CAO nominated for Architectural Conservancy Award

WELLINGTON COUNTY – County CAO Scott Wilson has been nominated for a provincial award recognizing his role in the restoration of local heritage buildings.


Wilson, who has been county CAO since 1998, was nominated for the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario’s Carlos Ventin Award for Municipal Heritage Leadership.

A Sept. 26 press release from the conservancy indicates Wilson was nominated for more than two decades of “championing the rehabilitation of significant public heritage buildings” in Wellington County and Guelph.

During the early days of municipal amalgamation, the responsibility for libraries was uploaded to the county. The release notes Wilson oversaw the complete rebuild of the library system, including five Carnegie libraries (Elora, Fergus, Harriston, Mount Forest and Palmerston) that have been completely restored and adapted for modern public library and community spaces, “while preserving the architectural integrity and heritage of the buildings.”

In 2015, Wilson championed the purchase and renovation of a historical residential property in Hillsburgh and acquisition of the adjacent mill pond. This property was completely adapted and renovated into a modern public library and community meeting space. 

Recently, Wilson advocated for the county’s acquisition of the historical grist mill property in Erin where a new library will be built to adapt the mill to a new public library and community space. 

Wilson has also championed the rehabilitation of important historical properties in Guelph/Wellington to other public uses including: the Dominion Public Building; 129 and 133 Wyndham Street (the Alma Block); a state-of-the-art Archives addition added to Wellington County Museum and the historic governor’s residence on the current county administration complex.

Dominion Public Building and Governor’s Residence in Guelph. photos

“Throughout this time, Scott faced challenges from stakeholders who were concerned about the cost of renovating these historic properties, but he was able to win over any critics and deliver community spaces for public use,” conservancy officials note.

The Carolos Ventin Award, sponsored by VG Architects, recognizes elected municipal leaders, municipal staff and appointed representatives who have championed the rehabilitation and/or adaptive reuse of public heritage buildings in their community. 

The award honours architect Carlos Ventin, a pioneer in saving historic buildings in Ontario for adaptive re-use. In 1972, before the practice of saving old buildings was widely accepted, Ventin convinced the Town of Simcoe to save the historic Simcoe Courthouse to accommodate the new municipal offices and library.

Wilson is one of two nominees for the 2022 award. Also nominated is Jo Ann Pynn who has held the position of manager, capital Assets in the City of Toronto’s economic and culture division for close to 20 years. 

Pynn was nominated for stewardship of numerous City of Toronto heritage properties and adaptive reuse projects.

The award will be presented during the 2022 ACO Heritage Awards gala on Oct. 13 at Etobicoke’s historic Assembly Hall.