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Visiting the Millichamp Building, Toronto, Ontario: by John Gemmell and James Smith, 1874-75, tastefully restored

Updated on January 4, 2013
Provincial flag of Ontario
Provincial flag of Ontario | Source
Millichamp Building, 39 Adelaide Street East, Toronto
Millichamp Building, 39 Adelaide Street East, Toronto | Source
Historical plaque, Millichamp Building, 39 Adelaide Street East, Toronto
Historical plaque, Millichamp Building, 39 Adelaide Street East, Toronto | Source
Map location of Toronto, Ontario
Map location of Toronto, Ontario | Source

Slightly out of place? but saved from demolition

This 19th century building at 39 Adelaide Street, East, Toronto, Ontario, with its striking frontage, was commenced in 1874 and completed the following year. Its architects were John Gemmell and James Smith (1).

Significant alterations were made to the structure in 1885.

A notable feature of the Millichamp Building is its asymmetrical, staggered cornering at its east end, giving the building altogether a strong, multidimensional sense. A Classical balcony at the third storey adds to its distinction.

The edifice underwent a program of restoration in 1983, and it now fits in reasonably (2) with its somewhat distinct high-rise environment. Rather than complain about any element of design tension between the somewhat elaborate, 19th century frontage of the Millichamp Building, it is (I feel) more constructive to be glad that it was saved from demolition when intense interest in this prime, Downtown vicinity was being shown by developers.

It may be added that the spelling of the name of the building varies according to sources. Some of these give 'Millichamp'; others, 'Millichamps'; others, 'Millichamp's'. I have retained the spelling used by the historical plaque affixed to the frontage of the building: 'Millichamp'. the plaque was sponsored by the Toronto Historical Board, under the Ontario Heritage Act.

September 17, 2012

Notes

(1) Originally from Scotland, John Gemmell went into partnership with James Smith; the firm Smith and Gemmell was also responsible for various Toronto buildings, including the Presbyterian Church at 452 College Street, and the Church of the Redeemer, 162 Bloor Street West.

(2) This is to say, in my humble opinion, at least; I am aware of adverse published comment also.

Also worth seeing

In Toronto itself, among the numerous visitor attractions and architecturally significant sites are, some of these within walking distance of the Millichamp Building include: the Birkbeck Building in Adelaide Street East; the former Commercial Bank building at 181 Bay Street; the Confederation Life Building; Union Station; Old City Hall; Osgoode Hall, Campbell House, and St James's and St Michael's Cathedrals, the United Metropolitan Cathedral, and others.

...

How to get there: Air Canada, flies to Toronto Pearson Airport, with wide North American and other connections, from where car rental is available. However, visitors to Downtown Toronto will find many sights to be easily walkable. Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. For up to date information, you are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent. For any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities, please refer to appropriate consular sources.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

For your visit, these items may be of interest

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