A proposed design for a new Ontario Legislative Building

A New Ontario Legislative Building

In 1880, the provincial government launched a design competition for a new provincial legislative building to be situated at Queen’s Park, Toronto - an early design proposal is pictured here. The initial budget for the new Legislature was set at $500,000 (approximately $12.8 million today). 

George Brown Monument, Queen's Park, Toronto

George Brown Statue, 1884

The first permanent statue honoring a historic figure on the grounds at Queen’s Park – that of Father of Confederation George Brown (1818-1880) – was unveiled in 1884.

Richard A. Waite - Architect of Ontario's Legislative Building

Richard A. Waite, Architect of Ontario's Legislative Building

In 1885, after an unsuccessful design competition, Richard A. Waite, a British-born architect and panelist judging the submitted designs for a new Ontario Legislative Building, unveils his own plans - the provincial government rapidly accepts them. Construction begins early in 1886 with a budget now set at $750,000.

Legislative Building, Toronto, Ontario, c. 1893

Ontario Legislative Building, 1893

Ontario's new Legislative Building at Queen's Park is opened officially on April 4, 1893. 

François-Eugène-Alfred-Évanturel by Mildred Peel


An MPP representing the riding of Prescott in eastern Ontario from 1886-1904, François-Eugène-Alfred-Évanturel served as Ontario’s first Francophone Speaker (1897-1902) and Minister (1904-1905).

The Hon. Sir George William Ross by Andrew Patterson

Premier Sir George W. Ross (1899-1905)

Sir George William Ross became Ontario Premier in 1899 following the resignation of Arthur Hardy. Ross, the former long-serving Minister of Education (1883-1899), spearheaded the development of Northern Ontario during his term of office.

Queen Victoria Monument, Queen's Park, 1902

Her Majesty Queen Victoria (1819-1901)

Queen Victoria, Britain’s second-longest reigning monarch and the namesake of Queen’s Park (the location of Ontario’s Legislative Building), passed away on January 22nd, 1901. To commemorate her passing, the Ontario Government purchases a statue of Her Majesty that is unveiled on the Legislature’s grounds in 1902.

The Hon. Sir James Pliny Whitney by J.W.L. Forster

Premier Sir James Pliny Whitney (1905-1914)

In 1905, James Whitney was elected as the province’s first Conservative Premier in 33 years, winning the January election with a majority. He would go on to win three back-to-back majorities, dying in office not long after his fourth victory in 1914.  One of the most noted achievements of his time in office was the introduction of public electricity.

Fighting the fire, September 1, 1909

Legislative Building Fire, 1909

On September 1st, 1909, a devastating fire breaks out on the west roof of the Legislative Building, destroying nearly its entire west side including the Legislative Library. Over 100,000 books were destroyed. Plans to rebuild the west wing are in place soon after as the provincial government hires Toronto architect E.J. Lennox to take on the project.