In the wake of Canada’s 150th birthday, Lenmak is celebrating 150 years of Canadian architecture. From a 19th century Gothic-revival church to an aluminium-clad geodesic dome, architecture in Canada is as diverse as the people who call this country home.
Continue to celebrate Canada 150 with 15 of our country’s most iconic buildings.
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
by Frank Gehry
An iconic Canadian building by an iconic Canadian architect. The original AGO was built in 1918 and added to by various architects over the years. However, Gehry’s 2008 renovation made the gallery decidedly Gehry-esque – with a glass and wood facade said to resemble a “crystal ship.”
Banff Springs Hotel, Banff
Originally constructed in 1888, the hotel has undergone numerous transformations since. Most notably, the 1914 addition of a winged eleven story concrete and stone tower rendered the Scottish Baronial-style building as we know it today.
Chan Centre for Performing Arts, Vancouver
by Bing Thom
Known for its eloquent balance of modern elements blended with nature, this performing arts centre has won numerous architectural awards. The zinc-panelled structure – completed in 1997 – is located on the University of British Columbia campus.
Monique Corriveau Library, Quebec City
by Dan Hanganu
Originally a church constructed in 1964 by Jean Marie-Roy, this stunning building was converted into a library in 2013. Hanganu himself noted how the conversion of such a historic building – which he described as a “huge tent inflated by the wind” – deserved a special level of reverence.
Canada Place, Vancouver
The multi-firm effort resulted in what has been referred to as Vancouver’s Sydney Opera House for its five 90 foot sails made out of teflon coated fibreglass. While the original building was constructed in 1926 for shipping use, the sails were part of an addition for Expo 86.
Canadian Museum of History, Gatineau
With an average of 1.2 million visitors per year, the CMH is Canada’s most visited museum. Built in the 1980s, architect Douglas Cardinal designed the building to reflect the country’s landscape – such as the Glacier Wing, which is built out of 90 tons of copper.
Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City
by Bruce Price
Designated a national historic site in 1981, the Chateau Frontenac is a perfect example of chateau-style hotels built by Canadian railway companies in the late 19th century.
CN Tower, Toronto
Now the third tallest tower in the world, this Canadian symbol was at the top of the list for 34 years. A sloping concrete pedestal with a circular observation pod at the 342-metre mark, the tower was named one of the Modern Seven Wonders of the World in 1995.
Habitat 67, Montreal
by Moshe Safdie
One of the world’s most recognized apartment buildings, Habitat 67 was designed by renowned architect Moshe Safdie when he was still a student at McGill University. Comprised of 354 identical prefabricated concrete forms, the building integrates the benefits of suburban living with the economics of an urban apartment complex.
The Montreal Symphony House, Montreal
by Jack Diamond
Completed in 2011, this glass-fronted building creates a play between those gathered inside the concert hall’s lobby and those strolling through the cultural heart of the city – Place des Arts.
Notre-Dame Basilica, Montreal
One of the oldest examples of Gothic-revival architecture in Canada, the building was considered daring when constructed in the late 1820s. Architect James O’Donnell never lived to see the completed structure, which remains the largest church in North America to this day.
Sharp Centre for Design, Toronto
by Will Alsop
Praised for its uniqueness, this black and white box perched atop 12 multi-coloured legs is the perfect setting for art students to learn and be inspired.
Parliament Buildings, Ottawa
After a 1916 fire destroyed the majority of the original parliament buildings, architects John A. Pearson and Jean-Omer Marchand were tasked with a redesign. The primary objective? To uphold the intricate Gothic style of the original, while incorporating modern materials and spatial planning.
Science World, Vancouver
This 155-foot tall geodesic dome has a total of 15,000 pounds of extruded aluminum and aluminum panels on its exterior and served as the Expo Centre during Expo 86.
Vancouver Public Library, Vancouver
by Moshe Safdie
Another Moshe Safdie masterpiece, this “urban coliseum” is known for its circular shape. Built in 1995, the library is one of the city’s most popular destinations and has even made appearances on TV shows such as Battlestar Galactica.
Looking to create as much of an impact as these iconic buildings have on our country? We may be able to help with that. Download Lenmak at a Glance to learn more about how our exterior cladding can create the right aesthetic punch.