The Revitalization of the East Entrance Staircase

The East Stairs of Willowbank have been constructed and reconstructed many times. In the 1930s the Brights widened the stair to span across the four central columns, creating a wide welcoming set of stairs. It was in the 1980s that developer Anthony J. Doyle sought to return the stairs to their original 1830s style based on a Peter Stokes’ design. By 2012, the stairs had become unstable and remediation was undertaken.



A third and a second year student worked with a faculty member to assess the damage—years of water damage caused by poor drainage and construction. They came up with a plan to improve the design working with the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada.

The students used traditional techniques for building though upgraded to use power tools for time and efficiency. But they still started from scratch, carefully selecting rough sawn wood, planing it down.



Revitalization of East Exterior Staircase


Paul Jacobson – Project Manager, Lead Carpenter and Faculty Associate Doug Mackay – Junior Carpenter and blogger, 3rd year Willowbank student Sasha Knight – Junior Carpenter, 2nd year Willowbank student Shelley Bench – Research and detail drawings, 2009 Willowbank Graduate

Project generously funded by:

Donors Vikki Broer Niagara-on-the-Lake Conservancy Sally Mitchell