Bells mark completed clock tower restoration at Old City Hall - revised|
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The familiar sound of the bells in the Old City Hall clock tower will return on
Thursday, August 7 at noon, marking the completion of phase three of the
restoration work at Old City Hall.
Silent since February 4, 2002, bells will once again ring on the quarter hour,
and the 5,446 kg bell, known as "Big Ben", will toll the hours.
"It is important for the City to maintain its assets in a state of good repair.
Old City Hall not only accommodates provincial courts but is a facility that
helps define Toronto's past and current character to residents and visitors,"
said Randy Rason, Director of Design, Construction and Asset Preservation. "Old
City Hall is one of Toronto's premier historical buildings, and with this
two-year restoration phase now finished - on time and on budget - the City is
ensuring the building will benefit future generations."
The City began restoring Old City Hall in October, 2001. Deteriorating stone
was repaired, the entire copper roof was replaced, and gargoyles were
re-introduced to the clock tower. Further restoration work is scheduled for
various levels around the windows and the interior.
When the scaffolding around the clock tower rose to the belfry level in
February, 2002, the bells had to be turned off for the health and safety of
workers. The clock movement had been sealed since then to protect it from dust
as repair work on the stone progressed. Only on Remembrance Day, 2002 was the
largest bell re-activated by hand to mark the eleventh hour.
While restoration of the exterior of Old City Hall continued, rehabilitation
work was performed on the clock faces. The hands were removed, X-rayed and
refinished. Since the completion of the masonry in late spring, the clock
movement has been disassembled and cleaned.
Old City Hall was officially opened on September 18, 1899, but the bells in the
clock tower first pealed on December 31, 1900 to mark the turn of the century.
Randy Rason, Director, Design, Construction and Asset Preservation, 416-338-2737
George Parcalidis, Project Manager, Design, Construction and Asset