Canada’s best new buildings

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 2.14.16 PM.png

Quebec City. (

Here, in order of presentation in Canadian Architect, the journal of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, are this year’s winners of the biennial Governor General’s Medals in Architecture. No private houses here – this year’s program celebrates architecture “In the Public Interest.”

The article does not offer readers any photos of the winning structures, just links to specific articles detailing each entry. That gave me a few additional moments of potential joy during which to imagine that the next one I clicked on might be worth looking at. Alas, no such luck. Maybe it could be said that each is more regrettable than the one before, but it is difficult to “rank” in any real order the hodgepodge of entries here.

(I have placed a photograph of Quebec City atop this post as evidence of what Canada was once capable.)

Canada tries to copy the United States even as it seeks to express its distance from the yuge neighbor to the south. In the case of architecture – or at least the celebration of the best of architecture – Canada seems to be copying American practices. Canada is not alone in its failure to recognize that the profession and the industry of architecture is dragging the Maple Leaf down no less swiftly and no less certainly than Old Glory has been hag-ridden by architecture down here. Very sad.

As a service to the masochists among my readers I have besmirched this post with screenshots of the Governor General’s dozen 2016 laureates.

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 1.41.15 PM.png

Bridgeport Active Healthcare, Toronto, Ontario

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 1.42.18 PM.png

Cogeco Amphitheater, Trois Rivieres, Quebec

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 1.43.07 PM.png

Wong Dai Sin Temple, Markham, Ontario

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 1.44.14 PM.png

ArtLab, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 1.45.06 PM.png

Glacier Skytwalk, Jasper National Park, Alberta

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 1.45.36 PM.png

Wood Innovation & Design Centre, Prince George, B.C.

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 1.45.57 PM.png

Ronald McDonald House, Vancouver, B.C.

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 1.46.29 PM.png

BC Passive House Factory, Pemberton, B.C.

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 1.46.51 PM.png

Regent Park Aquatic Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 1.47.12 PM.png

Corporate headquarters, Caisse Desjardins, Levis, Quebec

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 1.48.02 PM.png

Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto, Ontario

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 1.48.32 PM.png

Central Library, Halifax, Nova Scotia

About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy,, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
This entry was posted in Architects, Architecture, Architecture Education, Architecture History, Art and design, Development, Other countries, Urbanism and planning and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Canada’s best new buildings

  1. Steven Semes says:

    Two of them in particular show the usual sensitivity toward pre-existing historic settings. Pre-modernist architecture exists solely to offer a “foil” to the experimental fantasies of the “contemporary” designer. The ghost of Le Corbusier continues to infect architecture everywhere.


    • Why did Canada have to copy US in this of all things! One wants, as an American, a worthy place to which to immigrate in certain eventualities, yes? How can we think of fleeing one architectural death wish only to land in another!?!


  2. realmaven18 says:



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.