Last night, Heritage Toronto recognized community organizations, book and short publication authors, and both private companies and public agencies for their contribution to preserving and enhancing Toronto's history over the past year at their annual awards presentation. Many of the awards relate to architecture and the built form of the city, and we'll take a look at them here.
The Ireland Park Foundation received the Community Heritage Award for its work commemorating the history of Irish peoples in Canada. Its diverse programming includes theatre exchanges, lectures, concerts and poetry walks. The Foundation's first project, Ireland Park, memorializes Irish immigrants who died during the 1847 Irish Famine Migration. The award includes a $1,000 cash prize.
The Beach and East Toronto Historical Society received the Members' Choice Award for there work to preserve and promote the social, cultural, and architectural history of Toronto's east-end. The Society continues to advocate for the creation of a Heritage Conservation District for Queen Street East and the Beaches. Selected by Heritage Toronto members, the award includes a $1,000 cash prize.
The Chinese Canadian Archive received the Public History Award for its work documenting Chinese Canadian history in the GTA from 1878 to the present. Currently home to 120 linear feet of archival records with 102 digitized items, the archive begins a valuable conversation and covers an under-researched gap in Canadian history. An exhibit at the Toronto Reference Library highlights pieces from the archive.
Massey Hall received the Historical Writing: Short Publications Award for Shine a Light, a pamphlet exploring the history of the music venue's first 100 years—from the operatic performances of Enrico Caruso to the Greatest Jazz Concert Ever. Tracing the venue's technological and architectural evolution, the pamphlet highlights the current $130-million revitalization project. It can be read on your computer at this link.
The Historical Writing: Book Award was presented to Roberto Perin for The Many Rooms of This House: Diversity in Toronto's Places of Worship Since 1840. Published by the University of Toronto Press, the book "is a nuanced analysis of how the growing wealth of the city led to competitive congregations, larger and more ornate places of worship, and eventually the transformation of this once overwhelmingly Protestant city into a symbol of diversity."
The Keg Mansion received an Architectural Conservation and Craftsmanship Award for the restoration of a central decorative feature to this former Massey family home: after the accidental destruction of the building's stained-glass laylight in 2016, the project's restoration team from Vitreous Glassworks used traditional techniques such as silver staining and handmade glass to recreate the grandeur of the original.
A second Architectural Conservation and Craftsmanship Award was presented to WE Global Learning Centre for the adaptive reuse of a rare Toronto example of the Chicago School-style building. Originally designed by Toronto architect Henry Simpson, the building at Queen and Parliament streets was restored to its original brick and wood façade with stone masonry detailing, and now features welcoming learning spaces for youth. Firms involved in the restoration include Philip Goldsmith Architect, Kohn Partnership Architects Inc., and TriAxis Construction Ltd.
Heritage Toronto also presented a Special Achievement Award to the Toronto Public Library for "its continuing investment in landmark architecture and new facilities that have transformed Toronto's built fabric and enriched community life." Pictured in the slide in the image below is TPL's recently opened 100th branch, the Scarborough Civic Centre Library.
What are your thoughts on this year's awards? Leave a comment in the space provided on this page.