The History of Enercare Centre

In 1995, a design/build team consisting of the firms PCL Design Constructors Inc., Zeidler Roberts Partnership Architects and Dunlop Farrow Inc., Architects in Joint Venture and the HNTB Corporation won the competition for the Enercare Centre project (originally known as the National Trade Centre, 1997-2006, and also known as the Direct Energy Centre, 2006-2015). When construction was completed in March of 1997, the Enercare Centre was, and still is, the largest trade show facility in Canada and the sixth largest in North America.  

During the design phase of the Enercare Centre, the building’s Art Advisory Committee commissioned three large-scale pieces of public art:  

The first example of public art that visitors to the Enercare Centre will encounter is Shoreline by American artist Jerry Clapsaddle.  The piece consists of 135,000 individually laid paving stones at the building's south entrance adjacent to Princes' Boulevard.

Once inside the Enercare Centre, visitors will find themselves walking beneath another piece of large-scale public art -- The Hall of Names by Micah Lexier.  Installed in the Galleria, The Hall of Names is made up of 1000 first names, laser-cut from thin sheets of stainless steel. 

The third public art commission at the Enercare Centre can be found in the underground walkway between the Enercare Centre’s Galleria and the Automotive Building (now known as the Beanfield Centre and part of the Enercare Centre complex). This work, consisting of large symbols and patterns and entitled Universal Link, was created by the artist team of Kurtz Mann Inc. and overseen by Wayne Mann. 

Apart from the commissioned pieces mentioned above, the Enercare Centre also incorporates historical art that had originally been located elsewhere at Exhibition Place. 

In Heritage Court, visitors will find four fourteen-foot-high cast stone statues by Canadian sculpture Charles D. McKechnie (1865-1935).  These statutes had originally stood atop the Electrical and Engineering Building at Exhibition Place (demolished in 1972).

In the east concourse of the Enercare Centre, are eight huge murals created in mixed media on canvas by Canadian artist Frederick S. Haines and his students at the Ontario College of Art.  The murals, originally commissioned by the CNE in 1928, depict the history of trade and exploration across Canada. 

Lastly, cast-stone medallions and plaques from the 1920s depicting livestock and other themes were salvaged from earlier buildings at Exhibition Place and can now be found incorporated into the Enercare Centre's walls at the west and northeast entrances.  Three old ram's-head keystones support one bench situated near the Haines murals in the east concourse.  A second bench, located in Heritage Court, incorporates the old Queenstone limestone cornice of the former Industry Building, as well as its cast-stone tympanum.