The City of Thorold
2017 Prince of Wales Prize
The City of Thorold – population 19,000 – has an incredible story of heritage-led regeneration. As you visit downtown Thorold today, you will find remarkable transformation. The City has found a new successful niche in the tourism market, and storefronts are bustling, with new facades true to their original splendor from the 1800’s. The human dimension and cultural continuity brings Thorold’s rich heritage and history of to life.
The City emerged from an industrial base, and though it experienced a substantial reduction in the number of retail businesses in the downtown core in the late 80’s and early 90’s, the post-industrial era was a catalyst for Thorold’s heritage movement. Incorporating its downtown’s uniqueness, small-town feel, and rich heritage into its future planning and streetscape efforts, the City’s investment in heritage infrastructure has successfully generated economic vibrancy. The result is a resurgence of new retail commercial businesses downtown and cultural and social benefits for its residents.
The City’s Heritage Committee is very active in the community, and is currently working on a cultural heritage landscape designation which includes the expansion of Greenbelt lands. The Heritage Committee has also embarked on a program to further recognize heritage buildings that have already been designated, using history plaques to create an avenue to educate residents, visitors, and tourists about Thorold’s rich history.
The City of Thorold owns and maintains a number of buildings with cultural value, many of which have become successful adaptive reuse projects, such as the Keefer Mansion, the former City Hall Building, Chestnut Hall, and the Darlene Ryan Community Centre. The City has also developed a Community Improvement Plan and has implemented a successful Downtown Façade Program grounded in heritage preservation and restoration.
The City of Thorold is a prime example that historic downtowns can experience a rebirth. Thorold has demonstrated a heritage commitment to the conservation of its historic built environment, through regulation, policies, funding, and its heritage committee, exemplifying Thorold’s downtown revitalization and renewal success.
The City of Thorold was nominated by Ms. Pamela Minns, Secretary-Treasurer, Heritage Thorold LACAC Committee.