Designed by architect E. J. Lennox (who also designed Casa Loma and the King Edward Hotel) in the Romanesque Revival architectural style, the building was completed in 1899. The sandstone exterior is beautifully carved and offers a lot of surprises to those who look closely. One curiosity of the carving is the grotesque faces above the main (Queen Street) entrance. Lennox, who felt shortchanged by the Toronto city councillors of the day, got his revenge by having the distorted faces of the councillors carved above the main entrance. There is also a figure of Lennox to be found as well. Lennox’ own face is not deformed and can be recognised by the handlebar moustache. As well, letters spelling E.J. LENNOX ARCHITECT A.D. 1898 can be found in the corbels under the roof.
Inside the building, the main entrance is a grand space, lined with marble columns with plaster capitals, and you will find a mosaic floor beneath your feet. Beside and between the entrance doors are painted murals commemorating pioneer life. Exhibit cabinets can be found on the main floor, on your left as you enter. One display describes the “Friends of Old City Hall”; the other displays photographs and artifacts. When court is not in session, the former city council chamber is also open to the public.