Ralph Thornton Community Centre 765 Queen St. East - Leslieville
Architect: E. J. Lennox, 1913 Subsequent architect(s):Retrofit by Matsui, Baer and Vanstone, Architects, 1980.
The Ralph Thornton Community Centre building is the former Postal Station G. Built in the neo-classical style, it was the last grand building erected along Queen Street East in the pre-WWI era. One of it's unique features is an elaborate corner door, now the entrance to the Queen-Saulter Branch of the Toronto Public Library, above which is a flatbed turret clock with pinwheel escapement. (that's the device which converts continuous rotational motion into an oscillating or back and forth motion)
Though most of the interior has been altered over time, the original marble rear staircase remains intact. During its 62 years of operation, the Post Office sometimes made the building’s upper floors available for community purposes. WoodGreen Community Centre got its start here with a boxing ring on the 3rd floor. When the Postal Station moved out in 1975, the building faced demolition, but was saved because of its value as a historical building.
In the late 70s, the City of Toronto bought the building and ultimately converted it for use as a multi-purpose community facility. Named in honour of local activist Ralph Thornton, the Centre is home to numerous community programs, services and special events, and offers rental space to the community.
Open: Saturday Only: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Last admittance to building: 4 pm (Sunday: Not open)
Tours of the exterior of the building will take place every 30 minutes, concluding with a look at post office vestiges remaining in the library. A chance to climb (or just look at) the original marble staircase (not generally open to the public) and views of the inner workings of the clock (offered only during Doors Open) follow each tour.
Visitors will be encouraged to consider the building and its immediate neighbourhood through Riverside in Focus: Past, Present and Future – featuring exhibits of archival photos, photographs and art work by local artists, photo-based works by students from Riverdale Collegiate, and a 3-D replica of the area made by younger children.
A wandering magician will entertain from 2:30 to 3:30 pm and the 30 minute interactive production “Carbon Busters” will be performed at 1:30 and 4 pm. A short walking tour on the social history of the neighbourhood will be offered at 1 pm. Healthy, low-cost refreshments will be available.
View Leslieville Real Estate Boundary Map in a larger map
Other Doors Open Toronto Locations in East End Toronto
Toronto Beaches Walking Tour, 2161 Queen St. E.