The charm of Toronto’s forgotten architectural drawings

While I was conducting some photography research on the City of Toronto’s Archives web site, I stumbled upon a handful of charming architectural drawings that have recently been scanned and added to the city’s database.

Most of the illustrations originate from the 1920s to ’40s and feature such exciting civic infrastructure as public lavatories, garages, and park field house buildings. But they also offer us a glimpse of when the City employed it’s own army of architects instead of outsourcing every project. The renderings display a modesty that can still be seen in our public buildings built during this time period.

Just as noteworthy is the complete elimination of the other elements of the city in these renderings, namely people and houses. During the Depression and preceding decades, the urban core of the city was considered dirty and so rough-hewed that it should be ignored. Nearly a century later most of us have come to see things differently, yet architectural renderings still persist in ignoring the surroundings of a new building, especially in condo advertisements.

All photos from City of Toronto Archives