2021 CAHP Awards – Conservation – Small & Lovely I– Award of Merit II

Silver Dollar Room
(Toronto, ON)

Awarded to:

Emad Ghattas (GBCA Architects)

Christopher Borgal (GBCA Architects)

Donovan Pauly (Clifford Restoration)

Sam Trigila (Clifford Restoration)

Monique Palma Whittaker (MPW Art Restoration)

In a small and unremarkable building in the Toronto core, the Silver Dollar Room opened in 1958 and became a vital part of the Toronto live music scene, supporting jazz, blues, punk and bluegrass over many decades. Prior to its 2018 demolition to allow for construction of new student housing, the project team salvaged the four must significant elements of the heritage structure — exterior signage, interior painted wall murals, the 43’ wood bar, and the terrazzo flooring. These elements were preserved, restored, and reinstalled in the their original locations within a new space of similar interior arrangement. The intention of this conservation strategy was to mitigate complete loss of the heritage value and create a compelling juxtaposition of salvaged and new items. The original 1900 sf of interior space was recreated in order to permit a live commercial music venue to cohabit with student housing. This unusual conservation strategy explored the limits of conservation of modern finishes and the impact of salvage and reinstatement.