Recipients of 2019 Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Awards announced

The Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Awards celebrates projects and individuals who made exceptional contributions to heritage conservation in the province.

Established in 2007, the annual Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Awards are juried awards administered by the Ontario Heritage Trust that are presented each year in a ceremony at Queen’s Park.

“The Ontario Heritage Trust is proud to join the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario to recognize these remarkable individuals, organizations and communities for the outstanding heritage contributions they have made,” said Harvey McCue, Chair of the Trust. “These achievements will endure for many years into the future and leave a positive mark on the province.”

This year, four buildings were honoured in the Excellence in Conservation category. The recipients include:

The John Muir Branch, Windsor Public Library
Location: Windsor
Team: studio g+G inc., architect

Photo courtesy of

The John Muir Branch of the Windsor Public Library incorporates the adaptive reuse of a 1921 fire hall and rare surviving 19th-century fire hall stable joined by a contemporary architectural addition. Located in the heart of Windsor’s historic Sandwich neighbourhood and named after a longtime community activist who advocated for the importance of historic landmarks, the John Muir Branch showcases reclaimed materials and historic construction techniques as well as contemporary library technology. Notable features include the glass-capped observation tower, suspended bridge made from reclaimed wood found onsite, and flexible performance space. The project followed a methodical process of archaeology and architectural archival documentation, following best practices per the Historic American Buildings Survey and The Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada.

The Courthouse Hotel
location: Thunder Bay

Photo courtesy of

The Courthouse Hotel in Thunder Bay was originally built as the Port Arthur District Court House in 1924. The building was placed on the local heritage register in 2009 and continued to serve as the Superior Court of Justice until 2014. Throughout the renovation process, beginning in 2017, the hotel’s owner worked to ensure that the building retained its significant historical features. Three million dollars were spent on this extensive renovation project. Much of the building’s original woodwork was retained, as have many of the grand interior spaces including the former main courtroom (now transformed into a ballroom).

The Senate of Canada Building Project
Location: Ottawa
Team: DSA-KWC Architects in Joint Venture

Photo Credit: Tom Arban

Constructed in 1912 as Ottawa’s Union Station, the Senate of Canada Building is a prominent example of the beaux arts railway station tradition. The former station has been refurbished to accommodate the Senate of Canada during the rehabilitation of the Centre Block. The project scope included the full rehabilitation of the exterior and interior of the building. The rehabilitation of the Senate of Canada Building revealed the original character and historical elements of the building that had become concealed during earlier modifications. The conservation work aimed to restore the clarity and symmetry of the original beaux arts planning, establishing a clear and coherent historical link between the order and space of the original train station, and its modern 21st-century use by the Senate. Marble floors, vaulted ceilings cast in plaster and cast-iron Diocletian windows were carefully repaired, and faux travertine walls were recreated following detailed paint analysis that offered clues to the original colour palette of the building.

The Walper Hotel Project
Location: Kitchener
Team: BNKC Architecture + Urban Design

Photo Credit: Michael Muraz

The Walper Hotel in Kitchener was built in 1893 and was designated as a historic landmark under the Ontario Heritage Act in 1983. Despite hosting many notable guests in its heyday, the hotel fell into a state of disrepair by the late 20th century. Conservation/restoration work began in 2016. The project involved extensive exterior and interior restoration, renovation and aesthetic upgrades. Extensive localized roof, truss, sub-flooring and structural repairs were required. Aspects of the conservation of the building’s heritage fabric include such details as the restoration of the exterior canopy, roof refurbishment/cornice and dentils, the cornice that caps the top of the ground floor, exterior brickwork and interior columns, panelling and mouldings.

For more information on the 2019 recipients of the Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Awards, click here: