ERA Architects


ERA celebrated the season with our annual BBQ yesterday. Andrew generously provided his back yard for the festivities, which lasted well into the evening.  The weather was sweltering, the huge spread of food was delicious, many refreshing beverages were imbibed, and nothing was broken. All and all, a great success.

Open Doors for Doors Open

Gallery 1313 in Parkdale is hosting an architecturally-themed exhibition to tie in with this year’s Doors Open festival.  The show is curated by Toronto Star urban issues and architecture correspondent Christopher Hume.  In the gallery’s own words;

this exhibition gives artists a unique opportunity to explore the influences of local architecture in their artistic practice. The exhibition pays homage to [Doors Open] and allows the public an opportunity to make a further connection with city architecture by viewing the creative process that has inspired these artists.

ERA’s William MacIvor will have a few pieces on show, including collage-based adaptive reuse studies of the oft-neglected R.L. Hearn Generating Station. Be sure and drop in while you’re out exploring the built environment this weekend.

Open Doors
An Exhibition Inspired by Doors Open
May 26th – June 9th 2010
Reception May 27th 6:30-10pm

Gallery 1313
1313 Queen St. West
Gallery Hours Wed – Sun 1-6pm

Above graphic by ERA Architects.

National Urban Design Awards

The Tower Renewal Opportunities Book was awarded a Special Jury Award in the 2010 National Urban Design Awards, presented by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the Canadian Institute of Planners and the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects. Congratulations to the project team including ERA Architects Inc., the John H. Daniels faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto, and the City of Toronto.

For more information, visit: 2010 National Urban Design Awards

Toronto the Good invades Harbourfront Centre!

ERA is hosting its annual Toronto the Good party with Spacing Magazine, the Toronto Society of Architects, Ben McNally Books, and David Vallee.

The evening will be filled with events including access to all the exhibitions, gallery and building tours and talks, announcement of the TSA poster design competition winner, Harbourfront’s AUTHORS reading series, book signings, music, video installations, food and refreshments and more!

Wednesday May 26, 2010

Doors Open 6pm
Free Admission to the Party
Catered Event with Cash Bar

York Quay Centre at
Harbourfront Centre
235 Queens Quay West

For details and itinerary for the night, please visit:

Toronto the Good Invades Harbourfront Centre! – ERA Office Blog

Toronto the Good –

Art of the Danforth, on the Roxy

The first ever Art of the Danforth art crawl is in full swing, including an exhibition along on the hoarding at the Roxy (Formerly Allenby) Theatre construction site.  ERA has been working on the restoration and adaptive re-use of the Allenby Theatre for ESSO, including the conversion of the lobby space of the old theatre into a new Tim Hortons.

The Allenby Theatre opened in 1935 and was designed by the well-known Toronto architectural firm of Kaplan and Sprachman.  This firm, established in 1921, was responsible for the design of between seventy and eighty percent of all movie theatres in Canada between the years 1921 and 1950.  At the time it stood as a landmark building on Danforth Avenue because of its level of detailing and scale in relation to the adjacent commercial properties.

Work is scheduled to be complete by Summer 2010, including restoration of the glass (previously vitrolite) ground floor exterior lobby and ticket booth. The Art Moderne masonry street façade and windows are complete. The Allenby Theatre’s new life as a Tim Hortons is sure to aid in the revival of the Eastern Danforth Avenue neighborhood, encouraging development and community activity along this stretch of the street.

Pictured above, the Pigeon Paradigm Project ‘celebrates the cultural and natural history of this area of Toronto and the vibrant life that now exists along Danforth Avenue’, according to artists Real Eguchi & Barbara Flanagan-Eguchi. More images are available on Flickr.

Celebration of Heritage

On Wednesday February 24th, at the “Celebration of Heritage” event held in Niagara-on-the-Lake, ERA was awarded the “Peter J. Stokes Heritage Commendation” for the exterior conservation of the 1817 Miller House.

Congratulations are extended to the building’s owner Vintage Inns and the project’s contractor Shoalts Brothers Construction, who were also recipients.

View Points: You’re invited to look inside the City!

Harbourfront Centre regularly hosts a forum series called View Points that “explores issues in contemporary culture and showcases current culture-makers”.

To coincide with the current Community Centred exhibition at the Architecture Gallery, a forum titled “Inside the City” is set for next Thursday February 25th at 7:00 pm at Harbourfront. Ian Chodikoff will be moderating the event that will include Joe Lobko, Helena Grdadolnik, Michael McClelland, and Graeme Stewart.

Photograph by Tom Bilenkey

Harbourfront Centre | Inside the City

Architecture at the Harbourfront Centre

ERA is currently preparing a new installation for the Harbourfront Centre, focusing on the ways in which density affects our lives. This is part of the COMMUNITY CENTRED exhibit with Public Workshop and du Toit Architects Limited.

The opening reception:

Friday January 22, 2010
6:00 to 10:00pm

York Quay Centre
235 Queens Quay West

For more information about the exhibit please visit the Harbourfront Centre website.

Head Start

After a prolonged workterm at ERA, Jordan Molnar is headed back to Dalhousie to begin his M.Arch thesis. Before shipping off, he gave a Friday presentation and recruited feedback on his initial research – involving preliminary studies of an under-utilized commercial block in downtown Brampton. This sparked an interesting discussion, centering primarily on the questioned validity of the classic Main Street commercial typology in relation to the distributed urban point/field mesh that is the Golden Horseshoe area. Best of luck back in academia, and we look forward to the final project!

Oleleshwa Primary School, Ewaso Ngiro, Kenya

This week’s Wednesday Design Forum looked at a project being developed outside of the office. Alec Ring, an assistant architect here at ERA, and his colleague Karl Sarkis presented a design they have been developing for Oleleshua Primary School in Ewaso Ngiro, Kenya. The funding to build the school is through Harambee 4 Humanity a small not for profit organization set up in the town of Gravenhurst, Ontario in order to finance this project.

Traditional Maasai Enkaji (house) near the school grounds.

Some of the students who will attend the new primary school.

The presentation looked at the culture of the Maasai people, their traditionally nomadic way of life, their architecture, and a proposal for the new school and school grounds. Feedback on the design portion of the presentation focused on two key areas of the project, the first being the constructability of the proposed classrooms, and the second being how to respectfully integrate the new site plan and building into the existing and lost cultural heritage of the Maasai people.

Site terrain.

The primary school project is to be realized over several phases and is to include four classrooms, a kitchen, an administration building, a library, 6 pit latrines, and teacher housing. The site itself is a seven acre parcel of land which will also include areas for agricultural and physical education. The first phase will include the two classrooms, two pit latrines and conversion of an existing building into a kitchen.

Preliminary proposal for cluster of classrooms.


Huge congratulations go out to Brendan and Andrea on the birth of their new baby daughter: Quinn!

Vancouver Matters Wins Design Exchange Award

Vancouver Matters received an award in the Visual Communications category at this week’s Design Exchange Awards event. The book was also recently awarded at the Alcuin Society’s 27th Annual Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada.

Photo by Jason Vanderhill

First time buyer, beware.

Round One: Get It Livable…
One of ERA’s own goes through her first home purchase and improvements. In a little alley near Dundas and Trinity Bellwoods, a row of 1870’s houses have been minimally touched and altered. With a simple construction of balloon framing and one layer of bricks; the house is modest and functional; it is also bound on three sides with no access except from the narrow front door. First steps towards simply being able to move in have been undertaken: this includes fixing a very leaky old roof, ripping out a moldy bathroom and painting every possible interior surface. Next steps towards renovations, maintenance, and an addition could mean real estate disaster or top dollar ~alas~ stay tuned for the next installment!

North York’s Modernist Architecture


ERA Architects assisted with a recent forum on North York’s modernist architecture, which sought to raise awareness for modernist buildings and landscapes in the city of Toronto. The event included a panel discussion consisting of Dave LeBlanc (Globe & Mail), Leo deSorcy (City of Toronto Planning Division), Kim Storey (Brown and Storey Architects), and Lloyd Alter (Architectural Conservancy of Ontario), and was moderated by Matt Blackett of Spacing Magazine.

ERA contributed to the event by preparing and printing an update to the document North York’s Modernist Architecture put together by the former City of North York in 1997. The update – available here as a PDF file – includes the complete 46 page original document, new essays by the aforementioned panelists, and current photographs of a number of the featured buildings.

Dave LeBlanc also wrote an article in the Globe and Mail about the forum and the republication of the document, which is available on the Globe’s website.

The Turn of the Screw

DVxT Theatre Company presents a site-specific performance of Henry James’s hauntingly beautiful glimpse into the ultimate source of evil: the human mind.

Performed throughout the Campbell House Museum – mixing candlelight, sound and video DVxT brings this ghostly gothic mystery to life.

For more information please go to the following site:

DVxT Theatre Company

Richard Ouzounian’s preview article in The Star:
The museum’s scary story –

Jon Kaplan’s preview article in Now:
Preview: The Turn of the Screw – NOW Toronto

CAHP Awards

The 2009 Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals Awards were hosted at the Artscape Wychwood Barns on September 25th.

ERA was identified as part of the team for the CAHP Award for Environmentally Sustainable Rehabilitation, for the Artscape Wychwood Barns.

Congratulations goes out to Sally Gibson for receiving the Heritage Communication Award of Excellence for Distillery District Heritage Handouts for Tenants.

Urban Design Awards

On Monday September 21st, the Mayor’s Tower Renewal Opportunities Book was awarded the Toronto Urban Design Award of Excellence in the Vision and Masterplan category.

Congratulations go to the full Tower Renewal team, including ERA Architects, The John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, the City of Toronto, and countless local and international partners.

In the Tall Buildings in Context – private section an honourable mention was given to Jazz located at 167 Church street. The project team included Burka Architects Inc., NAK Design Group, and ERA Architects.

In the Buildings in Context – public section an honourable mention was given to Artscape Wychwood Barns located at 601 Christie Street. The project team included: Joe Lobko Architect Inc., du Toit Architects Limited, ERA Architects Inc., Stantec Consulting, Blackwell Bowick Partnership Limited, Michael Dixon-University of Guelph, BA Group, Leber Rubes Inc., Gottschalk + Ash International, The Dalton Company Ltd.

Another honourable mention was awarded to Transformation AGO located at 317 Dundas Street West. The project team included: Gehry International, and ERA Architects Inc.

Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archive Opening

The Archive is having an opening of their new home.

Your presence is requested at the Grand Opening of the new home of the

Canadian Lesbian & Gay Archives
34 Isabella Street, Toronto
Saturday September 26, 2009
2:00 – 5:00 pm

Reception in George Hislop Park
just west of the Children’s Aid Society (30 Isabella)

Alternate facilities near the Park in case of rain

Please RSVP to or 416-777-2755
before Friday, September 18 , 2009

ERA has been assisting the Archive in repairing and upgrading 34 Isabella.