Bruce Cockburn & Toronto: A Historical Tour

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(#6) Toronto in Cockburn's Album Art: R.C. Harris Filtration Plant

Dancing in the Dragon's Jaws album photo

Located at 2701 Queen St. East.

The inside cover photo of Bruce in 1979's Dancing in the Dragon's Jaws album was taken on the grounds here.

The plant is not technically in Toronto but actually in the suburb of Scarborough nearby and is an architectural as well as historic landmark.

An entry from the website (which also includes a 360° virtual tour) describes the plant:

"On sprawling grounds at the west end of the Beaches, the R.C. Harris Filtration Plant is a monument to the marriage of form and function. Named for Rowland Caldwell Harris, Toronto's Chairman of Works 1912-1945, it is the largest of Toronto's four filtration plants, serving 45 per cent of the water needs of Toronto and York Region and capable of filtering 950 million litres of Lake Ontario water a day. In 1995, it averaged 671 million litres a day. Water is brought to the plant via two pipes, whose intake mouths are located 2,650 metres from shore.

R.C. Harris Filtration Plant

Designed by architect Thomas Pomphrey and built in the 1930s, the plant is a shining example ofthe Art Deco style, popular for water filtration plants of the day. As writer Michael Ondaatje notes in his novel In the Skin of a Lion, the plant has been called a Palace of Purification for its Egyptian tower and Byzantine facade, and its rich interior of marble and brass.

The R.C. Harris plant is a National Historic Civil Engineering Site. Harris's foresight made for easy expansion when the plant was enlarged in 1955-58. That foresight is evident in another Harris legacy, the Bloor Street Viaduct, built decades before the subway system that would eventually run beneath it."

Further information can be found at Beaches Toronto.

This page is part of The Cockburn Project, a unique website that exists to document the work of Canadian singer-songwriter and musician Bruce Cockburn. The Project archives self-commentary by Cockburn on his songs and music, and supplements this core part of the website with news, tour dates, and other current information.