Tag Archives: modernist

An architect’s perspective on the current 209 Mavety site

In case you weren’t one of the 72 people who saw Graeme Stewart’s presentation at the Junction Townhall …

As part of ongoing research and analysis of the Junction Commons Project site at 209 Mavety St, consultant Graeme Stewart of ERA Architects recently presented details of the site’s history at the JCP’s November town hall.

In the 1940s and ‘50s the block surrounded by Keele, Dundas, Annette, and Mavety was redesigned to function as a public services precinct for the Junction, complete with police, fire, and postal facilities. The Junction Commons Project seeks to carry forward this legacy in the form of a facility serving a broad range of public and community amenities for the Junction neighbourhood.

The building at 209 Maverty, formerly Toronto Police Station Division 11, has been vacant since 2011. It is a two-storey-plus-basement facility designed by Toronto-based architecture firm, Craig & Madill made up of partners, Henry Harrison Madill (1889-1988) and James H. Craig. Both men played a leading role in the University of Toronto’s faculty of architecture from the 1920s through the ‘50s. Other examples of Craig & Madill’s work include understated modernist buildings such as the Grand & Toy offices in Don Mills, and the YMCA Etobicoke. (See the full list at end of this article)

The building’s design is a good example of the civic modernism characteristic of many of Toronto’s post-war public schools, libraries, and other municipal buildings. It is a strongly rhythmic design in a varied material palette of flagstone, glass, brick, marble, concrete, and terrazzo.

The 25,974-sq.-ft. building was declared surplus by the City of Toronto, but the transfer of the property to Build Toronto for disposal or sale has been deferred to allow the Junction Commons Project to propose other community uses for the site.

ERA and urbanMetrics have been hired by the Junction Commons Project to develop a feasibility study that will help identify multiple ways the building can be reconfigured. Because it was designed as a police station, the challenge is to re-purpose the space so it fits the needs of the community and the yet-to-be-determined project budget. ERA and urbanMetrics are analyzing spaces such as the jail cells, offices, common areas, and exterior spaces such as the courtyard, to begin to define a set of productive constraints and opportunities.

The project represents an exciting challenge in the adaptive reuse of a modernist building, a practice we are only beginning to see today, as Toronto’s inventory of modernist architecture becomes available for reconsideration.


(works in Toronto)

  • FARMER BROS. PHOTOGRAPHERS, Spadina Avenue near College Street, store, 1912 (Toronto b.p. 35980, 12 July 1912)
  • FAIRVIEW BOULEVARD, near Broadview Avenue, residence for Dr. H. Armstrong, 1912 (Toronto b.p. 36503, 8 Aug. 1912)
  • CARHARTT-HAMILTON COTTON MILLS, Queen Street East near Sumach Street, factory, 1916 (Const., ix, March 1916, 98)
  • ASTLEY AVENUE, residence for Charles Fell, 1916 (inf. Toronto Chapter, Architectural Conservancy of Ontario)
  • ST. CLAIR AVENUE WEST, at Glenholme Avenue, block of stores and apartments, 1923 (Const., xvii, April 1924, 131, illus. & descrip.)
  • LYTTON BOULEVARD, at Heather Street, residence for David O. Roblin, 1923 (Const., xvii, April 1924, 121, illus.)
  • PLAYTER BOULEVARD, residence for George P. Price, 1924 (dwgs. at Univ. of Toronto, Fisher Library, Miller Coll., 578)
  • GLEN GROVE AVENUE, at Yonge Street, residence for Dr. Frank S. Park, 1924 (Const., xviii, May 1925, 163-4, illus. & descrip.)
  • INGLEWOOD DRIVE, residence for an unidentified client, 1924 (Const., xviii, May 1925, 162-63, illus. & descrip.)
  • GLEBE ROAD UNITED CHURCH, Glebe Road at Tullis Drive, 1925 (Centenary Anniversary of Glebe Road United Church 1850-1950, 4)
  • ST. CLAIR APARTMENTS, St. Clair Avenue West at Avenue Road, 1925 (Const., xix, May 1926, 156-9, illus. & descrip.; R.A.I.C. Journal, iii, May-June 1926, xvii, illus. in advert.)
  • THE 400 AVENUE ROAD APARTMENTS, Avenue Road at Edmund Avenue, 1926 (C.R., xl, 23 June 1926, 606-7, illus. & descrip.,; 17 Nov. 1926, 1101, illus.; R.A.I.C. Journal, May 1927, xvi, illus. in advert.)
  • INGLEWOOD DRIVE, residence for Maxwell C. Purvis, 1928 (C.H.G., v, Aug. 1928, 27, illus.)
  • NORTH YORK, Earl Haig High School, Princess Avenue at Kenneth Avenue, 1929-30; addition 1947 (Toronto Star, 26 Aug. 1930, 8, illus.; R.A.I.C. Journal, viii, March 1931, 80, 94, illus.; xxiv, Oct. 1947, 366, illus.)
  • PALACE PIER, in Sunnyside Park, Lakeshore Boulevard West, 1930; demol. (Telegram [Toronto], 12 March 1930, 11, illus.)
  • UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO, Varsity Stadium, Bloor Street West at Devonshire Place, 1929-30 (Toronto Star, 8 Nov. 1929, 8, 12, illus. & descrip.)
  • UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO, major addition and new facade for the Mill Building, for the Faculty of Applied Science, 1930 (Telegram [Toronto], 13 Sept. 1930, 10, illus.; Toronto Star, 19 Sept. 1930, 33, descrip.)
  • STRACHAN AVENUE, at Ordnance Street, City of Toronto Police and Fire Department Garage, 1932 (C.R., xlvi, l3 April 1932, 412; R.A.I.C. Journal, x, March 1933, 55)
  • NORTH YORK, Willowdale United Church, Kenneth Avenue near Church Avenue, 1932 (C.R., xlvi, 20 April 1932, 54, t.c.)
  • DOMINION PUBLIC BUILDING, WEST TORONTO, Keele Street at Annette Street, 1935-36 (R.A.I.C. Journal, xiii, Nov. 1936, 207-9, illus. & descrip.; xiv, Feb. 1937, 22, 24)
  • CANADIAN NATIONAL EXHIBITION, Bandshell, 1936; restored 1983 (C.R., l, 2 Sept. 1936, 775-7, illus. & descrip.; inf. Mr. H. Madill)
  • ST. PAUL’S PRIVATE SCHOOL FOR BOYS, Deloraine Avenue near Yonge Street, 1938 (Toronto Star, 17 June 1938, 30, descrip.)
  • NORTH YORK, Lansing United Church, Bogert Avenue near Yonge Street, 1949-50 (inf. United Church Archives, Toronto)

(works outside Toronto)

  • PEMBROKE, ONT., Collegiate Institute, 1925-26 (Pembroke Standard, 30 April 1925, 1, descrip.; C.R., xl, 8 Dec. 1926, 1158-9, illus. & descrip.)
  • NEWMARKET, ONT., York County Hospital, 1926-27 (R.A.I.C. Journal, viii, June 1931, 28, 32-3, illus. & descrip.)
  • WINDSOR, ONT., Windsor Court Apartments, Ouellette Avenue at Hanna Street, 1926-27 (R.A.I.C. Journal, vi, Feb. 1929, 68; March 1929, 101, illus.; dwgs. at Windsor City Archives, RG4-18)
  • NEWMARKET, ONT., residence for Frank Denison, 1927 (C.H.G., v, Jan. 1928, 30, illus.)
  • BEAVERTON, ONT., Public School, c. 1929 (Year Book of the Toronto Chapter-Ontario Association of Architects, 1933, 81, illus.)
  • KINGSTON, ONT., residence for Rev. John D. Ellis, Frontenac Street, 1929 (C.H.G., vii, March 1930, 32, illus.)
  • UXBRIDGE, ONT., Thomas Foster Memorial Temple, 1935-36 (R.A.I.C. Journal, xiii, Dec. 1936, 225-9, illus. & descrip.; xiv, Feb. 1937, 22)
  • STREETSVILLE, ONT., Public & High School, 1937 (C.R., l, 16 June 1937, 33)
  • BRAMPTON, ONT., Ontario Mental Hospital, Administration Building, 1938; Nurses’ Home, 1937-39 (C.R., li, 4 Jan. 1938, 28; dwgs. at OA, RG 15-13-2)
  • RED ROCK, ONT., school for the Nipigon School Board, 1946 (C.R., lix, Aug. 1946, 157)
  • BELLEVILLE, ONT., Hastings County Home for the Aged, 1950 (R.A.I.C. Journal, xxix, Dec. 1952, 362, illus.)
  • MARMORA, ONT., High School, 1950-51 (R.A.I.C. Journal, xxx, Jan. 1953, 20, illus.)