Skip to content

ERA Architects


Bridgepoint Health: The Old Don Jail

Restored entrance way with steps leading up to a door
internal courtyard
windows of basement and first floor in courtyard
detail of brick work restoration
detail of brick work restoration on gargoyle
photo showing dirty condition of building before renovation
entrance to jail before restoration
aerial view of fully built Bridgepoint Health Centre

Bridgepoint Health: The Old Don Jail

En Français >

Completed in 1864, the Old Don Jail was the last work of one of Canada’s most respected early architects, William Thomas, and the largest building project in Toronto’s history at the time. Like much of Thomas’s late work, the jail was conceived in the Renaissance Revival style popular during the mid-1800s which draws inspiration from Italian Renaissance, Baroque, and Mannerist architecture. The heavily rusticated stone and imposing masonry structure—symbolically appropriate for its purpose—remained in excellent condition right up to its closure as a functioning jail in 1977.

In 2013, a conservation and adaptive reuse project was completed to preserve the site’s heritage while providing new administrative offices for Bridgepoint Active Healthcare. ERA advised Bridgepoint prior to the purchase of the jail and throughout development of its initial concepts, project masterplan, heritage conservation strategy, heritage compliance review, and project completion.

Bridgeport Healthcare
Stantec Architecture, KPMB Architects, HDR, Diamond and Schmitt, +VG Architects
Urban Strategies, Perkins Eastman Black Architects
Michael McClelland


  • Heritage Canada: Cornerstone Award for Adaptive Reuse, 2014
  • Canadian Urban Institute: Brownie Award of Excellence: Rebuild, 2014
  • Architectural Conservancy of Ontario: Paul Oberman Award for Adaptive Reuse, 2014
  • PUG Awards: Paul Oberman Award for Adaptive Reuse and Heritage Restoration, 2014
  • Ontario Association of Architects: Design Excellence, 2014
  • American Institute of Architects: National Healthcare Design Award, 2015
  • Civic Trust Awards: Commendation - International Projects, 2016
  • Governor General's Medal in Architecture (RAIC), 2016
  • Heritage Toronto: Award of Excellence - Architecture, 2016
  • Toronto Urban Design Awards (TUDA): Award of Merit - Large Places and/or Neighbourhood Designs, 2017

Related Projects

The Distillery District Cityscape Development Corporation & Dundee Realty
The Kwong Centre for Mental Health & Wellness The Kwong Family/Mount Sinai
Senate of Canada Building Government of Canada