 27, 2014 at 05:05 pm
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I don't mind the ROM Crystal from the outside so much ... but I'm really sad about what it did to the feel of the inside of the museum. I find it surprisingly claustrophobic in some places and ... they just took away the old feel in the older part. For some reason my biggest complaint is that they replaced the old stone slab steps with shiny new marble ones. Why!? Sigh.

And Crossroads ... ugly when built, ugly now.

But thank you, Rick, for writing this. Some people appreciate your efforts!
Trynie replying to a comment from Chuck / April 27, 2014 at 05:10 pm
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I like the ROM too!
Chris / April 27, 2014 at 05:13 pm
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"The interior spaces are alternately claustrophobic or disorienting; the exterior is a flailing assault on both the original building and the adjacent neighbourhood, ..."

You seem to be suggesting these are *bad* things.

Love the ROM.
David Simms / April 27, 2014 at 05:27 pm
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The ROM Crystal is brilliant! I love it. If you're still a naysayer, consider the concrete ziggurat that it replaced. That would have been worth an honorable mention on this list.
Adrian replying to a comment from Vic / April 27, 2014 at 06:30 pm
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Yep, You got that right, It's FUGLY!! I have to walk by it every damn day and I just gag. Needs to be demolished. It's like the developer changed his mind on the design 3 times during the coarse of construction and incorporated it all together. lol The Crossways is terrible, No baloneys! WTF?!
Julian / April 27, 2014 at 06:32 pm
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outside downtown, Toronto is really really ugly. It's a halloween deco
Orson / April 27, 2014 at 07:06 pm
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well if this wasn't the worst list ever...
Andy / April 27, 2014 at 07:22 pm
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Lotherton Pathway is ugly too
Luckysod / April 27, 2014 at 08:43 pm
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The ROM crystal isn't what anyone wanted. Daniel Libeskind was pushed by William Thorsell at the ROM as the architect not because his design made any sense, but because he was the flavour de jour at the time for his Jewish Museum in Berlin. There his jagged "crystals" made sense, but they made no sense shoved into a Beaux Art building, especially not when, duh, rather late in the process, it finally dawned on Thorsell et al that the glass it was supposed to be made from wouldn't work, couldn't be kept clean, would crack under the weight of a heavy snow fall. That's why it's a metal "crystal" and looks so godawful.

christopher malcolm / April 27, 2014 at 09:00 pm
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The mock subway entrance they just slapped on the Factory Theatre should be in the running for this prize.
Luckysod / April 27, 2014 at 09:03 pm
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Edit: Beaux Arts.
Ugly T.O / April 27, 2014 at 09:38 pm
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Plant more trees - they hide the ugly and give us oxygen!
Sean / April 27, 2014 at 10:56 pm
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Thank you for pointing out that "thing" at Bloor and Dundas West, I have to walk by it everyday and just...look at it wondering why someone would do that. and then cross the street to gaze at the ugly Giraffe building. Bloor and Dundas west is becoming a nice place to live and I've noticed it becoming nicer and nicer but those building gotta go within the next 5 years
Chris / April 28, 2014 at 12:22 am
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How could you leave out this eye sore?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sears_Canada_Building.JPG
John replying to a comment from The Shakes / April 28, 2014 at 06:15 am
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My first thought when opening this article was - "They had better include OCAD"
T / April 28, 2014 at 07:35 am
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The school of architecture building at Ryerson University
Ismail Aboulnaga / April 28, 2014 at 08:47 am
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I appreciate ( Ugly T.o ) comment. I find it positive. It try to improve the status que, suggesting to plant some trees around buildings which judged ugly by most of the people. However it is not that easy as it is suggested. Therefore, it might be an idea ( that costs nothing )i.e. to make competition among school students of each district to propose a project (s) for adding aetheyic touch to the landscapoe around each presumed ugly building\s. Of course, the aim is not to get magic solutions from students , but to collect new ideas fro the suggested projects. Scrutinizing the outcomes by experts might lead to marevellous and creative initiatives>
ZootZ replying to a comment from Diego / April 28, 2014 at 03:46 pm
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I used to work at the Mill before the lousy renovations. Trust me, around there...people think they are pretty special. Education isn't everything? I totally get your point.
Peter Jermyn / April 28, 2014 at 06:10 pm
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Weird. Some of these buildings are actually pretty interesting examples of postmodernism & brutalism. They're not for everyone though, I can understand that.
Peter Jermyn replying to a comment from Peter Jermyn / April 28, 2014 at 06:12 pm
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I agree with Derek though, questions of taste are subjective, and each person's unique perspective is valuable.
David Suzuki / June 15, 2014 at 09:48 pm
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There is a special corner of hell for Architects like Daniel Liebskind where they will get their rewards of eternal Hemmorrhoids and Kidney Stone pain. These people at one time would of been locked up in an insane assylum, but because of our society's completely inverted indeas of right and wrong, beauty and ugliness, we actually give people such as Liebskind influential jobs! I woudn't hire him to take out my garbage or clean my toilets. I would give that job to someone with class.
Jude / July 6, 2014 at 09:46 pm
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Given that the Old Mill is lumped together with the likes of St. Clair Place it is hard to take this seriously.
SteveM / September 22, 2014 at 09:46 pm
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So many bad opinions in one article/comment thread.

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