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Heritage Toronto Awards Recognize Layers of Toronto's History

For one evening, amidst the endless rush of new construction projects and planning proposals, the past was alive in Toronto. It was being celebrated at the 42nd Heritage Toronto Awards, which recognize achievements in both media and architecture.

Many of Monday night’s laureates and participants, however, maintained that this was not the only day of the year that the city’s heritage rose to the forefront of public consciousness. More than a celebration of individual projects, the awards ceremony and accompanying Kilbourn Lecture were a self-styled celebration of the rapidly growing awareness of heritage issues.

According to Heritage Toronto, the 61 projects nominated across five categories represented a 30 per cent increase over the previous year’s field.

Toronto, Heritage, Architecture, Awards324 Broadview, image by Building Arts
Some of the awarded works were newly completed restorations or reuses of buildings that Torontonians may walk past on a regular basis. Building Arts Architects’ 324 Broadview office retains the façade of the Standard Bank of Canada branch that formerly occupied the site as well as its vault. The changes to The Don Jail, the evening’s other architectural award of excellence winner, are less visible from the street. On the inside, however, the formerly prescriptive space has been turned into a flexible administration building for Bridgepoint Active Healthcare. It’s usually a pejorative to describe an office as a jail, but this is the exception that proves the rule.

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