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Osgoode Hall
General information
Location 130 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario  Canada
Status Complete
Constructed 1829-
Use office
Technical details
Floor count 3
Companies involved
Architect(s) John Ewart and W. W. Baldwin
Osgoode Hall in 1856

Osgoode Hall is the name for a landmark building in downtown Toronto which houses the Ontario Court of Appeal, the Divisional Court of the Superior Court of Justice, and the Law Society of Upper Canada. The buildings also housed the Osgoode Hall Law School until 1969 when the faculty was relocated to the campus of York University in the North York community of Toronto.

The six-acre (24,000 m²) site at the corner of Lot Street (Queen Street West today) and College Avenue (University Avenue today) was acquired by the Law Society in 1828. At the time, the location was on the northwest edge of the city, which has since grown around the building. It was originally bounded on its north side by Osgoode Street, and on its east side by a street that would eventually be known as Chestnut Street. The former no longer exists, and the latter now stops at Armoury Street as Nathan Philips Square now lies to the east. The original two and a half storey building was started in 1829 and finished in 1832 from a design by John Ewart and W. W. Baldwin. The structure was named after William Osgoode, the first Chief Justice of Upper Canada (what is now the Canadian province of Ontario).

An 1844 expansion was designed by Henry Bowyer Lane. In 1846 the Law Society entered into an agreement with the government to house the province's Superior Court at the hall. Today, the building is jointly owned by the Law Society and the government of Ontario.

From 1855 to 1857 the building was refurbished and enlarged again, according to a design by the firm Cumberland and Storm, to accommodate courts with the original 1829 building becoming the east wing. From 1880 to 1891 the building was again expanded twice in order to accommodate the law school.

Despite the expansions, the hall presents a unified design in the late Palladian style. The iron fence surrounding the lawns of Osgoode Hall has become a landmark in itself. Its distinctive iron gates are narrow and restrictive; it is a long-standing myth that they were designed to keep livestock out of the grounds of the hall and in the 1950s, students did attempt to pass a cow through one of the gates (they failed). The gates were likely due to Victorian architectural fashion, rather than wandering cattle.[1][2][3]

Two libraries are housed within Osgoode Hall: the Great Library of the Law Society of Upper Canada and a smaller library for judges. The Great Library was designed by Cumberland and Storm (1857-1860) and features an ornate plaster ceiling, cork floors, and etched glass windows. A War Memorial by Frances Norma Loring (1887-1968), sculpted in 1928, was added to the Library in honor of the Canadian war effort. Behind the Great Library (and accessible through it) is the American Room, designed by Burke and Horwood in 1895, a more intimate room with a spiral staircase. The courthouse at 361 University Avenue directly to the north is accessible through a connecting tunnel.


  1. ^ The Execution. Osgoode Hall Turns 175 - Documenting a Landmark. Archives of Ontario. Retrieved 2008-03-06.
  2. ^ Osgoode Hall. Lost Rivers. Retrieved 2008-03-06.
  3. ^ Law, Susan. "Osgoode Hall Fence". Osgoode Hall (website). (Accessed 21 June 2007).

See also

External links

Coordinates: 43°39′08″N 79°23′08″W / 43.65222°N 79.38556°W / 43.65222; -79.38556



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