The Pug Awards were first handed out in 2005. Envisioned by Anna Simone, of design firm Cecconi Simone, and Gary Berman, President of real estate financier Tricon Capital Group, they were created to foster more public involvement in design and architecture in Toronto. While the awards laud the city's favourite projects, the Pugs are also known for the spotlight they shine on the city's least liked projects, akin to the annual Golden Raspberry Awards (for any film aficionados out there). 

9th Annual PUG People's Choice Awards for Architecture9th Annual PUG People's Choice Awards for Architecture, image by Jack Landau

As Pug winners are selected by public vote, the average observer is granted a privilege reserved for experts and critics in other architectural awards programs. The people of Toronto have spoken up and cast their 2013 votes now, and with the votes tallied, it’s time for our recap of these ninth annual Pug Awards, held yesterday evening on the north lawn of The Shops at Summerhill, winner of the 2012 Paul Oberman Award for Adaptive Reuse and Heritage Restoration.

9th Annual PUG People's Choice Awards for Architecture9th Annual PUG People's Choice Awards for Architecture, image by Jack Landau

With the sheer volume of newly-built condominiums in Toronto, the Residential category is perhaps the most competitive, factoring in dozens of nominees and highly polarized opinions among voters. The 2013 winner of the Residential People’s Choice Award, is 500 Wellington West, designed by Core Architects Inc., and developed by Freed Developments.  

9th Annual PUG People's Choice Awards for Architecture500 Wellington West, winner of Residential Category

500 Wellington West's win is the first time in the history of the Pug Awards that a building in the Residential category has garnered more votes than any in the Commercial/Institutional category. “This marks a significant milestone in Toronto’s building boom,” said Gary Berman, co-founder of the Pug Awards. “The development community should pay close attention to 500 Wellington West, as voters' overwhelming approval surely offers lessons for what the public believes is desirable architecture for a condominium building.”

9th Annual PUG People's Choice Awards for Architecture, 500 Wellington WestResidential People’s Choice Award being presented to 500 Wellington West, image by Jack Landau

On stage with Gary Berman of the Pug Awards (at right) to accept the plaudits are, left to right, Deni Poletti of Core Archtiects, Peter Freed of Freed Developments holding the trophy, and Babak Eslahjou of Core Architects. The same team was on stage moments earlier to also accept the award for the Runner Up position in the Residential category for 650 King West Condominiums.

9th Annual PUG People's Choice Awards for Architecture650 King West, image by UT forum contributor Yonderbean

Honourable mention in the highly competitive residential category went to Parc Loft Residences on the Park ranking third.

The biggest winner yesterday was Stantec Architecture, who along with heritage consultant E.R.A Architects, took home the Commercial/Institutional People’s Choice Award, as well as the Paul Oberman Award for Adaptive Reuse and Heritage Restoration, for their work on Toronto Police Service’s 11 Division.

9th Annual PUG People's Choice Awards for Architecture, Stantec, ERAStantec accepting both the Commercial/Institutional People’s Choice and Paul Oberman Award, image by Jack Landau

Accepting the award were from left to right Tom Kyle, Project Manager at Stantec, Edwin Rowse, Principal at ERA Archtiects, Eve Lewis of Woodcliffe, Michelle Amancio at Toronto Police Services, standing with Gary Berman.

9th Annual PUG People's Choice Awards for ArchitectureToronto Police Service 11 Division, image by Richard Johnson

Runner-Up in the Commercial/Institutional category are Toronto Police Service’s 14 Division in second place, marking another win for Stantec, while KPMB Architects picked up an Honourable Mention for the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

Not every nominee left happy though. The bottom three Residential nominees garnering the lowest scores were Westside Gallery Lofts, Altitude and Skyscape Condominiums, and Palais at Port Royal Place by Pemberton. Two nominees from the Commercial/Institutional category received negative scores; Toronto South Detention Centre and Trump International Hotel & Tower.

A full list of this year's nominees and winners is available below.


Positive Scores

1. 500 Wellington West

2. 650 King West Condominiums

3. Parc Loft Residences on the Park

4. Flatiron Lofts and Work Lofts

5. Burano Condominiums

6. Victory Condos on King

7. Paintbox Condominiums

Negative Scores

8. MuseumHouse on Bloor

9. Corktown District Phase 2

10. South Beach Condos + Lofts

11. Two Gladstone

12. Trinity Lofts

13. LTD

14. Nautilus at Waterview

15. The Modern on Richmond

16. NY Place Boutique Condominiums

17. 400 Wellington West

18. The Uptown Residences

19. Bohemian Embassy Flats and Lofts - Queen Building & Gallery and South Tower

20. Parc Nuvo at Essex

21. Willow Park at Bayview

22. Duca Financial Services and Canterbury Place Retirement Residence

23. Wilshire on the Green

24. Aquaview Condos

25. Acclaim Condos

26. Savvy Condominiums at Cosmo

27. Westside Gallery Lofts

28. Altitude and Skyscape Condominiums

29. Palais at Port Royal Place

Commercial / Institutional

Positive Scores

1. 11 Division, Toronto Police Services

2. 14 Division, Toronto Police Services

3. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

4. Ryerson Image Centre

5. George Brown Waterfront Campus - Health Sciences

6. St. James Cathedral Centre

7. Centre for Excellence for French-Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education, Glendon Campus, York University

8. St. Conrad Catholic Elementary School

9. Daniels Spectrum

10. Four Seasons Hotel Toronto

11. Life Sciences Building, York University

12. Shangri-La Hotel Toronto

Negative Scores

13. Toronto South Detention Centre

14. Trump International Hotel & Tower

Commercial / Institutional – Paul Oberman Award for Adaptive Reuse and Heritage Restoration:

11 Division, Toronto Police Services