UPDATED: Three Moose Jaw heritage projects honoured

Lisa Goudy
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Browns Socialhouse is seen on May 30, 2014. It is one of the three Moose Jaw recipients of the 19th annual Heritage Architecture Excellence Awards.

Browns, Grant Hall, Ross School recipients of heritage awards

Browns Socialhouse, Grant Hall and Ross School will receive excellent recognition.

On June 11, Lt.-Gov. of Saskatchewan Vaughn Solomon Schofield will present the 19th annual Heritage Architecture Excellence Awards at Government House. Those projects from Moose Jaw are three of the eight recipients.

“It speaks volumes for the value built heritage has in the community and how it reflects the desire of the community to be very proud of their past and grow with the future,” said Joe Ralko, publicist with the Architectural Heritage Society of Saskatchewan, the organization that adjudicates the awards.

“I can’t remember a year in the last 10 years where there hasn’t been at least one recipient from Moose Jaw in one of the categories.”

Browns Socialhouse is being recognized for sympathetic new construction, Grant Hall for rehabilitation and Ross School for adaptive reuse.

Ralko said the awards recognize keeping heritage alive in the province.

“It shows the value that we in Saskatchewan have in embracing built heritage. To me, architectural heritage is … not whether it’s 20 years old or 50 years old or 100 years old. It’s what the community values,” said Ralko.

“These heritage excellence awards show how owners and contractors and architectures are continuing, no pun intended, to build upon that built heritage.”

He added the awards could have several recipients in a category, such as adaptive reuse this year. This year there are no recipients for the interior conservation category.

In his citations for the Heritage Architecture Excellence Awards, Brian Bell, president of Heritage Moose Jaw, said Browns Socialhouse is the entrance to the River Street Project, proposed by Little Chicago Developments to recreate 1920-1930s architecture.

“At the present time, architectural guidelines for the Downtown Heritage District of Moose Jaw are only recommended not required,” said Bell in his citation. “The developers chose to be sympathetic to the existing heritage architecture of the downtown as it fits their plans to recreate historic River Street.”

Grant Hall was built in 1927 and, for many years, it hosted royalty, music celebrities and prime ministers. In 1968, it was sold and resold until operations stopped in 1989, remaining vacant until 2000.

After 13 years of revamping and restoration, it is now open as a multi-purpose facility.

“The Grant Hall is back in all its glory and stands proud in downtown Moose Jaw,” said Bell in his citation. “No expense was spared to ensure the restoration got it right and maintained the highest standards possible.”

Ross School was built in 1913. In 1917 it was converted to a military hospital before being converted back to a school. It closed in 2007 but was designated as a municipal heritage building in 2010.

“It was completely restructured and rebuilt from the inside to allow the relocation of load bearing walls and the addition of a mezzanine level in the former gymnasium,” said Bell in his citation. “The renovations were undertaken to meet LEED’s Standards with final certification within the coming months.”

The other award recipients in Saskatchewan are:

• Affinity Campus and Stonebridge Special Use Park in Saskatoon, for adaptive reuse and landscape, engineering and agricultural works respectively;

• St. Elias Orthodox Church about 35 kilometers northeast of Yorkton for exterior restoration;

• “Original Humboldt project” for signage, monuments and interpretation; and

• Holy Trinity Church in Canora for long-term stewardship of a heritage property.

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

Organizations: Ross School, Government House, Architectural Heritage Society of Saskatchewan Elias Orthodox Church Holy Trinity Church

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, River Street Stonebridge Special Use Park Saskatoon Yorkton Canora

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