Why Every Architecture Lover Should Go to Canada
Though more generally known this side of the border for its natural splendor, Canada is no less chockablock with man-made wonders. The country — diverse, forward-thinking, and with more than its share of all-star cities — has produced architectural stars from Frank Gehry to Todd Saunders. Canada is home to an extraordinary collection of buildings that were built to reflect and respond to architectural and social movements happening across the country and the world. Its most notable buildings exemplify its history and ideals, making Canada a must-visit on any architecture lover's itinerary. Here's a quick sampler of the architectural standouts you can find beyond the woods and wilds.
This 1933 indoor farmer's market in Montreal's Saint-Henri neighborhood is one of the finest and most impressive Art Deco structures in North America. When you enter, look up — the stall signs are among the few original interior details left.
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
This 1844 gem shows that Canadian architects had equal — or greater — mastery of the Greek Revival style that was then then prevalent in the States. Use the companion app to explore the grounds.
Sharp Centre for Design
British architect Will Alsop (with local partner Rob Robbie) created a minor sensation in 2004 with this improbable speckled box on stilts, housing studios and offices for Toronto's Ontario College of Art and Design. In spring and summer, the Toronto Society of Architects leads tours that include a stop here.
Created for the World's Fair in 1967, this all-concrete prefab icon began as the college thesis project of contemporary starchitect Moshe Safdie, who hoped the building would be a new and more livable model for dense city housing. Safdie still owns an apartment in the complex. Plan your visit around one of the guided tours that run several times a week.
Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia
In a nod to its First Nations–focused collection, the 1976 museum has linear framing reminiscent of some indigenous groups' timber buildings. It's the signal achievement of Arthur Erickson, once hailed by his contemporary, American architect Philip Johnson, as "the greatest architect in Canada."