Old Firehall Turned Make-Up College

When I got the call asking if I would be into photographing a restored historical building in the city, there was nothing else I could say except for, YES!!!!  

It's not every day that a girl get's to photograph an old Toronto Fire Hall originally built back in 1886, now turned MakeUp College. 

The fire folks moved in 1969, and the building had begun transforming.  It was used as the famous Second City Theatre, then a Hospice known as Gilda’s Club, after that, the building sat empty for years.  During the last 40+ years, walls went up, original details covered up, and sadly, the beauty of the building from 1886 had disappeared.

When the owner of Complections College of Make Up Art and Design purchased the building on Lombard Street not long ago, Pamela Earle had her work cut out for her.  Her school was growing and she wanted to give her students a beautiful new place to learn about hair and make-up styling, special effects for film and theatre, creature design and prosthetic creation. 
She hired an architectural firm to do the renovations and they got to work.   Her goal was to restore the building back to it’s original beauty, and to reveal it's old architectural detail.

I loved Pamela's personal touches, like these old wooden doors that were added to each classroom's entry.

On my first visit to the college earlier on this year, the reno’s were almost complete.  Whatever was boarded up, covered up, and built up over the years, was removed to reveal the original beauty in the building.   

On my next visit, I had my camera and gear, and was ready for my photo-shoot.  The school was in even better shape and I didn’t know where to start.  I took WAY too many pictures, I couldn’t help myself!!  It was gorgeous!!  The endless winding staircase alone was amazing, and all painted a deep dark grey (my best-loved colour these days).  The original details revealed  were exquisite, not to mention the fun, quirky d├ęcor that the creative folks at the Make-Up school had included to personalize the space.  I had so many favourite areas and tried to capture them all along with the essence of the school itself and the architectural characteristics.  The school was approaching their grand opening and the staff was already buzzing around.

The original fireman's pole remains, sliding you down to the main floor! It's adorned with an orange octopus creature made by the students of Complections College. 

Going back a few weeks later to finish off the shoot, the store was now open and ready for business.  

Anything you could possibly need as a Make-Up artist, THIS was the place to pick it up!  

The students were already enjoying the new semester and busy learning about hair, prosthetics and make-up

I was so happy to be a part of capturing this beautiful restoration and the energized life within it's new walls.  The students of Complections College of Make-Up Art and Design are likely inundated with inspiration as they walk through the halls of this College, I know I was! 

Thanks to Pam, Christine, Stefanie, and Marcia for all of your help with organizing the photo shoot.  And to my lovely assistant Esther. 


1 comment:

  1. Nice shots there Joanne! What a cool project. xo t