Brunswick House gone, but not forgotten with historic elements kept

News Jul 06, 2017 by Justin Skinner City Centre Mirror

When the Brunswick House shut its doors last spring to make way for a Rexall drugstore, longtime music fans lamented the loss of another iconic venue.

Thanks to the efforts put forth by Rexall, however, some of the site’s history remains within the store, showcasing how some of Toronto’s old gems can continue to survive even when their functions change.

“When this project was first made public in early 2016, we made a number of commitments with respect to the building itself,” said Rexall spokesperson Derek Tupling. “Our intent was always to maintain as much of the building – inside and outside – as we could.”

The end result is a distinctly different-looking drugstore. While the exterior of the building was completely restored, the interior retained many elements that would make longtime patrons of the Brunny feel at home.

“We kept the original chandeliers, the tin roof, some of the signs that were up in the Brunswick House,” Tupling said. “The original archways were kept, and the bar made of old whiskey barrels was repurposed as the front cash.”

Old meets new on one wall, where a pictorial timeline depicts highlights from both the Brunswick House and Rexall since 1876, interlacing the histories of both the venerable building and its newest occupant.

Rexall worked closely with the City of Toronto and Heritage Toronto throughout the process of converting the site into a drugstore, ensuring they maintained the building’s historic feel and kept the architecture and heritage of the site intact.

Kaitlyn Wainwright of Heritage Toronto said the Brunswick Rexall site shows how the city’s old buildings can retain a sense of history even as they transition to new uses.

“Sites like this have a role in telling the history of the city, and when someone like Rexall moves in, they can play a role in interpreting and telling the story of the building – the Brunswick House’s role as a historic tavern,” she said.

Wainwright noted that keeping the exterior architecture has long been a priority for Heritage Toronto, but added that it can be equally important to make sure there is some recognition of what took place inside landmark sites.

“Our history isn’t just brick-and-mortar,” she said. “You see Toronto’s history reflected in the landscape, but that landscape is changing with places like the Brunswick House and Friar’s Tavern (more recently the Hard Rock Café, which closed this spring) shutting down.”

With Toronto experiencing ongoing growth, more changes to the city’s landscape and the loss of more iconic sites is inevitable, but Wainwright said good corporate partners will find a way to ensure the city’s past is not lost forever.

“The private sector has a role to play in preserving Toronto’s heritage and we’re seeing more companies that understand that and are happy to do what they can,” she said. “It’s still a work in progress (preserving the city’s history) but we’re certainly better off than we were 40 or 50 years ago when people would tear down and rebuild all the time.”

Brunswick House gone, but not forgotten with historic elements kept

Drugstore retains many elements of historic venue

News Jul 06, 2017 by Justin Skinner City Centre Mirror

When the Brunswick House shut its doors last spring to make way for a Rexall drugstore, longtime music fans lamented the loss of another iconic venue.

Thanks to the efforts put forth by Rexall, however, some of the site’s history remains within the store, showcasing how some of Toronto’s old gems can continue to survive even when their functions change.

“When this project was first made public in early 2016, we made a number of commitments with respect to the building itself,” said Rexall spokesperson Derek Tupling. “Our intent was always to maintain as much of the building – inside and outside – as we could.”

The end result is a distinctly different-looking drugstore. While the exterior of the building was completely restored, the interior retained many elements that would make longtime patrons of the Brunny feel at home.

“We kept the original chandeliers, the tin roof, some of the signs that were up in the Brunswick House,” Tupling said. “The original archways were kept, and the bar made of old whiskey barrels was repurposed as the front cash.”

Old meets new on one wall, where a pictorial timeline depicts highlights from both the Brunswick House and Rexall since 1876, interlacing the histories of both the venerable building and its newest occupant.

Rexall worked closely with the City of Toronto and Heritage Toronto throughout the process of converting the site into a drugstore, ensuring they maintained the building’s historic feel and kept the architecture and heritage of the site intact.

Kaitlyn Wainwright of Heritage Toronto said the Brunswick Rexall site shows how the city’s old buildings can retain a sense of history even as they transition to new uses.

“Sites like this have a role in telling the history of the city, and when someone like Rexall moves in, they can play a role in interpreting and telling the story of the building – the Brunswick House’s role as a historic tavern,” she said.

Wainwright noted that keeping the exterior architecture has long been a priority for Heritage Toronto, but added that it can be equally important to make sure there is some recognition of what took place inside landmark sites.

“Our history isn’t just brick-and-mortar,” she said. “You see Toronto’s history reflected in the landscape, but that landscape is changing with places like the Brunswick House and Friar’s Tavern (more recently the Hard Rock Café, which closed this spring) shutting down.”

With Toronto experiencing ongoing growth, more changes to the city’s landscape and the loss of more iconic sites is inevitable, but Wainwright said good corporate partners will find a way to ensure the city’s past is not lost forever.

“The private sector has a role to play in preserving Toronto’s heritage and we’re seeing more companies that understand that and are happy to do what they can,” she said. “It’s still a work in progress (preserving the city’s history) but we’re certainly better off than we were 40 or 50 years ago when people would tear down and rebuild all the time.”

Brunswick House gone, but not forgotten with historic elements kept

Drugstore retains many elements of historic venue

News Jul 06, 2017 by Justin Skinner City Centre Mirror

When the Brunswick House shut its doors last spring to make way for a Rexall drugstore, longtime music fans lamented the loss of another iconic venue.

Thanks to the efforts put forth by Rexall, however, some of the site’s history remains within the store, showcasing how some of Toronto’s old gems can continue to survive even when their functions change.

“When this project was first made public in early 2016, we made a number of commitments with respect to the building itself,” said Rexall spokesperson Derek Tupling. “Our intent was always to maintain as much of the building – inside and outside – as we could.”

The end result is a distinctly different-looking drugstore. While the exterior of the building was completely restored, the interior retained many elements that would make longtime patrons of the Brunny feel at home.

“We kept the original chandeliers, the tin roof, some of the signs that were up in the Brunswick House,” Tupling said. “The original archways were kept, and the bar made of old whiskey barrels was repurposed as the front cash.”

Old meets new on one wall, where a pictorial timeline depicts highlights from both the Brunswick House and Rexall since 1876, interlacing the histories of both the venerable building and its newest occupant.

Rexall worked closely with the City of Toronto and Heritage Toronto throughout the process of converting the site into a drugstore, ensuring they maintained the building’s historic feel and kept the architecture and heritage of the site intact.

Kaitlyn Wainwright of Heritage Toronto said the Brunswick Rexall site shows how the city’s old buildings can retain a sense of history even as they transition to new uses.

“Sites like this have a role in telling the history of the city, and when someone like Rexall moves in, they can play a role in interpreting and telling the story of the building – the Brunswick House’s role as a historic tavern,” she said.

Wainwright noted that keeping the exterior architecture has long been a priority for Heritage Toronto, but added that it can be equally important to make sure there is some recognition of what took place inside landmark sites.

“Our history isn’t just brick-and-mortar,” she said. “You see Toronto’s history reflected in the landscape, but that landscape is changing with places like the Brunswick House and Friar’s Tavern (more recently the Hard Rock Café, which closed this spring) shutting down.”

With Toronto experiencing ongoing growth, more changes to the city’s landscape and the loss of more iconic sites is inevitable, but Wainwright said good corporate partners will find a way to ensure the city’s past is not lost forever.

“The private sector has a role to play in preserving Toronto’s heritage and we’re seeing more companies that understand that and are happy to do what they can,” she said. “It’s still a work in progress (preserving the city’s history) but we’re certainly better off than we were 40 or 50 years ago when people would tear down and rebuild all the time.”