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…




Howard Dennison Chapman, RIP

Howard Chapman

Howard Chapman

I read the sad news in yesterday’s Globe and Mail that architect Howard Dennison Chapman died. He was 96.

Chapman was the son of Alfred H. Chapman, the Toronto architect behind the Royal Ontario Museum’s entrance on Queen’s Park, the Princes Gates at the Canadian National Exhibition, the Toronto Hydro Building and others.

Chapman pere also built Toronto’s first Central Reference Library, which Chapman fils restored (with partner Howard Walker) and turned into the Koffler Student Centre of the University of Toronto (which houses the university book store).



Alfred Chapman left no information (that I could find anyway) about who the bearded figure is on the building, and Howard was unable to answer the question when I spoke to him in 2005 while researching Faces on Places: A Grotesque Tour of Toronto.

Among his other works was the “half-round” Riverdale Hospital (with Len Hurst), which was demolished in 2013 after years of opposition.

A web exhibit of some of his work by the City of Toronto archives is still online.