E.J Lennox and Building of a Courthouse THE BUILDING THEN In 1886 the city held a competition for the design of a court house. Thirteen architects competed and E.J Lennox was chosen to construct this building. He was chosen as the architect because of his unique way of demonstrating the Richardsoninan Romanesque design (In North America this design was know as the style of public dignity). But by the time the project was underway, the city government decided that it needed a city hall as well as a court house, so Lennox prepared new designs for a building that combined both. The Interior features involve bronze and iron detailing, painted murals by George Reid, as well as huge symbolic stained-glass windows by Robert McCausland.
The entire building was created out of stone. Materials used were Credit valley red sandstone, Sackville brownstone from New Brunswick and greystone from a quarry near Orangeville. The stones are decorated with elaborate carvings of floral and geometric designs, hideous faces and caricatures. The complete building cost the city 2.5 million dollars which is almost nine times greater that the original target price which was set at 300,000 dollars. Many people complained and said that the cost of building the hall could have been used on practical schemes such as sewer improvage, water supplies and other important city needs. This mind blowing amount of money encouraged many investigations and lawsuits.
One affair being in which the architects name was revealed carved immediately below the ledge under the uppermost windows and it spelled out “E J LENNOX ARCHITECT A D 1898”. THE BUILDING NOW Before designing the building Lennox made a tour to cities of the U.S with buildings with the same style, now city hall’s resemblance to H. H. Richardosn’s Pittsburgh court house in 1886 is often pointed out. The building is designed so that the clock tower is centered on lower Bay street, providing a satisfying vista. Since this building was designed to be used for various activities when one enters the old city hall form the entrance of Queen and James street they will see three names carved above the door: Court House, Municipal Building and City Hall.
Also, originally there were a number of gargoyles projecting from all sides of the building, including four on the tower, but most of them were removed because deterioration made them a menace to the passerby on the streets below. In 1956, mayor Nathan Phillips announced a contest for a new city hall. Toronto lost interest in the old building and began to admire the new one when the construction was over. By 1967 government wanted to sell the old city hall as a site for the Eaton Center. But friends of this building opposed this opinion and many disputes began.
Finally, the Eaton Center found out a new way to be constructed without the need of the old city hall’s land. Now the old city hall houses the municipal courts. In 1972 the facade was cleaned and restored by Summit Restorations, and its subtle coloration and complicated carvings were revealed once again.