2017 Award of Merit – Materials, Craftsmanship and Construction

2017 Award of Merit – Materials, Craftsmanship and Construction

Casa Loma Structural Repairs: Norman Tower

Casa Loma, house on the hill, is a unique building located in the heart of Toronto. As the only Castle style residence ever built in Toronto, the structure stands out from its surroundings as you travel along Spadina Road. This Gothic Revival Castle was inspired by various British and European architectural precedents and designed by architect E.J. Lennox. The Castle was designed to have 98 rooms and many technical innovations, which included the first passenger elevator installed into a private residence in Canada. In 1910, the building was commissioned by Sir Henry Pellatt. As a knighted stock broker, Sir Henry Pellatt became an influential figure of Toronto. His lifetime accomplishments include assisting in the development of hydro-power in Ontario and introducing electric street cars to this city, among other things. In 1913 the Pellatts moved into their new residence constructed of limestone and sandstone accented by white cast stone trim. Through misfortune, the Pellatt family were forced to abandon their residence a decade later. The building received some alterations in an attempt to convert it into a luxury hotel before it was seized by the City of Toronto in 1933 for unpaid taxes. The structure now serves as a tourist attraction and hospitality venue operated by private partners (Liberty Group) and the City of Toronto.

In the Castle’s eighth phase, and Clifford Restoration Limited’s seventh phase at this location, the stabilization and restoration efforts at Casa Loma included extensive stone rebuilding and replacement at the Norman Tower, in addition to the South and West wings. Throughout all portions of work, extensive cataloguing and documentation of stone were undertaken as a joint effort between Taylor Hazell Architects and Clifford Restoration Limited. Each phase involved varying elements of work, including assessment and documentation techniques; design and production of new cast ‘Roman Stone’; dismantling, rebuilding and repair of salvaged masonry assemblies; skillful incorporation of new structural elements into these assemblies; protective flashings and fine sheet metal work, and the restoration of leaded and stained glass. Specific to this phase, the scope of work also included extensive sandstone restoration including stone repointing, stone surface tooling, proprietary restoration mortar patching, and ‘Dutchman’ indent repairs. The two chimneys of the Norman Tower were dismantled and reconstructed with replicated stone to match the original profiles.

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