07 Sep 2015
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Architectural Credit: Douglas Edwin Kertland
Completed in 1929 to showcase the latest cars and trucks, the Automotive Building was the result of a design competition that saw 30 architectural practices submit proposals for the new exhibition building. The winning design was that of young Toronto architect Douglas Edwin Kertland, who until that point was mostly known for his residential designs. In 1931 Kertland received an honourable mention in the Toronto Chapter of Architecture and Applied Arts for the exterior detailing of the Automotive Building. Kertland served as president of the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada (RAIC) in 1956 and 1958. The building captures the transition between two architectural styles at the Canadian National Exhibition. Its massing, proportions, arches and façade follow the principles of Beaux-Art Neoclassical architecture that had characterized many of the exhibition’s buildings including the adjacent Princes’ Gates (1927). However, much of its detailing and ornamentation showcase Art Moderne and Art Deco which would be the styles of choice of future exhibition buildings including the Horse Palace (1931) and the Bandshell (1936). The building was praised in journals of the time for harmonizing Classical principles with elements of Modernity. In 1967 the auto show left the Ex. For several years after, the CNE used the old building to host numerous events. In 2009 the Automotive Building was renovated as the Allstream conference centre. In 2016 the restored building will serve as venue to the OAA Annual Conference.
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