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Journal: Gooderham Building

Gooderham Building (May 2004): After first fuelling up on pancakes with a sizable contigent of the local explorer crowd, and then burning off most of that flour and syrup with a fast, tense climb up a fairly well occupied 23-storey under-construction condo with Jonoboy and Lost Flock, I headed south with Jonoboy, Lost Flock, PotLan and Boffo to take a look at the Gooderham Building.
      The Gooderham Building, more commonly known as the Flatiron Building, is a dramatic wedge-shaped building at the corner of Front and Wellington Streets. Built in 1891 as an office and clubhouse for whiskey baron George Gooderham — of Gooderham and Worts and King Edward Hotel fame — the building actually predates New York City's more famous Flatiron building by 10 years. How odd for Toronto architects to start a trend rather than follow one!
      After waiting in line for a fair while, we were ushered in and told the history of the building (which included a mention of a tunnel leading to a building across the street currently occupied by Pizza Pizza). We then guided ourselves on the official tour, where we admired the vault, the fireplaces, the elevator and the oddly shaped offices as instructed.
      The interesting part came when, at the top of the building, we climbed a narrow spiral staircase up to a half-height door leading to an attic, where all sorts of dusty old records and old computer parts were stored. Even more interestingly, we found a skylight that seemed prepared to swing open. It didn't seem like this should be part of the public tour, so we shooed away the other people who had followed us up. After waiting for the rest of our tour group to disperse, I hauled a small metal footstool underneath the skylight, pushed it open and hoisted myself out onto the gravel roof. Within a few moments, all five of us were crowded onto the small wedge-shaped roof, photographing and admiring the great view of the harbour and the surrounding area.
      Leaving the roof and putting everything back as we'd found it, we then headed down to the basement to see if we could find that tunnel to the Pizza Pizza, but a very flustered employee of the pub in the basement told us to take a hike.

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