Winners of 2014 Pug Awards announced

Last week, Lynn Osmond, President & CEO of the Chicago Architecture Foundation, and Jennifer Keesmaat, Toronto’s Chief Planner, engaged in a lively “Pug Talk” about building an architectural legacy at the Art Gallery of Ontario, site of the 2014 Pug Awards ceremony and itself a recipient of the 2009 People’s Choice Award for Best Commercial or Institutional Building.

According to the people of Toronto, the Best Residential Building of 2014 is River City – Phase 1 (Saucier + Perrotte Architectes – Design Architect; ZAS Architects – Architect of Record; Urban Capital).

The Best Commercial or Institutional Building of 2014 is Bridgepoint Active Healthcare (Stantec Architecture/KPMB Architects – Planning, Design and Compliance Architects; HDR Architecture/Diamond Schmitt Architects – Design, Build, Finance and Maintain Architects; Ventin Group Ltd. & E.R.A. Architects Inc. – Heritage architects; Plenary Group).

Bridgepoint also is the recipient of the 2014 Paul Oberman Award for Adaptive Reuse and Heritage Restoration.

Honourable mentions in the Residential category go to Market Wharf, in second place, and Clear Spirit at the Distillery, in third place. Honourable mentions in the Commercial or Institutional category go to Goldring Student Centre at Victoria University/Wymilwood Restoration, in second place, and The Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), in third place.

The bottom three nominees in the Residential category are The Avanti, Bridge & Connect Condos and Bravo Boutique Condominiums. The bottom three Commercial or Institutional nominees, and the only ones in the category to have received negative scores, are Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, St. Ambrose Catholic School and St. Nicholas Catholic School.

The 10th annual Pug Awards invited all Torontonians to cast their votes for the best and worst new buildings from a field of 43 Residential and Commercial/Institutional nominees. Online voting took place from May 1st to May 31st at

In addition, the public was encouraged to vote for the “Best of the Best” architecture in Toronto from the Pug Awards Hall of Fame spanning a decade. The top three nominees in the Residential and Commercial or Institutional categories from this year were included as well. Online voting took place from June 1st to June 7th at

500 Wellington (Core Architects Inc.; Freed Developments) has been voted Best Residential Building of the Past Ten Years.

The Gardiner Museum (KPMB Architects; Gardiner Museum) has been voted Best Commercial or Institutional Building in Toronto of the Past Ten Years.

While Commercial or Institutional nominees continued to perform strongly this year, as in previous years, with eight out of 11 nominees receiving positive scores, buildings in the Residential category fared poorly again with voters, with 25 out of 32 nominees receiving negative scores.

According to Pug Awards cofounder Gary Berman, however, “there is no need for us to leave depressed. In our final year, the public deservedly gave an overwhelmingly favourable response to River City and Market Wharf, arguably two of the best residential buildings the city has ever produced. To create a culture that celebrates architectural excellence, there needs to be local examples to emulate and by becoming leaders in their class, these two condo buildings have left us with an exemplary legacy and a hope for something better.”

Buildings with a significant heritage component found favour with voters again this year, as evidenced by positive vote-getters Bridgepoint Active Healthcare, Goldring Student Centre at Victoria University/Wymilwood Restoration, The Sisters of St. Joseph Residence, Clear Spirit at the Distillery and The Ninety.

To be eligible for a 2014 Pug Award nomination, developments must have been completed in 2013, be located within the City of Toronto and consist of an area of 50,000 square feet or greater or be considered noteworthy by the Pug Awards Executive Committee and Advisory Board.

This year’s People’s Choice, Paul Oberman and Best of the Best winners exemplify architecture at its best, the focus of last night’s Pug Talk, “How to Build an Architectural Legacy: Lessons From Chicago,” with special guests Lynn Osmond, President & CEO of the Chicago Architecture Foundation, and Jennifer Keesmaat, Chief Planner for the City of Toronto. The talk was moderated by Anna Simone, Pug Awards cofounder and Principal of Cecconi Simone.

Ms. Osmond described Chicago’s heritage of leadership patronage and grassroots architectural literacy as cornerstones of that city’s ongoing excellence in its built environment. Ms. Keesmaat lamented Toronto’s inability to embrace big ideas like its Great Lakes sister city but was optimistic about Toronto’s deepening appreciation for architecture and the public realm at all levels.

This sense of optimism is shared by Pug Awards cofounder Anna Simone. She celebrates that “these last 10 years have left us with an enormous amount of pride and we have the public to thank for that. Our goal for the future is to continue to foster architectural literacy through Pug Ed and Pug Talks and to strengthen our relationship with the public through our website and e-blasts. Our commitment to increasing awareness and to achieving architectural excellence in Toronto is stronger than ever, made possible by the committed interest and support of all Torontonians.”

For more information and a final ranking of all nominees, please visit