ERA Architects

Culture of Outports: Burlington Freelab

ERA’s Culture of Outports project, through the Centre for Urban Growth + Renewal, and sponsored by TD Canada Trust, is now taking shape in Newfoundland.

The team includes Principals-in-charge Michael McClelland and Philip Evans, Project Architect Will MacIvor, and Assistant Laila MacDougall-Milne, as well as six students from Dalhousie University’s School of Architecture in their design build project in the outport of Burlington, on the Baie Verte peninsula. Continue reading…

New Orleans

New Orleans is emerging from a long process of rebuilding following the devastation brought on by the hurricanes of 2005.  And while much of this gorgeous city has regained its vitality, 6 years later some families have still fallen between the cracks of of insurance payments and official funding, struggling to repair or rebuild their homes.  The non-profit community based St. Bernard Project was started in 2006 to organize volunteer labour under skilled supervision to undertake the reconstruction of individual houses and whole neighbourhoods.

On his vacation last month in New Orleans, Scott W and his partner Ron Reaman volunteered with St. Bernard Project and installed drywall as part of the reconstruction of what had been a badly damaged house.  Because of its location in Gentilly, a low lying neighbourhood, the bungalow was raised one storey to allow any possible future flooding to leave the main floor of the house untouched, much like the 19th century pattern of building in this region.  Scott and Ron were part of a volunteer team from the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) organized by President and CEO of White Spot Hospitality, and Chairman of the Board of CRFA Warren Erhart and his wife Marie.

Scott also managed to eat a great deal of fabulous Louisiana seafood while he was there, which has recently been declared safe by the FDA following intensive testing related to last year’s oil spill and cleanup.

Auchmar Estate

Since 2006, ERA has been engaged in a series of conservation and repair projects at Auchmar Estate in Hamilton, Ontario.  Most recently we have been examining and recording the finishes on both the exterior of the house and on the interior walls of the main front hall.

Working with specialist paint analysts, we have identified two main decorative schemes on the interior plaster.  The oldest scheme is a faux ashlar stone finish dated to the building’s origin in the 1850s.  The second scheme is a golden-coloured marbling application probably dating from the 1880s.  Uncovering these schemes gives us a better understanding of the historic timeline of the house and gives insight into the lives and values of the people who once lived there.

Continue reading…

Out East

Philip and Will recently took a trip out to Halifax, to give a public lecture at the Dalhousie School of Architecture and to introduce the Culture of Outports Free Lab project to the students and faculty. Continue reading…

Brick work

Andrew and Philip took a group of recent ERAers out for a quick tutorial on assessing the existing conditions of a masonry building, and on how to better understand Toronto’s nineteenth-century architecture.  They discussed the various styles of brick treatment of the period, and the differences between the 1860’s style and 1880’s style.  They also demonstrated typical kinds of deterioration to clay bricks, different mortar mixes of the era, what sandblasted brick looks like, how to recognize step cracks, the different stages of spalling, etc. A good primer for new employees, and a great way to pass along years of experience in a hands-on setting.

After the (TTG) party it’s the afterparty.

Thanks to everyone who came out to Hart House last Thursday! Toronto the Good 2011 was a huge success, and attracted record crowds. The Tower Neighbourhood Renewal symposium was also packed to the rafters, and over a hundred people unfortunately had to be turned away at the door.  Stay tuned for more photos from the day’s events, and further discussions of the issues raised. Continue reading…

TTG 2011!

The 2011 Toronto the Good party is this Thursday May 12th at Hart House.
For more details, please visit

ERA started the Toronto the Good parties to bring together a broad cross-section of Torontonians who are interested in the city and in city building. We started these parties with Spacing Magazine and [murmur], and they have continued to be involved each year. Other partners have included Heritage Toronto, the Carpenters Union, the Toronto Society of Architects, the Distillery District, Harbourfront Centre, and Cities Centre.

The first Toronto the Good took place at the Distillery District, but there was one at Fort York, when the Mayor shot off a cannon. The 2011 invasion of Hart House is a new venture to celebrate the University of Toronto’s urban research centre.

Welcome to the Brickworks

Each year, the AIAS (American Institute of Architecture Students) hosts a Forum offering architecture students from across North America an opportunity to gather in celebration of the profession.  This year, Ryerson University hosted the Forum in Toronto and welcomed approximately 900 eager American students to Canada’s largest metropolis. ERA participated in this year’s Forum by hosting a building tour at the Don Valley Brickworks.

Continue reading…

John Street Square _ Design Competition Finalists

The five finalists for the John Street Square Design Ideas Competition have been revealed on-line.  It is now up to you to vote for your favorite redesign of this important but underutilized public space at the strategic intersection of King and John Streets. Voting closes on January 9th, 2011, but until then you’re allowed to vote once/day. Vote early and vote often!

ERA developed the idea for the John Street Cultural Corridor in a 2003 cultural mapping study produced for the City of Toronto, entitled ‘Canada’s Urban Waterfront; Waterfront Culture and Heritage Infrastructure Plan‘.

The image above is from finalist #4, titled “Entertain Me”.

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.

Suburban Speculations

This panelist discussion will be held tonight from

5:00pm to 7:00pm

It will be taking place at the Munk Centre for International Relations.

Campbell Conference Facility
1 Devonshire Place

Revue Theatre Public Forum Announcement

On Saturday, March 22nd at 10:30 am, ERA Architects Inc. will participate in a public forum to discuss restoration and design opportunities for the Revue Theatre. All are welcome to partake in this discussion, which will be held inside the theatre.

The Revue Theatre is located at 400 Roncesvalles Avenue in Toronto, Ontario.