The architecture of Toronto is an eclectic combination of architectural styles, ranging from 19th century Georgian architecture, to 21st century postmodern architecture and beyond. Initially, the city was on the periphery of the architectural world, embracing styles and ideas developed in Europe and the United States with only limited local variation. However, a few unique styles of architecture have emerged from Toronto, such as the bay and gable style house and the Annex style house.
Toronto's older buildings are influenced by the city's history and culture. Most of the city's older buildings adopted designs found in other areas of the British Empire, such as Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian, and various revival-styled designs that were popular during the 19th and early 20th century. In the years following World War II, the city experienced massive growth and adopted a number of modernist and postmodernist architectural styles, including the International Style and the towers in the park concept. With adoption of the Greenbelt throughout the Greater Toronto Area in 2005, the region has experienced a large condo boom with many designs adopting neo-futurism and neomodern styles. Since the end of World War II, many prominent architects have done work in city, including Toronto native Frank Gehry, Daniel Libeskind, Norman Foster, Will Alsop, I. M. Pei, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Reflecting this eclectic combination of architecture, Lawrence Richards, a member of the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Toronto, has said "Toronto is a new, brash, rag-tag place—a big mix of periods and styles."
The growth of the city is influenced by the geography of the city, most notably the Toronto ravine system and the Greenbelt, a permanently protected area of green space, farmland, forests, wetlands, and watersheds within the Golden Horseshoe. The natural geography of the city also provided builders with a variety of resources to build from. The most abundant raw material was the shale layer underlying the city, as well as the abundance of clay, making brick an especially cheap and available material, and resulting in many of the city's buildings being built from brick.
The most prominent landmark in Toronto, and its best known symbol, is the CN Tower. It was the world's tallest free-standing structure for 31 years from its completion in 1975 until Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates surpassed it in 2007; it remains the tallest free-standing
Museum station was renovated to resemble that of the Royal Ontario Museum's collection; its renovation was completed in 2008. Dufferin, Union, and Pape subway stations were renovated during the mid-2010s to add new artwork and in the case of Union, a second platform was added as well, though not as a Spanish solution. A number of other stations also have public artworks within them.
The most prominent landmark in Toronto, and its best known symbol, is the CN Tower. It was the world's tallest free-standing structure for 31 years from its completion in 1975 until Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates surpassed it in 2007; it remains the tallest free-standing tower in the Western Hemisphere. The CN Tower is used as an observation tower and a communications tower. Another landmark structure is Casa Loma. Constructed by E. J. Lennox during the early 1910s, it is a Gothic revival-style castle located on Walmer and Davenport roads. It was originally the residence of Sir Henry Pellatt, a Canadian financier and soldier. The city later took over the castle when Pellatt could no longer afford to keep it. The building presently operates as a museum.
The Princes' Gates is a neoclassical style triumphal arch monumental gateway at Exhibition Place. It was built to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Canadian Confederation and was to be named The Diamond Jubilee of Confederation Gates. The structure's name was changed when it was learned that Edward, Prince of Wales and Prince George were travelling to Toronto. The princes cut the ribbon on the structure on August 30, 1927. Prince's Gate was designed local architectural firm Chapman and Oxley.