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Ecclesiastical Insurance Cornerstone Awards for Building Heritage

Ecclesiastical Insurance Cornerstone Awards for Building Heritage

2014 | 2013


The Salt Building (ca. 1930)
85 West 1st Avenue, Vancouver, BC 
Owner: City of Vancouver 
Architect: 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.

The Don Jail: Bridgepoint Active Healthcare Administration Building (1864)
550 Gerrard Street East, Toronto, ON
Owner: Bridgepoint Active Healthcare
Architect: 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.

Macdonald Institute, Guelph University (1903)
74 MacDonald Street, Guelph, ON
Owner: The University of Guelph
Architect: 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.

Water Street Adaptive Reuse Development (1886-1911)
Vancouver, BC
Owner: The Salient Group
Architect: Acton Ostry Architects Inc.
Heritage Consultant: 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.   


Infill Category  
Seventh Street Lofts 
10309 107 Street NW, Edmonton, AB
Owner: Five Oaks Inc.
Architect: 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. 
Seventh Street Lofts
Adaptive Use/Rehabilitation Category  
Library of Parliament (1859-1876)
111 Wellington Street,Ottawa, ON
Library of Parliament
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.  

Library of Parliament

Chinese Freemasons Building (1907)
5 West Pender Street,Vancouver, BC
Owner: Pip Peri Pembo Management Ltd., Elizabeth Wong, Project Manager
Architect: 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. 

Chinese Freemasons Building
McLeod Building (1912)
10134-100 Street,Edmonton, AB
Owner: Five Oaks Inc.
Architect: 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.

McLeod Building

Forts-et-Châteaux-Saint-Louis, National Historic Site (1620-1832)
Dufferin Terrace,Quebec City, QC
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.


Jean-Talon Station/Loblaws (1931)
395 Jean-Talon Street West,Montreal, QC
Owner: Provigo/Loblaws Quebec
Architect: 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.

Jean-Talon Station
Graham Fire Station #10 (1921), now the Ottawa South Community Centre
260 Sunnyside Avenue, Ottawa, ON
Owner: City of Ottawa
Architect: 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.

Ottawa South Community Centre
Pacific Central Station (1919)
1150 Station Road,Vancouver, BC
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.

Pacific Central Station

St. Clement’s Anglican Church (1891-1958)
70 St. Clement Avenue,Toronto, ON
Client: Church wardens, St. Clement’s Church
Architect: 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. 

St. Clement's Anglican Church

Historic BMO Building (1910)
159 Lakeshore Road East,Oakville, ON
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. 

Historic BMO Building

Harbour Commission Building/Club 357c (1875)
357 de la Commune West,Montreal, PQ
Owner: Propriétés Terra Incognita (Fondation Daniel-Langlois)
Architect: 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. 

Harbour Commission Building

Union Bank Tower (1906) and Annex (1920), now the Red River College School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts
504 Main Street, Winnipeg, MB
Owner: Red River College
Architect: 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.

Union Bank Tower

Annette Street Baptist Church (1888), now Park Lofts 
200 Annette Street,Toronto, ON
Owner: Sam Grasso and Roberto Salmena, Terra Firma Homes
Architect: 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. 

Annette Baptist Church - Park Lofts

Cartier-Brébeuf National Historic Site
Confluence of the Lairet and Saint Charles Rivers,Quebec City, QC
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.


Cartier-Brébeuf National Historic Site

The Workers Compensation Board Building (1961)
333 Broadway Street,Winnipeg, MB
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.

The Workers Compensation Board Building

Troop Barn
Kingsburg, NS
Owner/Client: Marilyn MacKay-Lyons
Architect: 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.  

Troop Barn