City Hall with the glazing being replaced on the west tower
08 . 25 . 2015

Paul H. Cocker Gallery hosts ‘Shaping Canadian Modernity’

AUTHOR Johanna VanderMaas

From September 1 to October 9, Shaping Canadian Modernity at Ryerson University’s Paul H. Cocker Gallery will provide a glimpse at the history of one of the city’s most well-known buildings — Toronto City Hall.

The exhibition focuses on the 1958 international competition for the Toronto City Hall and Civic Square.  In addition to showcasing a selection of competition entries from around the world, the exhibit critically assesses the impact of Finnish architect Viljo Revell’s design on Canadian architectural culture.

The Toronto City Hall Competition was a significant event in the global architectural community, with over 500 submissions received from entrants in 42 countries. The building’s completion in 1965 proved to be equally significant to the Canadian public at large, confirming modernity as a legitimate expression of civic values and democratic ambitions.

The exhibition is curated by architect and urban planner George Thomas Kapelos, Associate Professor in the Department of Architectural Science at Ryerson University, and Christopher Armstrong, Emeritus Professor of History at York University.

A public lecture, sponsored by the City of Toronto and the Toronto Public Library will be held on Thursday September 3, 2015 in the Council Chamber at Toronto City Hall, at 7:00 p.m.

Competing Modernisms: Toronto’s New City Hall and Square, published by Dalhousie Architectural Press to coincide with the exhibition, features a critical examination of the competition and its outcome, and includes a selection of competition entries and submissions by finalists, illustrated with original drawings and models, as well as a complete listing of the more than 500 architects who entered. Details on the publication can be found at

The exhibition is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, Ryerson University and is sponsored by the Ontario Association of Architects, Perkins + Will Architects and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.


Shaping Canadian Modernity: The 1958 Toronto City Hall and Square Competition and Its Legacy

Paul H. Cocker Gallery
Ryerson University
325 Church Street
Toronto, Ontario
September 1 to October 9, 2015, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Exhibition opening: September 17, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. This is a public event. All are welcome.

Public lecture

Shaping Canadian Modernity: The 1958 Toronto City Hall and Square Competition and Its Legacy

Council Chamber, Toronto City Hall
100 Queen Street West
September 3, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.
This is a public event, no tickets are required. All are welcome.

Media Contact

Johanna VanderMaas
Public Affairs
Ryerson University
Office: 416-979-5000 x 4630