Neglected Toronto Suburbs? Modernist Massey Medal buildings say otherwise

A plaqueless warehouse in Etobicoke at 30 Queen Elizabeth Blvd, now home to the Great Lakes Brewery, won a silver medal in the inaugural year of the Massey Medal for Architecture.

There’s a myth perpetuated by some Toronto councillors that former suburban boroughs “get crumbs” while downtown gets gold. It’s completely untrue now, and it has been untrue for decades. The vast majority of Massey Medals for Architecture in Toronto, Canada’s highest honour from 1950-1970 and precursor to the Governor General’s Medal, are located in the inner suburbs. Some are massive industrial headquarters, while others are intimate libraries or infill residential. We have lost many and will continue to lose more unless we wake up and realize the value of our relatively recent historic heritage.

Mapped below are the contenders and winners in the Massey Medal for Architecture 1950-1970. A great thank you to Robert Moffatt’s Toronto Modern blog for inspiring this mapping exercise. He outlines the award’s rise and fall and explains its changes over time. Also thank you to Bob Krawczyk’s TOBuilt website, an invaluable (and searchable!) resources for architecture in this city.

If you have information on additions to this map, please comment below. Records for the awards, as they changed names and format over the years, may not be complete.

View Massey Medals for Architecture 1950-1970 in a larger map



  1. Hi, Robert,

    this is very interesting information indeed. But I just fail to see how this information prove or disprove the perception of “former suburban boroughs get crumbs while downtown gets gold”, at least not for the past for 4 decades.

  2. So…exactly 2 sites east of the Don. Minimal myth-busting going on here. Or is Scarborough not an “inner suburb’?

  3. Don Mills cluster. Etobicoke lots. The point is about the broader rhetoric being used by so many right now.

  4. I think there are a couple great Jane’s Walks in there.

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