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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Help Spacing compile Toronto clock tower list

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Spacing is hard at work on our summer-fall 2009 issue, but with the on-going City strike, services like the Toronto Archives and the fine people at Heritage Preservation department gone AWOL, our research work has become all the more difficult. And this is where Spacing readers come in.

We’re compiling a list of Toronto’s clock towers. If you can help us identify the locations of past and present towers, or provide any links or titles of books, we’d be very grateful. You can leave us a comment on this post or send an email to us at



  1. from

    * Station 312
    o Built: 1878 for Yorkville Fire Department, became TFD 10 upon annexation in 1883.
    o Location: 34 Yorkville Avenue
    o Main Structure: It is one of the city’s oldest active fire halls. Formerly Hose No. 8, the two-story structure has a five-story clock tower with three bays (additional bay added later). It has a coat of arms from the old Yorkville Town Hall. It was restored in 1974.

  2. -Cathedral Church of St. James
    -Soldier’s Tower
    -Upper Canada College
    -federal building at Keele and Annette

  3. The one at Upper Canada College is known as the Four-Faced Liar (at least, that’s what my grandfather always called it, and he was born there…). Apparently none of the faces tell the right time, or agree on the wrong time.

  4. Elmesley Hall at St. Michael’s College — a clock was planned when the building was built in the 1950s, but they only added one last year.

    Etobicoke Civic Centre.

  5. There was a clock tower on the second Union Station, which opened on July 1, 1873. Below the clock was an observation gallery where Torontonians could view the city. The clock remained in place until 1927 when it was moved to the Town Hall in Huntsville, Ontario where it keeps on ticking to this day. The tower itself was demolished in 1928 after the present Union Station opened and was so well built that its demolition required the assistance of one of Canadian National’s most powerful steam locomotives.
    Derek Boles
    Toronto Railway Historical Association

  6. Does the Fifth Church of Christ Scientist on Cheltenham (Yonge/Lawrence) have a clock, or at least a carillon? Anyway, it’s a gem of an openwork 50s “campanile”…

  7. Actually, for those of us born in the 50s we will remember the Bulova Tower built as the Shell Oil Tower.

  8. I notice some of these posts (including some of mine) suffer from a lag time between posting and appearance–like, re the Etobicoke Civic Centre, I didn’t realize somebody *already* offered it.

    *Maybe* the Manulife building at the top of Jarvis qualifies as a “clock tower”, simply by being a tower with a clock on top–though the metaphor might have been clearer when it had a dial rather than digital clock, back in the 60s/70s.

    While it’s not kosher to use out-of-the-416 examples, there’s always Mississauga City Hall to consider as well.

  9. Not sure if it qualifies as a clock tower but the click on the front of the library on Queen Sreet East and Saulter street. It si the Saulter street library.

  10. Not sure how much you’re delving into history, but at the base of the clock tower on Yonge north of College there once sat one of Toronto’s earlier gay bars, the St. Charles Tavern. There’s a photo from 1970 here (left sidebar) and more info:

  11. Does the old North York Fire Hall tower (rebuilt) behind Empress Walk have a clock? (Don’t remember.)

    I’m sure there must be more in the PoMo-strip-mall vein around town that dodges my memory.

    I think I recall there may (still?) be a clock on the slab chimney at Humber Valley Village PS (c1950; early Peter Dickinson). Clocks on steeple/chimney slabs are a very 1940s Eliel/Eero Saarinen thing.

  12. I have to backtrack on Humber Valley Village PS: there’s a clock, but it’s not on the chimney, but on the wall next to it…

  13. There was once a beautiful clock tower attached to the fire hall which stood at Bloor and Ossington.
    It was destroyed in the early 60’s when the Bloor-Danforth subway was built.

    I remember this clock quite cleary as it had a very loud gong when it struck the hour.

  14. As the one from Spacing who is compiling this list of clock towers for the upcoming issue, I’d like to say thank you to everyone who posted comments and provided me with some more leads for my research.