Old City Hall | Toronto | Canada

Old City Hall Address – – Toronto, Ontario | 60 Queen Street West – MAP

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This impressive structure was built for a crazy amount of money in the late 1800’s.

Man who built Toronto - Architect EJ Lennox
Man who built Toronto – Architect EJ Lennox

The greatest design (in our opinion) from the “man who built Toronto”, architect EJ Lennox.  His other buildings include the mysterious Bank of Toronto (currently abandoned on Yonge Street), Casa Loma and the mausoleum of Hart Massey.

Toronto justified this cost because it stood as a symbol.  The city’s tallest structure (at the time) and two buildings in one.  City Hall was here until 1966 and it remains a Courthouse to this day.

Poor Building Decision

Gargoyles hang out from the clock tower.  Look up from the street and they seem like simple accents, but a closer view shows off a Gothic surprise.

Gargoyles of Old City Hall in Toronto
Gargoyles of Old City Hall in Toronto

Remains EJ Lennox’s bad decision.  Not thinking of Canadian Winters.  He should have known these thin statues wouldn’t survive.  Maybe distracted after facing countless challenges from contractors and city officials.

The Gargoyles lasted until 1938 when a large piece broke off and fell to the street below.  Another came off and crashed through an upper floor ceiling.  They were removed and the building remained gargoyle-free until 2003 when much safer bronze replicas were installed.

Lennox got revenge.  He had caricatures carved of all those who made things difficult during construction.  Fitting his face is included…

Faces carved into Toronto's Old City Hall
Faces carved into Toronto’s Old City Hall, that’s Lennox

Almost Torn Down by Eatons

In 1965 Eatons wanted to expand their mall.  New City Hall was opened at Nathan Phillips Square, moving this function from Old City Hall.  Toronto considered it.  The ancient structure was costly.

Enter the “Friends of Old City Hall”, a group dedicated to saving it for future generations.  They succeeded.  In 1989 Old City Hall was declared a National Historic Site.

Interesting Fact :: It’s happening again!  Now we’re looking at 2021 when the courthouse will be moved and Old City Hall will have no use.  Thankfully the threat is gone.  We live in the modern days of “history sells”.

There’s talk of converting it to retail and office space.  However city wants a museum!

The Tradition

20 years later and a tradition has formed.  Toronto reporters want to spend Halloween night inside the famously haunted Courtroom 33.

A reporter and her sister sign up one Halloween.  Going in skeptical and not expecting much.  Then right away they’re plagued by noises from the dark and empty hallway.  Echoing footsteps and they run out to see no one as a door slams in the distance.

Not long after the women are huddled in a corner and unable to sleep.  Then at 3am, the witching hour, they said as “a cool fog” rolled into the room.  Getting up and trying to walk.  They feet stick to the ground as if deep in molasses.

That was enough.  The women went home to the safety of their own beds.

Find out why it’s so haunted…

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