The Asylum was the most prestigious commission of John Howard’s career, and he approached it by reading everything on the care of the insane he could lay his hands on. Also, in the Fall, 1844, he made a trip of inspection to the United States to see purpose-built hospitals at Utica, Syracuse, Worcester, Philadelphia and New York City. As a result, his designs for the Toronto asylum were very progressive, allowing for ample corridors flanked by well-ventilated private rooms and wards with pleasant views. On this plan published during construction, the walls and partitions of the 584 foot-long main building are bolded; the wings which would not be erected until the 1860s (and then to slightly different designs) are shown in a lighter tone.
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Plan of the Principal Story - Provincial Lunatic Asylum, ca. 1847
J.G. Howard, Architect
Scobie & Balfour Lith. Toronto.
Image courtesy Toronto Public Library: B 8-61d
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