There is an allure and mystery to buildings the public can’t access. Only on special occasions like Doors Open Toronto can we get a glimpse inside grand public buildings like the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant.
Part of its appeal is in the contrast between its utilitarian purpose and its stunning architecture. Built in the 1930s, and opened in 1941, it is the largest water treatment plant in the city. The plant not only provides Toronto with sparkling clean drinking water, its extra marble laden entrance and Art Deco architectural features have given it the nick name the Palace of Purification. The historic building and landmark has even been featured on a postage stamp.
Yes, our drinking water is piped in from Lake Ontario, but if you’re on the fence about drinking city tap water, maybe a tour of the plant will help make you a believer.
For more information about the water treatment process check out this website.
If you haven’t taken a look at one of Toronto’s most unique buildings, the grounds at 2701 Queen Street East are open to the public.
Browsing through the Toronto Archives we can get a look at the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant over the years as well as its construction and original site. Here are some of the images we found.
For more old photographs from Toronto, check out the Toronto Archives.