5 of 28
Bird’s Eye View of Toronto, looking northwest, ca. 1900-1925. Photo by Frank W. Micklethwaite from the Library and Archives Canada (PA-032103).
St. James’ Cathedral has been called “Toronto’s oldest skyscraper.” Over 300 feet tall, its Gothic spire dwarfed all buildings around it, a fitting beacon for the staunchly moralistic Victorian Age. The church was surpassed in height by Old City Hall’s own 339-foot clock tower in 1899, and would remain among the city’s 10 tallest buildings as late as 1968. For workmen maintaining the steeple’s clock, located just below the green copper roofline, the clock face was reached by climbing 280 steep wooden steps, and offered an outstanding view of the city below.