Thursday Doors | August 17, 2017

“582 Sherbourne Street” James Copper House, Toronto

This week’s submission to Norm 2.0‘s Thursday Doors. 

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favourite door photos from around the world.

“582 Sherbourne Street” James Cooper House, Toronto

Today, a return to another of the grand old houses of Toronto’s Sherbourne Street. This one has fascinated me for some time now. Whenever I drive by, I’m drawn to the interesting statues installed on the property. So, when I had the opportunity to walk the area a few weeks ago, this was definitely on my list of places to check out.

I had no idea of the history of this majestic “Second Empire” style building. The building was built in 1881 for James Cooper, a wealthy merchant and show retailer. This area was one of the wealthiest places in Toronto at the time the house was built and it’s in the best condition. After Cooper departed, the building became home to the Keeley Institute for Nervous Diseases, an organization assisting those with alcohol and substance abuse problems. In 1910, it became home to the Toronto Knights of Columbus, who used the facility as a meeting and fundraising venue for almost a century. In 2008 the property was purchased by the Tridel Group, with the intention of building a condominium tower on the site, which is designated by the City of Toronto as a heritage building, so it had to be preserved. Or, in this case, moved.

It turns out, it’s also one of the heaviest moves of a building in Canadian history. In 2008, the 800 ton building was moved twenty feet east and five feet south from its original location, to make room for a condominium tower being built on the same property. The move cost the developer a reported $1M but preserved an architectural treasure from Toronto’s past. The developer has taken great care to maintain the house, which serves as an amenities centre for the adjacent condominium tower.

Oh, yes, and back to the statues, the property has several, all in a wildlife motif, with wolves, stags, and foxes attached to metal bases, with a reflected statue beneath it. The wolf and the fox sit horizontal, but the stag is a vertical installation, quite eye catching. I’ve included the Google Streetview link, though it does not do it justice, as well as an image of the house being moved.

The things you learn when you look for nice doors.

iPhone 7 back camera @ 4.0mm
1/120 sec; f/1.8; ISO 32

15 Comments on “Thursday Doors | August 17, 2017

  1. Thanks for the additional links and the fascinating back story. Dunno about you, but I prefer my wildlife statuary right-side up. 🙂

  2. Oh – that’s the James Cooper House! I too have passed it dozens of times, always intrigued by the statues. Strangely, I’ve always been so preoccupied with the statues, I’ve never noticed what a great door it had. Your photo is many times better than any I’ve ever taken of this building.

  3. I do enjoy learning 🙂 That was a good one. Interesting bit about the statues. Don’t know that I’ve ever seen anything like that. I think I’d remember.

  4. The door is gorgeous and those statues really make you take notice.
    I can’t believe anyone would go through that much trouble and expense to move a building such a small distance. Why not just modify or scale back your development plan instead?

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