Historic Cambridge Building Gets New Paint Job


A little over a year after Hamilton-based investment and management firm Forge & Foster purchased the 112-year-old Ray Electric building and connecting spaces—located at 20 Park Hill Road in Cambridge, Ontario—renovations and coatings work have reportedly reached completion.

“We’re big believers in revitalizing older buildings, and this one obviously has a great history and incredible bones,” said Ben Ames, Chief Investment Officer and Partner at Forge & Foster.

Building History

Originally built in 1909, the four-story building was home to the Getty and Scott Shoe Company. Owned by Galt-born Frank Stewart Scott for over 40 years, at its peak, the shoe company employed over 400 people.

During that time, the company was reported to have manufactured several footwear brands, including “The Classic.” In the 1950s, the company went out of business.

While there is no indication of when Ray Electric took over the space, it has been reported that the building is also shared by a bowling alley.

Renovation Plans

When it was announced that Forge & Foster would be purchasing the property, officials told reporters that the company aimed to restore the building by making upgrades and renovations to both the interior and exterior of the building.

When asked about why the company purchased the historic building, Joe Accardi, Forge & Foster CEO, said the multi-tenant building is in a perfect spot in downtown, close to the river and around shops and amenities, making it “a really nice day to go to work.”

“I think a lot of people see value in that and people are starting projects that complement each other. I see Galt’s future a lot brighter than it has been in its most recent past, going back to its glory days.”

“We want to provide space for companies that want something other than cookie cutter office space,” added Ames. “Considering COVID, we are exploring different opportunities.”

In addition to preserving the structure’s character by refurbishing original elements and reviving its brick and beam interiors, the team also looked to enhance the building’s usability and functionality. To achieve this within the 37,000-square-foot space, the team created 15 commercial units ranging between 750 square feet to 5,000 square feet.

Besides general renovation and necessary interior work, it was reported by building manager, Shawn Nadeau, that Westwood Painting Services Inc. was brought on to paint the building. In preparing the exterior surface, Operations Manager David Potter told PaintSquare Daily News that crews pressure-washed the building to remove all dirt and any loose residue.

Once the exterior was properly prepared, the team primed the masonry with approximately 100 gallons of Sherwin-Williams LOXON Concrete & Masonry Primer/Sealer. This was then followed by two topcoats of Sherwin-Williams A-100 Exterior Acrylic Latex (approximately 225 gallons). Crews also used 65 gallons of Sherwin-Williams Pro Industrial DTM Acrylic paint on the metal window frames. These coatings were reportedly spray-applied and required two coats.

Although most of the building was covered in a fresh, white paint, local artist Lester Coloma was hired to create a massive mural for the exterior as well.

As seen in project photos, the mural features a black and white image of a woman in period clothing with bright red shoes on her feet, based on turn of the 20th century advertisements of the former shoe company’s most popular line of shoes for women and children, “The Classic.”

According to Foster & Forge, the mural pays tribute to the building’s heritage while creating a clean and modern visage for the building. The firm has also been reported to have renamed the building “The Classic Shoe Building” as an additional ode to the one-time home of the Scott Shoe Company.

Officials report that the building will include current tenants and new tenants who are on letters of intent. Foster & Forge reports that it is also exploring the idea of bringing a boutique hotel to the building.

Other recent Foster & Forge projects include the former home of Brantford Cordage and the revitalization of the Woolen Mills.

Recent Mural Projects, Discoveries

Back in February, shortly after launching remodeling efforts on their recently purchased, circa 1907 commercial building, couple Nick and Lisa Timm discovered a hidden mural more than 100 years old.

According to reports, the Okanogan, Washington-based duo had bought the property to transform into a bar. However, after making the artwork discovery, they have shifted focus to the restoration of the historical feat.

After purchasing the property at the end of 2021, the Timms started cleaning out the walls of the historical commercial structure, making the shocking discovery of a 60-foot-wide, 20-foot-tall wall painting.

Spanning the northern and southern walls, the hand-painted mural portrays a large lake, a variety of trees and several cabins. The painting was applied to a canvas surface; however, no signature has been located on the artwork.

In the weeks following the discovery of the mural, the Okanogan historical society found an article about the origin of the painting.

“A man named W.J. McConnon came from Wenatchee in the early 1900s and painted this, and it describes it perfectly: 120 feet of canvas, a landscape done in light tan,” Nick Timm told reporters.

The month prior, in a project headed by Contemporary Art Space & Studio (CASS) and Water Street Tampa, officials commissioned Dutch artist Leon Keer to paint a new mural on the city’s East Cumberland Parking Garage.

Spanning a 100-foot concrete surface and taking up nearly 1,500 square feet in total, the mural depicts a tower of colorful gemstones stacked on top of each other in the order of the rainbow.

Unlike traditional murals, however, tech-savvy viewers can watch the artwork come to life through animation in an augmented reality—with the aid of Keer’s LeonKeer app on their smartphone or tablet.

If downloaded and aimed at the garage wall, it would appear as though the wall isn’t painted at first. Some seconds later, the painted gemstones begin to stack one on top of the other, swaying and then bursting into many smaller pieces outwards from the garage.

Not the first 3D-mural of its kind, Keer reportedly specializes in augmented reality street art and has previously executed commissions in Europe, Mexico, The United Arabic Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Russia, New Zealand, Australia and several Asian countries.

And, work reportedly continues at the Glass City River Wall in Toledo, Ohio, which is set to be the largest of its kind in the United States once completed. The project encompasses the Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) concrete grain silos in Toledo, east of I-75 along the Maumee River. 82,365 cars reportedly pass by the location every day, equating to over 30 million views per year.

The mural wraps around 28 concrete grain silos total. According to reports, the project will require about 5,000 gallons of paint.

Featuring Gault’s signature use of flora and fauna in his art, 25 silos on the mural include wild sunflowers, or Sun Chokes. Symbolically, the sunflowers represent hope, faith and good fortune, while historically it was one of the key crops for indigenous people of the region. This portion of the mural is completed.

Portraits on the last three silos—representing the significance of the Native American women and children who planted and maintained the corn fields that historically lined the banks of the Maumee river from Toledo to Fort Wayne, Indiana—are depictive of The Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, The Shawnee Tribe, and Lakota Tribe.

Tnemec Company, Inc. products were chosen for the project, due to its investment in developing innovative technologies for coating projects that require extra protection against environmental elements. Both Tnemec products being used are low VOC and water-based, reportedly making them easier to apply while still showcasing excellent performance.


Tagged categories: Acrylic; Coating Materials; Coatings; Color + Design; Commercial / Architectural; Commercial Buildings; Completed projects; Concrete coatings and treatments; Design - Commercial; Exterior coatings; Historic Preservation; Historic Structures; Maintenance coating work; Masonry coatings; NA; North America; Painting Contractors; Primers; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Projects - Commercial; Renovation; Sherwin-Williams

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