St. Michael’s Hospital, Restoration of Stained Glass
In 2013 Stevens Burgess Architects Ltd. (SBA) in conjunction with Vitreous Glassworks (Vitreous) were commissioned by St. Michael’s Hospital (SMH) to prepare a Conservation Plan for the Chapel stained glass windows located within the Bond Street Wing of the hospital. Without realizing it SMH had an outstanding collection of stained glass windows created by one of Canada’s most respected glass artists: Yvonne Williams and assisted by Esther Johnson. With this knowledge in hand and the realization that the bowed and sagging windows were at threat a 2 year restoration project started. Using the Conservation Plan as the basis, detailed drawings and specifications were completed for the restoration. Qualification criteria were clearly defined within the tender documents with a resultant heritage general contractor, Roof Tile Management (RTM) providing the overall project management and site access and Eve Guinan Design-Restoration (EGD Glass) completing the restoration of the stained glass windows. The work was completed in April 2015. In 2016 tragedy could have occurred as an old radiator pipe broke and filled the Chapel with water. Luckily quick action by the hospital staff limited the resultant damage except for the fortunate removal of the carpeting. Long hidden and forgotten underneath was a beautifully patterned terrazzo floor, believed to be part of Somerville’s original design for the space. SMH painstakingly had the floor cleaned and restored; the Chapel repainted; and resultant repairs completed by in-house staff. Today the restored place remains somewhat a hidden gem within the busy inner-City hospital.
The preparation of a heritage conservation plan for the St. Michael’s Hospital Chapel in 2013 by Stevens Burgess Architects led to the discovery of an outstanding collection of stained glass windows by one of Canada’s most respected glass artists – Yvonne Williams–as assisted by Esther Johnson. The ten windows of the St. Michael’s Hospital Chapel form an integral component of the style and design intention of the building’s architect, William Lyon Sommerville. Realizing that the windows were bowed, missing pieces and at risk, the owner initiated a two-year restoration project. The project began with a conservation plan and continued through detailed drawings and specifications. The restoration construction work was painstakingly carried out both in situ and in the atelier, matching decorative glass and leading. Today, the restored chapel provides a rich, contemplative space within Toronto’s busy inner city.