Featured Project: IO Heritage Inventories and Assessments

Client: Infrastructure Ontario

Infrastructure Ontario (IO) manages one of the largest real estate portfolios in Canada. It consists of a wide range of types of properties, both owned and leased, from courthouses to farmsteads. In order to fulfill its requirements under Ontario’s Environmental Assessment Act, IO requires evaluation reports for built and landscape resources to document known heritage value. Engaged as heritage specialists, Contentworks completed several phase I and II thematic studies of IO-owned and -leased properties.

Phase I inventories are designed to capture known information about properties and buildings in order to determine those that are known to be of heritage value, and to identify the work needed to assess those properties and buildings whose heritage value is unknown. Contentworks completed Phase I thematic studies for residential properties in Pickering and Markham (161 properties covering 330 buildings), OPP buildings (246 properties covering 375 buildings), office and administration buildings (82 properties covering 94 buildings), and courthouses, registry offices and correctional facilities (190 properties covering 700 buildings). Buildings and properties were documented through images and tombstone data, such as: date of construction; name of architect; designations, listings, easements and conservation, and; commemorations. The studies also included overview histories that provide both historical and architectural context for the evaluation.

Phase II assessments require visiting the site, conducting primary and secondary research, reviewing existing heritage studies and reviewing any related documentation held by IO.  IO’s evaluation criteria are then applied to research findings to determine if the property or building should be recommended as an IO Heritage Place. These findings were presented to IO through an Evaluation Report. Contentworks completed studies for dozens of OPP facilities, correctional facilities in Ontario, and administration of justice facilities in northern and eastern Ontario.

Thunder Bay Courthouse courtroom, 2006.
Photo: Thunder Bay Courthouse, main courtroom. Credit: Contentworks
OPP Station, Bracebridge, Ontario built 1957-8.
Photo: OPP Station, Bracebridge, Ontario. Credit: Contentworks
Syl Apps Youth Centre, Oakville
Photo: Syl Apps Youth Centre, Oakville. Credit: Contentworks
Former Sault Ste. Marie Registry Office, constructed 1907-8. Now used as a law library.
Photo: Sault Ste Marie Courthouse. Credit: Contentworks, 2006