March 3, 2014

1021 CANADA (Ontario) - Ontario Legislative Building in Toronto

Located in Queen's Park, on that part south of Wellesley Street which is the former site of King's College (later the University of Toronto), and which is leased from the university by the provincial Crown for a "peppercorn" payment of CAD$1 per annum on a 999 year term, the Ontario Legislative Building houses the viceregal suite of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, and offices for members of the provincial parliament. As is known, Canada is a constitutional monarchy, in which head of state is the Monarch (since February 6, 1952 Elizabeth II, the Queen of Canada), so the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario is the viceregal representative in Ontario of the monarch.

Designed by the British-born American architect Richard A. Waite, the building is an asymmetrical, five storey structure built in the Richardsonian Romanesque style between 1886 and 1893, with a load-bearing iron frame. The 10.5 million bricks used in construction were made by inmates of the Central Prison, and the Ontario sandstone comes from the Credit River valley and Orangeville. There can also be seen over the edifice a multitude of stone carvings, including gargoyles, grotesques, and friezes. The exterior is punctuated with uncharacteristically large windows, allowed by the nature of the iron structure. The 1909 North Wing was built by noted Toronto architect George Wallace Gouinlock.

The main façade fronts south, with the central axis of the building an extension of that for University Avenue. The Legislative Chamber is in the centre of the building, and is lit by the three large and prominent arched windows above the main portico. This block is flanked by two domed towers. The asymmetry of the south face was not originally as strong as it is at present; the west wing was designed to have three stories under a pyramidal roof, as the east wing is still formed nowadays. At the north-west corner of the building is the viceregal apartment of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

About the stamp, depicting a Polar Bear cubs, I wrote here.

Ontario Legislative Building - Wikipedia

sender: Pompilian Tofilescu
sent from Toronto (Ontario / Canada), on 15.12.2013
photo: T. Freda / 1996

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