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44 Walmer Road, Toronto, 2019. Image by Vik Pahwa.

Circles of 44 Walmer Road, Toronto, 200. Image courtesy of Alfred Holden.

The Prince Arthur Towers, 20 Prince Arthur Avenue, 1993. Courtesy of the City of Toronto Archives.

Advertisement for the Prince Arthur Apartments, Globe and Mail, July 25, 1969. pg 35.

  • The Flower Tower

    A love of circles

    Affectionately called the Flower Tower, 44 Walmer Road has become one of Prii’s most iconic works. When it was first built in 1969, the balconies had circular, cut-out designs along the railing. This inspired the nickname “Flower Tower” by Toronto Life, because it served as a reminder of the 1960s playfulness of “flower power,” going against then-current ways of building.

    Besides the balconies, the circular theme is also found in the porte cochere, the canopy structure over the door, where circle cut-outs emit light. It is again repeated with the arches and fountain in front of the building. Uno Prii’s love of circles, loops, and curves gave the building a sculptural sense of fun, making the building stand out against its rectangular neighbours. Uno and Silvia planned to live in the Flower Tower after Uno’s retirement, but the building was so popular and the waitlist so long that the Priis were never able to live there.


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  • The Flower Tower

    Whose art?

    In 2001, the Flower Tower was sold to new owners, who renovated the building and removed the iconic circular cut-outs from the railings. One critic stated the change of this “high-sculptural, landmark tower” would drive the city further into “architectural mediocrity.”

    Despite protests from tenants and Uno Prii’s family, the Flower Tower’s circular elements were lost. Tenants, architects, and historians called into question the renovation. If architecture is art, does a new owner have the right to change an architect’s original design? 

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