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April 5, 2004
Old City Hall clock tower bells silenced
  
Effective Monday, April 12, the bells in Old City Hall's clock tower will be
temporarily silenced due to seismic reinforcement work, part of the ongoing
masonry restoration of Old City Hall.

The seismic work will be completed by the end of the year when the 5,446 kg
bell, known as "Big Ben," will toll once again. However, the bells will be
rung, by hand, during the 2004 Remembrance Day Service on November 11. This is
the second time the bells will be silenced since the restoration process began
in the 1990s.

While the Old City Hall clock tower bells are a Toronto landmark, the
restoration contractor, Clifford Restoration Limited, has requested the City
silence the bells to address employee health and safety standards.

"By silencing the bells during this phase of the restoration, we are promoting
a safe working environment for the crew," said Randy Rason, Director of Design,
Construction and Asset Preservation.

"Old City Hall and its clock tower are a key architectural landmark of Toronto,
so it is vital that we ensure its design and structure are maintained for years
to come," Rason concluded.

The City of Toronto began restoring Old City Hall in October 2001.
Deteriorating stone has been repaired, the entire copper roof replaced, and
gargoyles have been re-introduced to the clock tower.

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.
The building contained a Council Chamber, courtrooms and municipal offices. It
was designed by Toronto architect Edward James Lennox whose later projects
included Casa Loma and the King Edward Hotel. When the current City Hall opened
across Bay Street in 1965, Old City Hall became a courthouse for the Ontario
government.

Media contacts:
Randy Rason, Director, Design, Construction and Asset Preservation, Facilities
and Real Estate, 416-338-2737
George Parcalidis, Project Manager, Design, Construction and Asset
Preservation, Facilities and Real Estate, 416-392-5178



 

 

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