Edward James Lennox: Builder of Toronto


150 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55002-204-0
DDC 720'.92





Reviewed by Chris Raible

Chris Raible is the author of Muddy York Mud: Scandal and Scurrility in
Upper Canada.


There was nothing modest—or cheap—about Toronto architect E.J.
Lennox. A century ago, he designed and often supervised the construction
of many of the massive monuments built to provide a sense of permanence
in his rapidly growing metropolis.

Early in his career, Lennox designed gothic churches, rich residences,
and elegant commercial buildings, all majestic and sturdy—and now
mostly demolished. Late in his career, he designed Casa Loma, the
fortress folly (now a tourist attraction) that sits on a ridge
overlooking the central city. It was meant to fulfil the dreams of Sir
Henry Pellatt, a man who had more money than sense and who ran out of
both before his extraordinary edifice could be completed. Lennox also
created St. Paul’s Anglican Church, the King Edward Hotel, the
Electrical Development Powerhouse, and the west wing of the Provincial
Legislature at Queen’s Park, all of which survive today, continuing to
serve the purposes for which they were originally designed, reminding us
that theirs was an age that both honored and trusted power.

What Lennox may have lacked in originality—one of the many assets of
this book is its documenting of sources of his inspiration—he more
than made up for in creativity and audacity. What architect today would
dare, in planning a great public building like Toronto’s City Hall, to
include a stone carving of his own likeness above the main entrance or
the spelling out of his

name among the floral corbels that encircle the building?

This well-produced volume, which features all known buildings by
Toronto’s most influential (in his day) architect, also includes a
glossary of architectural terms and a fascinating reprint of Lennox’s
1904 predictions of what Toronto will be like in 2004.


Litvak, Marilyn M., “Edward James Lennox: Builder of Toronto,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 28, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/1149.