Osgoode Hall

Toronto (1832, 1860, 1895)

The Building:
The current building has an interesting composite character resulting from numerous expansions, spanning more than 100 years. Its style is a combination of Palladian and Neoclassicism. The earliest elements of Osgoode Hall were completed in 1832, however some of the most well-known rooms of the current structure were added in the latter half of the 19th century. The Great Library and Atrium were added in 1860, and the American Room was added in 1895. The building was recognized as a National Historic Site in 1979 for its architectural merits and as a symbol of the judicial institution of Ontario.

In a continuation of our successful relationship with +VG Architects – The Ventin Group, +VG contracted HPCS to assist in the development of methodologies for conducting condition assessments of the many different types of plain and decorative ceiling plaster in several of the most significant spaces in the building including the Great Library, the American Room, the main stairwells, and atrium, among others. Non-destructive or minimally destructive testing methods were required to assess the condition of plain face plaster as well as the vast quantity of extruded and cast ornament. Ultimately HPCS was requested to conduct the assessments.

Assessment of the plain face plaster was conducted from the attic where possible using HPCS’s systematic Lug and Key Pull Test. The procedure developed by HPCS provides a quantitative measurement of the current condition of the plaster relative to its as-built condition. It is the preferred method for assessing plain face plaster on wood lath because it is objective and repeatable.

HPCS issued a plaster condition assessment with treatment recommendations. In 2018 the Client acted on our recommendations and the first phase of plaster conservation was undertaken. The plaster in the stairwell, upper hall, and atrium was successfully consolidated using the prescribed HPCS system. HPCS was the Heritage Plaster Consultant for the project and oversaw the execution of the work.

Osgoode Hall, American Room Periodicals library
The American Room periodicals library was one of the six areas HPCS was contracted to study. The plaster panels are extremely thin castings with a fabric backing mounted on wood planks that form the profile of the cove.

In 2023 HPCS was retained again to consolidate the plaster cove in Courtroom #2.

HPCS Products Used

Historic Plaster Conservation Services