:: Friday, January 20, 2006 ::
photography: After completing this pic, I thought that if you saw it in an archive, you could say that it was a contemporary shot sometime around it's construction. The shot is of workers on top of an early 20th Century building in Toronto. I took the pic from my room at the Sheraton in December. It was very cold and windy at ground level on this Saturday morning. I can only imagine what it was like on top of a elevator machine room of this building.
Taking and tweaking the pic was one thing. It was much harder to identify it. I knew the room I had faced South and emmediately below me was Richmond St, and to my right York St. The building was a hard left out my window. It was a really tough angle, but where was it?
Well, I went to Google maps first to get the lay of the land. I used the towers at night shot to narrow my arc of research to ESE (East South East) on the compass rose from my building as the bank towers were out of the view to the right. I assumed that the building was pretty close by, no more than a couple of blocks and likely on Bay near Richmond. Not very tall. Perhaps 20-30 stories though I couldn't tell exactly as it's base was blocked in the shot.
I started to type in searches in Google. Came across a couple of hits but nothing too specific. Then I remembered I had used a semi public search service called Emporis which has a fantastic catalog of buildings in Toronto ( and around the world). Dates of contruction/ demolition, factoids, and most importantly locations and photos. I narrowed it down to the core of the city, and then started to check the older ones. I figured the building - from it's stone work, style and ornamentation - was likely late 1920s or early 1930. After three or four false positives I had it. The address was 372 Bay Street and the building was the Sterling Tower.
I used the same sort of research with GoogleMaps and Emporis to identify the Commerce Court North tower in this picture. And learned some fascinating facts as well. At 34 stories, upon it's completion in 1931, the Commerce Court North Tower was the tallest building in the British Empire and remained that way till 1962. It is located at King and Jordan St (between Bay St and Yonge St), Toronto.
And if you want something cool, click again on the Google Maps link for the 372 Bay St, and zoom out about 50 percent. Using the hybrid map/satellite view, you can see most of the Great Lakes. Never seen that particular view and all the green was quite cool.
:: Mike Wood 11:45 [+] ::