64Take two or three looks, actually. The modern four to five lanes oftraffic date to 1947, when the street was widened to carry morecars. Prior to that, the elegant street was lined by wide, leafyboulevards with shady sidewalks. Wrought iron fences and stonewalls marked the lawns of the houses, which were then well backfrom the street. In its prime, this was one of the most beautifulresidential streets in the city. But change is again afoot. Walk further south down Jarvis, almostto Carlton, and you'll be amazed at how, when carefully planned,the new can complement the old. In 2005, the National Ballet ofCanada opened the new Celia Franca Centre and the MargaretMcCain Academic Building at 400 Jarvis Street to much criticalacclaim, including a Heritage Toronto Award of Excellence forarchitectural craftsmanship and conservation. Designed byleading Toronto architecture firms KPMB Architects andGoldsmith Borgal and Company, Architects, the complexsympathetically incorporated two of the street's signature historicbuildings. At the heart of the sleek glass Celia Franca Centre isthe buff-brick Northfield House, built in 1854 for Oliver Mowat.Mowat would later be known as a Father of Confederation and thelongest serving Premier of Ontario, but when he built the house hewas a lawyer, and Jarvis Street was a dusty road, barely 10-years-old,that travelled through what we'd call countryside. Mowat's housewas later owned by Edward Rutherford, the President ofConsumers Gas, before becoming a residence for Havergal LadiesCollege (an elite private school for girls), and eventually, home toCBC executive offices. To the south, and still part of the NationalBallet, is the main red-brick building built in 1898 for Havergal.Here, in 1952, the first Canadian television program outside ofMontreal went live. That's the tip of the iceberg of CBC storiesrelated to this site. The new National Ballet campus is a beautiful addition to thisvery old street. The historic house and school building have beenbeautifully restored, and have been given dignity and presence bythe skilled placement of new buildings with transparent glassfacades. If the former mansions further north on Jarvis hint at thegrandeur of the street that once was, the new home of theNational Ballet demonstrates the best of Toronto today, and givesbright hope for Jarvis Street in the future. And that, after all, is one of the most exciting things about thiscity. Never quiet and always ambitious, Toronto just keepsadapting and adding to its past. In this city, there is so muchopportunity to make old things new again. Gary Miedema is the Chief Historian and Associate Director ofHeritage Toronto, a small charitable organization dedicated toraising awareness about Toronto's past. This article highlightsa few of the stops on Heritage Toronto's free guided walkingtour, "The Mansions of Jarvis Street," which will run on April29. For details about the Heritage Toronto Walks program,sponsored by TD Bank Group, visit www.heritagetoronto.org. The new incorporates the old in the award-winning National Ballet School, 400 Jarvis Street. The red-brick former Havergal Ladies College is at left, the buff-brick Northfield House at right. Photo by Marta O'Brien.Jarvis Street's upper reaches were the city'sRosedale before there was a Rosedale. At itsheight in the late 19th century, the street was the home to Toronto's now iconic families.
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