It’s been ten years since Gary Berman, President of Tricon Capital Group, and Anna Simone, Principal of Cecconi Simone, teamed up to start the Pug Awards, the people’ choice award that asks Torontonians to vote on the best, middling and worst examples of architecture among the city’s new buildings.

At Pug X, held June 18th at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Berman explained that in the early days of the awards, they received hate mail from an association of pug-lovers taken aback by the suggestion that the dogs aren’t, well, beautiful. The Pug Awards have grown up alongside a city undergoing a building boom, honouring architectural excellence and shining a light on the design debacles of residential, commercial and institutional developments.

“My co-founder Anna Simone and I have not given up, well at least not yet, but we have decided that the Pug Awards are now better off to focus on more pressing causes including the particularly sorry state of our public realm and what has come to be known as the space between buildings,” said Berman, in his opening remarks.

“If together, with the support of the media and the people of Toronto, we can mobilize the powers at city hall to repair our neglected sidewalks, underground the ubiquitous hydro poles and upgrade what we call city parks, well, then we will have done good.”

To qualify, buildings must have been completed in 2013, be located in the City of Toronto, and have an area greater than 50,000-square feet. This year’s trophy, a tall tower topped with a pug dog, went to River City Phase 1 in the residential category. Urban Capital Property Group and Waterfront Toronto delivered the West Don Lands project while Saucier + Perrotte Architects and ZAS Architects were behind its design.

The first part of an ambitious, four-phase plan, the development is made up of 900 loft-style condos and townhouses as well as street-level restaurants, cafes, and boutiques. The residential category is the most crowded at the Pug Awards and River City Phase 1 beat out 31 other developments. Market Wharf by Context and Clear Spirit by Cityscape Development Corp and Dundee Realty were the runners up. Here’s a rendering of the project:


Bridgepoint Active Healthcare took the honour in the commercial and institutional category, as well as the 2014 Paul Oberman Award for Adaptive Reuse and Heritage Restoration.

As a wrap up on Pug X, a “Best of the best” honour was awarded to 500 Wellington West. The Freed project took home the residential trophy in 2013 and beat out all the previous residential winners.

Miss the awards? Here are our pictures from the well-attended event as well as the full list of winners:

Pug X Awards

Pug Awards 2014

Pug Awards 2014

Pug Awards X

The full list of winners:


1. River City Phase 1
2. Market Wharf
3. Clear Spirit at the Distillery
4. The Ninety
5. Toronto Community Housing Corporation, Block 32
6. ThirtyTwo Camden
7. The King East

Commercial or Institutional

1. Bridgepoint Active Healthcare
2. Goldring Student Centre at Victoria University / Wymilwood Restoration
3. The Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning – The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)
4. The Sisters of St. Joseph Residence
5. Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati Catholic School
6. Forensics Services and Coroner’s Complex (FSCC)
7. MaRS Centre Phase 2, MaRS Discovery District
8. Krembil Discovery Tower

2014 Paul Oberman Award for Adaptive Reuse and Heritage Restoration
Bridegepoint Active Healthcare

Best Residential Building of the Past Ten Years, 2004 – 2014
500 Wellington

Best Commercial or Institutional Building of the Past Ten Years, 2004 – 2014
Gardiner Museum

Developments featured in this article

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