The City of Kitchener celebrated its 2023 Great Places Awards earlier this evening, honouring outstanding development projects that show a commitment to design excellence and innovation in urban design, sustainability, and heritage conservation. Joined by several members of Kitchener City Council, Mayor Berry Vrbanovic kicked off the event, which named 14 winners across a variety of categories. 

This year’s event was held on World Town Planning Day, a day to recognize and promote the role of planning in creating great, livable communities and celebrate successes in city-building in creating healthy, livable communities. 

“Building a vibrant and world-class 21st century city includes celebrating the collaborative teams that have brought exciting projects like these to life across Kitchener,” said Mayor Vrbanovic. “The owners and developers who committed to Kitchener with their vision and investment, the consultant teams who use creativity and innovation to create memorable places for people and the construction teams that make these visions a reality, are helping build the kind of great city we all want to live, work and play in.” 

The Great Places Awards is the continuation of over 30 years of celebrating excellence in urban design and heritage, starting with an awards program in 1988 that continued to evolve from the Urban Design and Mike Wagner Heritage Awards into the modern Great Places Awards.  

This year’s award ceremony featured keynote speaker Michael A. Ormston-Holloway, with an address titled Looking at Spaces Differently - Unlocking Potential through Placemaking on the power of placemaking in repurposing underutilized spaces in cities to support growth, build resiliency and create dynamic, engaging, welcoming public spaces. 

“I’m excited to participate in Kitchener's Great Places Awards ceremony and be back in my hometown,” said Mr. Ormston-Holloway. “There is so much potential in this city; we just need to carefully peel back a couple of layers to reveal the things that are, in fact, already here and see them in a new light. Placemaking doesn't need to be difficult and can be gentle nudges in a different direction that reveal new ways to use our existing spaces.” 

More information about the Great Places Awards, including videos featuring the nominees and winners for each category, can be found on the City of Kitchener’s  

For more information, contact:    

Shawn Falcao 
Manager, Corporate Communications 
City of Kitchener 

2023 Great Places Awards winners: 

  • Urban Design Excellence Award - Low-Rise: The Wedge House, 605 York Street 
  • Urban Design Excellence Award - Mid-Rise: GloveBox, 114 Victoria Street South
  • Urban Design Excellence Award - High Rise (residential): Charlie West, 60 Charles Street West 
  • Urban Design Excellence Award - High Rise (commercial): Breithaupt Block (Phase 3), 20 Breithaupt Street 
  • Urban Design Excellence Award - Civic: Queen Street Placemaking, Queen Street between Charles and Duke streets 
  • Placemaking Award: Gaukel Block, Gaukel Street between Charles & Joseph streets 
  • Sustainable Kitchener Award: YWKW Supportive Housing, 1470 Block Line Road 
  • Future Design Leaders Award: All Roads Lead to Roam, Ethan Zhang & Magdalena Kaczmarczyk, School of Architecture, University of Waterloo 
  • People’s Choice Award: One Young Street, 1 Young Street 
  • Schmalz Award for Design Leadership: GloveBox, 114 Victoria Street South
  • Mike and Pat Wagner Heritage Award (Preservation / Restoration): The Legion Building, 48 Ontario Street North 
  • Mike and Pat Wagner Heritage Award (Preservation / Restoration): 87 Scott Street 
  • Mike and Pat Wagner Heritage Award (Rehabilitation / Adaptive Re-Use): American Hotel Building, 1 Queen Street North 
  • Mike and Pat Wagner Heritage Award (Rehabilitation / Adaptive Re-Use): Hog and Hen Barn Restoration, 883 Doon Village Road