On October 30, Heritage Toronto announced their Heritage Awards winners, revealing the best of the city's architectural and heritage conservation scene. The 48th Annual Heritage Toronto Awards, held in the heart of downtown at The Carlu, celebrated the efforts of individuals and groups dedicated to preserving the city's heritage.
This year, five winners emerged from a rich pool of 46 nominees across three categories: Public History, Book, and Built Heritage, each adjudicated by a distinguished panel of experts. Furthermore, a special Peoples' Choice Award was announced, with its winner chosen by the ardent supporters of Heritage Toronto and attendees of the event.
UrbanToronto is highlighting the three awards within the Built Heritage category:
Adaptive Reuse Award: Albert Campbell District Library Transformation
The accolade was bestowed upon the transformation project of the Albert Campbell District Library at 496 Birchmount Road. Spearheaded by LGA Architectural Partners, this initiative revitalized a 1970s modernist building, originally designed by Fairfield and DuBois Architects, into a contemporary, integrated, and inclusive hub for the community. The new architectural narrative, though contemporary, echoes the past with curved wood ceiling bands inspired by the original red metal ceiling, and colour accents that pay homage to the former bold colour scheme.
Following a three-year transformation, the library now offers a vibrant, inclusive place, complete with a new Digital Innovation Hub, recording studio, community auditorium, an accessible rooftop terrace, and front entry garden, designed in collaboration with Indigenous designers and artists. This award, recognizing projects that maintain the original design vision while meeting current needs, was presented by Woodcliffe Landmark Properties.
Heritage Planning & Architecture Award: 80 Richmond Facade Restoration and Storefront Renovation
80 Richmond was awarded in this category for its facade restoration and storefront renovation, which skillfully reinterpreted the original 1920s design. The restoration project, completed on May 12, 2022 by Dream Office REIT, involved a meticulous repair and cleaning of the facade, ensuring a harmonious storefront in line with the building's heritage. The project's storied history had the original design scaled back due to the Great Depression, with storefront alterations later carried out in the 1980s.
In the present, the project also included interior renovations, featuring a boutique hotel-inspired lobby that showcases heritage elements such as the original mailbox. This award, recognizing the successful application of conservation and planning principles, was presented by Clifford Restoration Ltd.
Crafts and Trades Award: North Wing Coat of Arms Conservation
The North Wing Coat of Arms Conservation project at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario Queen's Park was celebrated for its skillful restoration of the Romanesque-Revival ornament, a significant heritage feature. As part of a continuous exterior conservation plan, +VG Architects and Capital Conservation Services Inc. were retained to assess and address deteriorations, ensuring the longevity of the Coat of Arms and surrounding features with minimal replacement of original materials.
Constructed in the classic Romanesque-Revival style with a blend of red sandstones, the building boasts decorative masonry elements such as the intricately carved Coat of Arms, twin lions' heads, and engaged columns encapsulating a carved stone spandrel panel. This award, recognizing the use of construction techniques and materials compatible with the building’s original architectural qualities, was presented by Aird & Berlis.
The 2023 Heritage Toronto Awards not only celebrated the preservation of architectural heritage but also highlighted the indomitable spirit of individuals and communities in venerating and preserving the city's historical tapestry through the other three awards. You can read about all of them here (pdf).
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