Transformation of the Cottages
Photos courtesy of Taylor-Hazell Architects
Click on any photo below to see the full gallery
In 1967, Humber College found its roots in Etobicoke at the James S. Bell Elementary School. Since then, Humber College has expanded to find its new home in the former Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital cottages and the former Lakeshore Teachers’ College. The former Lakeshore Teacher’s College (which is now A/B Building) closed in 1971 and in the mid- 1970s, Humber College officially moved in. By 1995, Humber was offering classes in the former Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital cottages.
"The Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital was designed by provincial architect Kivas Tully between 1889 and 1894. Between the years 1889 and 1979, approximately thirty hospital, residential, staff, administration and service buildings were constructed ... The core of the Kivas Tuylly plan at Mimico tincluded ten similar two-storey cottages with verandas in a U-shaped plan: an Administration Building was featured at the head of the east side facing a ceremonial circular drive. The five south Cottages were first occupied by female patients, and the five north by male patients. The buildings were (and still are) connected at the basement level with a system of tunnels for service and supply."
The entire restoration of the cottages was a 16 year project which was completed between 1992 and 2008. The images pictured here show the plans and construction to restore the hospital cottages into educational facilities. As you walk around this campus, you can begin to notice the small details of how the architects seamlessly integrated new features with the architectural heritage of the site. Not only were the original brick and windows conserved, but new awnings were created for the cottages which keep consistent with the original wood and red brick aesthetic. As you make your way to the north side of the cottages, you can see how the ‘wooden’ verandas have been replicated with a more sustainable material. What other features do you think have been conserved, replaced, or added?
This image provides a wide, aerial shot of the Lakeshore Grounds. You can see the surrounding park and an older building that used to sit in the centre of the cottages. This building was replaced in 2011, with the opening of L Building.
Before the restoration, many of the cottages were left abandoned for years. Pictured here, you can see the original window frames, exposed brick, and graffiti.
In this next pre-restoration image, we can see the deterioration of the wallpaper and moulding from the Hospital.
In this next interior, we get a glimpse of a mural painting which covers the walls of the entire room. The green suggests it may reflect the extensive landscaping and park that surrounded the hospital.
The outdoor walkway which connects the cottages have since been restored. Despite looking at this past walkway and seeing its deterioration, the buildings and the layout of the hospital remained in quite good condition, even though the built site is over 120 years old.
This image showcases the two-storey cottage plan. You can see, on the right and left sides, how additions to the building were made to accommodate the increase in patients. While the white wooden verandas have since been replaced with a dark-brown steel material, the aesthetic of the verandas remain the same today.
A sketch in the restoration design process shows a walkway between the cottages. These walkways are intended for students, faculty, and the community to intersect and socialize.
This sketch shows an early design of the stairs and awnings that would be added to the cottages.
This sketch shows the walkway on the north side of the quandrangle, looking toward what is now F and G Cottages. To the right, we get a glimpse of the outdoor courtyard.
By comparison to the previous image, this sketch shows the walkway on the south side of the quandrangle, looking toward what is now G and H Cottages.
A digital image shows plans for the restoration the cottages. It includes a new stairway, a new awning, and landscape features. The concrete stairs, red brick, and attention to landscaping details seamlessly integrates historical features with a modern design.
Construction workers are seen restoring the subterranean level of the cottages - adding upgrades to facility features and, restoring the tunnel system which is still in use by Humber College today. The tunnels are opened to the public twice annually for guided tours, during Doors Open Toronto (May) and Culture Days (September).
One of the most amazing feats of the restoration was the construction team's ability to take the old window paneling from the cottages and conserve them for future use. As you look around the cottages, most of the window paneling you see is original.
With the completion of the restoration, the Robert A. Gordon Learning Centre at Humber College was officially opened.
This view of C Cottage shows the Lakeshore Campus before the opening of L Building. A driveway is seen extending into the centre courtyard, which is no longer present.
Documentation of the plans and construction, courtest of Taylor Hazell Architects
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