A Walk In The Park

Have you ever visited your government buildings?

Well, I hadn’t and my interest became piqued by a recent news story about some murals that had been uncovered on the ceiling of our provincial legislature.

That triggered a last minute decision to tour Queen’s Park * – the home of our provincial government.

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Queen Victoria  watching regally outside Queen’s Park.  I love the chubby little horse on the top right.

The Art Nouveau murals date back to 1893, but were covered up several years later in a layer of horse hair, canvas, and white paint in an attempt to improve the acoustics in the Legislative Chamber.

The murals were uncovered this summer when maintenance crews were inspecting the ceiling after concerns that sections of the primitive acoustic covering were starting to sag and might eventually fall on the chamber floor below.

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Although the existence of the murals was known, the greater surprise was how well-preserved they were.

From the news articles I read about the murals, I was under the impression that the entire 4 part ceiling mural had been restored.  In fact, only one portion was uncovered.  It is expected that the recovery of the remaining portions will take years to complete.

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Small section of wall mural that was also uncovered
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The Legislative Chamber waiting for summer recess to end on Sept 12th

Because this is Thursday, I also have to toss in a couple of doors and I wasn’t disappointed by the beauty of the entrance into the Legislative Chamber …

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One of the building’s front doors (on the right side)  …

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I really like that bottom panel on the door … I’m assuming to prevent wear.

Side entrance into Queen’s Park …

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Oh, you wanted to see the front of the building too?  Ok, here is the centre block …

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The three large windows on the second floor are the Legislative Chamber.

* the land surrounding the provincial government building is called Queen’s Park, but the name Queen’s Park has also come to be used for the building, as well as the government itself  eg – “Queen’s Park has passed a law that ….”

If you are ever in Toronto looking for something interesting to do, free tours of Queen’s Park are available all year round.

Thursday Doors is a weekly photo feature hosted by Norm Frampton at Norm 2.0.

 

90 comments

  1. Oooh, more history. And yours is so rich and interesting.
    I love a door that practically invites you to kick it open.
    We have a Queens Park here too. (And yes, there’s no apostrophe in Queens. Don’t ask me why.) It’s a picnic ground, footy/cricket oval and a golf course. It’s also effectively become a suburb as houses were built along the road.

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    • You had me going off to double check whether our Queen’s Park had an apostrophe. Yup. It does. Those little details can be very curious.

      It’s funny how our Queen’s Park came to mean much more than the park itself.
      So is this suburb along the road now also known as Queens Park?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post and brilliant images to complement it. Loved the interiors and the murals. In India, government offices are usually in a pathetic state. The only time you see it in good shape is when some top minister is visiting it, or during festivals. Plus, public is not allowed to step into the building. I guess the corrupt ministers fear that public might peek into their public welfare work. After all, it takes a lot of work to sweep things under the carpet. LOL.

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  3. The mural—what a great find. I wonder what they were thinking when they covered it up…too colorful, too icky, too drab, dumb cherubs? Great door shots. I wonder if they covered up the bottom of the door “after” it had been kicked in a few times too many, or as prevention. Either way, cool now.

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  4. Joanne, I’m a big believer in touring government buildings – if for no other reason than, as Bismark said: “to see how the laws and sausages are made.” That oak(?) and beveled glass door is fabulous. That combination is one of my favorites. They don’t make ’em like they used to. ~James

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    • No, they certainly don’t make buildings with fine artistry like that anymore.
      Instead, we’ve had ongoing issues with the windows popping out of new condo buildings which have been sprouting up like mushrooms. Workmanship, be damned.

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  5. Just discovered your blog and I’m now working my way through past posts – you are certainly a very active retiree! I’ve been looking for inspiration since I have recently “been retired” at least for the next 8 months or so and since I live in Toronto I will definitely be looking for ideas on how to keep active.
    I’ve always enjoyed being a tourist in my own city – love “Doors Open” every year. But for some reason I’ve never been inside Queen’s Park! It is going on the list for sometime in the next couple of weeks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve heard about Doors Open, but have never participated. The fact you go every years speaking volumes!
      I hope you find something that inspires you … and that you will let me know. I’d like to read about it 🙂

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  6. My favorite part was the Art Nouveau murals and yes, so beautiful and well preserved. 🙂
    The government buildings are amazing up where you are, Joanne! Simply exquisite details and gorgeous photographs to display them. You chose some great positions and angles.

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  7. So of course, I had to go do some more research about this gorgeous building. Instead of making you answer me back, I had to learn how old the building is (completed 1893). The murals are incredibly well preserved, aren’t they? Fascinating!
    Love the side entrance image.

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  8. I love stories like these-an uncovering to find treasure underneath.
    Horse hair??? A person wonders how they were able to do that without smelling up the place (I had a horse once!)
    As always, I love your door features. It’s so cozy here…I’m gonna see what else you’ve been doing. 🙂

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    • There was so much ‘eye candy’ in this building, it was hard to know where to point my camera … while trying to pay attention to the guide at the same time.

      I think another tour might be in order … apparently I missed a spectacular brass grille that had been buried under a century of dirt and grime 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Joanne I thought I had commented on this post but I’m thinking it was the photo on Instagram. Early onset dementia perhaps? The Queen is looking very serious in the statue I’d say. Perhaps not a good idea to walk to closely beside her. 🙂

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  10. That is a beautiful building. Good to see them bringing those murals back.
    The first set of doors is downright spectacular and the textured steel kickplate on the second ones is pretty cool too.
    Definitely adding this to my to-do list next time I’m in Toronto

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  11. Those doors with the leaded glass are amazing! Love them!

    I think it’s fantastic that they’re bringing the murals back. What a pretty detail! Can you imagine how patient and careful they have to be to remove them?
    There surely aren’t old murals to uncover here, I think the state house was erected around 1860 and it’s neo-Classical. The other government buildings here in Indy are new modern things with boring standard glass doors. Bleh.

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    • Once upon a time in my youth, I loved modern buildings. Coming from a small town, I was in awe of the huge glass & concrete. Only much later did I start to appreciate the older architecture … the details!!

      My understanding is that they have had to engage some art restoration people to ensure it’s done properly. Not only were the murals covered up, but they used big nails to secure the covering.
      There has been some remedial work required to restore the murals correctly so the progress will be slow.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I know! It’s unbelievable to us now, but I guess at the time it made the most sense to solve their problem of too much noise in the Chamber. It seems that 100+ years later, it is appreciated even more … perhaps because of it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks for taking me down memory lane – I had an office in that very building in the early 1990’s – fascinating place. It’s also known affectionately as the ‘pink palace’ because it’s built of pink granite. Some great photos.

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    • You had an office in Queen’s Park?! You must share the story!

      I had read it was called the Pink Palace, although I’ve never heard anyone ever say it. I love that soft colour of stone. I read it came from the Credit River and Orangeville area.

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  13. Fascinating that they are now uncovering and restoring these beautiful murals, Joanne! How do they plan on dealing with the acoustics now, or is the building no longer used for legislative sittings?

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    • Technology in management of acoustics has changed dramatically over the past century. They didn’t share exactly what was done now to dampen the noise … Quite frankly, it never occurred to me to ask! It is still used for the provincial government sitting, although they won’t be back in session until mid-September.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I love it! I haven’t been to Queen’s Park since elementary school, and I missed the news story about the murals. I feel a trip to the city is in my future!

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    • Coming from the north, I missed so much compared to students in the south who have proximity to so many wonderful outings … Although sometimes I wonder exactly how much young children really get out of these visits.
      I admit I was pretty much in awe the entire time!

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  15. Thanks for this tip, Joanne. I’ve walked past this impressive building a few time over the past couple of years, but didn’t know there were tours. The story about the murals coupled with your photos have sealed the deal for me. Next time, I’ll take myself inside! Thanks!

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  16. I love the kick plates on those doors at the bottom. But, seriously, somebody thought it would be a good idea to cover such beautiful artwork with horsehair and white paint? Beautiful photos, Joanne. I think I like the entrance with the glass sidelights and transom the best.

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    • I’m guessing art wasn’t high on their list of priorities. Thankfully there are better acoustic solutions today and treasures like this can be restored.

      That entrance into the Legislative Chamber was a wow for me. I like the finials on the columns at the base of the stairs.
      … and why did they have to build that room up several steps anyway?!!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Seriously? Horse hair to cover beautiful murals for sound. That’s like cutting out your eyes so your ears will over compensate and you have better hearing. Insane. Wasn’t there an artist who cut off his ear? Yep, insane. I am glad they were able to save the art work.

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  18. Beautiful images Joanne 🙂 The only government buildings I have visited were in Washington DC. The Capital, The Mall, Lincoln Memorial but the memorial which had the most impact was the Vietnam Wall. On a lighter note I did notice the lack of public restrooms while walking around DC and for someone like me who loves a nice cold beer or two it could be a problem finding a tree to pee on, LOL 🙂

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  19. How wonderful that the murals have been rediscovered and will be revealed again. Lovely photos of a beautiful building! You’ve reminded me that I have never been inside our parliament buildings (called “The Beehive”). I’m in Wellington next week, so I really have no excuse not to take a tour 🙂

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    • From what I understand, the technology around management of acoustics has improved significantly since the turn of the last century. This horse-hair layer on the ceiling is no longer needed. It will be beautiful when fully restored!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Beautiful building, beautiful doors, gorgeous murals, and I love the Legislative Chamber. Thanks for sharing it all and some of its history. Toronto certainly has its share of great places to visit.

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    • I was rather surprised when I discovered the grand old lady herself in front of Queen’s Park. I should have guessed that’s where the name came from!
      I quite like statues to begin with and this one is very interesting with all its detail. I had only noticed the chubby little horse when I loaded the photo into WP.

      Liked by 1 person

    • As soon as I saw that news story, I knew I wanted to see it for myself! I was disappointed to discover the entire ceiling had not been uncovered … which was implied in the news … but even the excitement of the tour guide was contagious 🙂

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  21. The mural is incredible and I agree incredibly well preserved. Isn’t it funny how we can so often ignore what is close by when we live somewhere. For me, it usually takes friends staying for us to explore places we might otherwise never have visited!

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