Top Architecture Award Goes to Newly-Restored Toronto Church

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Toronto's St. Paul's church, Bloor Street, which completed a four-year, $23-million restoration and expansion project in 2006, recently received the Award of Excellence for the William Greer Architectural Conservation and Craftsmanship Award at the 33rd Annual Heritage Toronto Awards.

The prestigious award, named after an architect and heritage consultant who has been working to conserve Toronto's architectural heritage for more than 50 years, recognizes individuals, community organizations, industry professionals and associations "in promoting and conserving Toronto's history and heritage landmarks."

St. Paul's, one of the largest Anglican churches in Canada, was chosen from eight nominees.

Harry Klassen, who served as volunteer project manager, described the award as "well-deserved, reflecting both the excellence of design and workmanship."

Heritage Toronto, meanwhile, cited the successful incorporation of St. Paul's three buildings--the 'Old Church' (1860), the 'New Church' (1913), and 'Cody Hall' (1928)--into one development. "The goal of this project was to provide universal access, security and flexibility while transforming the existing heritage buildings into a functional, cohesive facility that retained the historic architectural design. The project involved extensive restoration work on the masonry, roof and stained glass windows of the old church, as well as interior renovations and the intervention of new architecture to join the three buildings into one space."

Aside from renovating about 65,000 square feet, the development--one of the largest restoration projects undertaken in any church in Canada--involved adding 45,000 square feet of new space, which almost doubled the amount of functional space in the complex. The new space includes a glass atrium, which connects the three buildings into one facility, and allows natural light to stream into the open space. Magnificent stained glass windows and the original 19th century wooden cathedral ceiling in the old church were restored to their former glory. …