Kirkfield Lift Lock recognized by Ontario Association of Architects

By Lindsay Advocate

On October 3, the Ontario Association of Architects celebrated World Architecture Day by unveiling its list of Queen's Park Picks. Among the architecturally significant landmarks nominated by Members of Provincial Parliament was the Kirkfield Lift Lock.

The Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) celebrated World Architecture Day in 2023 with its reveal of the selections in its annual Queen’s Park Picks (QP Picks) program—a collaboration with Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) across the province who share a passion for our built environment in all its many forms. A special online exhibition launched on Tuesday, October 3 highlights the nine outstanding buildings chosen this year.

World Architecture Day traditionally takes place on the first Monday of October. However, in observance of both the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and the provincial government motion cancelling its sitting on October 2, the OAA instead unveiled the 2023 Queen’s Park Picks online today at

This year’s theme, chosen by the International Union of Architects (UIA) Council, is “Architecture for Resilient Communities.” Appropriately, numerous QP Picks buildings incorporate elements of enduring durability, climate action, and adaptability as principles.

Whether heritage projects or more recent construction, these buildings represent a design philosophy that prioritizes long-term sustainability over short-term gain and recognizes the crucial role of architecture in addressing challenges and place-making within communities.

Earlier this year, the OAA invited all Ontario MPPs to reflect on the province’s unique architectural legacy and nominate a favourite building within their riding. Submissions were received from 44 MPPs representing regions across the province, as well as all political parties.

Nine projects have been selected by a jury of architects for this year’s Queen’s Park Picks online exhibit, including the Kirkfield Lift Lock, in Kirkfield, nominated by MPP Laurie Scott (Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock). Completed in 1907, it stands as a testament to human ingenuity and an integral part of Ontario’s built heritage. Placed within the Trent-Severn Waterway, a network of 44 locks, canals, and lifts that connect Lake Ontario to Georgian Bay, this engineering marvel serves as the second-highest hydraulic lift lock in the world, standing at an impressive 15 metres (49 feet), and surpassed only by the Peterborough Lift Lock. Kirkfield’s mechanical systems, scale, and ambition make the structure significant to our province’s development story.

The eight additional buildings chosen include:

Brooklin Community Centre and Library, in Whitby
Architect: Perkins+Will Canada Inc.
Nominated by MPP Lorne Coe (Whitby)

Eenchokay Birchstick School, in Pikangikum First Nation
Architect: Number Ten Architectural Group
Nominated by MPP Sol Mamakwa (Kiiwetinoong)

Hospice Peterborough, in Peterborough
Architect: Lett Architects
Nominated by MPP Dave Smith (Peterborough—Kawartha)

Kingston City Hall, in Kingston
Architect: George Browne
Architects of Renovation: Harry P. Smith and Neil MacLennan (1971), Alexander Wilson Architect Inc. (2001)
Nominated by MPP Ted Hsu (Kingston and the Islands)

Old Strathroy Post Office, in Strathroy
Architect: Thomas Fuller
Nominated by Monte McNaughton (former MPP for Lambton–Kent–Middlesex)

Prosserman Jewish Community Centre, in Toronto
Architect: IBI Group (now Arcadis)
Nominated by the Hon. Michael Kerzner (York Centre)

The Public Service Alliance of Canada Building, in Ottawa
Architects: Schoeler & Heaton Architects Inc.
Nominated by MPP Joel Harden (Ottawa Centre)

Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, in Toronto
Architects: Architects Alliance with Behnisch Architekten
Nominated by MPP Jessica Bell (University–Rosedale)

“Our annual Queen’s Park Picks program is a testament to Ontario architecture, both in the present and in the past,” says Settimo Vilardi, president of the OAA’s governing council. “This year, as we celebrate virtually, it is heartening to see our MPPs nominating such a thoughtful range of buildings that not only showcase form and function in different ways, but also embody sustainability and adaptability. We are happy to continue collaborating with members of the provincial government in highlighting the importance of architecture in the
everyday lives of Ontarians.”

For more on the buildings chosen this year, as well as to see previous selections, visit or follow the OAA at @oaarchitects on Twitter/X and Instagram.

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