A Photo In The Life Of

A Photo In the Life Of is a weekly photo blog written by Larry Lewis. Topics include photo opportunities, past and present, product reviews and other topics of interest to photographers and photo lovers.

Flatiron, The Most Photographed Building in Toronto

My friend Jordan shooting The Flatiron Building from the east.

In 1891, the Gooderham family, a local distiller, commissioned the family architect, David Roberts, to build a unique and grand head office building. At a cost of $18,000 the building was built at the intersection of Front, Wellington, and Church Streets on a triangular piece of land.

Located between the St Lawrence Market and the Financial District in downtown Toronto, the Gooderham Flatiron Building is one of the iconic, and most photographed buildings in the city. Rarely will you see a collection of photographic prints of Toronto that does not include at least one of this subject.

Interesting fact: The term 'Flatiron' is said to have originated by the shape of this style of building being similar to a household iron appliance.

It is very common to see people shooting images of the west 'pointy-wedge'' side of the building from the east on Front Street. This view shows the narrowness of the building with the Toronto Skyline in the background. Front Street has a median which allows photographers to get close to the building or to shoot down the street from up to 250 meters away. I've had a few close calls stepping into traffic along this stretch and I know I'm not the only one! 

Although this east view is the most common, it is well worth the walk to shoot the building from all angles. There are wide streets and a park to the west which allow excellent vantage points to shoot this unique Gothic Romanesque structure.

The Flatiron mural mirrors the Perkins Building across Front Street.

The west side of the building has an interesting mural. The mural is a mirror image of the Perkins Building, which is located directly across the street. It was created by Canadian artist Derek Besant and utilizes the trompe l'oeil effect (literally, "trick the eye"), It creates an optical illusion that convinces the viewer that the objects depicted really exist. This effect makes the wall appear to have more windows than it does.

When in downtown Toronto be sure to take a walk along Front Street east of Union Station to the Flatiron Building. The St Lawrence Market is just a little farther east and is also an excellent area to photograph. It is open 6 days per week and is closed Mondays. Better yet, sign up for a tour from one of the local tour companies. This neighborhood was the hub of Toronto in the 1800's and there are many sites of interest and stories to be told.


The Toronto Gooderham Flatiron was built 10 years previous to the New York Flatiron Building

The New York Flatiron, lower left centre of the image, photographed from the Empire State Building in 2009.

The NY Flatiron Building, originally called The Fuller Building, is located at 175 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York City, and is considered to be a groundbreaking skyscraper. Upon completion in 1902, it was one of the tallest buildings in the city and one of only two skyscrapers north of 14th Street.

Interesting fact: When the Flatiron Building first opened the building's designers had failed to include any ladies' washrooms. Management had to designate bathrooms for men and women on alternating floors.


A Photo In The Life Of is a weekly PHOTO blog on LARRYLEWISPHOTO.COM.   It is an evolution of my original blog A Photo in the life of  that began in 2006.  I hope to give a little context to my photography and maybe make a few new photography friends. To purchase a print visit Shop. If the image is not listed Contact Me for availability.

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