Old City Hall watercolour
A watercolour was commissioned to generate interest, excitement and support for the ambitious undertaking of building Old City Hall. The large watercolour (approximately 37 inches x 57 inches) was intended to publicize the design for the municipal building which combined a courthouse with a City Hall.
Although the architect Edward James Lennox provided and signed the drawing for the watercolour, the well-known artist, William Armstrong, supplied the background and coloured the image. In the bottom left corner of the watercolour a small figure can be identified, carrying a sandwich board sign with Armstrong's initials, providing him with a credit as the watercolourist.
The Return of the Gargoyles
When Old City Hall opened in 1899, it contained two large (5 feet high) grotesques, located at the foot of the main staircase. These elaborate pieces of wrought iron, each in the form of a griffin or other mythical beast, were produced by the Toronto Fence and Ornamental Iron Works.
The grotesques remained at Old City Hall until 1947. In that year, they were removed during renovations for the installation of the war memorial. The grotesques remained unclaimed and unwanted, until Henry Dobson Antiques Ltd., purchased them.
In an effort to return the works to the Toronto public domain, the Metropolitan Corporation bought the grotesques in the late 1980s. In commemoration of Old City Hall's 100th anniversary, the grotesques have been restored.
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