On Monday evening, members of the culture, development, and policy-making communities joined during a virtual ceremony to celebrate the 2021 Heritage Toronto Awards winners.

During the annual online event, seven winners of the annual Heritage Toronto Awards were announced from this year's total of 47 nominees spread across four categories. 

In its 46th year, the program recognizes extraordinary contributions to Toronto's heritage by celebrating the individuals, organizations, and projects they created to champion the importance of heritage in city building.

The annual event is Heritage Toronto's major fundraiser of the year to raise funds to support public programming.

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The awards fell under four categories: Community Heritage, Book, Public History, and Built Heritage, with each category independently judged by a jury of experts.

This year's awards also included the inaugural Craftsmanship Award, presented in the Built Heritage category, and the first People's Choice Award, which attendees selected from Public History nominees during the ceremony.

The 2021 Heritage Toronto Awards Winners

The Community Heritage Award:Recognizes community and volunteer-based organizations working to support and promote Toronto's heritage.

Heritage Toronto AwardsIkeda Tower and Sakura Tree, JCCC, Image by Kathy Tazumi

The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre won this award for its cultural programs -- ranging from film festivals to martial arts presentations -- promoting Japanese culture and Japanese Canadian heritage to its 5,200 members and over 210,000 annual visitors.

The Book Award:Recognizes written works that engage with all aspects of Toronto's heritage.

Heritage Toronto Awards"Accidental Wilderness," Image by Robert Burley

Accidental Wilderness: The Origins and Ecology of Toronto's Tommy Thompson Park -- written by Walter H. Kehm with photographs by Robert Burley -- won the Book Award for its collection of essays on the development of a former landfill site into a city park and its importance to public recreation and the natural environment.

The Public History Award:recognizes multi-media and collaborative projects specifically designed to engage, challenge, and educate the public.

Heritage Toronto AwardsSpeech at synagogue, The OJA Presents a Trip to the Market, Image by Justine Apple

A Trip to the Market by OJA Toronto won the Public History Award. The educational program provided over 3,000 students from more than fifty public schools with dynamic experiences of Toronto's Jewish history.

The People's Choice Award:The award includes a $1,000 honorarium.

The Old Toronto Series won the inaugural People's Choice Award. Comprising 40 short films about the city's local history that seeks to make Toronto's history approachable, the series engages followers of all walks of life, ages, and orientations.  

The Built Heritage Award:recognizes excellence in built heritage projects through three awards: Adaptive Reuse, Heritage Planning & Architecture, and Craftsmanship.

The Adaptive Reuse Award:recognizes projects that meet current needs while maintaining the integrity of the original design vision.

Heritage Toronto AwardsAirplane hangar, Centennial College Downsview Campus Centre for Aerospace and Aviation, Image by Scott Norsworthy

Downsview Campus Centre for Aerospace and Aviation won the Built Heritage - Adaptive Reuse Award for transforming the de Havilland plant into a learning institution. Once the centre of aviation manufacturing and design in Canada, the building was transformed by MJMA + Stantec, ERA Architects, andBlackwell, Crossey Engineering, Aercoustics Engineering, Hanscombinto an innovative learning institution for the college's Aviation and Engineering Technology & Applied Science Programs.

The Heritage Planning & Architecture Award: recognizes the successful application of appropriate conservation and planning principles.

Heritage Toronto AwardsMassey Tower exterior, Image by Sean Galbraith

Massey Tower won the Built Heritage Heritage Planning & Architecture Award. The former branch for the Canadian Bank of Commerce at 197 Yonge Street has been revitalized by MOD Developments and ERA Architects as part of a new mixed-use development. Built as the Canadian Bank of Commerce's Queen-Yonge branch in 1905, 197 Yonge Street has found new life as part of the mixed-use Massey Tower.

The Craftsmanship Award: recognizes the high level of craftsmanship, specifically the use of appropriate construction techniques and materials that are compatible to the building's original architectural qualities. 

Heritage Toronto AwardsExterior, front of Paradise Theatre, Image by Philip Castleton

The inaugural Craftsmanship in Built Heritage Award was presented to Paradise Theatre. Located at 1006 Bloor Street West, the theatre is recognized for reimagining an early 20th-century cinema, inspired by its Art Deco design by Benjamin Brown, one of the earliest Jewish architects in Toronto. The 1937 heritage-designated landmark has since been transformed by ERA Architects into a thriving creative hub and community amenity.

Main image by: Doublespace Photography

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