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Amazing Architecture: Story behind Waterloo Region's historic buildings


Waterloo Region is home to some amazing architecture.

CTV News Kitchener is taking a look at the stories behind the buildings in our community.

You can watch the latest episode every weekend, and come back here to catch up on any that you may have missed.

All episodes have been produced, filmed and edited by Production Coordinator Johnny Mazza.


A historic site in Cambridge has been transformed into the Gaslight District, a community-focused space featuring restored buildings and new residential towers.

Led by Cambridge native Scott Higgins, the project aims to honor the city's heritage while providing a modern hub for activities.

With free programming and a public square, the Gaslight District seeks to be a versatile community asset, blending old and new over its eight-year journey from concept to completion.

Click here to watch the full episode.


The Sanderson Centre is a performing arts theatre in Brantford with stunning 360 degree views.

Built in 1919, the building was often known as "The Brantford Supreme Playhouse" and was apart of a circuit of performers that would bring shows and films to the Telephone City.

The dome auditorium features curved ceilings that are designed to reflect sound and improve the audience's experience.

All the seats are offset to each other, so that people sitting behind can look between the gaps of two people in front.

Click here to watch the full episode.


The Homer Watson House & Gallery is a National Historic Site in Canada located in Kitchener.

The early Ontario house was built in the 1800’s by Adam Ferrie and his family.

In 1881, Canadian landscape artist Homer Watson moved in, where he would live for the rest of his life.

Windows are scattered throughout the house, to allow for natural light to get in so Watson could paint at any time of the day.  

In Watson’s studio, he paid homage to 13 different European artists by featuring their names and artwork on the walls.

“This was a way that Homer had of showing respect that had really given him some creative interest over the years,” said Cathy Masterson, director and curator of the gallery.

The Scottish Gothic style building features three chimney stacks and dental work around the outside.

Click here to watch the full episode.

The Homer Watson House & Gallery in Kitchener


evolv1 is a three-storey office building in Waterloo and the first building in Canada to produce more energy than it consumes.

The building is 110,000 square feet and is designed for 400 to 600 employees. It is Leed platinum certified, zero carbon certified, zero carbon design, and performance certified.

There are 1,400 solar panels in the parking lot and 600 on the roof that produce roughly 108 per cent of the building's energy requirements on an annual basis. The excess energy goes to 28 EV chargers.

It also features a 40 foot tall wall of 4,500 plants inside.

Evol1 is an office building in Waterloo that produces 108 per cent of its energy needs. (Johnny Mazza/CTV Kitchener)


The Detweiler Meeting House is the only remaining stone Mennonite meeting house in Ontario.

Built in 1855, it is made of uncut fieldstone gathered from fields nearby.

It is now a heritage designated building.

Built in 1855, the Detweiler meetinghouse is made of uncut fieldstone gathered from member's fields nearby. (Johnny Mazza/CTV News Kitchener)

Its history starts with Mennonite settlers who came to the Roseville area from Pennsylvania in 1822. By 1921, the congregation wanted to renovate to modernize the building and facilitate growth.

The two front entrances were filled in with stone and a new entrance was cut out of the east side.

After 35 years, greater changes were made. All of the field stone was covered with stucco. The building was hardly recognizable to what we see now.

“It was about the 1980s that people worried it was going to be sold because it had sat empty for a while and so a group of people got together and decided what to do and raised the money and over eight years did the renovations to revert it back to what it originally was,” explained Marion Roes, Detweiler Meeting House Inc. board chair.

The fieldstone windows were replaced with 12 pane antique glass, side and front entrances were put back to their original openings.

This consisted of replacing the roof, removing all that stucco and cleaning and repointing. The fieldstone windows were replaced with 12 pane antique glass and side and front entrances were put back to their original openings.

Click here to watch the episode.


In the heart of Kitchener, city hall boasts some impressive architectural features.

The building design comes from the winner of a competition in 1989.

The square, towers, rotunda, and council chambers are all elements of the Roman Civic Precedent.

Canadian oak, maple, sandstone from India, Welsh slate, and Canadian granite can be found across the building.

Click here for the full episode.


Castle Kilbride is an 1877 grand Victorian home built for a king – the flax and linseed oil king of Canada that is.

Built in Baden for James Livingston, the castle is named after his birthplace of East Kilbride Scotland and housed the Livingston family for three generations until 1988.

In 1993, the Township of Wilmot moved its administration complex into an attached facility.

The original castle is 10,000 square feet. The main body of the home is perfectly symmetrical. It features Italianate style windows, and paintings from 1878.

The only part of the home that isn't original is the front porch, which was redone in the summer of 2022.

Click here to watch the full episode.


The Reep House, at 20 Mill Street in Kitchener, was built 110 years ago.

Many century-old homes get a modern makeover, but this one is also energy efficient while maintaining its heritage value.

“We wanted to demonstrate to people what’s possible in your home,” says Mary Jane Patterson, the executive director of Reep Green Solutions.

Some of its upgrades include floorboards repurposed from a London, Ont. distillery, permeable paving, and cedar-like shakes (shingles) made from recycled tires and other plastic materials in Chatham, Ont.

Click here to watch the episode.

The REEP house in Kitchener, Ont.


The Old Post Office in Cambridge has seen a lot of changes over the last century.

It was constructed between 1884 and 1887, and served the community of Galt.

“This building has features that are Romanesque, Gothic and Second Empire and they used Guelph limestone and local granite,” says acting manager Valerie Wettlaufer.

The Old Post Office served the community until 1935.

The building was turned a nightclub and restaurant, and later was abandoned.

“In 2012, the City of Cambridge purchased this building with a vision to restore it,” says Wetltlaufer.

The Old Post Office reopened in 2018 as part of Idea Exchange, and has won numerous architectural awards.

Click here to watch the episode.

The Old Post Office in Cambridge, Ont.


The Idea Exchange building in Hespeler is a mix of old and new.

The original Carnegie library was built in 1922 and opened the next year.

“In many communities the Carnegie libraries have been demolished or repurposed,” says acting manager Susan Hastings. “The City of Cambridge wanted to maintain the Carnegie library, so they decided the best way to make it accessible for the community was to enlarge it by enclosing it in glass.”

The renovation happened between 2004 and 2006, and has since gone on to win architectural awards.

Some of the details added to the building, such as the glass and lights, reflect the history of Hespeler.

Click here to watch the episode.

Exterior of Idea Exchange Hespeler in Cambridge, Ont. Top Stories

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