Sweet Revenge

toronto's old city hallOn a recent tour of Toronto we learned that Old City Hall, which now serves as a courthouse has a story of sweet revenge permanently etched into its architecture.

E.J. Lennox was  the architect and contractor hired to design and build a city hall for Toronto in the late 1800’s. Eventually he ran into trouble with the city council. He was way over budget and finishing the building was taking far longer than he had promised. City council was so upset they told him his name would not be placed on the plaque on the front of the building. 

tour guide in torontoOur engaging Toronto tour guide Kieran told us that E. J. Lennox didn’t protest the city council’s edict but he got his sweet revenge. city council members toronto old city hall grotesque style

On the top of one of the pillars on the front of City Hall he made caricatures of each of the city council members who had decided he couldn’t have his name on the building. For their faces he used an architectural style called Grotesque which was usually used on gothic churches for sinners and evil people. decorative panels around old city hall in toronto

Then in decorative panels which ran all around the eaves of the building he put small intricately designed blocks. Spaced far apart so they wouldn’t be easily detected he engraved letters that spelled E.J. Lennox Architect 1889. 

x for lennox old city hall torontoHere’s the X from Lennox. When pointed out by our guide, the letters were easy to see. The architect’s secret engravings weren’t discovered till decades later and by then most of the old city council members had died or left city council and the current members just didn’t care about what Lennox had done. 

He had his sweet revenge!

Another posts about a design controversy…….

Lessons From the Sydney Opera House

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Filed under Canada, Politics, Toronto

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