Heritage Lighting of the St. Lawrence neighbourhood

November 7th, 2009

On November 6, Councillor Pam McConnell, representatives of the City of Toronto, Toronto Hydro, and community members flicked the switch at the official lighting of St. Lawrence Market, kicking off the Heritage Lighting initiative and marking the beginning of the celebration of the 205th anniversary of St. Lawrence Market.

Councillor Pam McConnell, BIA President George Milbrandt, Toronto Hydro Director Joyce McLean, and MPP George Smitherman flip the switch on the heritage lighting.

Councillor Pam McConnell, BIA President George Milbrandt, Toronto Hydro Director Joyce McLean, and MPP George Smitherman flip the switch on the heritage lighting.

“Celebrating its 175th birthday, the City of Toronto is proud of its heritage and distinctive building architecture. The lighting initiative allows us to showcase that pride 12 months of the year,” Councillor McConnell said. “These buildings are some of the most photographed buildings in Toronto, and from a tourism perspective, we are glad to be able to light these buildings for visitors to our city to enjoy. But we are also glad to brighten them for the residents of the city who pass them on a daily basis.”

The lighting of the market building, and others in the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood, is part of a larger heritage initiative for Old Town Toronto. Lighting, especially in winter cities like Toronto, is a way to animate the streets and bring life to the public realm. In the Old Town neighbourhood, this lighting will support tourism and showcase some of Toronto’s most important heritage buildings.

The lighting program permanently lights the St. Lawrence Hall, heritage buildings on the south side of Front Street from east of the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts to Market Street, and portions of the Flatiron Building and the South Market building.

St. Lawrence Hall

St. Lawrence Hall with the permanent lighting treatment.

“The lighting will create a mood for historical interpretation, improve the appearance of the streetscape at night time, and create a sense of public safety and comfort,” said Sherry Pedersen, of the City’s Heritage Preservation Services

A mix of permanent and temporary lighting illuminates the iconic Flatiron Building.

A mix of permanent and temporary lighting illuminates the iconic Flatiron Building.

This Heritage Demonstration Project originated about 10 years ago, with the King Parliament Community Improvement Plan.  A significant portion of the plan included recommendations to accentuate our community’s heritage.  From that plan, it was decided that lighting was a distinct tool that required special attention.

Major cities around the world have recognized the benefits of similar lighting projects and are using night lighting to accentuate their premier destinations and to promote tourisms.  Recently, Ottawa has used night lighting to feature the Parliament Hill Precinct, and Montreal has enlivened its Old Port by transforming it with light.

Temporary lighting treatment of St. James Cathedral.

Temporary lighting treatment of St. James Cathedral.

The lighting installation was, in part, a demonstration project.  The demonstration installations included St. James Cathedral, architectural highlights of the Flatiron building, and the front façade of St. Lawrence Market. The temporary installations served as a test case for future program expansion.

“I believe that this event will be the catalyst in realizing the full potential of highlighting our city and our community’s heritage,” said Councillor McConnell. “With this work, we are building a legacy for residents and visitors to enjoy.”

The Heritage Lighting Project is presented by the Heritage Preservation Services Section of the City Planning Division, and the City of Toronto Facilities and Real Estate Division, together with program sponsors St. Lawrence Market Neighbourhood Business Improvement Area and Toronto Hydro; in partnership with Old Town Toronto Promotional Alliance. Special thanks to: Woodciffe Landmark Properties, York Heritage Properties and Allied Properties REIT.

The lighting installation was the kick-off event to St. Lawrence Market’s 205th anniversary celebrations.

South Market without the heritage lighting

South Market without the heritage lighting

South Market with the temporary lighting.  It is hoped that a permanent installation will be completed by early 2010.

South Market with the temporary lighting. It is hoped that a permanent installation will be completed by early 2010.