The Architect’s Picks: Favourite Cultural Landmarks in the Neighbourhood


When it comes to the design of The St. Lawrence Condos at 158 Front, we have architectsAlliance and the brilliant mind of Peter Clewes and his team to thank for that. aA has tackled many notable projects throughout the city have certainly made their mark on Toronto. Naturally, this makes them an expert when it comes to our area and the city in general. We took some time to chat with Peter, their principal architect, about some of his favourite cultural hotspots in our neighbourhood and went ahead and mapped them out. See what his top picks are and what he has to say about each of them below!


“Wavelengths” public art installation
Every time I shop at St. Lawrence Market I park just to the south, at aA’s Market Wharf condominium, if for no other reason than to look at the ceiling – “Wavelengths”, a public art installation by Toronto architect and artist Paul Raff. Public art in a parking garage; what a concept.

St Lawrence Hall
St. Lawrence Hall is just a block north of the Market. As an architect, I respect the way that William Thomas put his own twist on the Classical and Renaissance Revival motifs that were the styles of choice for public buildings in 1850s Toronto. Each generation leaves its buildings as a way for future generations to know us – this is something I think about in my own work, every day.

St Lawrence Centre for the Arts and Sony Centre for the Performing Arts
The 1960s were an exciting time in Canadian architecture, and the St. Lawrence neighbourhood has a number of great public buildings that reflect the excitement of a new generation of designers. The St. Lawrence Centre was designed by one of Toronto’s great Modernist architects, Gordon Adamson, and the Sony Centre (originally the O’Keefe Centre) by British transplant Peter Dickinson.

Young People’s Theatre
The Young People’s Theatre is great for families that are thinking of moving into the St. Lawrence Condos. Besides performances on the main stage and studio theatre, your kids may want to attend the YPT Drama School – just like Drake and Kiefer Sutherland!

Rainbow Cinemas at Market Square
Sometimes you need to get out of the living room and see a film with other people. The St. Lawrence Condos are steps away from the Market Square Cinemas – for more than 30 years, a great place for a spur-of-the-moment night (or afternoon) at the movies.

The Gooderham Building, aka the Flatiron
The ‘Flatiron’ is one of Toronto’s most iconic Victorian commercial buildings, shaped like a old-fashioned triangular clothes iron. It’s one of those great gestures that happen when an architect responds creatively to an ‘accident’, like the confluence of Church, Wellington and Front Streets. The Flatiron Building was a true innovation – completed in 1892, ten years before the more widely known Flatiron Building in New York City.

Toronto Sculpture Garden
The Toronto Sculpture Garden is one of those hidden gems that you just happen on as you walk around the neighbourhood. You can just step off King Street into a little oasis, listen to the waterfall and see what new sculptural installations are on display.

St. James Cathedral and St. James Park
The Park is the real jewel of the neighbourhood, and there’s a wonderful gateway into it from Church Street, between the Cathedral and our 2012 St. James Cathedral Centre revitalization project. The pathway into the park is banded with grass and limestone tablets that commemorate the early settlers of York.

David Crombie Park
This linear park runs from Jarvis Street to the Distillery District, with playgrounds, baseball diamonds, basketball courts and pedestrian walkways – a real neighbourhood park, and perfectly named for the major who ushered in Toronto’s reform-minded urban development program.

The Distillery District
Cross Parliament Street from David Crombie Park, and you will enter the Distillery District, a unique collection of mid-19th century industrial buildings that has been reborn as the City’s premier entertainment and cultural centre. The District is a great place to shop for local craft and design, watch live music and theatre, or spend an afternoon showing visitors a unique facet of Toronto’s history.

Stay tuned for part two where we explore the architects’ picks of where to grab food and drink in the neighbourhood!

Leave a Reply