ERA Architects

Maple Leaf Gardens marquee restoration

The very public face of the on-going Maple Leaf Gardens adaptive reuse project was installed this morning. The restored marquee recreates the historic character of the iconic building signage, which was in place for decades. It was a recognized priority for both Loblaws and Ryerson to honour and evoke the rich and varied history of the former arena, which is also a National Historic Site. Continue reading…

The Donald Standard Chemical Building

Rural architectural heritage extends beyond farm houses and small towns. Last summer, ERA helped the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario in support of the Green Step Project, an initiative to rehabilitate an abandoned industrial site east of Bancroft as showcase for environmental stewardship, heritage, and building technologies. Continue reading…

Remembrance Day @ the Brampton Cenotaph

Brampton Memorial Cenotaph - November 11, 2011

For the past year, ERA has been working on the restoration of one of Brampton’s most cherished monuments – the War Memorial Cenotaph, which stands beside Brampton City Hall. Restoration was completed earlier this month, just in time for this year’s Remembrance Day service. Originally erected in 1928 to honour the sacrifice of Brampton’s fallen in the Great War (1914-1918), the monument has been an iconic part of the city’s Remembrance Day services ever since.

After 83 years however, the Cenotaph is showing its wrinkles. Last year ERA began a condition assessment on the monument and found several signs of deterioration – including rust staining, environmental staining, cracked/damaged pointing, unmatched and damaged sealant. This September the conservation of the Cenotaph began.

The City of Brampton held its Remembrance Day 2011 parade and service at the freshly restored Cenotaph site on Friday. ERA has worked with the city to develop a management plan for the continued preservation of the monument.

Image source: Toronto Archives Fonds 1266, item 14065.

On July 4th, 1928, thousands of residents from the area gathered on the reclaimed land of the old Etobicoke Creek to witness the unveiling of the Cenotaph by Lord Willingdon, then Governor General of Canada. With the help of proper heritage conservation, 83 years from now the Brampton Cenotaph will continue to remind people of the symbols expressed in the granite monument’s roman ornamentation: Service, Sacrifice, and Victory.

The Millionth Tower

The Millionth Tower web-based documentary has launched! This weekend the project was featured on the highly-respected site, and is already making significant waves re-imagining the way emerging web-based technologies can help to tell highly personal stories in our increasingly connected world. We are all very proud to have been involved – please see the making-of mini-documentary embedded above, and be sure and go check out the interactive documentary..

Tower Neighbourhood Renewal article in the APT International

ERA is featured in the summer edition of the International Journal for the Association for Preservation Technology (APT), in an article examining the Tower Neighbourhood Renewal initiative.

From the introduction:

In 2008 the City of Toronto initiated its Tower Neighborhood Renewal program. The program looks at the significant impact of post–World War II construction in the city and proposes a plan for the rehabilitation of the many apartment towers that had been built during that period in the downtown core and inner suburbs. The scale and ambition of the project is large, and it represents an important departure from previous thinking that had placed little value on the conservation of buildings from this period. The intent of the program is to use the rehabilitation of this postwar building type as the catalyst for creating stronger, more sustainable communities. Recognizing that such a large-scale renewal amounts to a 20-year program, this paper provides an update on current progress.

The full article can be downloaded here.

Tar Creek Supergrid in the Standard

Amy, one of ERA’s latest recruits, was recently featured in the Toronto Standard.  Her Master’s thesis (completed with Clint Langevin) was a large-scale, radical proposal to utilize toxic sites in North America for future ecologically-oriented development.  The full description of the project makes for a very interesting read.

Four awards for ERA at CAHP Awards ceremony

ERA were the recipient of four awards at this year’s Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals award ceremony in Victoria. Joey took the trip out west to receive the awards on behalf of the office. The awards are as follows;

Preservation of a heritage building, award of merit Sharon Temple

Craftsmanship award of merit Allenby Theatre

Conservation of a heritage landscape award of merit Victoria Memorial Square Park & Monument

Heritage planning award Tower Neighbourhood Renewal In the Greater Golden Horseshoe

Alana, NOW

Alana was featured in NOW Magazine this week, in the special career insert. She discussed her training, why she is excited to be working with ERA, and what it’s like to study and practice architecture in what is still a largely male dominated industry.

*photograph from NOW Magazine

ERA x Sweden

This month a number of ERAers took a trip to Sweden, in order to kick off a neighbourhood rejuvenation project at Semlal Lagerlöfs Torg in Gothenberg. Following the extensive site tour and project brief, the team visited precedent projects in Stockholm, Malmo and Copenhagen to view the latest in housing design and neighbourhood renewal from our Nordic cousins. The following images illustrate the project’s existing context ‘as found’, and future blog posts will expand on both the trip and the on-going project.

Continue reading…

Lang Tannery wins not one but two awards!

ERA was awarded the City of Kitchener Mike Wagner Heritage Award, in the rehabilitation & Adaptive Reuse category for the Lang Tannery Project, shared with Cadan, RAW Design and WalterFedy.

Lang Tannery was also awarded a Canadian Urban Institute Brownie Award for the Best Overall Project.

see more about the project here

Gothenburg Renewal

ERA has been invited to participate in a parallel commission for the neighbourhood renewal of Selma Lagerlöfs Torg in Gothenburg Sweden. Sharing many similarities to Toronto’s Inner suburbs, the neighbourhood renewal program will incorporate many of the strategies developed in Toronto for Tower Renewal…

ERA Wins Toronto Urban Design Award

ERA was awarded a 2011 Toronto Urban Design Award in the Visions and Master Plans category for the Avenues & Mid-Rise Building Study. Congratulation to team lead Brook McIlroy Planning + Urban Design/Pace Architects and project consultants Quadrangle Architects Limited, and Urban Marketing Collaborative.

More information related to this project can be found here.

East Scarborough Storefront

Community Design – Image courtesy of Expect Theatre / Spark Productions

The East Scarborough Storefront is a community agency offering multiple services in a tower neighbourhood in East Scarborough.  Containing a community kitchen and garden, market, resource centre and access point to over 50 different agencies such as job search support and literacy service, the East Scarbourough Storefront is a significant asset to Toronto. To expand its reach, the Storefront is currently undergoing a long term community lead expansion and revitalization strategy.

Over the past several years, ERA has been aiding the Storefront in this process,  in collaboration with  Sustainable.TO, ArchiTEXT, LoCALe, the Tower Renewal Office at the City of Toronto, and a group of vibrant and active community youth.

A recent article in the Summer 2011 issue of Sustainable Builder Magazine showcasing this ongoing work can be found here, or downloaded in PDF format here.

Continue reading…


Michael celebrated his 60th birthday at the Carlu last night, with a great party and in high style.  ERA assisted with the restoration of the heritage elements of the Carlu, and was awarded the Architectural Excellence by Ontario Association of Architects.

Continue reading…

Lime Mortars for Traditionally Constructed Brickwork

ERA, in cooperation with Historic Restoration Inc., hosted one- and two-day workshops for Heritage Professionals and Masons, titled Lime Mortars for Traditionally Constructed Brickwork, lead by Dr. Gerard Lynch. The workshops, held at the Evergreen Brick Works, included both theoretical and practical components, and covered such topics as; binders in historic mortar, historic forms of joining and pointing, re-pointing historic brickwork including colour washing, and tuck pointing.

Dr. Lynch is an internationally acclaimed and highly respected historic brickwork consultant, master bricklayer, educator and author.  He is considered the world’s leading authority of gauge brickwork, and affectionately known by the historic term ‘The Red Mason.”

As quoted in a Toronto Star article covering the workshop, Dr. Lynch explained:

“We were taught to work in two worlds,” says Lynch, 56, whose five-year apprenticeship started at age 17. “We had to work reasonably fast to build modern houses and factories, so we could earn our boss money.

“But we were also taught how to do traditional craft skills. I am proud of doing what I can to pass on those skills. I hope that I will be a pebble in a pond that will radiate out.”

A number of ERAers were able to attend the course, and spoke very highly of the inspiring, practical training.

Culture of Outports _ Burlington design/build

As part of the Culture of Outports project, ERA taught an intensive two-week design/build course in the small outport of Burlington, Newfoundland. The course was run through Dalhousie, and began with a lengthy road-trip from St. John’s, where students had the opportunity to study and immerse themselves in the local and material culture. Then, working with the full support of the Burlington community and assisted by a range of craftspeople, ERA led the six architecture students in the design and construction of a small-scale intervention bred from site-specific conditions, drawing upon vernacular building techniques and traditional craft practices, and making use of local materials. Continue reading…

ERA and Dalhousie Complete Newfoundland Free Lab

As part of the Culture of Outports project, ERA Architects taught an intensive design/build course with six Dalhousie University School of Architecture students in the small outport of Burlington, Newfoundland.

A filled-in pond is currently serving as the only public site on Burlington’s waterfront, allowing for camping and social gathering. The studio course engaged with the local community to formalize this site, with the aim of creating a permanent asset for the city and a new gathering place for the people of Burlington. For more, please see the Free Lab Project Page. To follow the project as it took shape, please see the Culture of Outports tumblr.

Kipling Community Build

In July, ERA got into the building spirit as part of the Tower Renewal project at the Kipling Towers in North Etobicoke.

Kipling Towers is one of the City’s great apartment neighbourhoods, with a cluster of nineteen towers perched along the western bank of the Humber River. Previous posts with more information about the neighbourhood can be found here.

ERA has been involved in the neighborhood since 2007 in partnership with the City of Toronto, Jane’s Walk , the National Film Board and the United Way; working with residents to plan a vision for the future.

During this period, several workshops have been held with the community, hosted by ERA, the City of Toronto, Jane’s Walk and an ongoing collaborative process with the National Film Board as part of their remarkable HIGHRISE documentary initiative. A recently published report of one such workshop hosted by the City and DIAC in late 2010 can be downloaded here.

Continue reading…

The Red Mason at the Brickworks

ERA Architects, in cooperation with Historic Restoration Inc., is hosting one and two day workshops for Heritage Professionals and Masons, titled Lime Mortars for Traditionally Constructed Brickwork, lead by Dr. Gerard Lynch.

Dr. Lynch is an internationally acclaimed and highly respected historic brickwork consultant, master bricklayer, educator and author, considered the world’s leading authority of gauge brickwork, and affectionately known by the historic term, ‘The Red Mason.’

1 Day Courses for Heritage Professionals will be taking place on Tuesday August 9 OR Wednesday August 10

2 Day Courses for Masons – Please note that we have added another session for Monday August 15th and Tuesday August 16th.

To download the the information sheet, please click here.

We have extended the registration deadline to this Friday August 5th, 2011.

For more information contact Sonya Tytor at 419 963 4497 x 224.