Ecclesiastical Insurance Cornerstone Awards Past Recipients


2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013


Transformative Projects

Resilient Places

  • Ancient Echoes Interpretive Centre
  • Diefenbunker, Canada’s Cold War Museum

  • Transformative Projects: Projects completed between 2012 and 2017 that have creatively renewed or transformed historic places or landscapes for new uses.

    Bowness Park

    Calgary, AB

    Photo: City of Calgary

    Since opening in 1912, Bowness Park has been one of Calgary’s most popular park destinations. Approximately 30 hectares in area and two kilometers in length, the Park is situated on the south bank of the Bow River in the community of Bowness.
    Nearly one hundred years after the Park was established, the City of Calgary undertook a $12.5M rehabilitation project in recognition of the Park’s century long history and in response to its enduring popularity. The plan for redevelopment was based on extensive stakeholder engagement and public input throughout the planning and design process. Citizens emphasized that the rich history of the Park should be celebrated while creating a functional park that could be enjoyed by all age groups all year round.
    The redevelopment project – undertaken by landscape architects from the IBI Group and Leonard Novak Landscape Architect – included transforming a former parking lot into a new central pedestrian area with seating; a new building for a concession and café based on the historic tea house; and forest management to encourage a healthy, sustainable cottonwood forest. The project also centralized parking to improve the Park’s traffic flow and to eliminate the use of motor vehicles within the larger park, and transformed the existing roadways into pedestrian-centered pathways and trails. In 2012, the Riverbank was also restored – just in time to drastically reduce the potential negative impact of the 2013 flood.
    By adhering to the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada a balanced conservation approach was implemented, and in 2014 the site was declared a Municipal Historic Resource. The project reversed the decline of amenities in Bowness Park, rehabilitated many of its historic features and amenities, and has positioned the park to meet the recreation needs of Calgarians over the coming decades.

    Back to the top

    Casey House

    Toronto, Ontario

    Photo: Doublespace Photography

    Commissioned by William R. Johnston, and built in 1875 by prominent local architectural firm, Langley, Langley & Burke, the Casey House is a significant visual reminder of the affluence and grandeur of Jarvis Street during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The interior is characterized by remarkably well preserved and striking detail, including fireplaces, elaborate ceiling plasterwork, leaded glass windows, and encaustic tile floors.
    In 1988, Casey House was Canada’s first stand-alone treatment facility for people with HIV/AIDS, and the first freestanding hospice in Ontario, and has today been redeveloped as a state-of-the-art AIDS/HIV healthcare facility.
    ERA Architects Inc. prepared a Master Plan for the property and oversaw the rehabilitation of all exterior and interior heritage fabric. The redevelopment project integrated the historic building with a new four-storey extension designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects. The extension embraces and respects the existing building, preserving its qualities and organizing the day-to-day user experience. The conservation strategy was to retain and conserve the heritage fabric, replacing deteriorated elements where necessary.
    The interior preservation included the repair and repainting of the plasterwork, the development of the colour scheme, preservation of the fireplaces, and repair of the mosaic flooring in the vestibule. The preservation of the exterior was extensive, including the removal of paint from the masonry, repointing of brickwork, the replacement of stone bands, the fabrication and installation of new window boxes, and new lead-coated copper spiralettes on the roof.

    Photo: Doublespace Photography

    Throughout the project, the architects considered how to manifest unifying themes from the AIDS movement such as ‘embrace’ and ‘quilt’ by working the design concept from the inside out. At its heart, the redevelopment of Casey House was a community-inspired and driven initiative, with stakeholders recognizing the importance of their generous contributions.

    Back to the top

    cSPACE King Edward

    Calgary, AB

    Built in 1912, the former King Edward School was closed in 2001 by the Calgary Board of Education. Left vacant and derelict for over a decade, cSPACE purchased the site in 2012. Through its projects, cSPACE provides the conditions that diverse communities of creative entrepreneurs need to remain vital, sustainable, and innovative while generating broader public value for Calgarians.
    With support from the Calgary Foundation, Calgary Arts Development Authority, and Nyhoff Artchitects, cSPACE completed its flagship project in 2017, transforming the vacant building into a LEED Gold community hub for the cultural and creative sector. The rehabilitation of this historic sandstone school included the construction of a new, contemporary addition to restore the architectural symmetry of the original floorplan and provide a purpose-built theatre and meeting space. The conservation of the building exterior included the preservation of its masonry and historic windows, the rehabilitation of its historic cupolas, and the installation of a new roof.
    The project scope integrated new infrastructure and features to support the building’s new uses: a new elevator, service entrance, and stairwell has enhanced accessibility and functionality, while future festivals and public art installations can now be fully accommodated in a new public park, children’s play area, and outdoor courtyard whose design incorporates salvaged school materials and historical references.

    Today, cSPACE King Edward is a vibrant and unique cultural tourism asset. As a publicly accessible facility, the project showcases a diverse community of non-profits, post-secondary institutions, cultural entrepreneurs and artists delivering innovative programs and cultural experiences for Calgarians.

    Back to the top

    360 Saint-Jacques

    Montréal, QC

    Located in the heart of Old Montréal, 360 Saint Jacques was established as the Royal Bank of Canada headquarters in 1928. Today, thanks to the initiative of Gestion Georges Coulombe Inc., the majestic banking hall is home the Crew Collective & Café.
    Though the Royal Bank headquarters were eventually relocated in the 1960s, the bank kept a branch in the building until 2012. At that time, Georges Coulombe acquired the building and, with the help of heritage conservation experts, gradually began the careful restoration of the exterior limestone and renovation of the interior spaces.
    The monumental banking hall remained vacant while the owner sought to find a new use that would respect the impressive character of the space and protect its extraordinarily rich architectural components – including a 12,000 square foot travertine floor incorporating a marble mosaic crowned by the Royal Bank’s bronze coat of arms; limestone and sandstone walls passing from red to cool gray chamois revealing the coat of arms of nine provinces of the country as well as Newfoundland and the cities of Halifax and Montreal; and coffered ceiling decorated with wood and plaster gilding by the Italian master Angelo Magnanti.
    In 2016, the innovative Crew Collective & Café took shape and was developed in close collaboration with all the project’s stakeholders. Working closely with the owner, the architect Henri Cleinge subtly created a café and a collective work space while meeting the highest standards of conservation and intervention principles in heritage context, including the principles of compatibility, reversibility minimal intervention.

    Separated from the collective work area by a subtle and acoustically efficient wall of glass, the public café area is located in the center of the banking hall, at the mouth of the last steps of the monumental marble staircase.
    Private workrooms are brilliantly furnished in brass-plated steel boxes, a discreet coating that matches the hues of existing materials. The kitchens are discreetly integrated behind the original long marble counter, where customers can watch through windows at the hectic pace of the preparation of ordered meals.
    Thanks to the specialized expertise of many craftsman, including plasterer Daniel-Jean Primeau, several elements of the decor were lovingly restored, including the historic lighting fixtures, brass railings and plaster ornaments and the richly detailed ceiling boxes. After several months of design and five months of work, the rehabilitated banking hall has been revealed to the public and testifies to the remarkable collaboration between a sympathetic owner, designers and entrepreneurs that has permitted the conservation of a magnificent heritage interior and its continued public access.

    Back to the top

    Grey Nuns Reading Room

    Montréal, QC

    Grey Nuns Reading Room

    The former Mother House of the Sisters of Charity of Montreal (known as the Grey Nuns) has played an important role in the history of the city for over 150 years, and has been respectfully rehabilitated by Concordia University to serve its student community. A centerpiece of the project was the conversion of the historic chapel into a Reading Room for the students.
    In September 2014, the university began the Reading Room conversion project with a vision of allowing their multi-denominational student population to better understand the religious past of the place, and by extension, the place occupied by religious communities in Montreal’s our collective history.
    Undertaken by Lapointe Magne & associés, the project took great care to respect the vocation and the original character of the historic chapel. The interventions were minimal in order to preserve the spirit and character of the place: one where visitors can study, learning, and reflect in a quiet, contemplative environment.
    The neutral color palette of the new design accentuates the original neo-Romanesque-inspired interior, the height of the dome, and the delicacy of the ornate trellis above the transept. The layout of the reading tables, which make up the majority of the furniture, retains the geometry of the Latin cross plan.

    In order to create small reading lounges in the old sacristies and in a secondary chapel, the architects chose armchairs of different colors and formats. Only a touch more vibrant, the large red chairs placed in the choir are a nod to ecclesiastical robes.
    As with the larger project to the entire building, the Reading Room conversion adhered to the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada, and all design decisions were based on deep understanding and appreciation the character of the space. This respect extended to the close relationship that developed between Concordia and the Grey Nuns, who were the first to view the completed Reading Room, and who appreciated the great care that was afforded to their former chapel.

    Back to the top

    The Grand Theatre

    Indian Head, SK

    The Grand Theatre is a community-owned, volunteer-run enterprise and multi-entertainment facility and a gathering place for people of all ages in the community of Indian Head. At the time it was built in 1904, it was the only opera house between Winnipeg and Vancouver. The historic building was later turned into a cinema in the 1930s, and was eventually put up for sale in 2012. The small town of Indian Head called on residents to get involved or risk losing their beloved historic cinema, and soon after community members formed a group of volunteers to save the theatre.
    Known today as the Indian Head Theatre & Community Arts Inc (IHTCA), IHTCA ran a fundraising campaign that obtained pledges totaling over $100,000 and negotiated a purchase price with the owners. In February 2014, IHTCA became the owner and operators of what the community renamed the “Grand Theatre.”
    However, after snow from the winter season melted later that year, there were obvious issues with the building’s roof, causing water to leak inside and risk damaging expensive new movie equipment. The IHTCA strong links with the community proved to be invaluable: the local company Roof Management Inspection Services (RMIS) announced the Grand Theatre was chosen as their “charity of choice” in their “Giving Back” initiative.
    From 2015 to 2017, RMIS provided all engineering assistance on roof design and also repaired several portions of the roof. RMIS designed new roof trusses so as to maintain the historic exterior profile and to retain the original tin-tile ceiling structure. IHTCA made a series of grant applications to the Saskatchewan Heritage Foundation (SHF) using the RMIS engineering reports, drawings and cost estimates and received almost $100,000 in matching grants. The 6,000 sq. ft. roof was completely replaced or repaired to meet modern codes while respecting heritage standards. Assistance by RMIS and SHF, along with countless hours by volunteers, were key factors in the success of the roof project. The historic building is now saved and incurred no additional debt.

    With the roof now secure, the Grand Theatre has become an active and valued community space, housing a local amateur adult drama group as well as the elementary and high school drama clubs, and has become a regional tourist attraction and economic driver. And the engagement with the community continues, as a local architect is providing pro-bono services to develop a conceptual plan for interior renovations based on a 3D digital mapping that was completed last year, and that will be used for presentations to the community and funding agencies.
    The project’s greatest success has been in galvanizing the community’s deep attachment for the Grand Theatre – the site of many first dates and first kisses – and translating that into action to save and revitalize the building.

    Back to the top

    Kentville Library

    Kentville, NS

    The sanctuary of the former United Church of St. Paul and St. Stephen on Main Street, Kentville NS, was revitalized into the home of the Kentville Library. The renovation project, undertaken between November 2016 and November 2017, was a collaboration between volunteers, library staff, the Town of Kentville, the Friends of the Kentville Library Society, the Annapolis Valley Regional Library, Parsons Investments, and houdinidesign Architects. The grand opening marked a long year of planning and renovations, and allowed not only for an empty space to be occupied, but for the library staff to work in a vibrant, beautiful, and upgraded facility that promotes community and creativity in a safe and welcoming space.
    Fundraising efforts to renovate the former United Church began in spring 2016, and the project received a much-needed boost when the Friends of the Kentville Library won the National Trust’s 2016 THIS PLACE MATTERS competition, receiving nearly $100,000 to put towards the new library. Plans for the new library incorporated the views of many stakeholders to ensure the space was carved out for all the potential users of the library. The former choir loft was turned into a glassed-in community space where library programming can take place; community members can book the space and use the built-in audio-visual technology for meetings. A Children’s Area was designed to incorporate a sense of enclosure, to welcome diversity and promote reading and fun for children of all abilities, and a Teen Area that incorporated technology and comfortable seating was developed. The project also included adding more computer stations to increase information accessibility.
    The renovation of the heritage building was not without its challenges, such as modifications allowing the building to be accessible. The architectural details of the sanctuary, including the dark fir woodwork and paneling, refinished hardwood floors, stained glass windows and delicate lighting, were all left intact to add a lovely charm to the building and pay homage to its former purpose as a church.

    It is the juxtaposition of these architectural details with the sleek modern furniture and colourful elements such as rugs and pillows, the iPads, and the moulded plastic chairs that has drawn new visitors to the library and to downtown Kentville. Visitors come to the library from other communities to enjoy the warmth, beauty, and originality of the space. Library patrons and former church-goers agree that the renovation was done with beauty, function, and respect as clear top priorities.

    Back to the top

    The New Petrie Building

    Guelph, ON

    Before and After (after photo: Courtesy of Hans Zegerius)

    The unique ornamented metal façade of the Petrie Building has been an iconic presence in downtown Guelph since 1882. One of three remaining Canadian buildings constructed prior to 1890 with full metal façades, it is the only remaining complete example of a building ornamented by machine-stamped zinc plates. For almost 100 years, the metal façade and upper floors suffered from severe neglect, and in 2014 the building was featured on the National Trust’s Top 10 Endangered Places List.
    When Tyrcathlen Partners Ltd. purchased the iconic building in 2015, many attempts were made to find a workable plan to revitalize the building, but the restrictions of its dimensions and accommodating modern fire safety and exit requirements made this difficult. Tyrcathlen Partners’ solution was to merge the building with the adjoining 1840’s limestone building to the north, which it acquired in March 2015. Over the past three years the two properties were seamlessly merged into a single building serviced by front and rear exits, modern fire safety systems, new mechanical, electrical and utility feeds, and an elevator making over 95% of the building fully accessible.
    The original 1882 galvanized sheet steel and stamped zinc ornamented façade presented a real conservation challenge, as the façade had seen no maintenance for at least 60 years. Students from Willowbank School worked alongside local tradespeople and Empire Restoration (now Ultimate Construction) to undertake the work. The restoration project sought advice from heritage consultants at Allan Killin Architect, and Tacoma Engineers were the structural engineers for the project.

    In 2017, Tyrcathlen Partners and the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario entered into a unique joint venture and launched the “Top-Off-the-Petrie” community crowdfunding campaign during the National Trust’s 2017 THIS PLACE MATTERS crowdfunding competition. The partnership was greatly assisted when the project won the Central Region small projects category.
    Today, the risks taken on by the Tyrcathlen Partners and their efforts to engage with a broad range of paratners have paid off, as the building is active seven days-a-week from early morning through the evening. It is now a favourite for local photographers both day and night, and houses a small craft brewery & ale house, an advertising agency, a two storey bridal boutique, a software company, a Mediterranean restaurant and a commercial office.

    Back to the top

    Single Room Occupancy (SRO) Renewal Initiative

    Vancouver, BC

    As the single largest Public Private Partnership (P3) social housing project in North America, the Single Room Occupancy (SRO) Renewal Initiative project by BC Housing involves the renovation and rehabilitation of 13 buildings in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
    Completed in February 2017, the project’s primary goal was to provide safe, functional, and habitable accommodations to residents of the Downtown Eastside community by renovating and improving all major building systems, giving heavy consideration to the heritage characteristics during the rehabilitation of the buildings.
    All 13 buildings date back to the early 1900s, and played a significant role in leading and shaping Vancouver’s downtown area. Throughout the years, the building’s condition significantly deteriorated due to a lack of ongoing maintenance, renewal of building systems, upkeep and facility repairs. The rehabilitation work included interior renovations, layout reconfiguration, exterior rehabilitation, hazardous materials remediation, structural and seismic upgrades, and major building system upgrades.
    The SRO Renewal Initiative project preserved each building’s heritage features, which enhanced the historic character of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and supported its renewal. Their original form, mass, and scaling were kept, and original heritage elements that survived through the century were repaired and restored.
    The project required collaboration between many different partners including BC Housing (owners of the buildings), several non-profit housing corporations (who operate the buildings under agreements with BC Housing), BC Housing’s Technical Team (that prepared the performance specification), financial advisors from Forum Equity Partners, and the Project Coordinator and Design Team that included McGinn Engineering & Preservation, Merrick Architecture, Morrison Hershfield, Ameresco Canada, and DSG Consulting.
    The City of Vancouver and the non-profit organization(s) were heavily consulted for input during the design phase to achieve a safe, functional and operable facility while keeping the heritage requirements intact. The goal of the SRO Renewal Initiative was to not only improve the quality of accommodations for the population considered the hardest to house; but to also drastically improve the overall capital asset, infrastructure, life cycle, and facility maintenance for those operating the buildings.

    Back to the top

    WE Global Learning Centre (GLC)

    Toronto, ON

    The WE Global Learning Centre (GLC) project involved the complete rehabilitation of a century-old building to serve as a state-of-the-art learning hub for youth. The Centre is a social innovation accelerator for young people that provides a platform for shaping the next generation of leaders through programs that foster academic engagement, teach college and workplace readiness skills, and promote long-term civic commitment.
    The iconic turquoise-painted building, previously known as the ‘Marty Millionaire’ furniture store, was vacant, creating a large void of activity on the streetscape of Queen Street East. The goal was to uncover the building’s natural beauty and original character by revealing its unique structure in a manner that seamlessly merges modern and historic styles.
    Throughout the restoration of the building’s envelope, great caution was employed when returning the brick finish and window sizes back to their original state. The windows, which had been paneled over in many areas, were re-exposed to accommodate new windows reflective of the original character of the building. This maximized the amount of natural light coming in, allowing for a pleasant and bright working environment. The exterior brick was stripped of its many layers of paint to reveal the brickwork underneath and then tinted to mimic the brickwork characteristic of Toronto in the early 1900s.

    The Centre’s community hub activities and the project’s rehabilitation of a vacant building have the streetscape, bringing new life and energy.
    Key players for the building’s restoration included TriAxis Construction Limited, Kohn Partnership Architects Inc., Philip Goldsmith Heritage Architect, Roof Tile Management, and J.R. Jones Engineering Limited.

    Back to the top

    Resilient Places: Owners and organizations using historic places or landscapes in ways that illustrate extraordinary resilience, significance, and benefit to a community over a sustained period of time, with a successful track record of 10 years or more.

    Ancient Echoes Interpretive Centre

    Herschel, SK

    Since 1994, the work of the Ancient Echoes Interpretive Centre has been a community labour of love that has protected the rich legacies of the cultural landscape around Herschel, Saskatchewan. A community-based facility, Ancient Echoes interprets, conserves, protects, and promotes the history, the peoples, and the assets of the land forming the Eagle Creek Valley and beyond the Coal Mine Ravine.
    The Interpretive Centre began in the fall of 1994, after the closure of the local elementary school, which the Village of Herschel bought from the school division for $1. Since then, countless volunteer hours have protected and interpreted the paleontological, Indigenous, and ecological heritage of the region. Ongoing programs for local school groups, First Nations, and tourists, as well as special events such as prayer circles and locally-produced plays, have drawn visitors from across the country and from the United States. Very much a community-led initiative, the Interpretive Centre has fostered lasting relationships between the municipal government, residents, private landowners, and First Nations. Volunteers include the board members, a taxidermist, a janitor, maintenance staff, guides, fundraisers, and researchers.

    The Centre has three key areas of focus: prehistoric era, aboriginal history, and the ecology of the area. The area includes aboriginal historical sites including petroglyphs, which have been designated as a Municipal heritage sites. The Centre hires summer students each year to help deliver its environmental and cultural programming. The people of Herschel and surrounding municipalities have shown resilience and innovation with this incredible interpretive centre.

    Back to the top

    Diefenbunker, Canada’s Cold War Museum

    Carp, ON

    Photo: Courtesy of the Diefenbunker Museum

    The Diefenbunker Museum is a private, not-for-profit charitable museum operating out of a Cold War Bunker turned National Historic Site of Canada. The complex was built to protect key Canadian government and military officials in the event of a nuclear attack and served as Canadian Forces Station Carp until it was decommissioned in 1994. It opened its doors as a volunteer run museum in 1998.
    The Diefenbunker is an extraordinary example of how a small organization has managed to achieve truly remarkable results at a challenging historic site. For 20 years, the Diefenbunker Museum has owned and operated North America’s only Cold War underground bunker open to the public. Its innovative programming has pushed the limits of what a historic site can be through new partnerships with commercial enterprises, evocative artistic productions, immersive educational programming, and engaging interpretation programs.
    Now attracting over 88,000 visitors per year, the Diefenbunker has continued to strengthen its ties to the local community whose volunteers continue to support its work, and whose businesses benefit from the visibility and visitation of the site. It is a multi-use space that boasts award-winning educational programs, tours and special events. In every program and event they host, the Diefenbunker entwines their unique history with relevant modern themes and continue to attract diverse audiences.

    Back to the top



    Category: Adaptive Reuse/Rehabilitation

    Eva’s Phoenix

    Address: 60 Brant Street, Toronto, Ontario
    Owner: Eva’s Initiatives for Homeless Youth
    Architects: LGA Architectural Partners

    Eva’s Phoenix is a transformative adaptive reuse of the former Water Works building in downtown Toronto into transitional housing, education, and skills training for homeless and at risk youth. It is an exemplary model for an adaptive use and rehabilitation of an historic place.

    LGA Architectural Partners was commissioned for the project by City of Toronto & Eva’s Initiatives. The project’s carefully considered re-imagination of the building’s interior space has created a bright, flexible and highly functional environment, while respecting the building’s heritage character. In its approach to adapting the interior to its new use as transitional housing and skills training center for homeless and at risk youth, the project successfully cultivates a sense of community for its residents.

    Back to the top


    The Rock Garden

    Address: 1185 York Boulevard, Hamilton, Ontario
    Owner: Royal Botanical Gardens
    Architects: Janet Rosenburg & Studio

    The Rock Garden is the Royal Botanical Garden’s signature garden. Janet Rosenburg & Studio was commissioned for the project to increase the garden’s public visibility, presence and functionality by expanding the garden, restoring and introducing new features, and adding a new Visitor Centre.

    The adaptive reuse project carefully considered rehabilitation of this heritage-designated landscape and revitalized an underused space while meeting contemporary functions and respecting and enhancing the heritage character. New functional requirements of the Rock Garden included the respectful integration of a new pavilion into the landscape and of new accessibility features. The overall project success lies in its revitalizing an underused space in a manner that meets contemporary functions and permitting new revenue generation streams, while respecting and enhancing the heritage character of the landscape.

    Back to the top


    Monastère des Augustines

    Address: 77, rue des Remparts, Quebec, Quebec
    Owner: Fiducie du patrimoine culturel des Augustines

    A project of the Fiducie du patrimoine culturel des Augustines, the Monastère des Augustines is located in the heritage wings of the former Hôtel-Dieu de Québec. Today, it has been transformed into a unique experience in holistic health, and offers the opportunity to connect directly with the Augustinian Sisters’ remarkable heritage.

    The project’s careful conception and design sensibility successfully met the criteria for both Adaptive Use/Rehabilitation and Infill categories.

    The adaptive reuse project implemented new functional needs while honouring and building upon the rich history of the site and that of the Order of Augustine nuns.  Their design approach was greatly informed by the continuity of the building’s original functions and its reflective monastic character. This is reflected in the selection of materials and finishes that create the new infill’s very modern aesthetic, and in the efforts made to conserve the maximum amount of original building fabric and furniture in the original portion of the building.

    Back to the top



    Category: Adaptive Reuse/Rehabilitation

    McInnes Cooper Building (formerly the Dawson Hardware Building)

    Address: 141 Kent Street, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
    Owner: TweelCo Commercial
    Architects: Christopher Tweel

    This remarkable transformation has had an immediate positive impact on the character of the street, and is already enhancing and sustaining the social and economic vitality of the downtown core. The strong architectural character of the area has been revived with a series of conservation projects in recent years, and was significantly bolstered by this dramatic project.

    In 1881, the Dawson Hardware building was built on the corner of University and Kent streets for W.E. Dawson, merchant and former Mayor of Charlottetown. Originally serving as a hardware store and warehouse, the building has since been home to a number of prominent businesses and has been a landmark on this important commercial intersection.

    In 1975 the historic building underwent controversial modernization, which resulted in stucco and steel elements covering up the landmark Victorian commercial building. It wasn’t until 2014, however, when the modernized siding was pulled off to reveal the original brickwork.

    In 2014, developer and architect Chris Tweel led the project to remove the earlier concealments and took painstaking care to restore building elements to their former glory. He used bricks from England to match the originals in order to rebuild the cornice, and new Wallace sandstone was quarried to repair and replace decorative details.

    The Dawson Hardware Building project was nominated by Christopher Tweel.

    Back to the top


    La Gare historique de la MRC d’Argenteuil

    Address: 430 rue Grace, Lachute, Quebec
    Owner: MRC d’Argenteuil
    Architects: Jean-Marc Coursol and Pascal Létourneau

    The project has successfully created a community-centered hub, where municipal and community services are offered, and where events and exhibitions can take place. By housing these activities in the historic train station, the municipal government has demonstrated great vision and determination to create this dynamic future-looking centre in their historic train station.

    Built in 1929 to replace an earlier station, this larger, more prestigious station reflects the status as an important railway hub that the Town of Lachute had held for over fifty years. Its generous proportions are matched by the high level of craftsmanship demonstrated in its brick and stone detailing.

    Closed in 1981, the building was abandoned for nearly thirty years – but it was not forgotten. In 1991, the citizens of Lachute formed a preservation committee, and a year later the building was designated under the Federal Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act. In 2007, it was recognized as an historic monument by the city of Lachute.

    That same year, the MRC d’Argenteuil acquired Lachute Station and began planning the phased conservation of the building over the next several years. The project team took great care to preserve the important historic elements of the building, and restored interior spaces to their former glory, while accommodating entirely new functions.

    The Lachute Station project was executed by Jean-Marc Coursol and Pascal Létourneau and was nominated by M. Carrière, MRC d’Argenteuil.

    Back to the top


    La Maison de la littérature

    Address: 40 Rue Saint-Stanislas, Quebec, Quebec
    Owner: Ville de Québec
    Project Team: Chevalier Morales Architectes

    The project to create la Maison de la littérature successfully builds on the rich history of a former place of faith, continuing its cultural role with a new mission to advance the literary arts in a boldly rehabilitated facility. The public use of the building has been maintained – not only as a library but also as a meeting space and café. The treatment of the historic interior with all-white finishes and a very modern aesthetic creates a contemplative atmosphere appropriate for a library while also subtly acknowledging the original religious function of the building.

    Built in 1948 as the Wesleyan Methodist Temple to the designs of Edward Stanley, the building is celebrated for its rich architectural and social history. It was the first church in Quebec in the neo-gothic style of architecture, and since the 1940s, it has been a prominent cultural center serving as meeting space, café and library. The building is a landmark in the Old Town of Quebec, a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site.

    This major rehabilitation project carefully conserved the exterior masonry and windows that define the historic church’s architectural character. The scope also included a new entrance addition that consolidated the modern functions away from the historic building. The careful placement of the site and bold contemporary design of the new addition are highly accomplished, while respecting the original building.

    La Maison de la Littérature project was executed by the Chevalier Morales Architectes and was nominated by Denis Jean, Ville de Québec.

    Back to the top


    Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts Building Renewal

    Address: 5 Artists’ Common, St. Catharines, Ontario
    Owner: Brock University
    Architects: Diamond Schmitt Architects
    Project Team: Read Jones Christoffersen Consulting Engineers Ltd., GOAL Engineering Ltd., Thurber Engineering Ltd., Knappett Projects Inc., and Vintage Woodworks Inc.

    As a key element of a broader downtown revitalization plan, the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts Building project was a close collaboration between Brock University and the City of St. Catharines. As the first satellite campus in St. Catharines for Brock University, the cultural mandate of the building will make a positive contribution to the character and vitality of the downtown area.

    By consolidating the University’s arts program off-campus in the downtown core, the project was able to successfully combine academic, community and professional arts facilities into a very dynamic centre. The project not only rehabilitated the 70,000 square foot original building, it also included a dramatic new 25,000 square foot addition for a theater and gallery. This new building clearly affirms its own identity while achieving a respectful balance between old and new.

    Built in 1888 as the Canadian Hair Cloth Factory, this building near the Welland Canal served as a textile factory for over one-hundred and twenty five years. Within its handsome five-story timber frame structure, successive companies manufactured fabrics for coat liners, parachute silks, and suits.

    It is very fitting that the building is now named after Marilyn Isabelle Walker, a prominent Canadian fibre artist, author, teacher and philanthropist. She contributed significantly to the arts and fine arts in Canada, having dedicated significant time and resources to the revitalization of the arts in the Niagara area. In 2009, she donated fifteen million dollars to Brock University for the development of a fine and performing arts building.

    The project’s ambitious scope required many creative solutions to accommodate arts education functions such as classrooms and rehearsal spaces. Many elements of the historic building’s interior were retained, such as the wooden floor beams, metal columns and stone and masonry walls.

    The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts project was executed by Diamond Schmitt Architects and nominated by Elizabeth Gyde, Diamond Schmitt Architects.

    Back to the top


    The Post Office Rehabilitation

    Address: 18 Front St N, Thorold, Ontario
    Owner: Shannon Passero
    Architects: Shannon Passero and Silvergate Homes

    This project reflects a successful integration of many goals, including heritage conservation, smart growth and energy efficiency, and a desire on the part of the owner to contribute to the ongoing vitality of the Thorold’s main street. The owner made a conscious decision to reuse an existing historic building instead of other options, and demonstrated that successful conservation projects can be carried out with modest budgets.

    Officially opened in May 1936, the Post Office remains an impressive landmark on Thorold’s Front Street. Originally housing several federal services, including the customs and post offices, it served as a focal point and meeting place for residents of the community. The building was designated in 2003 under the Ontario Heritage Act.

    The historic building was empty for nearly a decade when Shannon Passero saw its potential, purchased the building and initiated the rehabilitation project in 2014. Working closely with the Heritage Thorold Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee, Passero approached the conservation of the original features with care and sensitivity. The project re-used the original pane windows and restored and refinished the terrazzo flooring in the bathrooms. New interior and exterior lighting elements were duplicated to reflect the period of the building and a new art deco inspired drop ceiling was included to maintain the design features consistent with the 1930s.

    The Post Office project was executed by Shannon Passero and her husband’s company Silvergate Homes and nominated by Lola Emberson, City of Thorold.

    Back to the top


    Category: Adaptive Reuse/Rehabilitation

    Congregation Emanu-El Temple (1863)

    Address: 1461 Blanshard Street, Victoria, British Columbia
    Owner: Congregation Emanu-El
    Architects: Donald Luxton & Associates
    As the oldest surviving synagogue in Canada, Congregation Emanu-El holds inestimable heritage value. It was built in 1863 by a congregation comprised of settlers drawn from the Fraser River Gold Rush. Declared a National Historic Site in 1979, the congregation undertook the conservation of the rare Romanesque-style synagogue in 2010. The project encompassed a major rehabilitation of the building’s structure and envelope to address structural deficiencies caused by earlier alterations; restoration and rehabilitation of the wood sash windows to increase the thermal performance; installation of an advanced fire detection system; and repairs to the masonry.

    Back to the top

    The London Roundhouse (1887)

    Address: 240 Waterloo Street, London, Ontario
    Owner: Creative Property Developments
    Architects: Nicholson Sheffield Architects Inc.
    The Michigan Central Roundhouse was built by the London & South Eastern Railway Company in 1887 to service locomotives on the Michigan Central Railroad’s (MCRR) line from Port Stanley to London. After MCRR moved shop to St. Thomas in 1898, the building stood vacant until 1922, then was variously used as a staging post, warehouse and restaurant until it was purchased by Creative Properties in 2006. The adaptive use project was conceived with the vision of returning the structure as closely as possible to its original layout as a locomotive roundhouse while converting it into office space for a digital media firm. The project involved returning the floor back to grade, restoring original fenestration and locomotive door openings and reinforcing the original ceiling. New construction stayed clear of walls and was inspired by the building’s industrial heritage. Its history was further honoured by prominently featuring a locomotive vent stack in the boardroom, embedding steel strapping in the floor to represent where the locomotives tracks would have lain and naming meeting rooms after the building’s former tenants.

    Back to the top

    Market Street Development (1880)

    Address: 10-12 Market Street, Toronto, Ontario
    Owner: Woodcliffe Landmark Properties
    Architects: Taylor Smyth Architects, Goldsmith Borgal & Company Ltd Architects
    Located in Toronto’s historic Saint Lawrence neighbourhood, the modest commercial building at 10-12 Market Street was commissioned by local politician William Cayley in 1880 and operated as the Armory Hotel. Along with the adjoining 8 Market Street (1899) and with 87 Front Street (1858 and 1871), it forms a handsome streetscape that stands as a reminder of Toronto’s 19th century commercial heritage. Extensive alterations and decay over the years meant that conservation was a significant undertaking involving the stabilization of the brick façade during construction of a new steel-frame structure, masonry repairs and restoration, the design of appropriate wood replacement windows, and the reconstruction of a character-defining cornice based on historical documentation. The result is a successful adaptive use that has transformed a formerly derelict building and seamlessly integrating it into an inviting, low-rise, pedestrian-friendly urban streetscape.

    Back to the top

    Trinity-St. Paul’s United Church (1889)

    Address: 427 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario
    Owner: Trinity-St. Paul’s United Church
    Architects: ERA Architects Inc.
    Project Team: Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir, Read Jones Christoffersen Consulting Engineers Ltd., GOAL Engineering Ltd., Thurber Engineering Ltd., Knappett Projects Inc., and Vintage Woodworks Inc.
    Located in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood, Trinity-St. Paul’s United Church was constructed in 1889 in the Romanesque Revival style using stone quarried from the Forks of the Credit River, accented by red sandstone trim. Since 1981, Tafelmusik, the acclaimed Baroque orchestra and chamber choir, has been a tenant, drawing large audiences to the church and contributing to its long history as a community gathering space. With a view to supporting Tafelmusik’s ongoing tenancy and the historic building’s evolving uses, the project aimed to improve the church’s acoustics, comfort, safety and accessibility. The scope included rehabilitation of the sanctuary to support both performance and worship; acoustic upgrades; improved accessibility; structural work to support a new stage; rehabilitation of decorative elements; and electrical upgrades to accommodate theatrical sound and lighting systems.

    Back to the top

    Sir John A. Macdonald Building (1930)

    Address: 144 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario
    Owner: Public Works Government Services Canada
    Architects: MTBA Mark Thompson Brandt Architect & Associates Inc., NORR Architects, Engineers, Planners
    A Classified Heritage Building, the former Bank of Montreal Ottawa Main Branch is a landmark located across Wellington Street from the West Block of Parliament Hill. It won the 1932 RAIC Gold Medal, the most prestigious architectural award in Canada at the time. Its monumental Modern Classical design by Barott and Blackader Architects was the winner of a national competition to design the Ottawa branch of Canada’s oldest chartered bank. The imposing granite and limestone building features exquisite detailing, including Canadian images of industry and commerce, wildlife and nature—overlaid with decorative metal and a stone Art Deco sculptural layer. After the Bank of Montreal relocated in 2005, the building was at risk if a new use could not be found. This stately structure became a fitting replacement to the West Block’s former Confederation Room, used to host Parliamentary events. Public Works Government Services Canada set out with the goal of rehabilitating and celebrating the architectural qualities of the building while leveraging its monumental qualities to a new use. The scope of work included careful conservation and rehabilitation the building’s many heritage elements including its stonework, ornamental grilles, bronze windows, plaster ceilings, marble panels, chandeliers and wood finishes. A sophisticated series of strategies were developed to integrate new interventions addressing such issues as security, multi-media and food services. Objectives were achieved by reinforcing street walls and constructing a contemporary, all-glass Atrium to accommodate support functions and a secure entry while preserving the “temple” view of the existing building’s west façade.

    Back to the top

    New Learning Centre – Building 94, Central Experimental Farm (1936-37)

    Address: 901 Prince of Wales Drive, Ottawa, Ontario
    Owner: Canada Agriculture and Food Museum
    Architects: GRC Architects Inc.
    This former research building is located within the Central Experimental Farm National Historic Site, a singular cultural landscape used for scientific research since 1886. Inside Building 94, engineers designed, built and tested specialized farm machinery and agricultural building materials that helped modernized the Canadian agricultural industry. Its history made Building 94 the ideal home of the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum’s New Learning Centre, a place where visitors can explore the link between food and agriculture. The renovated building comprises new exhibition areas, staff offices, event space and three modern ‘learning labs’. The project’s design concept celebrates the building’s legacy as a place of experimentation, research and engineering. Through the course of the project, 1970s alterations, such as partitions and suspended ceilings, were removed to restore the building’s dramatic clear span steel roof structure, dormers and hip roof profile; fenestration patterns were restored to match those used in the original construction; and the building’s original solid wood block floor was preserved and rehabilitated. New interior elements reinforce the purpose, role and spatial qualities of the existing building by using a material that refers to agri-engineering innovation, such as polycarbonate glazing systems, used extensively by the greenhouse industry, and compressed recycled straw panels.

    Back to the top

    École des Métiers de la Restauration et du tourisme de Montréal (1888)

    Address: 1822 Maisonneuve Boulevard W, Montreal, Quebec
    Owner: Commission scolaire de Montréal and City of Montreal
    Architects: Affleck de la Riva architectes / Vincent Leclerc et associés, architectes en consortium
    The former Victoria School is a rare surviving example of a 19th century school in Montreal. It was named for Queen Victoria in celebration of her Golden Jubilee in 1887, when the foundation stone was laid. The school comprises three adjoining buildings: the central Queen Anne style mansard and a small residence, both dating from 1888, and a three story gymnasium added in 1911. The school served as a primary school until 1979, and later as the home of FACE (Fine Arts Core Education). By 2009, when the Commission scolaire de Montréal endeavored to convert it into a hospitality and tourism school, it had been vacant for several years. Architects were tasked with restoring the historic facades and roofs of the three buildings, partially restoring their interiors, redeveloping the site and upgrading the buildings to achieve LEED Silver certification. The project was guided by the principles of green design, informed by the school’s heritage. That the building changed little over 125 years as its surroundings were transformed from a rural landscape on the outskirts of Montreal to a dense urban environment make it an excellent example of durability and sustainable design. As part of the site redevelopment, a green alley was created to reflect the school’s rural past.

    Back to the top

    Cycloroute de Bellechase

    Address: Bellechasse RCM, Quebec
    Owner: MRC de Bellechasse
    Heritage Development: Historical Society of Bellechasse
    The oldest railway in Bellechasse RCM began operations in 1855. The Grand Trunk line connecting Charny and Saint-Thomas-de-Montmagny was a crucial portion of the transcontinental railway that helped forge the path to Confederation in 1867. Rapid rail expansion at the turn of the century saw tracks laid throughout the region. Following the decline of rail transport in the latter half of the 20th century, the tracks were gradually abandoned. In 2008, eight municipalities located within the Bellechasse RCM signed a 60 year lease with the Government of Quebec in order to transform the former railway tracks into a vast network of trails. The paved pathways of the Cycloroute de Bellechasse cover 74 km of land spanning eight municipalities. In 2013, the Bellechasse RCM partnered with the Historical Society of Bellechasse to commemorate the railway and the significant role it played in shaping the identities of the eight municipalities in the Bellechasse RCM. Today, 35 interpretive panels tell the story of the railway and of the eight municipalities on route. In addition, three signals mark former railway crossings and three shelters inspired by railway architecture were erected along the path between Saint Henri and Armagh, standing as physical reminders of the past.

    Back to the top


    Category: Adaptive Reuse/Rehabilitation

    The Salt Building (ca. 1930)

    Address: 85 West 1st Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia
    Owner: City of Vancouver
    Architects: Acton Ostry Architects Ltd.
    Heritage Consultants: Commonwealth Historic Resource Management; Jonathan Yardley Architect; J. Deborah Hossack Heritage Resource Consultant
    This distinctive historic landmark located within Vancouver’s Southeast False Creek (SEFC) neighbourhood is a rare survivor of an area once dominated by ship builders, steel fabricators and sawmills. Built in the 1930s, the Salt Building was used to refine sea salt for over 50 years before being a paper recycling plant. Looking to preserve a unique piece of Vancouver’s history, this impressive rehabilitation project followed five guiding principles: 1) preserve the Salt building in its original location; 2) recognize the historic patterns of former industrial use; 3) recognize the historic connection to the False Creek waterfront; 4) retain the existing exterior siding; and 5) retain the visibility of the roof structure inside the building. The project involved permanently raising the building one metre on galvanized steel pile extensions in order to preserve character-defining elements that would have been buried; upgrading walls, floors and roof systems to achieve LEED Gold target levels; and rehabilitating and reinforcing the building’s timber column and truss system to meet structural and seismic requirements. The Salt Building now houses a brew pub restaurant and an interpretive installation informs the public about the history of the building and the unique heritage and legacy of the neighbourhood.

    Back to the top

    The Don Jail: Bridgepoint Active Healthcare Administration Building (1864)

    Address: 550 Gerrard Street East, Toronto, Ontario
    Owner: Bridgepoint Active Healthcare
    Architects: ERA Architects Inc. and +VG Architects Ltd.
    Once the largest of its kind in North American, the Don Jail was Toronto’s biggest building project when it was completed in 1864. Underused for three decades and badly in need of repair, the Jail now makes up the new 7,100-sq.-m. administration wing of Bridgepoint Active Healthcare. It is part of a new campus that opens the site and connects it to its neighbourhood, and beyond. Many aspects of the heavily rusticated Renaissance Revival-style building were repaired, revealed, and restored, while interior spaces were rehabilitated to create a bright, sustainable home for Bridgepoint staff. The project met the challenge of transforming an inflexible floor plan designed for isolation and separation into an open, welcoming, and functional new space. It successfully revealed and made accessible the character-defining heritage value of the Jail. The exterior buff-brick, limestone and sandstone were restored, a skylight reconstructed based on historic photographs, windows repaired, and the central rotunda, a row of prison cells, the gallows area, and dayroom corridors were preserved for public viewing. Interpretative text and images make the connection between the hospital, rehabilitation, penal reform and the community.

    Back to the top

    Macdonald Institute, Guelph University (1903)

    Address: 74 MacDonald Street, Guelph, Ontario
    Owner: The University of Guelph
    Architects: Stevens Burgess Architects Ltd.
    A building so celebrated that Canada Post created a commemorative stamp in its honour, the University of Guelph’s Macdonald Institute is a landmark on the campus and included on the City’s heritage inventory. Built in 1903 to house classes in Domestic Science, by the 1950s it had evolved into the premier School of Home Economics in North America. The structure is defined by its striking red brick, rusticated limestone and terrace base, and decorative terra-cotta elements. With portions of the building condemned, the university committed to investing in its restoration and rehabilitation. To ensure that it would once again function fully, the masonry parapets, limestone terrace, ceremonial staircase—with stained glass triptychs—were all stabilized and restored (code compliance alternatives were completed for the ceremonial staircase). Exterior conservation included decorative metal cornices and eyebrows and an exceptional rebuilding of the terra cotta portico. The rehabilitation of the main lecture hall transformed it from a rundown classroom into a state-of-the-art high-tech lecture theatre within a heritage envelope.

    Back to the top

    Water Street Adaptive Reuse Development (1886-1911)

    Address: Vancouver, British Columbia
    Owner: The Salient Group
    Architects: Acton Ostry Architects Inc.
    Heritage Consultants: Donald Luxton & Associates
    This complex, three-phase construction process rehabilitated five adjacent heritage buildings in Vancouver’s historic Gastown district and integrated new construction, revitalizing the area and transforming it into a vibrant quarter. Each of the five buildings, constructed between 1886 and 1930, had their own unique stories. The Alhambra Hotel (1886), remains one of the oldest intact structures in Vancouver; the Garage Building (1930), was one of Vancouver’s earliest purpose-built automobile garage and service stations; the Cordage Building (1911), was an early mixed use structure; the Grand Hotel (1889) and Terminus Hotel (1901), provided short and long-term lodging for seasonal resource trade workers in the fishing and logging industries. The project involved joining the five buildings and undertaking an exhaustive restoration and rehabilitation of their storefronts.

    The unabashedly contemporary additions are distributed along the street edge in a manner that complements the character of the historic streetscape, or are set back to minimize their visual perception from street level. This massive project addresses the pressures of Vancouver’s overheated real estate market in an exemplary way, respecting the low-rise architecture of the streets while integrating infill construction in a creative and unobtrusive manner that respects the unique qualities of Gastown, a designated national historic site.

    Back to the top


    Category: Infill
  • Seventh Street Lofts
  • Category: Adaptive Reuse/Rehabilitation

    Seventh Street Lofts

    Address: 10309 107 Street NW, Edmonton, Alberta
    Owner: Five Oaks Inc.
    Architects: Dub Architects Ltd.
    Set in Edmonton’s historic warehouse district, Seventh Street Lofts has a scale and industrial character that is compatible with its surroundings. The project consists of two converted historic brick warehouses and a contemporary steel and glass infill which creates an elegant, contemporary link between the two. The project increased housing density through low-rise planning in keeping with the City of Edmonton’s “urban village” design plans for the area. The new 36-unit building, with steel stud bearing walls supporting exposed metal pans filled with concrete, is adjoined to the two older structures. The street-friendly infill offers exterior entries with direct access to the street and lane, and translucent glass entry courts that reinforce a sense of openness. Offering modestly priced alternative to the conventional condo market has helped to revitalize the neighbourhood.

    Back to the top

    Library of Parliament (1859-1876)

    Address: 111 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario
    Project Team: Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC); Ogilvie + Hogg Architects, Lundholm Associates Architects, Spencer Higgins Architects Inc., and DMA architectes s.e.n.c.r.l.
    Perched on top of a steep cliff overlooking the Ottawa River, the Library of Parliament remains the most important example of Gothic Revival architecture in Canada. Designed by Thomas Fuller and Chilian Jones and built between 1859 and 1876, this Canadian icon—the only remaining structure from the original Centre Block—was extensively rehabilitated. Led by PWGSC, the scope of the project involved all elements of the building from the foundation to the weathervane. The work included restoring the masonry, copper roof and iron dome, upgrading mechanical systems and rehabilitating windows and lighting. With no blasting allowed, a staggering 4,800 cubic metres of rock were removed by mechanical means in order to excavate three storeys down. The Reading Room, often described as “the most beautiful room in Canada,” saw everything overhauled from the plastered dome above to the intricate parquet floor below. Completed in 2006, the result has seen the Library modernized to current building standards and rehabilitated to provide functional facilities. A mammoth undertaking, it has seen the Library of Parliament conserved for future generations.

    Back to the top

    Chinese Freemasons Building (1907)

    Address: 5 West Pender Street, Vancouver, British Columbia
    Owner: Pip Peri Pembo Management Ltd., Elizabeth Wong, Project Manager
    Architects: Joe Y. Wai Architect Inc.
    Built in 1907, the Chinese Freemasons Building is the only building with a “Chinatown” character on Pender Street. The rehabilitation project (2004-2007) restored the distinctive façade to its original character and proportions. The major adaptive use involved the conversion of the building into 11 self-contained residential units that include modest homes for seniors, bringing diversity and vitality to the area. Portions of the ground level were restored for commercial use, allowing the return of an original tenant, Modernize Tailors, which is still owned by the same family. Seismic building code demands were creatively handled. Care was taken to replace lost heritage-defining elements such as the exterior railings, missing columns, baseboards and flagpole. Pressed metal cornices were repaired and reinstalled and exterior cleaning exposed a large sign of another original tenant, the Pekin Chop Suey House, which contributes to the historical significance of the property.

    Back to the top

    McLeod Building (1912)

    Address: 10134-100 Street, Edmonton, Alberta
    Owner: Five Oaks Inc.
    Architects: Dub Architects Ltd.
    The only terra cotta-clad structure in Edmonton, the nine-storey McLeod Building was designed in the Chicago School style by J.K. Dow. It is highly valued for its landmark status, its architecture and numerous Edwardian embellishments. Luxurious finishes include ivory terra cotta cladding and matching glazed brick, polychrome friezes and an elaborately decorated cornice. By the 1970s the once pre-eminent address was losing its luster. Threatened with demolition, the designated Provincial Heritage Resource was purchased by Five Oaks Inc. in 2005 (with the aid of a municipal heritage grant) and converted into 88 residential condominium units with commercial use at ground level. The rehabilitation involved undoing years of misguided attempts at modernization and repairing the associated damages. Suspended ceilings and layers of laminate flooring were removed and the Italian Pavanosse marble ceilings and corridor wainscoting repaired, as were limestone finishes, terrazzo flooring, oak window casings and elevator cabs. The exterior terra cotta and masonry was repaired, stabilized and retained.

    Back to the top

    Forts-et-Châteaux-Saint-Louis, National Historic Site (1620-1832)

    Address: Dufferin Terrace, Quebec City, Quebec
    Owner: Parks Canada Agency
    Project lead: Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC)
    The Forts-et-Châteaux-Saint-Louis NHS lies beneath the Dufferin Terrace within the historic district of Old Québec, UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was uncovered as part of an extensive archaeological dig begun in earnest in 2005 and consists of the remains of four forts and two châteaux of French and British governors who held office from 1620 to 1832, when the last château was lost to fire. Discovered among the ruins were a kitchen, washhouse, fireplaces, latrines, polished flagstones, drainage systems, defensive works, and more than 500,000 artifacts, both military and domestic. In an effort to make this fascinating site available to over 2 million visitors who stroll the boardwalk every year, Parks Canada and PWGSC collaborated on developing innovative viewing facilities. Forty pilings were carefully positioned among the ruins and a concrete roof installed that also became a sub-floor for the Dufferin Terrace. Two descending staircases lead visitors back in time to experience a 200-year window of colonial history. On the terrace, three five-foot-tall archeoscopes act as glass window prisms allowing visitors to peer down into the past. A deliberate minimalist approach ensures that the emphasis is on experiencing the magic of these unique ruins and artifacts.

    Back to the top

    Jean-Talon Station/Loblaws (1931)

    Address: 395 Jean-Talon Street West, Montreal, Quebec
    Owner: Provigo/Loblaws Quebec
    Architects: Fournier Gersovitz Moss Drolet et associés, architectes
    A Neo-Classical design with Art Deco ornamentation, Jean-Talon Station operated as a railway depot until 1984. It was then purchased by the City of Montreal and mothballed until 1996 when the station was sold to Loblaws supermarkets on condition that it be restored and renovated. The rehabilitation project involved an extensive exterior restoration (masonry, copper flashings, doors and steel and wood windows, and ironwork). Inside, the materials and finishes of the expansive Waiting Room, the building’s most significant heritage space, were largely intact. Travertine walls, black Belgian marble baseboards and counters, and bronze showcases were retained and restored. Building code upgrades were restricted to secondary spaces once used for baggage. Because of the integrity of the Waiting Room, any new construction (such as a staircase linking it to the second floor) was designed to be compatible with its surroundings, and easily reversible. The one-storey wing, slated for demolition, was retained and used as a connection to—and separation from—the heritage structure and the new supermarket.

    Back to the top

    The Ottawa South Community Centregra former Graham Fire Station #10 (1921)

    Address: 260 Sunnyside Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario
    Owner: City of Ottawa
    Architects: CSV Architects
    Designed by renowned Ottawa architect Werner E. Noffke in a Spanish Colonial style, the fire station operated until 1974. Vacant and without purpose, it was threatened with demolition until the local community rallied to preserve it as a needed community centre. By 2000, the needs of the neighbourhood had outgrown the now designated heritage building, but once again, the community rallied in favour of expansion over closure. The adaptive use and rehabilitation completed in 2010 included a modern addition that effectively doubled the building’s capacity. Where possible, the existing character-defining elements were preserved (gable, porch eaves, arched openings, large bay doors). The addition was set back from the main building façade creating a new forecourt and entrance that leaves the original building architecturally intact. The proportions and materials used in the addition are sympathetic to the old fire hall, and pick up the residential character of the neighbourhood.

    Back to the top

    Pacific Central Station (1919)

    Address: 1150 Station Road, Vancouver, British Columbia
    Owner: VIA Rail Canada
    Project team: J. Robert Thibodeau Architecture + Design Inc.; Donald Luxton and Associates; Read Jones Christoffersen Ltd.; and Heatherbrae Builders Co Ltd.
    Designed by Pratt & Ross Architects, the Pacific Central Station’s heritage character is defined by its Beaux-Arts monumentality, the elegance of its design and decorative treatment of its interior spaces. With funds awarded to Via Rail from Canada’s Economic Action Plan, a comprehensive rehabilitation strategy was put in place for the landmark station. The project sensitively handled a range of challenges resulting in the restoration and conservation of original wooden windows, damaged masonry, mortar joints, fissured stone lintels and delaminated concrete beams. An original design flaw that caused water infiltration was corrected by using zinc flashing sloped away from the façade and new cap flashing and ventilation installed along the parapet.

    Back to the top

    St. Clement’s Anglican Church (1891-1958)

    Address: 70 St. Clement Avenue, Toronto, Ontario
    Client: Church wardens, St. Clement’s Church
    Architects: Davidson-Langley Inc. Architects
    The goal of this rehabilitation project (2004-2007) was to revitalize and reposition St. Clement’s as an open, welcoming place of worship. To avoid a whole new entryway, the greeting space was opened up by installing glazed doors in window openings using matching limestone. In the Parish Hall (1900), years of upgrades were reversed, revealing the original trusses, wood ceiling and stained glass windows that also allowed for a re-orientation of the space. To modernize the nave designed by C.M. Wilmot and Forsey Page (1925), the chancel was enlarged and the altar, font, tables and screens redesigned using woodwork from the pulpit and liturgical furnishings. Fluorescent lighting and surface wiring were removed and pews restored. Chandeliers were designed in a modern idiom influenced by a photo of the originals. The narthex area was opened up and curved stairs introduced to improve the flow, while eliminating the need for an addition.

    Back to the top

    Historic BMO Building (1910)

    Address: 159 Lakeshore Road East, Oakville, Ontario
    Owner: Lakeshore Holdings Ltd.
    Project team: ATA Architects Inc.; Mirkwood Engineering; and David A. Levy & Associates.
    Designed in the Beaux-Arts style, this heritage designated bank anchors a key corner of Oakville’s downtown. The project involved restoring the heritage portion of the building and constructing a rear addition that was sympathetic in massing, proportions, patterns and materials. Elements of the bank hidden or damaged in previous renovations (windows, pediment and cornice) were uncovered and restored. Wood windows and doors, limestone bases and reclaimed bricks were used to fill in previously removed sections of exterior walls. Other heritage character-defining elements were retained and restored (pilasters, Coat of Arms, brick detailing, window openings, stone sills, keystone, etc.) The addition follows the height, cornice lines, window mullions and bases, while incorporating large window openings to meet the needs of the retail tenant. This small private sector project is a fine example of the integration of heritage within new development that addresses intensification pressures.

    Back to the top

    Harbour Commission Building/Club 357c (1875)

    Address: 357 de la Commune West, Montreal, Québec
    Owner: Propriétés Terra Incognita (Fondation Daniel-Langlois)
    Architects: Fournier Gersovitz Moss Drolet et associés, architectes
    A landmark in Old Montreal since 1875, the Italianate style building was designed by Hopkins and Wily and operated as the Harbour Commission for 100 years before it was sold and used as a warehouse. In 1997, Daniel Langlois bought the property to restore and convert it into a private club and residence that includes a new rear pavilion for a pool and spa. The project involved painstaking exterior restoration (foundation, masonry, copper roof, cupola, doors, windows, ironwork and fences). Inside, work focused on conserving original wood finishes and replicating plaster work damaged by fire. Using materials such as Montreal limestone, the addition is both compatible with but distinguishable from the historic building. The result is an outstanding rehabilitation that preserves a historic landmark while discreetly integrating a modern addition that enhances the vitality of the building’s new use.

    Back to the top

    Red River College School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts former Union Bank Tower (1906) and Annex (1920)

    Address: 504 Main Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba
    Owner: Red River College
    Architects: Prairie Architects Inc.
    Located in Winnipeg’s historic Exchange District, the original Union Bank Tower was the city’s first skyscraper. It was designed in the Chicago School style by Darling and Pearson and built in 1906. The Annex was added in 1920. Before the Red River College took ownership in 2009, it had been vacant for 17 years. It now houses the School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts and student residence units. Cooking labs were added and a new third floor straddles the Annex. The rehabilitation project involved extensive restoration of the banking hall’s 28-foot ornate plaster ceilings, scagliola columns and gilded details, as well as the hardwood and marble floors and marble panels throughout. Exterior terra cotta was repaired and replaced and historic window frames removed and refinished. The project also meant sustainable goals targeting LEED Silver certification.

    Back to the top

    Park Lofts former Annette Street Baptist Church (1888)

    Address: 200 Annette Street, Toronto, Ontario
    Owner: Sam Grasso and Roberto Salmena, Terra Firma Homes
    Architects: Michael Hatch Designs Ltd.
    The cultural heritage value of this modest, designated church is attributed to its Arts and Crafts-influenced design and its place within the growing Village of West Toronto Junction (annexed to the City of Toronto in 1909). The project successfully retained all visual aspects of the church as seen from two cross streets and sensitively converted the interior into eight four-storey living spaces. The buttresses were used as demarcation lines for six townhouses, with two more fitted into the east and west towers, which were extensively repaired and structurally reconfigured. Existing windows were altered to create contemporary doorways. Exterior work included repairing, cleaning and repointing the brick façades and damaged buttresses and reincorporating wood trim. The solution to the lack of parking was to partially recess spaces under each unit on the back side of the building. The project has ensured the structural integrity and continued viability of the former church while allowing it to retain its original configuration that reflects its history in the neighbourhood.

    Back to the top

    Cartier-Brébeuf National Historic Site

    Address: Confluence of the Lairet and Saint Charles Rivers, Quebec City, Quebec
    Owner: Parks Canada Agency
    Project lead: Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC)
    Cartier-Brébeuf is a cultural heritage landscape that commemorates the time in 1535-1536 when Jacques Cartier and his shipmates wintered near the Iroquoian village of Stadacona. The site also bears witness to the first residence of the Jesuit missionaries, established in Québec in 1625-1626. Designated a National Historic Site in 1957, the area had suffered environmental changes over the decades, including the channeling of the Lairet River into a 2 km-long storm sewer. When the sewer collapsed, Parks Canada and PWGSC collaborated on a long-term vision for the site’s rehabilitation. Extensive research helped to ascertain the original flow of the meandering river and how best to revitalize its banks. Along with developing an ecologically sustainable reclamation plan, the project focused on communicating the site’s historic importance and adapting it for greater community use. The rehabilitated landscape includes a bike path, footpaths, and artwork inspired by Cartier’s ship, the Grande Hermine. The site has emerged as a magnificent urban park offering a range of activities and events that engage people and raise awareness about the historic significance of a place that for many symbolizes the birth of Canada.

    Back to the top

    The Workers Compensation Board Building (1961)

    Address: 333 Broadway Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba
    Owner: Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba
    Described in the book Winnipeg Modern as “one of the best examples of Modernist detailing and urban design, and a model of Modernist preservation,” the Workers Compensation Board Building was designed by James Donahue of Smith, Carter, Searle and Associates in 1961. The rehabilitation project involved the repair and restoration of the failing exterior cladding system. Over 4,000 original granite panels were removed, repaired and replaced. The project also involved replacing all the aluminium window frames installed during a previous renovation in 1995 with new high performance windows with stainless steel mullion caps to match the original design. Other changes included the addition of new coping stones supplied by the original quarry and new back painted glass spandrel panels. By choosing to reuse the existing granite cladding the retrofit had a minimal impact on the façade’s appearance and remained consistent with the original design intent.

    Back to the top

    Troop Barn

    Address: Kingsburg, Nova Scotia
    Owner/Client: Marilyn MacKay-Lyons
    Architects: MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects
    One of two remaining octagonal barns in Nova Scotia, the Troop Barn was a fixture in Annapolis Royal since the 19th century. In 2008, on the brink of collapse, it was de-registered to make way for its demolition. To maintain its history beauty and legacy, it was carefully disassembled and transported across the province to Lunenburg County where it was reconstructed during the 13th annual Ghost Architectural Laboratory by 35 architects, architectural students, engineers and builders in June 2009. This adaptive use project has idealized a rural artifact and adapted it to new site and programming that integrates the original stable below a new venue for community gatherings. Among the interventions to make the barn building code compliant were lighting upgrades, structural bracing and a new entryway. New windows were also added to address the barn’s new use.

    Back to the top

    Stay in touch. Get our newsletter.