Wesley Building – The Iconic Landmark at Queen & John Sts

2020 - Wesley Building/Bell Media Studios at Queen St W & John, looking southeast
2020 – Wesley Building/Bell Media Studios at Queen St W & John, looking southeast

Do you remember Speaker’s Corner? Originally known as the Wesley Building, today 299 Queen St W (and John St) in Toronto is home to Bell Media.

The Architecture & The Methodist Book and Publishing Company

Designed in 1913 by the architectural firm Burke, Horwood & White, the Neo-Gothic landmark was constructed between 1914 and 1915. The Wesley Building was named after John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement in the Church of England. The elegant five-storey structure was the head office of the Methodist Church of Canada and Methodist Book and Publishing Company (which later became Ryerson Press).

1919 - Methodist Book & Publishing Company at Queen St W & John St, looking southeast
1919 – Methodist Book & Publishing Company at Queen St W & John St, looking southeast

Modern for the time, the building is constructed of a steel frame. Three of its main facades are clad in white terracotta tiles with a Gothic motif. The ornate arched main entrance features decorative pilasters and parapets. Along with the top second-storey band are grotesque scribes and readers. There are also recessed spandrel panels, ogee arches, crocketed pinnacles, book motifs and trefoils on the piers. The many large windows allow for abundant light. The coffered plaster ceiling inside the main entrance off Queen St W is another character-defining element.

In 1925, the Methodist Church became part of the United Church of Canada. The building was renamed United Church Publishing where they printed, published, bound and sold books. Until 1959, the magnificent building was also the church’s national headquarters. The landmark received heritage status in 1973.

The CHUM-City Building

In 1987, the picturesque building was purchased and became the CHUM-City Building. The interior was altered and became the world’s first TV production centre without formal studios. The building itself became famous and was home to MuchMusic and CityTV with the CityPulse LiveEye truck smashing through the wall on the building’s east side.

The Wesley Building Today

In the mid 2000s, CHUM Limited assets were purchased by what is known today as Bell Media. The iconic Wesley Building is the company’s headquarters and downtown studios.

Wesley Building Photos

1980's - CHUM-City Building with Speaker's Corner
1980’s – CHUM-City Building with Speaker’s Corner
1919 - Methodist Book & Publishing Company at Queen St W & John St, looking southeast
1919 – Methodist Book & Publishing Company at Queen St W & John St, looking southeast
2020 - Wesley Building/Bell Media Studios at Queen St W & John, looking southeast
2020 – Wesley Building/Bell Media Studios at Queen St W & John, looking southeast
2020 - Queen St W entrance of Bell Media Studios
2020 – Queen St W entrance of Bell Media Studios
2020 - Wesley Building/Bell Media Studios on Queen St W, looking southeast
2020 – Wesley Building/Bell Media Studios on Queen St W, looking southeast
2020 - CP24 Live Eye Truck crashing through east wall of Wesley Building/Bell Media Studios
2020 – CP24 Live Eye Truck crashing through the east wall of Wesley Building/Bell Media Studios
2020 - Grotesque reader, quadtrefoil and stone detailing on the Wesley Building 2020 - Grotesque reader, quadrefoil and stone detailing on the Wesley Building
2020 – Grotesque reader, quadrefoil and stone detailing on the Wesley Building
2020 - Windows, quadrefoils and stone detailing on the Wesley Building
2020 – Windows, quadrefoils and stone detailing on the Wesley Building
1980's - CHUM-City Building on Queen St W, looking southwest
1980’s – CHUM-City Building on Queen St W, looking southwest
1983 - Wesley Building at Queen St W & John St, looking south towards CN Tower
1983 – Wesley Building at Queen St W & John St, looking south towards CN Tower
1972 - Wesley Building at Queen St W & John St, looking southeast
1972 – Wesley Building at Queen St W & John St, looking southeast
1954 - Fire Hall and Welsey Building, Queen1954 - Fire Hall and Wesley Building, Queen St W near John St, looking southeast (Toronto Public Library r-371) St W near John St, looking southeast (Toronto Public Library r-371)
1954 – Fire Hall and Wesley Building, Queen St W near John St, looking southeast (Toronto Public Library r-371)
2021 - Queen St W near John St, looking southeast
2021 – Queen St W near John St, looking southeast
2020/1919 - Bell Media/Wesley Building at 299 Queen St W
2020/1919 – Bell Media/Wesley Building at 299 Queen St W (City of Toronto Archives)
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