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UTSC puts out welcome mat for Doors Open Toronto

UTSC's Miller Lash House and the Andrews Building will be open to tour on Sunday, May 25 as part of Doors Open Toronto. (Photos by Ken Jones)

UTSC will open two of its treasured buildings to the public as part of the city-wide Doors Open Toronto event May 24-25.

The Science and Humanities Wings, informally known as the Andrews Building, and Miller Lash House will both be open to tour on Sunday, May 25 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The theme of this year’s event is Secrets and Spirits, and while there are no confirmed reports of the supernatural in either building, both contain plenty of architectural surprises to explore. 

“It’s a pleasure to invite visitors to explore the unique architecture we have at UTSC,” says Interim Principal Bruce Kidd. “These two buildings are absolute treasures and superb examples of their distinct architectural styles. While here they can also stroll through the Highland Creek valley connecting our campus, which is beautiful this time of the year.”

Completed in 1966 as the original building of UTSC, the Andrews Building is a leading example of the Brutalist school of architecture that was popular in Europe and North America following the Second World War. Designed by Australian architect John Andrews–who would later go on to design the CN Tower–the building was embraced by architectural critics and covered in magazines across the country and around the world, including a cover story in Time magazine’s January 13, 1967 issue.

With steep concrete slopes that give it a pyramidal appearance, the structure hugs the edge of the Highland Creek valley. Inside, the building features many alcoves, hidden staircases and interior balconies, which overlook the central hallways connecting to the heart of the building called The Meeting Place. Today, the Andrews Building remains an iconic example of Canadian modern architecture and continues to draw architecture scholars, students and aficionados from around the world.

The Miller Lash House celebrated its 100th anniversary last summer. Originally built as a private residence by Miller Lash, a Bay Street lawyer, businessman and U of T graduate, it remains one of Canada’s finest and few surviving examples of Arts and Crafts design. The University acquired the house and 270 acres of property in 1963 and modernized the estate to use as the UTSC principals’ residence until the late 1970s.

Designated for preservation in 1998 under the Ontario Heritage Act, a meticulous restoration of the house was completed in 2005. The house features extended horizontal slopes, gable roofs and window treatments as well as a heritage coach house, ice house and staff buildings.

© University of Toronto Scarborough