OLD CITY HALL
Queen St. West and Bay St., Toronto
A plaque on the lawn notes that Old City Hall was opened in 1899, designed by the incomparable E. J. Lennox and served as location for the Toronto City Council, as well as its administrative offices and as a courthouse. A massive example of the Romanesque Revival style, the building was constructed mostly of Credit River Valley sandstone.
Lennox had a running battle with the council of the day, who held back on funding of the project. Furious about their rebuff, he lampooned the councillors in the grotesques at the top of the pillars under the eaves at the front of the building, where these carved political caricatures are still visible. The interior was graced with a magnificent set of stained glass windows depicting the Canada of the day and its working people by Robert McCausland. The walls of the Council chambers featured the pioneer murals of George Reid.
In one of the courtrooms, Tim Buck, leader of the Communist Party, and his colleagues faced the trials of 1931 that sent them to Kingston Penitentiary under the terms of the notorious Section 98 of the Criminal Code. Huge demonstrations took place on the streets outside the courthouse to protest the trials. A courthouse is still located in the Old City Hall.