Architectural Highlights Across Canada

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Toronto City Hall, Toronto

Canada, Ontario, Toronto, New City Hall
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Architect Viljo Revell's distinctive structure was completed in 1965 replacing Toronto's old city hall (which still stands and makes a striking contrast by way of its weighty Romanesque styling).

The new Toronto City Hall design was controversial at first but has since been accepted as a masterful piece of modernist architecture.​ 

An aerial view of the Toronto City Hall reveals it to resemble a large unblinking earthbound eye, giving it the nickname "Eye of the Government." 

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Jelly Bean Row Houses, St. John's, Newfoundland

The charming houses in downtown St Johns (aka Jelly Bean Row), St Johns Harbour, St Johns Bay, Avalon Peninsula, Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada.
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The colorful houses that line the steep streets of downtown St. John's give life and vibrancy to a city that has its share of foggy (what the locals call, "mauzy") days.

These brightly-painted Victorian terrace houses known as Jelly Bean houses were erected originally as temporary accommodation after the Great Fire of 1892, but have come to be a symbol of this provincial capital.

Jellybean houses are said to have been painted such vivid colors in order to be visible to fisherman on rainy days. ​

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Olympic Stadium, Montreal, Quebec

Canada, Montreal, Olympic Stadium, The Esplanade
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Built for Montreal's 1976 Olympics and designed by architect Roger Taillibert, the impressive, grandiose structure drew controversy in public opinion but remains a Montreal landmark to behold. The building itself may not be of too much interest and paying for a tour should only appeal to architectural or Olympic enthusiasts. 

Plagued by structural and financial problems, the building is greatly underused but is a popular tourist attraction and does host some sporting and other special events.

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Confederation Bridge, Connecting Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick

Confederation Bridge, Borden-Carleton, Prince Edward Island, Canada
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Confederation Bridge is a curved, 12.9 kilometer (8 mile) long bridge - in fact, the longest in the world crossing ice-covered water, - and more than a decade after its construction, it endures as one of Canada’s top engineering achievements of the 20th century.

The bridge connects the maritime provinces of Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick and opened in 1999.

Safety features include its undulating design that keeps drivers alert,  a road surface made of a special long-lasting bituminous mixture that minimizes vehicle spray during wet weather; 1.1 metre-high concrete barrier walls that minimize visual distraction and serve as a windbreak; and more than 7,000 drain ports that allow for the runoff of rainwater and melting snow and ice.

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05 of 11

Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario

Rear wall of Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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Frank Gehry renovation in 2008 that - like all alterations to cherished institutions - stirred up controversy, but has been widely accepted as a success.  The transformed AGO features Gehry's trademark use of Douglas Fir and glass, giving the building warmth and drama. Playful contrast is another theme of the gallery's renovation, such as between the flush titanium and glass rear wall that reflects the sky and the billowing, elliptical glass facade. Many local and international critics have hailed the transformed AGO as an understated Gehry masterpiece. 

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Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, Quebec

Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre
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Basilicas and cathedrals are a familiar site across Quebec. The double spire church especially is a charming symbol of French culture.

A half hour east of Quebec City, on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, is the town of Beaupré. With a population of under 3,000, Beaupré nevertheless draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year to see its magnificent Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré where many sick and disabled have been miraculously healed.

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Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Ontario

ROM Royal Ontario Museum featuring Michael Lee-Chin Crystal Toronto Ontario Canada 2007
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Designed by Daniel Libeskind, the "Crystal" is an addition to the original more austere and traditional Royal Ontario Museum, which have been incorporated together inventively.With hardly a right angle in sight, the Crystal's aluminum and glass-clad walls jut and soar, creating a dramatic interior and unique perspectives for visitors. 

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Staircases of Montreal, Quebec

Rue, Parthenais, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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Entirely unique to Montreal, the many outdoor staircases that adorn so many of the city's row houses seem entirely impractical, especially in the snowy winter months,  but actually served a logical purpose when they were constructed in the early 1900s.

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09 of 11

Red Roofs of Quebec

Red Roof Barn And St. Lawrence River, Bas-Saint-Laurent Region, Trois-Pistoles, Quebec
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Driving along the Saint Lawrence River on Quebec's shore, it's hard not to be captivated by the steeply pitched, bright red roofs of the farmhouses and churches along the way. 

The crimson roofs are apparently colored so that sailors may clearly see the buildings from the water, but you'll notice similar designs right across the province, including in historic Quebec City. 

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Lighthouse, Peggy Cove, Nova Scotia

Lighthouse in Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada
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With all its water and shoreline, it is no wonder that Canada has thousands of lighthouses dotting its landscape.

Maybe because they recall a simpler time before the bells and whistles of modern technology, the lighthouse holds a special allure for people, even with no nautical fascination. 

The lighthouse in Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia, is one of 160 in the province and one of the most photographed in Canada. It was built in 1915, though some Canadian lighthouses from the 1700s still exist today.

Peggy’s Cove is a quintessentially East-Coast town, featuring houses perched along a narrow inlet that stands bravely against the Atlantic Ocean. Though the area has been designated a preservation zone, it is still an active fishing community.

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Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Alberta

Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
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This "Castle in the Rockies" began as a resting spot for tired rail travelers during the 19th century.  A good number of these Canadian railway hotels have been maintained in glorious historic detail and continue to welcome guests under the Fairmont Hotels & Resorts moniker.

The Banff Springs Hotel opened in 1888 and though it has undergone numerous renovations and even a major fire, it retains much of its elegance and original heritage allure.

Like many of the other historic railway hotels in Canada, the Banff Springs Hotel style of architecture is a kind of mishmash which may include Scottish baronial, gothic revival, French chateau, Tudor, and Swiss chalet. 

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