Location: Toronto, ON
Completed in 1919, Hart House is a crown jewel of the University of Toronto’s architectural, academic and social history. Designed by architect Henry Sproatt, one of the last North American masters of the Gothic form, and engineer Ernest Rolph, Hart House was gifted to the University of Toronto by the Massey Foundation as a gathering place for students and was aptly named after Vincent Massey’s grandfather, Hart Massey. Today, Hart House enjoys a reputation as a signature piece for arts, creativity and event destination in the City of Toronto.
EDG has restored the windows in the space that the Hart House restaurant occupies, The Gallery Grill. Hart House restaurant boasts a vaulted ceiling, hand-painted stained glass windows, and great birds-eye views into both Hart House’s oak-panelled Great Hall and its sculpture-studded quadrangle.
The Grill is a destination spot for some of Canada’s literary elite, past guests have included Margaret Atwood, Donovan Bailey, Romeo Dallaire, Irshad Manji, Vivienn Miller, Bob Rae and Mary Walsh. The space is used from September to June and is a high volume pedestrian traffic area, with the kitchen in full swing for brunch, lunch and dinner. The operation load on the non-maintained windows, which are the only ventilation in this part of the building, is quite high.
Only remedial repair work had been conducted in this area and no restoration or conservation practices had been applied. The high usage of the windows has caused damage to the glass panels, steel frames and hardware which have deteriorated due to ware and tear. EGD was called upon to make the necessary restorations to the windows, lead matrix, steel frames and replace hardware.
What is unique about these windows located in the Gallery Grill are that they are diamond shaped quarries windows. Normally these windows would have been fairly common for the period, however, what sets them apart here are the painted images that adorn the space within the diamond cages. This style of adding or including painted quarries was popular in the 1600’s. The images often represented motifs from heraldry and coats of arms.
EGD restored and repaired all the windows in the restaurant allowing them to be used effectively in the highly populated space. University of Toronto was greatly impressed by EGD’s knowledge and skill in the restoration process and are delighted with the outcome of the restoration.