The Old Don Jail (c. 1864) is a 3.5 storey buff brick and Berea sandstone Renaissance Revival building founded on a rusticated Queenston limestone base.

The main entrance of the central block is placed on an elaborate surround with a bracketed entablature supported on a pair of Doric columns with vermiculated bands. This central block is flanked by bricked wings. The rehabilitation project includes the conservation of significant interior and exterior heritage features while adaptively re-using the building for Bridgepoint Health offices and administrative work. The Old Don Jail is a provincially and municipally designated heritage building with easement agreements recognizing the existing heritage character-defining features.

This project was a modernization of a “smart” building for a contemporary hospital administration within a historic building and historic landscape. Management of multiple stakeholders was a major element of this project. Stakeholders included hospital administration, the Toronto Heritage Preservation Board, the Ontario Heritage Trust, and specific community interest groups. Other common elements include integrating contemporary design strategies within a very rigid jail structure with the purpose of wholesale transformation into wide open multi-purpose public spaces that act as community hubs for the health community of bridgepoint. As part of the rehabilitation project, +VG produced heritage conservation and interpretation plans approved by the Ontario Heritage Trust and the City of Toronto’s Heritage Preservation Services, detailed drawings and specifications for the exterior restoration and interior adaptive re-use, and extensive documentation of heritage character-defining features in-situ, including elements to be removed/salvaged/preserved/restored.


Toronto, Ontario


Bridgepoint Health




77,000 ft²


Retrofit/Adaptive Re-Use


Tom Arban


2016 Governor General’s Medal in Architecture,
Governor General’s Awards

2016 William Greer Award of Excellence,
Heritage Toronto Awards

2014 Cornerstone Award,
Heritage Canada

2014 Best Commercial or Institutional Building of 2014,
The People’s Choice Awards for Architecture

2014 Paul Oberman Award for Adaptive Reuse & Heritage Restoration,
The People’s Choice Awards for Architecture

2014 Award of Excellence,
Canadian Architect Magazine

2014 “Best of the Best Award”,
Toronto Construction Association