Refurbished entrance of the estate house
New slender connections of glazing at rear of building
Rear view at dusk of Estate House
Refurbished interior corridors and entrances
New corridors with glazed connections facing College School
Main interior corridor at entrance
Rear courtyard between College School and Estate House

Senator O'Connor Estate and Coach House

After completing the design and construction of the Senator O’Connor Secondary School in 2005, Kearns Mancini was again commissioned by the client, as a heritage architect and prime consultant, to complete the restoration and adaptive reuse of three heritage-designated estate buildings on the campus.

All three buildings required full masonry and window restorations, including repointing and brick replacement. Wherever possible, Kearns Mancini’s design prescribed for the historical brick to be salvaged. New energy efficient Mechanical, Electrical, and Life Safety systems were designed and implemented in the three buildings. Discreet additions were made to the Estate and Coach House to facilitate upgrades for fire exiting and wheelchair accessibility. These alterations and additons sensitively blended the existing materials, details and building techniques with the new architectural elements. 

The Senator O’Connor Estate buildings were constructed in 1932, on Maryvale farm, located north of Lawrence Avenue East, between Don Valley East and Pharmacy Avenue. The Estate is comprised of three buildings: the Senator’s Estate House, the Coach House and a smaller ancillary building. Upon the Senator’s death in 1939, Frank O’Connor endowed his Estate lands and the buildings to be used by a Catholic religious order for educational purposes.


60 Rowena Drive, North York, Ontario

Completed, 2013

Building Size
15,028 sq. ft.

Project Value
$5.6 Million

Toronto District Catholic School Board

Project Team
Jonathan Kearns, Dan McNeil, Lucy O'Connor, Orla Canavan, Mae Shaban, Zhivka Hristova

Heritage Toronto - Award of Merit | 2014

In 1963, the Toronto Catholic District School Board established the Senator O’Connor College Secondary School on the site, and continued to use the buildings as staff facilities. The three buildings, built in the Colonial Revivalist style, became designated heritage buildings. The design approach for the additions was to clearly distinguish the new from the old while exposing as much of the original façade to view. The elevator shaft was expressed in new but matching masonry, with slender spandrel glazing abutting each side. This formal arrangement resonates with the neoclassic architectural style. The buildings now have a new life as community facilities and additional temporary classroom spaces. The project represents the potential of adaptive reuse as a means to regenerate a school campus and foster educational growth.

Media Coverage

O’Connor Estate Lives On – With the Luck of the Irish

Heritage Toronto applauds the repurposing of this residential property into a teaching and event venue

When Frank O’Connor purchased 600 acres of farmland just east of Toronto in 1928, it was to establish Maryvale Farm, a breeding centre for Ayrshire cattle and Clydesdale horses.


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