When Tyrcathlen Partners
developer Kirk Roberts bought the landmark downtown Petrie Building in 2015, he knew very well that a heritage restoration would bring a unique set of challenges. It’s not his first rodeo (The Boarding House Arts and the Granary Building) and he clearly sees both personal, cultural and financial benefit in the restoration of unique heritage structures. Roberts sees potential where others see dust and mud. According to Roberts, “risk is part of the equation” in downtown, but the benefits far outweigh the challenges. But for each challenge (such as easements, building codes, importing specialty products from France), there are also moments of discovery and accomplishment. For example, discovering the original 1909 signature of the wallpaper hanger on the wall of the third floor, or finding the opening of the original domed entrance to the main floor.
Kirk Roberts of Tyrcathlen Partners explains how the patina of the original stamped galvanized metal facade elements will be enhanced using six layers of a traditional linseed oil-based treatment called Le Tonkinois.
The Petrie Building is singularly unique. It was built in 1882 by Alexander Bain Petrie, a pharmacist and inventor. The designation of the building under the Ontario Heritage Act speaks to its rare and rich history: the galvanized iron facade, the Petrie family, the ceiling heights, the Masonic “secret” rooms, and more.
Read about the history of the Petrie Building and its unique features here.
As the Petrie Building transformation get ready to be revealed in the coming months, Roberts was eager to show off the incredible architectural treasures found inside, and to promote how this building plays a key role in the identity of downtown Guelph. He recently hosted a tour for members of Council and economic development and tourism staff as part of the lead up to Doors Open on Founders Weekend April 21 to 23, 2017.
During the tour, the brothers of Brothers Brewing Co. were busy building fixtures and furnishings using architectural salvage from the building. Several years ago, while looking across the street at the derelict Petrie facade from a table at Van Gogh’s, they began to dream about opening a business in the very space they now occupy. They refer to downtown Guelph as “our land of opportunity.” Today, the brewing vats are installed and the bar — including a foot rail made from the old gas pipes — is almost ready for patrons to enjoy a pint.
Enjoy the tour …
Brothers Asa and Colton Proveau, along with business partner Michael Bevan, call Guelph their “land of opportunity” and can’t wait to open their new brewing facility in downtown Guelph.
Original tin ceiling panels have been incorporated into the design of the handmade furnishings, including the bar (below) and brew keg taps.
Original gas pipes have been repurposed as the foot rail of the new bar at Brothers Ale House.
Brothers Ale House is taking shape and is set to open in May 2017.
Brothers Brewing equipment is installed and ready to go.
Elements of the original third floor were rediscovered as each layer was removed during restoration.
Wallpaper revealed the signature of the paperhanger in 1909.
On the third floor, door openings are original and wallpaper is still intact.
Twenty (20) foot ceilings make full use of the impressive windows at the front of the building.
Original crown and cove moldings are being restored.
The doorway entrance to the former Masonic Lodge meeting space is being opened up and restored using restoration arts specialists.
The large window opening at the back of the building reveals remnants of the original Western Hotel (on Macdonell) from the 1840s, which is still connected to the newer Petrie Building, built in 1882.