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Mean City
Mean City

From Architecture to Design: How Toronto Went Boom!
A major exhibition on Toronto’s architectural and design output, 1945-75. Industrial design artefacts on display included household goods and an actual jet engine from the makers of the AVRO Arrow.

The two World Wars had a tremendous impact in transforming Canada into a confident and robust industrial nation. With that came a building boom and an artistic explosion that gave young entrepreneurs, designers, artists and architects opportunities to dream big, bold and modern.

MEAN CITY celebrated this great boom in architecture and industrial design (1945-1975), with emphasis on the work of John B. Parkin Associates: works that include the Sun Life Building, Yonge Subway and Terminal One at the Toronto International Airport.

Also, MEAN CITY took a closer look at the CNE's distinctive cluster of modern buildings. Beginning in 1947 with the new Grandstand Stadium and culminating in the Better Living Centre in 1962, young architects like Richard Fisher, George Robb and Peter Dickinson were given the opportunity to execute '50s fantastic and futuristic buildings.

The Don Mills housing project was featured in MEAN CITY. Urban planner Macklin Hancock was hired right out of Harvard by E.P. Taylor to develop the rolling hills of North Toronto. Talented architects like Douglas H. Lee, John C. Parkin, Henry Fliess, James A. Murray, Harry B. Kohl and Peter Dickinson created housing, factories, schools, churches, libraries and parks for the unique community.

MEAN CITY also payed tribute to the industrial design of the post-war years. The exhibition highlights the accomplishments of A.V. Roe Canada. They built Orenda engines, the Avro Arrow, and the Avro Jetliner; the latter, designed by James C. Floyd, was the first commercial jetliner in North America.

MEAN CITY was the most ambitious exhibition presented by Dominion Modern. It is accompanied by a full-colour exhibition catalogue. MEAN CITY coincided with the current show at CCA in Montreal, "The 60s: Montreal Thinks Big" (20 Oct. '04 - 11 Sept. '05) and the Museum of Civilization show in Ottawa, "Cool 60s Design" (25 Feb - 27 Nov. '05.)

Dominion Modern
59 College Street at Bay Street,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
March 5 to May 29, 2005
12 – 6pm, Tuesday - Sunday
Free Admission

To order the book, Mean City, see Publications page.