Holding up history: Self-guided tour

From January 21 to February 28, 2022

Toronto streetscape, featuring The Drake Hotel

Holding up history is a two-part program exploring the influence of façadism as an architectural and conceptual strategy for bringing elements from the past into the future. Through a panel talk and self-guided tour, the influence of façadism in the city’s built environment will be discussed.

The City of Toronto is grounded in a rich history and exciting stories. A lot of its history is held in the structures and monuments that form its built environment. As the city develops, a recurring discussion remains: How might these heritage structures be preserved? A conservation strategy that architects and developers have turned to is “façadism.” As a concept, façadism exists in various forms throughout the city. The practice involves incorporating elements of existing structures in the process of innovating new forms. While the palimpsest approach results in the creation of interesting structures, the question remains: How effective is façadism at paying respect to Toronto’s history?

This self-guided tour highlights 10 different sites across the city featuring diverse applications of façadism in Toronto and heritage conservation alternatives. With personal anecdotes from various community stakeholders, participants will be encouraged to explore and critique structures such as Honest Ed’s, The Drake Hotel, Massey Hall and Hermant Building, paying attention to factors such as historical and current contexts, as well the communities they were designed for.

Organized by DesignTO and supported by the Ontario Association of Architects.

View the guide

For more information:

Email: robyn@designto.org
Website: https://designto.org