Restoring the City's Past
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Restoring the City’s Past

Heritage Toronto Awards nominees honoured for preserving and revitalizing the city's historical buildings.

Torontoist is pleased to be the media sponsor for the 40th annual Heritage Toronto Awards and William Kilbourn Memorial Lecture.

When the Heritage Toronto Awards began in 1974, the city was realizing the value of revitalizing its historical buildings. The preceding decade had seen too many wrecking balls at work—even sites we now consider iconic, such as Union Station, were threatened. Over the past 40 years, thanks to heritage preservation laws and forward-thinking architects, developers, and institutions, sites that likely would have become parking lots or condo towers have served as models of adaptive re-use. They have showcased evolving efforts to restore buildings to their past grandeur while incorporating modern design and technology to improve their comfort and energy-efficiency.

Given the importance of architecture in raising Torontonians’ awareness of heritage issues, it is appropriate that this year’s William Kilbourn Memorial Lecturer is one of the city’s most renowned architects: Jack Diamond. As Richard Florida observed in his foreword to Insight and On Site: The Architecture of Diamond and Schmitt, the work of Diamond’s firm over the past 40 years has challenged us “to provide an architecture that will uplift and inspire, strengthen and connect and never, ever overpower…they give us hope that architecture can fit into and help uncover the true soul of the city.”

This year’s nominees in the William Greer Architectural Conservation and Craftmanship category, displayed in the gallery above, have been recognized for work ranging from the remounting of a 1960s glass mosaic to the renewal of historic homes in the former East York.