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This is Not a House

Should this be filed under city or arts? I'm not really sure. On the outset, this looks like a picture of a typical house you'd see anywhere in Toronto.

Except for one major difference: its not a house at all.

If you look closely, you can see the house is curiously boxy on the other side of the roof (towards the back yard). Normally, this isn't the sort of architechtural nuance you'd like in in a typical suburban home.

That's because this is actually an electrical substation, cleverly disguised to look like any other house in the neighborhood. This is just one of apparently over 100 such installations in Toronto that were created back in the 50's and 60's by the government to fit in with the neighborhoods they were built in.

Photographer Robin Collyer documented these buildings in 1987 (several photos are on display at the Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art website), after discovering many residential properties were actually owned by the city.

The interesting part is that while 100 of these chameleon buildings have been identified as substations, the city has over 322 properties under its control. Its not known what the others are up to.

Photo from Andrew Goloida


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