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Razing the Roof

Published on November 23, 2008

Building 15 without its roof Building 15 without its roof

Today we didn’t just raise the roof of Building 15 — we took off the northern end entirely. Eventually, we’ll be putting on a new roof and this area will become the Welcome Centre. The entire south section of the roof will be removed and this open space will become Evergreen Gardens.

The roof is coming off because it is made of asbestos transite (a fireproof composite material) and there are too many holes to fix properly, but the existing steel framework will be repaired. Our intention is to preserve and adaptively reuse as much of the site as possible. Recycle, reuse and reclaim!

Before we could remove the roof, we had to protect the important heritage elements within the space: The John Price Brick Press and the elevated office space that we like to call the Foreman’s Shed. These structures were carefully wrapped in tarps to shield them from dust, rain and snow.

John Price brick press. Photo: Michael H. Reichmann John Price brick press. Photo: Michael H. Reichmann

The Ontario Heritage Trust describes the John Price Brick Press as “the most significant artifact located onsite.” In 1962 it was placed in Building 11 to create “antique” bricks, but originally it came from the John Price Factory in Toronto. Do you have any John Price Bricks where you live? Send photos to