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September 25, 2006
Building Blocks: Queen Street West 1847-1890
Queen Street West is one of Toronto’s most interesting and dynamic neighbourhoods. This popular historic street - from Yonge Street to Roncesvalles - will be featured in an exhibit opening at the Market Gallery on October 7. Building Blocks: Queen Street West 1847-1890, will show Queen Street West during Toronto’s first period of tremendous growth through photographs, maps, plans and drawings.

The history of Queen Street West can be traced back to ‘tender calls’ which appeared regularly in The Globe newspaper. The tender calls were part of a competitive process to achieve the highest quality construction at the lowest possible price. The descriptions of the ‘tender calls’ and the subsequent construction reflect changes in architectural style, from Gothic Revival to Second Empire; in technology, from curtain walls to elevators; and in materials, from cast iron to plate glass.

Focusing on housing, commercial and institutional properties, Building Blocks reflects a 40-year period in which Toronto was literally transformed. Historical images from the late 1800s and contemporary images by Patrick Cummins provide a perspective on what has changed and remained.

This exhibition is presented in partnership with the Toronto Architectural Conservancy and will feature materials from the Archives of Ontario. Building Blocks will run at the Market Gallery until February 25, 2007.

The Market Gallery is a program of the Culture Division and presents changing exhibitions dedicated to Toronto’s art, culture, history and offers educational programs for school groups and adults. Located in Toronto’s oldest neighbourhood, the main gallery occupies the 19th century City Council Chamber, which is all that remains from the City Hall that stood on this site from 1845-1899.

Admission is free. The Market Gallery is located on the second floor of the South St. Lawrence Market, 95 Front St. E. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday noon to 4 p.m.

For more information about museums and art centres in the City of Toronto’s Culture Division, visit Live With Culture is a 16-month celebration of Toronto’s extraordinary arts and cultural communities. Visit, the ultimate guide to Toronto’s culture scene.

Media contact:

Pamela Wachna
Co-ordinator of Collections and Outreach



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