Ever since its founding 200 years ago, the Region of Waterloo has developed a rich heritage. For over 40 years Polocorp has been working within Southern Ontario and the Waterloo Region to protect and enhance heritage.
Preserving heritage is not just about maintaining these unique addresses, it is a mindset that has been instilled within the heart of Polocorp, from the planners to architects, the craftsmen who restore properties, and the many people and skills that are required to maintain these properties. The process is simple: Learn the history of the property, curate all of the history and artifacts around the property, and then begin to restore it.
Heritage properties require a delicate touch to restore them to their former greatness. Sadly, many properties have been neglected and require significant work beyond repair.
The first major Heritage Restoration project was 379 Queen Street in Kitchener. The JM Schneider estate was a unique building that was totally restored from 1987 to 1989 and the heritage features were part of the new offices for our consulting firm PI Ltd.
In 2003, Polocorp expanded this unique residence, which was acting as an office, by integrating the original homestead with the Coach House. This restoration was recognized by the City of Kitchener with the Mike Wagner Award in 2004.
In 2018, we brought our newest building, Barra on Queen, to Queen St. This project interfaces with the surrounding (Victoria Park Heritage District) community with its red brick exterior and bay facade while including commemorations to Barra Castle through the inclusion of original materials, a commemorative plaque and multiple other heritage design features.
In 2005, Polocorp began planning another unique heritage project, Vista Ridge, overlooking the Grand River. Polocorp integrated the Pioneer Tower into a greenspace plan which blended with the new community. The Pioneer Tower was created in 1926 to commemorate Dutch Mennonite settlers who first settled the Region. The foundations of the barn were retained and old beams were used to create a feature to recognize the history.
An open space/trail system connecting the lands below and above flood line and the heritage feature to the federal heritage Pioneer tower was developed. Now the residential community of Vista Ridge is filled with the culmination of heritage, trails and natural features.
In 2018, Polocorp began to take on its next heritage site, the Forbes Estate in Hespeler. The Forbes Estate, one of the most prominent homes in all of Cambridge, was originally built for the daughter of industrialist Robert Forbes, founder of the Dominion Woollens Textile Mill. This unique project looks to build upon its roots and mix in with the hip new community that is developing.
In addition to being a community builder and developer, Polocorp works as a consultant to other groups offering their knowledge and guidance to integrate new built-form seamlessly with heritage. Some projects include Jakobstettel Country Inn, AR Goudie Long-Term Care Home, Shantz Home in west Kitchener.
Some old projects have become new landmarks within the community. In 1989, Polocorp’s former offices became Kitchener’s new City Hall, and the warehouse space at 137 Glasgow is now Catalyst 137, developed by Voisin Capital.
Polocorp honours the Region’s unique heritage of each project and attempts to enhance and protect heritage as a part of each project.