Most new buildings that we follow at UrbanToronto are being constructed on a site that has some history to it. This means we regularly debate the quality and quantity of the heritage preservation connected to any particular project. The merits - or lack thereof - of facadism is a particular flashpoint around here. Usually it's the disappearance of a hundred year old building somewhere downtown that we worry about... but today we have heritage preservation from another time and place to consider: today it's the swinging 60s, and we're in retro-Scandinavian Etobicoke.

One Valhalla Condos RenderingPage + Steele / IBI Group

This is One Valhalla of course, the three tower and townhome project on the former site of the Valhalla Inn, and there's a bit of a special story here. Normally we don't run press releases here, but when we get an interesting piece that is long on facts and short on hyperbole, we do just a little nipping and tucking and then let the story loose. Oh yeah - and when we do practice some churnalism - we tell you. We hope you don't mind occasionally.

If you notice a Viking Ship traveling down an Etobicoke street, it’s not a Nordic invasion; it’s part of the extensive preservation plan going on at One Valhalla Towns & Condos. Edilcan Development Corporation’s highly successful condominium community in Etobicoke is situated on the site of the former Valhalla Inn, which opened in 1963. Sales have been robust, with 323 suites sold in just six months, and demolition of the Inn has begun to make way for construction. To pay tribute to the well-loved landmark, Edilcan is going to great lengths to preserve and restore numerous elements of the Inn. These items will be integrated into the first of the three new Page + Steele/ / IBI Architects-designed glass-clad towers that will rise from a one-acre landscaped podium and will surround a grand European-style courtyard.

One Valhalla CourtyardPage + Steele / IBI Group

The George Robb-designed Valhalla Inn building complex is listed on the City of Toronto Inventory of Heritage Properties, and in accordance with the guidelines, numerous artifacts are being salvaged, placed in weather-protected and heated storage, and reinstalled in the new community. Several of the furnishings and interior features such as light fixtures and the carved Viking ship bar were also designed by Robb, which is unusual. The scope of the conservation aspect of this project is huge and involves many stakeholders cooperating to achieve the City’s and Edilcan’s goals.

Valhalla Inn Faux Viking Ship

In fact, Edilcan is going above and beyond the City’s requirements to preserve the heritage elements, and has enlisted E.R.A. Architects to oversee the preservation work, and Terrasan Environmental Solutions to complete the removals and storage. “It’s all worth the effort,” says Edilcan Vice President G.P. Di Rocco. “The Valhalla Inn was an area icon for a long time, and it’s only fitting that we acknowledge it in a special way by capturing all that it stood for and will continue to stand for.”

Valhalla Inn Exterior 1960s

The artifacts will be located in the amenity spaces of the first phase of One Valhalla, such as the party room and landscaped rooftop, according to the interior design by Munge Leung. Among the items that are being retained and reused are the exterior wood main entry doors and brass pulls, the interior archway in wood, the Mermaid Lounge metal screen, the garden bronze sculpture, and the massive Nordic bar counter from the Nordic Dining Lounge – which in itself will be a tremendous task to move. Hanging custom light fixtures from the Nordic Dining Lounge will be reused in one of the common spaces, as will two deco-style wood screens and the Mermaid Lounge glass art panels with the mermaid motif.

Valhalla Inn Entrance 1960s

“The fact that many of these items will be reused in the new residence’s party room is poetic,” says Andrew Pruss of E.R.A. Architects. “The Valhalla Inn was an Etobicoke landmark that was a prominent social site. Many parties and weddings were held over the years. Reusing these items within this context gives them ongoing life. The effort of the developers to salvage, restore and reuse these elements recognizes the heritage value of the site.”

Valhalla Inn Bronze Statue

In addition, the three Oasthouse roofs will be rebuilt as an outdoor structure on the podium of Phase 1 and will enhance the landscaping by Schollen and Company. Each artifact will feature a stainless steel plaque identifying its origin as part of the Valhalla Inn. Those items that cannot be salvaged, such as the gates, fences and unique ceilings, will be recreated in the same motif.

One Valhalla Condos

One Valhalla Condos RenderingPage + Steele / IBI Group

What's your take on the heritage preservation and retro Scandinavian vibe at One Valhalla? Leave a comment here, or click on the link below to join in the discussion in UrbanToronto's thread for this project.

This article was originally published in forum thread: One Valhalla (427 n of Bloor, Etobicoke, Edilcan, 35 + 30 + 22s, P+S/IBI)