R.S.O. 1990, CHAPTER 0.18 AND



Take notice that Toronto City Council intends to designate the lands and building known municipally as 263 Adelaide Street West under Part IV, Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act.


Reasons for Designation

The property at 263 Adelaide Street West (Purman Building) is worthy of designation under Part IV, Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act for its cultural heritage value, and meets Ontario Regulation 9/06, the provincial criteria prescribed for municipal designation under all three categories of design, associative and contextual value.


The property at 263 Adelaide Street West contains the Purman Building, completed in 1915, a five storey timber-framed commercial warehouse building with a raised basement and brick and stone cladding.  The property is located in the proposed King Spadina Heritage Conservation District.

Statement of Cultural Heritage Value

The Purman Building at 263 Adelaide Street West has value as a well-designed representative example of a commercial warehouse building with timber-framed mill construction.  The building’s construction and design is an example of the Chicago School with its application of the Classical style and the emphasis on a decorated base, distinctive top and uniform middle section.  Its carefully calibrated design is expressive of the internal structural grid and it is dressed with a contemporary interpretation of the Italian Renaissance style which displays a high degree of craftsmanship and artistic merit.

The Purman Building has value as it contributes to an understanding of the historical development of the King Spadina neighbourhood as it transitioned from being primarily institutional and residential in the first three quarters of the 19th century to being a prosperous commercial and industrial area from the late 19th to mid-20th century.  Located on a part of the property occupied by Upper Canada College from 1827-1891, the Purman building represents the redevelopment of the site for commercial and industrial uses following the college’s departure to Deer Park.  The building has value as it is associated with the prolific architectural partnership of A. R. Denison & Stephenson and in particular with the firm’s promotion of fire-resistant timber mill construction for warehouses following the Great Toronto Fire of 1904.

Contextually, the Purman Building is important in defining and maintaining the late 19th- early 20th century commercial/industrial scale and character of the King Spadina area.  The building is visually and historically linked to its surroundings, maintaining the variety of building types, scales and periods all of which support the neighbourhood’s characteristic diversity.  Commercial warehouses like the Purman Building represent a significant period of commercial prosperity for the neighbourhood as well as the recent revitalization of the King Spadina area.  The high quality of design, materials and details contributes substantially to the overall character of the neighbourhood.

Heritage Attributes

The heritage attributes of the Purman Building are:

  • The setback, placement and orientation of the building on the south side of Adelaide Street West between Duncan and John Streets
  • The scale, form and massing of the five-storey commercial warehouse building with a raised basement
  • The principal (north) elevation with its brick and stone cladding
  • The stone detail on the north elevation including the stone base of the basement and first floor with its projecting moulding beneath the first floor windows, the entablature with its plain frieze and moulded cornice, the decorative stone details on the outer bays at the third, fourth and fifth levels and the stone banding and decorative details of the top storey as well as the stone lintels in the window openings of the second, third and fourth floors
  • The stone details around the central entrance on the north elevation including the stepping forward of the stone cladding, the pediment above the entablature, the letters stating “PURMAN BUILDING,” in capitals, the keystone in the segmental-arched opening surrounding the entrance and the tri-partite division of the segmental-arched transom over the door below
  • The arrangement of openings on the principal (north) elevation into seven equal bays on the five floors and the raised basement
  • The subdivision of the window openings into a tri-partite arrangement varies from floor to floor.  Typically from the second to fifth floors each window opening features a vertical tripartite division with a wider fixed central pane, two narrower outer openings with double hung sash and a transom light with three parallel vertical divisions above.  At the basement level there is no transom and the tripartite division is made by stone piers.  At the first floor level, the window openings are large and the tripartite transom is set over two large fixed panes.  At the top level the window openings have segmental-arched tops.  From the first to fifth level the windows were made of wood
  • The rear (south) elevation with its brick cladding and metal factory sash glazing
  • The arrangement and size of openings on the south elevation


The following are not identified as heritage attributes:

The blank side elevations facing west and east.

Notice of an objection to the proposed designation may be served on the City Clerk, Attention:  Ellen Devlin, Administrator, Toronto and East York Community Council, Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen Street West, 2nd floor, Toronto, Ontario, M5H 2N2, within thirty days of October 25, 2017, which is November 24, 2017. The notice of objection must set out the reason(s) for the objection, and all relevant facts.


Dated at Toronto this 25th day of October, 2017

Ulli S. Watkiss
City Clerk