St. Charles Clock Tower

This structure at 490-492 Yonge Street, above College Street, is probably best remembered as the St. Charles Tavern, which opened in the 1960s and was the centre of Toronto's gay bar scene until it closed in 1987. The tower above the street was originally part of a Fire Hall, which was built in 1872. Towers were a pretty common feature of fire stations from this era because they were used to store and dry the hoses.

Since the St. Charles Tavern closed its doors, a variety of retail locations had occupied the buildings below the tower. It had fallen into a pretty sorry state in the years that followed, but was given the restoration treatment in the mid-1990s. The structure was designated a heritage property in 1974.

The site is now slated for the Halo Residences condo development, with the tower being integrated into the new structure. Later on during construction, the clock tower will be re-positioned closer to Yonge Street. This restored element will be joined by a section with glazing that replicates the Yonge Street facade of the former fire hall, as well as a facade restoration and retention of 480 Yonge to the south, currently covered up by generations of exterior renovations. According to heritage retention plans, this facade will be retained in situ during construction.

June 23, 2018

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