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2013 Awards Recipients

Prince of Wales Prize for Municipal Heritage Leadership
Gabrielle Léger Medal for Lifetime Achievement
Lieutenant Governor’s Award
Ecclesiastical Insurance Cornerstone Awards
Governors’ Award
Prix du XXe siécle

Prince of Wales Prize for Municipal Heritage Leadership





City of Owen Sound, Ontario

Billy Bishop Home and Museum, National Historic Site

Located in South-western Ontario, the City of Owen Sound (population 22,000) is the largest urban community in Grey and Bruce Counties. It is situated on the Pottawatomi and Sydenham Rivers and features a large harbour on an inlet of Georgian Bay, which is nestled in a valley of Niagara Escarpment limestone. The area—first inhabited by the Ojibway people—was surveyed in 1815 and established Owen Sound in 1841. For much of its history it served as a major port with access to the upper Great Lakes and major rail lines. Farming and tourism remain integral parts of the local economy.

For a small city, Owen Sound has made an impressive commitment to the conservation and promotion of its heritage, not just to mark its past, but to enhance the quality of life and sense of place of its residents. Points of interest include four conservation areas, a City beach and waterfront trail system, historic Harrison Park, an active Farmer’s Market as well as museums and archives.

The Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee has been actively protecting the city’s considerable stock of heritage buildings and landscapes since 1977. The Heritage Register, created that same year as an inventory, now contains over 150 properties, 30 of which are designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act. The Heritage Register was formally adopted by Council in 2006. It includes an impressive array of Second Empire, Queen Anne Revival and neo-Georgian housing stock, complemented by several stone churches and many well-preserved commercial blocks in the historic downtown as well as industrial architecture. The City has shown leadership by designating seven City-owned properties, including the Carnegie Library, the Old Courthouse, the CPR Station and the Billy Bishop Home and Museum.

Downtown Owen Sound

The City has employed a half-time Heritage Planning Coordinator since 1992 to develop and implement the Heritage Work Plan; to field heritage-related questions from staff, developers, property owners and the public; and to advise Council on urban planning applications.

Owen Sound’s reputation as the “Scenic City” is upheld by the network of cultural landscapes, including the expansive 100-year-old Harrison Park, comprising more than forty hectares of streams, trails, gardens, structures, playgrounds, forest and green space in the heart of the city.

A Façade and Structural Improvement Program was established in 1999, which includes design and procedural guidelines, has provided almost $375,000 in financial support to 60 projects. $50,000 was allocated in 2012 for this program. Similarly, a Heritage Property Tax Relief Program was started in 2009 that provides heritage property owners with a 20% refund on the municipal and educational portion of their property taxes. Eligible property owners must also enter into a Heritage Conservation and Maintenance Agreement with the City, which details the municipal expectations for the use of the Refund.

Though it is a smaller city, Owen Sound is not immune to the pressures of development. The Official Plan stipulates policies and goals and objectives to guide the development and redevelopment of lands within the city, including those relevant to cultural heritage (creation of Heritage Conservation Districts), and specific to the conservation of property deemed of heritage value or interest, stipulating that, “Significant built heritage resources and significant cultural heritage landscapes within the City, which are valued by the community, shall be conserved for the benefit of present and future generations.” For instance, the City has created the Harbour and Downtown Urban Design/Master Plan, which provides guidance for municipal planners, elected officials and developers in planning and approving redevelopment in the area while maintaining its heritage and unique character. Similarly, a zoning bylaw provides “alternative building design or building materials for properties designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.

In terms of new construction, the City has developed Architectural Control Guidelines to ensure proposed new residential developments do not have a negative impact on heritage areas. In the case of the planned subdivision of Greenridge, located near an existing historic neighbourhood,  guidelines stipulated that new housing and streetscape design must be in harmony with the existing community by including a variety of common elements, from housing with similar height and massing, rooflines and construction materials, to window design and attached front porches.

The community takes much pride in the history and heritage of the region. An interpretive plaque program, began in 1998, celebrates the rich heritage of the community. To date, 46 plaques have been positioned along urban walkways to raise public awareness about local history and heritage. Painted murals based on historic photographs celebrating the city’s past can be seen on the side of City Hall and on the façades of some local stores. Interpretive banners have also been installed downtown focusing on themes such as “Historic Owen Sound’ and ‘Local Heroes.’ Much of Owen Sound and the region’s history are explained through self-guided and guided walking tours, and also regional driving tours. For the past 10 years Owen Sound has been participating in Ontario’s Doors Open program, providing free access to buildings and spaces within and around the city.

As seen through efforts by the Municipal Government and community, Owen Sound has a longstanding, active commitment to the conservation and promotion of the city’s heritage.

View more photos with great 'Before and After' shots on our Flickr site!

The City of Owen Sound was nominated by the Owen Sound Community Planning & Heritage Advisory Committee.

Gabrielle Léger Medal

Mr. LeBlanc

Mr. François LeBlanc, Ottawa, Ontario
As an architect, preservationist, author and educator, François LeBlanc has worked tirelessly and effectively for more than 40 years to build a strong heritage conservation community in Canada and abroad.
Widely respected and admired by his peers, Mr. LeBlanc is regarded as an outstanding thinker in the heritage conservation field. Known for his jovial and approachable nature, generosity and genuine passion for heritage conservation, he has had a career that most could only dream of. 
It began in 1971 with Parks Canada, where Mr. LeBlanc worked as the Chief Architect for monuments of the French Period before moving to the Quebec region as Chief of engineering and architecture responsible for such important national historic sites as Les Forges de-Saint-Maurice, Fort Chambly, the Lachine Canal and the Quebec Fortifications.

Between 1979 and 1983, he served as Director of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and Advisor to UNESCO in Paris.
Returning to Canada, he then joined the Heritage Canada Foundation, where he spent nine years as Vice-President of Programs overseeing such ground-breaking initiatives as Heritage Regions and Main Street Canada. These programs touched more than 100 communities across the country from Whitehorse, Yukon to St. John's, Newfoundland.

From there, Mr. LeBlanc moved to the National Capital Commission as Chief Architect responsible for the conservation and renovation of numerous properties in the National Capital Region, including the Prime Minister’s residence, Rideau Hall, Stornaway, and many other official residences. 
With his reputation reaching beyond Canada’s borders, it was no surprise when the Getty Conservation Institute came calling in 2001. Mr. LeBlanc spent the next six years as Head of Field Projects in Los Angeles where he participated in various heritage conservation projects in more than 24 countries around the world.
In addition to his professional commitments, Mr. LeBlanc has shared his expertise and talents with a number of heritage conservation organizations in a voluntary capacity, including ICOMOS Canada and the Association for Preservation Technology (APT). Mr. LeBlanc has been awarded the ICOMOS Canada Jacques Dalibard Medal and the APT Harley J. McKee Award. He is a member of the ICOMOS Academy and APT’s College of Fellows.
Mr. LeBlanc is a graduate of the University of Montreal’s School of Architecture and holds a specialization in historic buildings conservation from the University of York in England. 
François LeBlanc currently works as a heritage consultant and lectures at Carleton University in Ottawa and the Willowbank School of Restoration Arts in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.
François LeBlanc was nominated by Michel Bonnette, OUQ, Honourary Member of CIVVIH.

Lieutenant Governor’s Award 

Mr. Charles Fairbank III, Oil Springs, Ontario
Known as “Charlie” to his friends, Mr. Fairbank has worked tirelessly to protect and promote a unique piece of Canada’s industrial heritage: the First Commercial Oil Field National Historic Site, at Oil Springs, Ontario. The world’s longest-producing oil company, it still operates using the original “Jerker-Line” pumping technology developed by Mr. Fairbank’s great-grandfather in 1863. Today, Fairbank Oil Properties produces approximately 24,000 barrels of oil per year from 350 wells on 600 acres.

It was Mr. Fairbank’s use of the historically accurate pumping system, his dedication to preserving his great-grandfather’s legacy and his advocacy for heritage protection that led to the designation of Fairbank Oil and the greater Oil Heritage District as Ontario’s only working industrial-based Heritage Conservation District in 2010. 
Mr. Fairbank has been a national and international champion of Oil Springs and Petrolia as the location of the world’s first commercial oil field, whose drilling and pumping technology quickly spread to the United States and later to oil fields around the world, giving birth to the global petroleum industry.
Mr. Fairbank runs Canada’s oldest petroleum hardware shop, Van Tuyl & Fairbank Hardware in Petrolia, which continues to provide obscure oil production 

equipment essential to the viability of Ontario operators. He is also a founder of Petrolia Discovery, a working museum of petroleum history, and is a constant financial supporter and partner with the Oil Museum of Canada.

Mr. Fairbank’s enthusiasm for protecting industrial heritage has been recognized by a number of organizations over the years. He has been awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Ontario Lieutenant Governor’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Heritage, the Petroleum History Institute’s Samuel T. Pees Keeper of the Flame Award and the Petroleum History Society of Alberta’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He has also been inducted into the Canadian Petroleum Hall of Fame.
Mr. Fairbank is a published author who has written and sponsored a number of publications about the Canadian oil industry. In 2002, he co-wrote the Oil Heritage Tour of Lambton County: The Birthplace of the Canadian Oil Industry. 
Mr. Charles Fairbank III is passionate about preserving Oil Springs and is currently advocating for the Oil Heritage District’s inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List.  
Mr. Fairbank was nominated by Ian McGillivray, principal of McGillivray-Architect.

Governors’ Award

Carlos Ventin

Carlos Ventin and County of Norfolk Courthouse, Simcoe

Carlos Ventin was trained as an architect in his homeland of Argentina at the University Resistencia and completed graduate studies in Climate and Architecture in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur. After emigrating to Canada in 1965, and settling in London, Ontario, he joined the Board of Education as a Project Architect. He soon relocated to Simcoe to work for W.M. Smale. Smale passed away prematurely in 1970 and Carlos acquired and re-established the practice as C.A. Ventin Architects Ltd.

One of the firm’s earliest commissions was the restoration and refitting of “Lynnwood,” a Simcoe mansion that also won a Heritage Canada Foundation Award of Excellence, as the Norfolk Arts Centre. The local community was very impressed by Carlos’ work. It was his second job, repurposing the former Norfolk County buildings in downtown Simcoe as municipal offices that made him known across the province. This project was symbolic of all of his strengths and skills he had acquired over the past 4 decades.

Old London Normal School

Carlos exhibited excellent foresight in many projects which landed him long-term relationships with Government clients in Milton, Guelph, Waterloo, Toronto and Queen’s Park. He had a broader vision for the projects and could commit himself to multi-year plans even where no formal commitment existed. Carlos’ forethought came in handy when in Simcoe, a pair of outbuildings at the courthouse square that were given a superficial cleaning, which caused a revelation of their value. Money had been saved elsewhere in the project, and the buildings were eventually turned into adjunct offices.

Some of his more recent projects include the adaptive reuse of an historic Canada Post Office into the Wellington County Social Services building in Guelph, Ontario, the roof and clock tower restoration of Old City Hall in Toronto and the Old London Normal School which was renovated and restored for the Ontario Realty Corp.

Old Toronto City Hall

It was his ability to connect and enlist the support of public officials that really served him well over the course of his career, as more than 40 public authorities became his clients. He treated them with respect and he delivered worthy buildings that usually came in on budget.

Carlos has brilliantly repurposed, renovated and reinstated over 40 buildings in his lifetime. His familiarity with materials, technical standards and skill at projecting costs has served him well since the beginning of his career. He has been recognized with various prestigious awards from the Ontario Association of Architects, the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals, and Heritage Toronto for his fervent dedication to heritage conservation. His endless passion is seen in every project and these buildings will serve as a lasting memory of Carlos.

Sadly, Carlos Ventin passed away quietly on September 25, 2013. His contribution to heritage conservation will be recognized during HCF’s National Awards Ceremony, November 1, 2013, in Ottawa.




Prix du XXe siécle

Photo: ERA Architects


Massey College, Toronto, ON - 1962

Architect: Ron Thom (with Thompson, Berwick & Pratt)
Currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, University of Toronto’s Massey College (1963) is one of the most admired buildings on a campus rich with admired buildings. Designed by renowned Canadian architect Ron Thom, the College successfully achieves its project requirements, responds thoughtfully to its architectural context, breaks with trends of the day by folding several historical forms into a single form, and creates a stunning precedent anticipating design trends in Canada and internationally.
To this day Massey College remains a resilient, much-loved building that has required few changes, even a half-decade after its construction.
Photo: ERA Architects


The College was a gift from the Massey Foundation intended to create a special place to nurture learning, the intellect, and the public good. Thom’s design was chosen in a competition that did not specify style, but which called for an arrangement recalling the English colleges of Oxford and Cambridge.

In response to this call for academic dignity and intimacy, Thom created a cloistered, inward facing plan similar to the “Oxbridge” tradition. The plan is an open rectangular courtyard surrounded by three three-storey residential wings and one four-storey wing.
In 1989, in recognition of its architectural significance, Massey College was designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act.
Jury Comments
"Massey College is a skillful and humane interpretation of Arts and Crafts sensibilities in a modernist idiom. It is remarkable for its seamless integration of exterior and interior design, including the rich detailing of its custom furnishings and fittings. It has aged well, and is one of the University of Toronto's most treasured modern buildings."

Grande Prairie Regional College, Grande Prairie, AB - 1974
Architect, Douglas Cardinal, FRAIC

Photo: Rob Ganzeveld

Grande Prairie Regional College is an early representative work of a prominent Canadian architect, an instantly recognizable structure which is a significant landmark in Northwestern Alberta, and a building which for more than three decades has helped build the sense of community in Grande Prairie.

When it opened its doors in 1974, it was one of only three Canadian post-secondary institutions located north of 55 degrees latitude. Since its completion, the Grande Prairie Regional College designed by then young, maverick architect, Douglas Cardinal, FRAIC, has become a landmark.
Cardinal blended his structure into the landscape to achieve a striking aesthetic, and the building is equally striking from within. The curved classroom walls and open spaces are special, particularly compared to the utilitarian style which dominates so many campuses.  But its role goes beyond campus to community building. It was long the largest public space in the city and the amphitheater routinely hosts community and travelling theatre, public lectures, and a range of musicians and comedians.
Photo: Rob Ganzeveld

On any given day, the campus reverberates with the sound of its classes, its students and also its community. This is a place where the people of this region come together to create, celebrate and share cultural moments.

Jury Comments
"This is a strong example of Cardinal's early work and his first institutional building. His highly individual approach has shaped a building that has become a regional landmark. It is valued highly by the College as a working environment and an embodiment of a distinctive understanding of place and people."