Orange ya glad?


kingbilly3.webMaybe it’s because “the Eastern world, it is exploding,”and blowing lesser conflicts out of the news, but I don’t remember hearing anything about Orange parades this year.

No news of a parade in Toronto or in Northern Ireland, where “marching season” usually culminates with a walk parade demonstration riot by members of the Orange Order on 12 July to mark William of Orange‘s victory over King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

I’m not complaining, mind you. Now that the 12th is safely over and I can’t be accused of being Orange myself (which I’m not!), however, and to nod at least to the historical event, I can post a picture of  a sculpture of King Billy on a building here in Toronto.


It appears on a building in Little Italy that now houses a Starbucks, the Kalendar Cafe and the Movie House Lofts, but began life as the Orange Order Lodge. Built in 1911 by architect George Martel Miller, it was actually the Western District Orange Hall, so called because it was located on College Street in the west end of the city.

As late as the 1950s, Toronto had 10 Orange halls, including the Eastern Orange Hall on Queen Street East.

I don’t know whether any of the other nine locations are extant or whether they have an image of King Billy on them. I noticed this one on the very day my book, Faces on Places: A Grotesque Tour of Toronto, was launched in 2006 – and I knew I’d missed at least one of the city’s architectural faces…




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