Friday, January 18, 2013

Those Were the Days!

Every great architect is - necessarily - a great poet. He must be a great original interpreter of his time, his day, his age.
Frank Lloyd Wright, American architect/poet (1867-1959)

I had an unexpected encounter with poetical architecture today as I chanced to look up as I entered the stationery store for some needed office supplies. Long-eared and winged creatures smiled so benignly down on me that I couldn't help but to smile back. Inside, the shop clerk didn't know much about the building's history but a little Internet research revealed that Merle Foster designed the columns for the new Pierce-Arrow automobile showroom that opened here in 1930. The Pierce-Arrow, being the Porsche or Lambourghini of its day, required an elegant storefront in Toronto's fashionable Summer Hill district. Foster's Atlas-like youth holds a winged automobile tire in his right hand, reflecting Pierce-Arrow's stylish hood ornament. Meanwhile, the youth's left hand cradles one of the fine vintage automobiles on his lap.

Unfortunately, the company closed as a result of the Depression. Yet, the building holds further historical importance as it became the home of Mr. Dressup after the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation moved into the building in 1954. I am one of numerous generations of children that grew up watching Mr. Dressup, Cassey, and Finnegan joining them in their tree-house in our technicolour imaginations even though the television image was only black-and-white. Those were the days, my friends!

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