Temple Building Toronto

The tragic fate of the Temple Building

The Temple Building is one of those lost Toronto landmarks that I'm amazed I haven't posted about before. Well, I guess technically I have. It ranked high on Top 10 buildings lost to demolition list that I put together a while ago. Still, considering just what an architectural gem the building was prior to its unceremonious demolition, it's high time to share a few more photos from the archives.

Designed by local architect George W. Gouinlock in a Romanesque Revival that Old City Hall would come to compliment a few years after its construction in 1896, the Temple Building was arguably the first skyscraper built in Toronto, and the tallest building in the city for a brief period. Home to the world headquarters of the Independent Order of Foresters (IOF), a fraternal society and charitable institution lead by Dr. Oronhyatekha, a prominent First Nations entrepreneur, it would stand until 1970.

The reason for its demolition was pretty simple. At the time it was deemed an outdated building in an area where office space was in high demand. Although there was some discontent at the prospect of its loss, I've found no records of organized protests or the like (which did happen when Old City Hall came under threat by an earlier version of the Eaton Centre). In its place sits the Queen-Bay Centre, which though not an awful building, will always pale in comparison to its predecessor.

Sometimes one just wants to ask: why Toronto, why?

Photos

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Its replacement...

Queen and Bay Toronto

Photos from the Toronto Archives with the exception of the interior shot and the photo of the Queen-Bay centre, which are from the Wikimedia Commons and royhenry, respectively.


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