Ontario Construction News staff writer
The Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) has celebrated this year’s World Architecture Day with its fourth annual visit to Queen’s Park, hosting a reception with Members of Provincial Parliament.
At the December 10 event, the OAA underscored the importance of architects and architecture while also discussing the profession’s contribution to Ontario’s economy and the roles that architects play in addressing big issues such as housing affordability and climate change. The event also marked the unveiling of this year’s Queen’s Park (QP) Picks—eight special buildings or structures chosen from a larger list of MPP nominations.
Traditionally, the QP Picks are announced on the first Monday in October, designated as World Architecture Day by the International Union of Architects (UIA). However, this year’s parliamentary calendar meant the celebration was rescheduled for December.
More than 20 MPPs visited the exhibit and spoke with OAA representatives and architects associated with the QP Picks. MPPs Lindsey Park (Parliamentary Assistant to the Attorney General), Gurratan Singh (Critic, Attorney General) and Michael Schreiner (Green Party of Ontario Leader) all spoke at the event.
“We were so pleased to see MPPs come out and share their excitement about Ontario architecture,” says OAA president Kathleen Kurtin. “Architecture is a small profession, but an important one. I believe architects are ideally suited to make valuable, creative contributions to public conversations about important concerns like housing affordability and improving our buildings to be sustainable and resilient in a time of climate change, as well as helping ensure a vibrant economy in sectors like construction and tourism.”
Kurtin says she is looking forward to continuing a constructive working relationship with the Province, and specifically the Ministry of the Attorney General, regarding OAA initiatives such as improving the site plan approval process in Ontario.
Queen’s Park picks
Earlier this year, the OAA invited Ontario MPPs to reflect on the province’s unique architectural legacy—both old and new—and nominate their favourite building within their riding. A record number of 40 submissions were received from across all political parties, representing areas from Windsor to Timmins to Ottawa. Eight of these projects were then selected for this year’s QP Picks exhibit, which highlights the diversity of architecture across the province.
Nominated by MPP Joel Harden (Ottawa Centre), Ottawa’s Corktown Footbridge (DTAH Architects Limited) was one of this year’s selections. Bringing together structure, architecture and landscape in a way that created a sense of place, this new local landmark serves as a critical connection between communities east and west of the Rideau Canal.
The seven other projects chosen were:
- Aaniin Community Centre and Library in Markham, architect: Perkins & Will Canada Inc.;
- Bergeron Centre for Engineering Excellence in Toronto, architect: ZAS Architects Inc.;
- Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre in Hamilton, redevelopment architect: Zeidler Partnership Architects in partnership with Invizij Architects Inc.;
- The Metalworks in Guelph, redevelopment architects: SRM Architects Inc. (heritage building reuse) and Kirkor Architects and Planners;
- Ontario Place in Toronto, architect: Craig, Zeidler & Strong, Cinesphere rehabilitation: Gow Hastings Architects Inc.;
- Waterdown Public Library in Hamilton, architect: Rounthwaite Dick & Hadley Architects Inc.; and
- Westinghouse HQ in Hamilton, rehabilitation architect: McCallum Sather Architects Inc.
“This year’s selection of eight very different projects—from provincial landmarks to exciting new places for learning, living and playing—show how architecture helps create creates a sense of place, while also celebrating the culture and community of where they are built,” says Kurtin.
“Good architecture is inspiring and pragmatic. It has positive effects on our productivity, health and sense of well-being,” she adds. “It was great to speak with the MPPs about some of their favourite buildings and share some of the stories behind those projects.”