Balmoral Fire Hall National Historic Site of Canada

Toronto, Ontario
Corner view of the Balmoral Fire Hall, 1992. (© Parks Canada Agency/Agence Parcs Canada, 1992.)
General view
(© Parks Canada Agency/Agence Parcs Canada, 1992.)
Address : 20 Balmoral Avenue, Toronto, Ontario

Recognition Statute: Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
Designation Date: 1990-11-16
  • 1911 to 1911 (Construction)

Event, Person, Organization:
  • Robert McCallum  (Architect)
Other Name(s):
  • Balmoral Fire Hall  (Designation Name)
  • Toronto Fire Station 311  (Other Name)
Research Report Number: Queen Anne Revival - 1990-SUB

Description of Historic Place

Located in downtown Toronto, Ontario, the Balmoral Fire Hall is a small red brick Queen Anne Revival building. The designation refers to the building on its lot.

Heritage Value

The Balmoral Avenue Fire Hall was designated a national historic site of Canada because it is a particularly good example of the Queen Anne Revival Style, as expressed in institutional architecture.

The Balmoral Fire Hall is the quintessential Queen Anne Revival institutional building: a clever use of eclectic historical revival details to articulate a building with a modern function. Built in 1911, the building designed by the architect Robert McCallum is an imaginative evocation of early Renaissance Flemish urban design, featuring polychromatic materials, a sculptural treatment of surfaces, which enliven a small building with charm and economy.

Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, November 1990.

Character-Defining Elements

Aspects of this site which contribute to its heritage character include: those elements which speak to the Queen Anne Revival style as it was executed for institutional purposes, namely: the basically rectangular massing enlivened by varying rooflines, stepped gables, and a tower; a polychromatic colour scheme achieved through the combination of red brick with pale stone trim; the grouping of windows of various shapes including round-headed windows with prominent voussoirs; and the exterior expression of the contemporary function as evident in the large vehicle doors, hose tower, and open interior space for vehicles and equipment.