Between 2010 and 2017, as part of the Masterplan for the rehabilitation of St. Michael’s Cathedral, +VG Architects undertook a comprehensive, phased building envelope conservation project on the landmark 1847 Gothic Revival building.

All exterior building elements and systems were addressed, including traditional slate roofing, brick and sandstone masonry, metalwork and wood windows and structural elements. Beginning in 2010 with the West Facade and Tower, the work continued around the exterior over the next 6 years. Initial surveying, testing and analysis was done to assess and define the scope of Conservation work required. Further and more extensive investigative work was done from scaffolding, before decisions were made on a case by case basis for the appropriate conservation and repair methodology for each building element. Detailed conservation work such as fine cleaning, consolidation, and detailed repairs to maintain and stabilize the intricate carved sandstone were carried out on all of the many decorative stone features.

Structural stabilization of the original wood structural members, and of high-level masonry elements such as Gothic pinnacles, Stone Crosses and Carved Cornice stones was required. Where appropriate, restoration of lost detail was carried out- for example at the Upper Tower where conditions were extremely deteriorated and major interventions were required to stabilize and make safe the masonry; and, on the roofing where a version of the original slate roofing pattern, previously removed- was restored on the replacement roof.

The ability to react to unforeseen conditions, and to work closely with Conservators, Structural Engineers and Tradespeople were essential to ensure that the needs of the Client were met, and the historic fabric of the building is preserved and maintained for future generations. The work has been carried out to the highest of international conservation standards, with the aim being to always meet or exceeded the Parks Canada Guidelines for the Repair of Historic Places in every aspect. The Work has received recognition with Heritage Toronto awards in 2013 and 2017, as well as having been shortlisted for the Best International project at the Brick Awards in London, England in 2013.


Toronto, Ontario




22,400 ft²


Master Planning & Conservation


Concrete Pictures


2019 Ecclesiastical Insurance Cornerstone Award
National Trust for Canada

2017 Craftsmanship & Conservation Award
(Nave & East Chancel Window)
Heritage Toronto

2013 Craftsmanship Award
(Honourable Mention)
(West Façade & Tower Conservation)
Heritage Toronto

2007 Craftsmanship Award
Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals (CAHP)