The Petrie Building in Guelph, ON, previously at risk of demolition by neglect, was listed in the 2014 Top 10 Endangered Places List. A mere year later, the building was purchased by Tyrcathlen Partners, and restoration work began. The work on the façade was revealed in January 2018 to many who eagerly awaited the scaffolding to come down.
The Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (Guelph and Wellington branch) raised over $23,000 for the careful restoration of the Petrie Building’s façade through the National Trust’s THIS PLACE MATTERS crowdfunding competition.
A local landmark, the Petrie Building was built in 1882 for Alexander Bain Petrie, a local pharmacist and one of the city’s most successful and influential businessmen. Designed by Guelph architect John Day, this four-storey structure boasts an ornate façade of stamped galvanized iron that is further distinguished by a large mortar and pestle pediment. It is one of only three documented buildings in the country erected prior to 1890 with full sheet-metal façades.
The launch of the Save the Petrie Building Facebook page in 2011 helped garner public support to save the structure from further decline, as did public exhibitions at the main library and the involvement of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario. A local filmmaker created two shorts, Demolition by Neglect and Petrio–Threelenses on the Petrie Building, to help raise awareness of its plight.
In March 2015, Tyrcathlen Partners, Guelph developers with a focus on heritage restoration and adaptive reuse, announced an agreement to purchase the Petrie Building with the goal of rehabilitating both the pressed metal facade and the interior spaces.