Category Archives: urban design

Restoration Of An Urban Icon

After decades of neglect, the rebirth of a Guelph heritage building

“By 2014, the Petrie Building no longer looked like stone. With a naked metal façade riddled with rust, a pestle absent from the gigantic ornamental mortar on top, boarded windows on three floors and a greasy spoon operating on the main floor, it took its shameful place on National Trust for Canada’s ‘Top 10 Most Endangered Places’ list. Add that those three floors had been unheated and unoccupied for decades – the second since the 1920s, the third since 1906 and the interiors of the fourth having never been constructed – and it was ‘becoming a victim of demolition by neglect’.”

By 2014, the Petrie building no longer looked like stone, with its metal façade riddled with rust. Photo by Tyrcathlen Partners

“(Today) the metal-and-stone building that bears Petrie’s name is a thing of beauty. Tyrcathlen (Partners)’s decision to keep it commercial brings life, energy and a hustle-bustle back to this downtown corner. The decision to preserve the smoky-dark façade with pits and pockmarks intact means this swirling story of pride, neglect and rebirth will continue to be told to Guelphites – and indeed the whole Dominion – for generations to come.

The Petrie Building, with its unique stamped-zinc façade, after restoration. Photo by Hans Zegerius



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Filed under architecture, heritage commercialisation, urban design