Ontario Construction News staff writer
The new John Muir Branch of the Windsor Public Library has been awarded the Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Excellence in Conservation.
Windsor Public Library Board Chair, Councillor Rino Bortolin, library CEO Kitty Pope and Architect Jason Grossi were in Toronto last week to accept the award on behalf of the team behind the planning, development and construction of the library branch, located at 363 Mill Street in Sandwich Town.
The award recognises outstanding contributions to cultural heritage, sustainability, biodiversity and natural heritage conservation.
John Muir Branch celebrates the adaptive re-use of a 1921 fire hall and adjacent fire hall stable dating back to the mid-19th century into a $5.5 million, 7400 square foot public library.
The two heritage-designated buildings were constructed in a manner that speaks to their past while looking toward present and future library use.
Located in the heart of Windsor’s historic Sandwich neighbourhood, it highlights reclaimed materials and historic construction techniques as well as contemporary library technology.
Notable features include a glass-capped observation tower, a suspended bridge made from reclaimed wood found on site and a flexible performance space available for use by local groups and organizations.
Windsor City Council announced funding for the project in August 2015. Initial plans were unveiled a year later.
After extensive planning, ground-breaking took place in January 2018. The library opened to the public in September 2019 marking the end of a 4-year journey.
Initial funding of $2.2 million was increased by Windsor City Council to $5.5 million in 2017 as a stated commitment to local heritage properties.