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Extreme Restoration: Old Post Office Edition

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Local History, History + Heritage

  • Kelly, Heritage Architect for the Old Post Office
    Kelly, Heritage Architect for the Old Post Office

Nicole, Queen's Square | June 1, 2018

Construction began at the Old Post Office in November 2015. This was when the many talented architects and artisans, who have poured so much time into restoring the building, first began their journey.

Kelly has been an architect with Toronto-based Stevens Burgess Architects for 17 years. She served as the Heritage Architect for the Old Post Office; her job was to ensure that heritage elements were preserved and restored in the transformation of the building. Kelly did not take this responsibility lightly. She spoke of how she “had a responsibility to the Canadian public” to accurately restore the Old Post Office; how the ultimate goal of heritage work is “to be stewards of these buildings.” Kelly worked with numerous specialists and artisans to carefully disassemble, restore, and piece together architecturally significant features of the building.

One example was the slate roof. Made with slate from Richmond, Quebec, the original tiles were too weathered to be reused on the building. Kelly worked with a slate specialist to determine the original colour of the slate and then sourced a quarry who could replicate pieces for our project. Another significant heritage task was repointing the masonry. This is the process where a heritage mason removes the old mortar between each individual stone and lays new mortar, being careful to match the original colour.

So how does a heritage architect, who specializes in restoring old buildings to their former glory, feel about a large, glass addition on a building built in 1885? She loves it! “It’s unbelievably bright and airy in the Old Post Office because of the glass…new and old, both make each other better.”