More About the Building
Several businesses have made the street level of the Petrie Building home since 1882. However, the upper floors have remained vacant for almost a century. The second floor was A.B, Petrie’s office. The third floor house the “inner sanctum” of the International Order of Odd Fellow and was originally only accessible from a grand hall in the adjoining Petrie-Kelly Building. The fourth floor is actually an attic with 20-foot-high ceilings and has never been used.
Over the past several decades the building fell into a state of disrepair. A local Facebook group was formed in 2011 to rally community support for the restoration of the building and its unique façade (Save the Petrie Building). In 2014, it was put on Heritage Canada National Trust's list of Canada's Top 10 Most Endangered Places. There has been little or no maintenance done to the façade for many decades and it appears not to have been painted since its original coating in 1882.
In 2015 the building purchase was lead by Tyrcathlen Partners Ltd. Interior construction is now underway and tenants will be moving into the ground floor early in 2017 and the upper floors later in the year.
The 1882 façade is not part of the structure of the building, it is essentially a piece of art that hangs on the front.
The façade pieces were ordered from a mail-order catalogue from a company called Bakewell and Mullins. It was manufactured in Ohio and then attached to the building by local metal workers.
The ornamentation on the façade is made from galvanized zinc, the rest of the façade cladding is galvanized sheet steel.
Over the years several of the decorative facade elements including the pestle and finial have fallen off and the entire lower section was removed and destroyed by a former owner.
One company remains that manufactures elements like those on the Petrie Building. WF Norman in Missouri uses dies dating back to 1898 and they are also able to make molds to exactly replicate the Petrie lost elements.
More About The Campaign
For the past 18 months Tyrcathlen Partners have been working to restore Guelph's historic Petrie Building. A project that will see the plywood removed from the windows, the abandoned spaces occupied, and the exterior metal façade restored. Experienced in renovating historical buildings to their former glory, Tyrcathlen Partners seek to make the Petrie Building a new destination for downtown Guelph.
Tyrcathlen Partners, with some tax incentive based support from the City of Guelph is replacing all of the windows and working to save the façade from its base to the top of the actual building. However, the crowning section of the façade which sits on top of the building leans out over Wyndham Street is the most exposed to the elements and suffered badly over the years. It is the upper crowning section with its unique details that the ACO and the community campaign is focusing. Without community support it will not be possible to save this iconic piece of our history.
For safety reasons the mortar is being removed and the rest of the upper structure being assessed. The restoration work is ready to begin but your help is needed to raise the needed $100,000. A group of community volunteers has come together along with the Save the Petrie Building Facebook Group and the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (ACO) to raise money to replace the lost elements of the façade.
This is your opportunity to help restore the complete Petrie facade. As this campaign is under the umbrella of the ACO, a registered charity, all donors will receive a charitable tax receipt. Donors will also receive permanent recognition on a plaque to be displayed in the new building lobby.
All funds raised will be used to replace various sections of the façade that over time have been destroyed, fallen off or lost. Restoration is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.
Help restore the Petrie. Donate now.
All funds raised for the Restore the Petrie Façade will be collected and receipted by the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (ACO). The ACO, a registered charity, will oversee the use of all donated funds.