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Doorway to the Past
Photo by Michael Visser

Doorway to the Past

Entrance once fronted the three-storey home of businessman Mandel Granatstein

Looking at this portico, which stands in the ultra-modern Bahen Centre for Information Technology, words such as shadow and whisper come to mind. The doorway, after all, leads to memories: it once fronted a three-storey dwelling of classical Georgian architecture that stood at 42 St. George St. Built in 1920 for businessman Mandel Granatstein, it was designed with a retractable roof so that he and his family could mark the Sukkot harvest holiday, during which observant Jews sleep outside. Acquired by the university in 1947, the building held a number of identities, and was last home to the Joint Program in Transportation. It was demolished to make room for the Bahen Centre in 1999, but its portico – sheltered in the centre’s front lobby – now provides a permanent entryway to the past.

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