MEAN CITY: From Architecture to Design: How Toronto Went Boom!

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 celebrates 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 takes 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 is 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 pays tribute to the industrial design of the postwar 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 is the most ambitious exhibition presented by Dominion Modern, and is accompanied by a full-colour exhibtion catalogue, available for $20. Dominion Modern: Museum of Modern Architecture and Design is located at 59 College Street in Toronto and is open Wednesdays to Saturdays from 12pm to 6pm or by appointment by calling (416) 825-6489. The exhibition coincides with the current show at the CCA in Montreal – The 60s: Montral Thinks Big and the Museum of Civilization show in Ottawa Cool 60s Design. For more information, please contact Elissa Pane at (416) 967-4815 or