Architectural Landmark For Sale

Frank Lloyd Wright’s famed ‘Ennis House’ is to be sold.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s famed, long-endangered Ennis House, which served as a location for films such as “Blade Runner,” is putting out a “for sale” sign with a $15 million asking price, Christie’s said on Friday.

The 6,000-square-foot Los Angeles estate is being sold by the Ennis House Foundation, which recently completed the initial phase of a stabilization and restoration project after years of decay and damage from earthquakes and torrential rains. In March 2005, it was placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s most-endangered list.

See full story on MSNBC »

June 20, 2009 in Toronto Landmarks | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Doors Open Toronto Weekend

Doors Open Toronto will be showcasing up to 150 venues of architectural, historic, cultural or social significance on Saturday, May 24 and Sunday, May 25. Among the 42 new sites on this year’s roster are many of the city’s finest churches, chapels, temples, synagogues and mosques. From architectural landmarks to hidden gems, doors will be open everywhere.

The event officially runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. However, each building determines its own hours (and last admission times). Look for a Doors Open Toronto banner at participating sites and expect a warm welcome.

There are no tickets or pre-registration required. Admission is free.

Search the listings of featured properties at

May 23, 2008 in Toronto Landmarks | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monster Open House for Toronto

Doors Open Toronto

The City of Toronto is presenting its the 9th annual Doors Open Toronto on the weekend of May 24 and 25 when up to 150 buildings of architectural, historic, cultural and social significance open their doors to the public for a city-wide celebration.

The program allows visitors free access to properties that are either not usually open to the public, or would normally charge an entrance fee. Many locations have organized guided tours, displays and activities to enrich the visitor experience.

From heritage landmarks to modern structures, hidden gems, green roofs, places of worship, halls of learning, boardrooms, bedrooms, breweries, lighthouses, mansions, museums, theatres, national historic sites, centres of rail travel, cemeteries, factories, banking halls, architects' offices and more.

Doors Open Toronto is intended to help people get to know the city, whether they've lived in Toronto all their lives or visiting for the first time. You can see Toronto like you've never seen it before!

For more informatiom visit the Doors Open Toronto website »

May 11, 2008 in Toronto Landmarks | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Family Fun in Toronto

This being spring break in Toronto, here is a list of places, published by, to keep kids of all ages — and their parents — amused.


A DORA FIESTA Dora the Explorer and her cousin Diego are greeting their pint-sized fans at the CN Tower on March 8 and 9. After meeting these Nickelodeon superstars, more fun and games await with activity sheets and giveaways. Adults $21.49, seniors $19.49, and children (age 4-12) $14.49. 301 Front St. W., 416-868-6937.

FUN BOX Spoil your baby or toddler with a unique box of treats from Spotted Zebra. Known for its unique gifts, the store puts together a package that includes items like bibs, books and stuffed animals from popular children’s brands such as Dwell, Schylling and Alex. Open daily. 1062 Yonge St., 416-944-0251.

EE I EE I O Original puppets bring a classic childhood song to life on March 29 and 30 when the Solar Stage Children’s Theatre presents “Old McDonald Had a Farm.” Kid-friendly cushioned seats provide ample room for wiggling around. Tickets $13. 100 Upper Madison Ave., 416-368-8031.

PLAY HOUSE Children between the ages of one and six can “play house” at Mary’s Playland. Set up like a mini town, here little ones can stimulate their imaginations with trips to the pint-sized grocery store, beauty salon or auto-repair shop. The newly opened Tranquility Family Day Spa is perfect for parents in need of some R&R. $10 per child. Open daily. 2885 Bloor St. W., 416-236-KIDS.

BOOKWORMS At Mabel's Fables, the wonder of the written word is celebrated daily. Surrounded by cozy, starlit walls, kids can snuggle up for some cherished reading time. Explore the unknown with Canada’s newest favourite character, Scaredy Squirrel, in the latest book Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach ($16.95) by Mélanie Watt. Open daily. 662 Mount Pleasant Rd., 416-322-0438.

CLASSIC ITALIAN CUISINE For more than 35 years, The Old Spaghetti Factory has been offering customers a classic yet comfortable and family-friendly dining experience. Enjoy filling pasta options surrounded by the restaurant’s antique decor. An all-time favourite with kids is the classic spaghetti and meatballs dinner, which includes an appetizer, drink and ice cream ($5.99). Lunch and dinner daily. 54 The Esplanade, 416-864-9761.


HAVE YOUR (CUP)CAKE AND EAT IT, TOO Drop by Lollicakes for a cupcake experience like no other. Baked fresh every day in a peanut-free kitchen, these delectable treats ($2 and up) combine the best of all sweet worlds from tasty frosting to hand-painted Belgian-chocolate toppers in an array of designs. Sunday to Friday. 559 Mount Pleasant Rd., 416-482-2253.

UPTOWN FUN One-stop shopping at Oink Oink is perfect for busy families. The shop carries trendy clothing lines like Burberry and DKNY as well as classic toy brands such as Lego and Brio. Open daily. 352 Eglinton Ave. W., 416-322-8255.

MAGICAL MARCH For an enchanting March Break, take the family to Wizard World, an indoor family fun-park extravaganza, from March 9 to 15. The entertainment is never-ending, with rides (all-day pass $15) and shows like Reptilia; plus the Poynters, Canada’s first family of magic. Admission $8; call 416-858-WAND for details. Exhibition Place, Better Living Centre, 416-263-3600.

NECTAR OF THE TREES Help the Kortright Centre for Conservation celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival. The March Break program, which runs from March 10 to 14, includes wagon rides, sap and syrup samplings, as well as entertainment by Bubba the Clown and all-day crafts. Adults $8, seniors, students and kids $5, children age four and under free. 9550 Pine Valley Dr., Woodbridge, 416-667-6299.

GOLDILOCKS ROCKS Children’s entertainers Judy and David dazzle audiences with their show GoldiRocks at Mississauga's Living Arts Centre on March 12. A musical mix ranging from rock and roll to Gilbert and Sullivan show tunes, this lively update of the classic tale Goldilocks and the Three Bears is entertainment for the whole family that is just right. Adults $17, children $14. 4141 Living Arts Drive, Mississauga, 905-306-6000.

LUNCH IN THE JUNGLE Make lunch an Amazonian adventure at the Rainforest Cafe, where a gentle mist lingers in the air and exotic animals are tucked amid leafy decor. A variety of tasty themed menu options, from Jurassic Chicken Tidbits to Castaway Kids Pizza ($7.99 each), will please palates of all sizes. The entire family can dig into the famous Sparkling Volcano, a large chocolate brownie cake stacked with warm vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and chocolate and caramel sauces ($14.99). Open daily. Yorkdale Shopping Centre, 3401 Dufferin St., 416-780-4080.


SHOP ‘TIL YOU DROP The Toronto Eaton Centre is one of the busiest malls in Canada, and with four levels and more than 285 retailers, it’s no wonder! You won't go home empty-handed either. Drop by the Apple store (647-258-0801) and check out the latest in iPod technology, or visit Sephora (416-595-7227) for makeup from such coveted brands as Cargo or Juicy Couture. Open daily. 220 Yonge St., 416-598-8700.

IN THE DRIVER'S SEAT Boredom is highly unlikely at Playdium, Mississauga’s famous arcade, where there are more than 200 interactive games. Teens can get behind the wheel of a full-size Ferrari in Outrun 2 Deluxe, a one-of-a-kind virtual driving experience—no license necessary. Open daily. 99 Rathburn Rd. W., Mississauga, 905-273-9000.

SLAM DUNK Check out the NBA’s Toronto Raptors as they battle it out on the b-ball court at the Air Canada Centre. Have some time before the game? Head over to the Bank of Montreal Fan Zone and test your foul shot in one of the interactive displays. Tickets $25 to $925; call 416-366-DUNK to buy. Air Canada Centre, 40 Bay St., 416-815-5500.

ICE CAPADES Families shouldn’t miss out on a favourite winter tradition of ice skating at Nathan Phillips Square. No skates? No problem! Adults can rent skates for $9 while kids can get theirs for $7. 100 Queen St. W., 416-392-1111.

STYLE ME PRETTY For the latest in affordable teen fashion, head over to Forever 21 and browse through the stylish yet affordable assortment of blouses, skirts, accessories and much more. Get a jump start on spring with a ruffled floral top ($22.80) or a spring eyelet dress ($29.80). Open daily. 302 Yonge St., 416-260-9019.

SNACK TIME The relaxing and casual environment of Jack Astor's Bar and Grill is a perfect cap off for a day of shopping or sightseeing. Kids and parents alike can doodle on the paper tablebloths while pondering the menu options from pasta to pizza. And for a special treat, kids can enjoy the Sassafraz, a non-alcoholic specialty drink of fruit juices and Sprite ($2.99). Lunch and dinner daily. 144 Front St. W., 416-585-2121.

Have a safe and happy spring break Toronto.

March 11, 2008 in Toronto Landmarks | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The birthplace of Toronto

Historic Fort York

The settlement of modern Toronto began in 1793 when Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe built a garrison on the present site of Fort York. Fearful of war with the United States, Simcoe planned to establish a naval base at Toronto in order to control Lake Ontario. Simcoe also moved the Capital to Toronto from the exposed border town of Niagara. Civilian settlement followed and a community named York began to grow two kilometres east of the fort (York was renamed Toronto in 1834). In 1812, the United States declared war and invaded Canada.

On the 27th of April 1813, the U.S. Army and Navy attacked York with 2,700 men on 14 ships and schooners. The defenders put up a strong fight but fell back to Fort York in the face of overwhelming odds, eventually abandoning the fort and town to the enemy. In the autumn of that year, the British returned to Toronto and built the fortification that stands today. Fort York’s cannon and earthworks became obsolete in the 1880s, although the army continued to use the fort for training, barracks, offices and storage until the 1930s. Fort York opened as an historic site in 1934.

Today, Fort York is home to Canada's largest collection of original War of 1812 buildings. The Fort is open year round and offers a number of services, including tours, exhibits, period room settings and seasonal demonstrations. During the summer months, the site comes alive with the colour and the pageantry of the Fort York Guard. The Fort also provides a wide variety of education programs for groups of all ages.

See the Friends of Fort York website »

February 20, 2008 in Toronto Landmarks | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Toronto Attractions

Casa Loma can't be missed, even if you tried. Perched atop a hill in the north end, Casa Loma draws thousands of visitors each year who look up and proclaim, "It's a castle in the middle of the city!"

Casa Loma was built by Canadian financier Sir Henry Pellatt to fulfill his childhood wish for a castle. His dream took three years and $3.5 million to complete.

It may appear anachronistic now, but it hasn't lost its majestic charm. Its secret passageways, breathtaking towers, sweeping staircase, 800-foot tunnel, stables and 5-acre gardens continue to excite all ages.

After World War One, Sir Pellatt lost his fortune and was forced to auction off his prized possessions, including Casa Loma in order to pay off his debts. For years the stately house sat unoccupied while the city tried to decide whether to tear it down, or turn it into a museum, high school, art gallery or veteran's home. Finally in 1937, the Kiwanis Club of West Toronto suggested turning Casa Loma into a tourist attraction. Today, Casa Loma is owned by the City of Toronto and is still operated by the Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma. It is one of Toronto's top attractions.

See the Casa Loma website

February 15, 2008 in Toronto Landmarks | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

TypePad Tour of Toronto

The good people at TypePad, who power this blog, have just included a Tour of Toronto in their official Everything TypePad weblog. We are honoured to have been included in their profile, along with several other revealing Toronto blogs. Thank you TypePad.

See the Tour of Toronto (from a blog perspective) »

August 9, 2007 in Toronto Landmarks | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Toronto ... the "meeting place"

What Was Toronto Called Under British rule?

The area which Toronto now occupies had been home to Native Americans for over 10,000 years when France first claimed the territory in 1615. Britain drove the French away in 1760 (in the midst of the French and Indian War), and the Toronto Purchase in 1787 gave the land to the Crown of England.

The Mississauga Indians received about £1700, and the British took possession of over a quarter of a million acres of real estate. Not a bad deal.

The town centre was built in 1793, and was named York in honor of King George III's son Frederick, the Duke of York, a general who commanded the British Army at the time. Four years later, the first unofficial census indicated a population of about 250.

Toronto was formally adopted as the city's name in 1834, based on a Huron Indian word that literally means "meeting place".

June 1, 2007 in Toronto Landmarks | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Toronto's Integral House

Innovative concepts for a modern residence rise over a Rosedale ravine

What would your dream house look like? Think about it. And dream, baby, dream. Float down into the deepest sleep and stay there for a long while. You might begin to approximate the kind of dream that James Stewart had about 10 years ago, of a sumptuous house designed to liberate music and man.

This is a house that matters. Though it is still months from completion, the contribution of the Integral House to architecture here in Canada and places beyond promises to be immense. And so I bring this house to your attention now as a symphony of design, in which everything from the door handles to the windows has been contemplated and freshly cast.

Gimme shelter? Turns out there's more to a house than developers would have us believe. Look around at the carpet of sameness that has metastasized across North America. Radical departures from the norm are painfully rare; innovation and craft are regularly flattened by the steamrollers of convention. With the Integral House, however, we open ourselves to the dream of change.

This house — designed by Shim-Sutcliffe Architects of Toronto — is a singular treatise on the joys of the complex curve. Serpentine walls made of vertical glass separated by projecting fins of white oak form the gentle perimeter to the house, echoing the wisp of the creek in the valley below and the paths that wind from the back terrace through a forest of towering oaks, maple and beech. The architecture glorifies its ravine setting, with views of the majestic trees available from Rosedale's Roxborough Street clean through the house.

The exhibition of Integral House in progress, continues at the Eric Arthur Gallery at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, 230 College St., until April 28.

April 14, 2007 in Toronto Landmarks | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack


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