Autumn at The Imperial

September 19, 2015

Three and a half months until the tenants move in….  It is going to be a tight deadline. Since the windows in the addition have been installed, work is focused on the interiors of the apartments.

Seven of the twelve apartments have been rented to people who contacted me over a year ago. Five more apartments are still available.  For rental details, see the main site of or email Marie at

This is what has been happening at The Imperial since August:


More walls on the addition have been bricked.

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The masons bricked the decorative in-fill pattern on the rear of stair A.  This photo shows them prepping the wall before laying the bricks:

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By early September, they had completed this intricate diamond pattern designed by our architect, Laird  Robertson.

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The best way to appreciate it is to view it from behind the building. Later this year, we will install up-lights to accent the shadow lines.

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Contract Framers

Contract Framers finished the roof on Staircase B.  They also finished the parapets to prepare them for the roofers.

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Staircase B before having a roof:

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Windows & Doors

Contract Framers was responsible for installing all the windows in the addition. This was not an easy feat –  but these men are young, strong and determined.

2nd floor sunroom from outside:

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2nd floor sunroom from inside:

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Windows and doors on the rear west wall on the addition:

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Rick from Nith Valley Construction directed traffic while the windows were being lifted up to the 2nd and 3rd floors.  He liked the pace of this job:

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Palladium window lifted to unit 306:

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The palladium windows weighed 1400 pounds each. Four men lifted it into place from the outside:

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and four more men eased it into place from the inside.

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Nith Valley Construction 

The orignal basement was levelled off in preparation for concrete flooring. Several huge stones could not be moved; since they have always been there, we left them and we will pour around them.

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The basement with the footings and dirt floor:

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Sign Band by Dennis

Dennis is still working on the sign band that wraps around the original building. He is almost done with the trim:

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The summer students carried five-gallon pails of concrete up three floors, to pour the stairs for the two staircases.

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Bob installed the steel studs on the exterior walls of units 206 and 306.

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Second floor apartments waiting for insulation and drywall:

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Third floor corridor in addition:

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Looking down the elevator shaft:

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The brick along one corridor will remain exposed:

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Structural Reinforcement

Metcon made several visits back to the site [usually on Wednesday around noon] to install extra steel.  We will miss them when they finish all their work.

One of their most important installations was steel beams jutting out over the entrance to the suites.  We are installing a steel and glass canopy over this door. The canopy requires 4 steel beams to support it . [see the 4 beams under the middle window:

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Great Northern Insulation finished the exterior insulation in the original building in mid-August.  They returned in early September to spray the exterior walls of units 206 & 306 in the addition.

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Conestoga Mechanical’s Blake, dug out the area in the new apartment lobby, retail space etc.  and installed pipes:

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Blake also installed drains & pipes for the 2nd and 3rd floor apartments:

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Electricom’s Todd was busy installing the wiring for the 2nd & 3rd floor apartments.


H.A. Madill Drywall Inc. from Wilmot Township arrived on site on August 13 and began framing in the bulkheads and ceilings on the 2nd floor:

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Sound-proofing insulation will be used for the ceilings:

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Once the temperature outside cooled down. they began installing the sound proofing insulation in the first floor ceiling :

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Stybek roofing began installing a new roof on August 25.  They removed the 30+ year-old-black roof and installed a white TPO roof  – thermoplastic polyolefin. Rather than using tar and gravel, we chose TPO because the white colour is more environmentally friendly.  The white reflects the sunlight and thus requires less air conditioning in the summer. It resembles a pool liner. It was glued to the deck  with contact cement and the joints were sealed with a heat welder.

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They had to work around 12 doghouses on the roof that hold various pipes:

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Tenants’ Patio on Third Floor

We are still waiting for the railings to be manufactured.

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Bitte Schon Nano Brewery

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Bar & restroom area for  restaurant:

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The plumbing has been installed under the kitchen floor.  Greg Ramseyer returned with a load of gravel for the kitchen floor before the concrete was poured.

Entrance to restaurant kitchen:

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Doors Open

Doors Open photos posted in front windows of The Imperial:

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Neighbouring Buildings

When I was on the roof in mid-August, I took some photos of neighbouring buildings:

Terry Hogan’s former Queen’s Hotel:

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Kathie Jordan’s building:

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Denture Clinic and Mark Murray’s Clothing Store:

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The Big Guys

It is time for you to meet the ‘Big Guys’ Working on the Project.  These men are the best.  I rely on them for advice and productivity.  I couldn’t manage this project without them.

From left to right is Ben Eby, architectural engineer extraordinaire; Lynn Zehr, [who never has to write anything down] site supervisor from Nith Valley; Greg Voisin, my personal structural engineer; Laird Robertson, award-winning architectural genius; and Bob Zehr, calm competent and clever owner of Nith Valley Construction. [Gabe Guy, architect is missing from this photo].

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Ben Eby [photo by Ryan Moffat]

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Ben and Greg :

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Gabe, quiet and methodical architect:

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Greg, Bob and Gabe reviewing a plan:

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Laird. [photo by Ryan Moffat]

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Summer Holiday in the Arctic

Greg and I flew to Greenland in mid-August for a three-week expedition of Greenland and the Canadian Arctic on an Adventure Canada ship. We sailed into the North West Passage, following in John Franklin’s footsteps [or sailing tracks]. We were mesmerized by the stark scenery, amazing landscapes, fresh air, crystal clear water, deep azure sky, wildlife, people and traditions that we had only ever heard of.  It was an incredible voyage that taught us so much about the people, culture, history, geology, zoology and climate change of our Arctic region. It is very likely the most beautiful and untouched part of Canada that few Canadians know about: what a pity.

I have included a few photos that I took of the Canadian Arctic:






Three muskox:



Rocky cliff where birds nest:




An outhouse at an abandoned HBC post:



I have been fascinated by Sir John Franklin’s expedition to find the North West Passage since I first read about his final failed attempt and the ensuing loss of his life and that of his crew.  I have waited years to land on Beechey Island and view the tombstones of three of his men. They were buried side by side on a flat part of the island.   I had goose bumps on my arms while I stood gazing at the three burial sites.  These were the only tombstones found of any of the 129 Franklin men. I still wonder what happened to the others.


In the winter of 1845-1846, Franklin’s ships, the Erebus and The Terror, wintered on Beechey Island.  It was here that three of his men perished. John Hartnell of the HMS Erebus is buried under this tombstone.  He died on January 4, 1846 of Pulmonary Tuberculosis at the age of 25:


In 1984, the bodies of these three sailors were exhumed and autopsied. Hartnell’s body showed that he had been autopsied previously.  All three were well preserved and mummified since they had been frozen in blocks of ice.


This second tombstone  marks the remains of William Braine, 32, of the HMS Erebus. He died of Pulmonary Tuberculosis on April 3, 1846:


Braine’s body had tooth marks from rats on it.  It is believed that this occurred on board the Erebus before his body could be buried.


The last tombstone was erected for John Torrington of The Terror.  He was 20 when he died on January 1, 1846 of Pulmonary Tuberculosis and Pneumonia:


Torrington’s body was emaciated when it was exhumed.



One solitary polar bear crossing over the top of Beechey Island:


If you would like to see more photos of the Canadian Arctic and of Greenland, go to the sidebar on the cover page where the Arctic-Greenland photos are listed.