ERA Architects

Edwin recieves RAIC fellowship

Congratulations to Edwin for recently being named to the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada College of Fellows. The following is from a recently published document by the RAIC:

Edwin Rowse, a founding partner in ERA Architects Inc., is well known for his thoughtful and hands-on approach to architectural practice and in particular his dedication to the conservation of many of Canada’s National Historic Sites. Educated abroad, he received a Bachelor of Architecture (Hons.) from the University of Edinburgh in 1974 and has worked in both Europe and Canada.

In addition to his thorough understanding of building construction, Edwin has a unique and comprehensive expertise in the discipline of heritage conservation. His knowledge covers a broad range of historical building types, architectural styles, construction technologies and techniques as well as decorative finishes; this skill is displayed in the quality of every project he undertakes. His dedication is evident in the numerous design, conservation and planning awards received by ERA Architects.

Edwin is also well known for the considerate way he practices architecture. He has a reputation amongst his colleagues, clients and contractors as being modest and mild-mannered, yet devoutly committed to the highest standards of design and construction. His approach to restoring and conserving Canada’s built heritage incorporates the architectural, historic and social value of the building and its surrounding environment. This sensitive, yet pragmatic approach reflects Edwin’s integrity and his commitment to architecture and the story it tells about our past. This strength of character is further illustrated in the many young architects he has mentored; to whom he has generously passed on his commitment to thoughtful design and conservation as well as his social conscience.

Tub Restoration

Scott’s “standing waste” and corner tub restoration is now completed and functional. The project started with Scott separately purchasing a ca 1910 salvaged standing waste assembly and a glazed cast iron corner tub for installation into his house. The tub finish was damaged and needed to be reglazed. The standing waste needed a complete overhaul, including new nickel plating, replacement of the valve seats, fashioning new parts to fit it the salvaged element with the tub and installation into a new location.

Standing waste and drain tub valves (or Bi-transit drains) were common around the turn of the century. The free standing pipes include a manifold yoke at the centre which directs water from the hot and cold water pipes into the tub through a bell shaped spout mounted on the tub wall. The central post labeled waste contains the overflow, a pipe within a pipe connected to the tub drain – when the waste post is down, the two pipes form a seal at the bottom. Water fills the outer pipe as the tub fills, and overflows through holes punched into the inner pipe leading to the drain. When the waste post is lifted then the two pipes separate at the bottom and the tub is allowed to empty.

Corner tubs were available with the sloped portion (to fit your back) located against the wall requiring a standing waste, or with feet to the wall which required simpler taps mounted on the wall. Corner tubs became less common with the rise in popularity of the shower.

Architect Registration

Congratulations to Robyn Huether and Jan Kubanek for receiving their architect registrations.

Robyn is registered with the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA).

Jan is registered with the Order of Architects of Quebec (OAQ).

Tourism Hamilton Awards

Tourism Hamilton hosted its 11th Annual Tourism Award Gala “Hidden Treasures”

Congratulations to Scott Weir who won an award in the marketing category for the “Tourism Travel Story of the Year”. For his article “The Secret’s Out” that was published in the National Post, Post Homes in the November 15th, 2008 issue.

“Vancouver Matters” Recently Released

During his time in Vancouver, Joey Giaimo’s involvement in a project considering the impact of urban and architectural changes on the city led to the development of the recently released book, Vancouver Matters.

Published by Blueimprint books, Vancouver Matters presents various readings of the city by numerous contributors who teach, live and work there. Representing Vancouver’s history and present materiality through writing, drawing, and photography; Vancouver Matters offers a critical examination of the city’s faults and opportunities.

Additional information can be found at

More on Found Toronto exhibit

ERA’s exhibit down at the Harbourfront Centre received some attention recently in the National Post, a mention on Spacing’s blog by Heritage Toronto’s Gary Miedema, and on the blog Her*itage and His*tory. We thought it would be a good time to give readers of the ERA Office Blog a little more background on the exhibit and show off some photos.

One one side of the gallery space are photos captured this winter (shown above) of buildings that existed in 1858 and are still standing today. All the photos show an address and accompanying a number of them is information on who owned and used the building in 1858. On the opposite side of the space is a detailed wall-to-wall map of Toronto, circa 1858, which indicates every building in existence at the time. Each photo has a corresponding pin that is located on the 1858 map (shown below). On the window wall are excerpts from Brown’s Toronto General Directory 1856 that describes the state of the city in that year through statistics and various data.  The historic usage and ownership of many of the buildings were found in this directory.

The choice to use a map from 1858 is not random. The maps, officially known as the Boulton Atlas of Toronto, were produced by brother William Sommerville Boulton and Henry Carew Boulton, and published by John Ellis. Derek Hayes, editor of the Historical Atlas of Toronto ( Douglas & McIntyre, 2008) says the map is historically significant because  “it shows the existence or otherwise of actual buildings in the city, rather than just subdivided lots.” Each building type is categorized by colour: red properties are made of brick, grey properties that are hatched are stone and, grey properties that are solid are wood framed buildings. At the time, almost 80% of all Toronto buildings were constructed of wood.

If you get a chance to visit, you’ll find yourself pacing back and forth between these walls locating photos of interest on the map. But since the map is from 1858, things have changed and places and roads that you know exist today (like the intersection of Yonge and Dundas) did not exist back then. You can also discover Dundas Street has a section that runs north-south on what is now Denison Avenue. Dundas then appears again, for only a few blocks, going east-west between Bathurst and Hope (what is now Claremont) streets.

You might also discover certain urban anomalies, such as how modern-day University Avenue (known as College Avenue in 1858) is actually the combination of two previous streets: one side of the street was owned by the University of Toronto and the other side was owned by the City.

Top photo by Tom Bilenkey, all other photos by Matthew Blackett

Found Toronto Installation in the News

Following a successful opening reception for the Building on History exhibition, ERA Architects’ Found Toronto installation was highlighted in the January 31st edition of the National Post. The photograph above was taken at the reception and the following text is from the newspaper article.

Learn about Victorian Toronto and more at inspiring architecture show
If you appreciate architecture, the Harbourfront Centre is the place to be. Until June 14, Building on History celebrates Toronto and Ontario’s architectural legacy –indeed, we have one and the number and variety of participants in this exhibit is proof. Inspiring installations include works by ERA Architects. The firm has recreated the 1858 Boulton Atlas, one of the earliest maps of the city, on a massive scale, letting the public see the Victorian city that was in order to see how the old Toronto connects to contemporary Toronto. Other contributors include Goldsmith Borgal & Company Architects and Taylor Hazell Architects. And if photography excites you, documentary shooter Peter Sibbald’s photo series and essay, Elegy for a Stolen Land, is a real treat.

Uno Prii

Uno Prii designed apartments on Jane Street, near Finch Avenue West, 1966

Wednesday’s Design Forum focused on the high-rise apartments designed by Uno Prii. Graeme Stewart, co-editor of Concrete Toronto, argued that Prii deserves to be in the same pantheon as Peter Dickinson and John Andrews. Philip Evans presented a compelling case that Prii buildings, while beautiful, are some of the least energy efficient buildings constructed in the 1960s.

The Found Toronto Project


E.R.A. Architects, along with Goldsmith Borgal & Company Ltd. Architects, and Taylor Hazell Architects Ltd., were invited by Harbourfront Centre to create installations in response to the idea of building on history.

E.R.A. Architects’ installation Found Toronto can now be viewed until June 14th, 2009 at Harbourfront Centre’s architecture gallery in the exhibition titled, Building on History.

The installation is part of an ongoing project by our firm to identify the city’s oldest buildings. If you have visited the exhibition and would like to contribute information on the buildings presented or on other buildings and spaces connected to the 1858 Boulton Atlas of Toronto, please leave us your comments below.

ERA Architects’ Installation at Harbourfront Centre

ERA Architects along with Goldsmith Borgal & Company Ltd. Architects and Taylor Hazell Architects Ltd. were invited by Harbourfront Centre to create installations in response to the idea of building on history. ERA Architects’ installation Found Toronto will be presented at Harbourfront Centre’s architecture gallery for the exhibition, Building on History.

This exhibition will also feature a selection of work from the photographic series Elegy for a Stolen Land by Peter Sibbald in response to his own reflections and questions posed by this idea.

Opening Reception:
Friday, January 23, 2009 | 6:00 – 10:00 PM
235 Queens Quay West, Toronto

The exhibition runs from January 23rd to June 14th. More information can be found here:

Harbourfront Centre | Architecture Winter 2009

2008 Canadian Architect Award of Excellence

Canadian Architect announced the winners of the 2008 Awards of Excellence.

Congratulations goes out to Stantec Architecture and Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects who were the Architects in Joint Venture for Bridgepoint Health.

ERA is proud to be part of the design team as heritage consultants.

2008 Design Exchange Awards

Last night at the 2008 Design Exchange Awards, Concrete Toronto won an Award of Merit in the Visual Communications Content & Editorial category.

Congratulations to ERA and Coach House Books.