The Concourse is a 16-storey Art Deco building
in Toronto's financial district. The Concourse is not 'skyline' Deco
with a swank silhouette, but rather a decorated box, a canvas for elegant details.
Each side in fact is differently decorated (or undecorated) and can be viewed easily from street level. A 20 second
stroll reveals all four sides and the obvious dimensionality of this building -- no mere facade, and certainly no canyon wall.
It's a classic 'street corner' building.
Concourse architects Baldwin and Greene were active in office, residential and commercial construction.
Their Victory Building (1929) at 80 Adelaide West is an obvious bookend to the Concourse. Another commercial
building at 83 Bloor West (1929) was degraded by unworthy fashion-mongers Versace (going out of business
as of Feb. 2001) who affixed plastic Palladian over an original and cool Deco. The Claridge apartment
house (1927) at 1 Clarendon Avenue is one of the city's most notable. Incidentally, architect Martin
Baldwin went on to be director of the Art Gallery of Toronto, now the called the AGO.
Baldwin and Greene commissioned the Concourse (and
the Claridge) decorations from J.E.H. MacDonald and his son Thoreau. MacDonald senior was
a painter with the Group of Seven, an accomplished commercial artist and a teacher at the Ontario College
of Art. The Group of Seven depicted the city on canvas and brought their touch to many built projects.
It was a heady time for the arts in Toronto, with the galleries, schools and commercial art firms in various stages of maturation.