The Forest City has completed renovations on the former London Normal School.
“The renovations were done carefully and with great attention to making sure the heritage of that important London lankmark rang through,” Jim Yanchula, Urban Regeneration Manager at the City said. “It is now reusable for another three generations at least.”
Renovations to the building began in May 2015 and were completed in June 2016.
Architect Francis Heakes built the High Victorian style building from 1898 to 1899. The site was home to the London Normal School until 1958, which was a facility used for training of new teachers.
In 1963, the building was retrofitted to serve as space for both the Public and Catholic school boards until 2004 when it was vacated.
“The bones of the building were left dormant for that time and it needed to meet current building code standards,” Yanchula said. “So it was a little old and creaky when it was shut up in 2004. It was maintained to an extent that it would not be a basket case for its next life.”
The site currently houses a YMCA child care facility, learning spaces, camp programs and administration space.
“The YMCA is excited to be a part of Wortley Village. We are grateful to the City of London for the opportunity to house our new Child Care Centre, free language instruction for newcomers to Canada and administrative spaces in this beautifully restored heritage building,” Andrew Lockie, CEO, YMCA of Western Ontario said in a statement.
All work at the site received approval from the Ontario Heritage Trust as the building is a provincially significant heritage property designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.
The city is celebrating heritage this weekend. Doors Open London and Culture Days are running between Saturday and Sunday. Attendees will be able to participate in events and activities at various locations across the Forest City.
As Doors Open London enters its 15th year, the Normal School has been included as one of the locations that people can tour through.
“Most people will be excited to get into the building after it has been vacant and under construction for as long as it has, to see how fresh and new it looks on the inside and how handsome it remains on the outside,” Yanchula said.
Information about all the events and locations available to explore this weekend can be found here.