The Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) reports that it is once again celebrates World Architecture Day virtually in 2021. Traditionally, the OAA marks this occasion (which falls on the first Monday in October) with a reception for Members of Provincial Parliament at Queen’s Park to reveal the year’s Queen’s Park Picks (QP Picks). The event is a unique opportunity to showcase outstanding examples of Ontario architecture through the nominations of passionate MPPs across the province.
According to OAA, following the success of last year’s virtual QP Picks event—a decision driven by health and safety measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic—the OAA is once again showcasing the annual Queen’s Park Picks online at www.oaa.on.ca/QPP.
An emerging theme from this year’s QP Picks was the adaptive reuse of structures—an important strategy in the multi-pronged approach to achieving climate stability.
The greenest building is the one that is already built. Adaptive reuse of existing buildings minimizes landfill waste, 20 to 30% of which currently comes from demolition and construction. It also ensures the existing building materials—and the carbon emissions already generated to extract, manufacture, transport, and install them—are not wasted. Creatively repurposing existing structures reduces new greenhouse gas emissions associated with building a new structure from scratch, while preserving Ontario’s built and cultural heritage.
Queen’s Park Picks
Prior to World Architecture Day, the OAA invited Ontario MPPs to reflect on the province’s unique architectural legacy and nominate a favourite building within their riding. This year, a wide range of building submissions were received from MPPs in regions across the province.
Nine projects have been selected for this year’s Queen’s Park Picks online exhibit, which showcases the diversity of architecture in Ontario. The buildings chosen were:
Artscape Wychwood Barns in Toronto
Architect of renovation DTAH Architects Ltd.
Nominated by MPP Jill Andrew
Barrymore’s Music Hall (former Imperial Theatre) in Ottawa
Architect Walter Herbert George
Nominated by MPP Joel Harden
Carrefour Santé d’Orléans in Ottawa
Architect HDR Architecture Associates Inc.
Nominated by MPP Stephen Blais
Chinese Railroad Workers Memorial in Toronto,
Artists Eldon Garnet, Francis LeBouthillier (bronze figures)
Nominated by MPP Vincent Ke
Dominion Wheel and Foundries Company Manufacturing Complex in Toronto
Nominated by MPP Suze Morrison
Heritage Hall in Guelph
Architect William Slater, Architect of renovation Joel Bartlett Architect Inc.
Nominated by MPP Mike Schreiner
Old Stone Mill in Delta
Nominated by the Honourable Steve Clark, MPP
Toronto Power Generating Station in Niagara Falls
Architect Edward James Lennox
Nominated by MPP Wayne Gates
Whitby Central Library and Civic Plaza in Whitby
Architect Shore Tilbe Irwin and Partners (now Perkins&Will)
Nominated by MPP Lorne Coe
According to the OAA, foregrounding the positive impact of the built environment remains a central focus of the OAA’s mission in regulating the province’s architecture profession to protect the public interest. It enjoys a long-standing, collaborative relationship with the provincial government and highly values their mutual investment in meeting the needs of Ontarians.
“It is wonderful to work with Ontario’s MPPs to broaden public awareness and enthusiasm about the architecture that shapes all of our communities,” notes OAA President Susan Speigel. “As we reflect on the contributions of those whose work has been recognized this year, it’s clear heritage buildings hold a special place in the hearts of Ontarians,” she adds, “and the sensitive and sensible evolution of these buildings ensures they continue to serve our communities for years to come.”