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obert Balicsak, Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Craig Goodman, Harvey McCue, John ColemanThe University of Windsor received the Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Excellence in Conservation, Feb. 22 at Queen’s Park. From left: Robert Balicsak, principal at Colliers Project Leaders; Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell; architect Craig Goodman; Harvey McCue, chair of the Ontario Heritage Trust; and John Coleman, UWindsor director of public affairs and communications. Photo by Ian Crysler.

Armouries restoration garners heritage recognition

Its restoration of the Windsor Armouries has earned the University of Windsor the Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Excellence in Conservation.

The award recognizes exceptional projects in heritage conservation completed, or substantially advanced, over the last year. The entry submitted by the University highlighted the Armouries as an example of the adaptive reuse and restoration of a key piece of built heritage in Windsor. The transformed Armouries now anchors the School of Creative Arts.

The award was presented by Ontario Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell and the Ontario Heritage Trust during a ceremony at Queen’s Park on Feb. 22.

On hand to receive the award from the lieutenant governor on behalf of the University were Craig Goodman, principal with CS&P Architects; Robert Balicsak, principal with Colliers Project Leaders; and John Coleman, UWindsor’s director of Public Affairs and Communications.

“The University of Windsor is proud to honour the history of our city and country and to recognize the men and women who served them,” interim president Douglas Kneale said. “The spectacularly restored Windsor Armouries is both an historical touchstone and a cultural vortex for the community. This award celebrates both our past and our future.”

In 2014, the University engaged CS&P architects to re-imagine the Armouries as a new space for learning and community engagement, while maintaining the integrity of the building to pay homage to its historic past.

In a media release, the Ontario Heritage Trust included this summary of the Armouries project and its impact on the community:

“The University of Windsor transformed the 1901 Windsor Armouries, once home to the Essex Fusiliers, into a state-of-the-art learning centre for the creative arts. The transformation was made possible by the collaboration and co-operation of both the Government of Ontario and the City of Windsor. Over a four-year construction period, the restoration of the Windsor Armouries was carefully undertaken to pay homage to the building’s historical military past. Interior and exterior bricks were restored to their original natural red, and localized masonry repair and window replacement was conducted.

“About 500 students, faculty and staff moved into the restored Armouries and an adjacent building in January 2018. The restoration is playing a key role in the revitalization and diversification of Windsor’s downtown, has given a new focus to Windsor’s military history, and has provided significant additional learning space for the creative arts.”

The Ontario Heritage Trust is an agency of the Government of Ontario, dedicated to identifying, preserving, protecting, and promoting Ontario’s heritage. The trust serves as the heritage trustee and steward for the people of Ontario, and is empowered to conserve provincially significant cultural and natural heritage, to interpret Ontario’s history, to educate Ontarians of its importance in our society, and to celebrate the province’s diversity.

For more information, visit www.heritagetrust.on.ca.