Alliston is a community of approximately 12,000 people now part of the Town of New Tecumseth, northwest of Toronto. This community, like many others, has suffered the loss of many of its historical buildings, especially in the downtown core. The Alliston Monument Works established this small 920 sq.ft. brick factory in 1896 on the main street one block east of the main financial district. They remained there, the building virtually unchanged, until 2006 when they relocated. The building was now at risk of being demolished to allow for larger development. The Town purchased the building and made an agreement with the Chamber of Commerce and the Alliston Business Improvement Association (ABIA). The Chamber and ABIA were to restore and renovate the building and use it for their offices.

The challenge was to restore the building so that the shell would meet the high performance levels of today’s building demands without compromising its historical character. The exterior was cleaned and new roof, new soffits, fascia and trim were installed. The windows were restored with thermal glazed units and new matching operable storm sashes. On the interior the wood ceilings and wainscotting were in salvagable condition and incorporated in the new design. So too was the steel hoist used for moving the large stone slabs inside the building. Multiple design options were explored to maximize the very tight program for this small space. The final design incorporates a reception area, 3 workstations, washroom, kitchenette/workspace and a glazed open corner multi-purpose room which can hold board meetings with seating for 12. The success of the design has preserved an important cultural landmark in the Alliston community.

Photography by: Sean O’Reilly