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The Globe and Mail

In pictures: 'Shamelessly' Canadian highway stops

Ontario rebrands its chain of ONroute highway service centres with woodsy, environmental look

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Ontario is injecting about $200-million to renovate and rebrand 20 of the 23 highway service centres along Highways 400 and 401. Fourteen have been completed - like this one in Trenton.

Ben Rahn, A-Frame Studio

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Toronto’s Quadrangle Architects Limited added architectural features that pay homage to the surrounding landscapes - making the buildings look like chalets or large cottages. Peaked roofs and glass facades echo the rocky outcroppings that ripple through Central and Northern Ontario.

Ben Rahn, A-Frame Studio

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'We can’t take people out of their cars, but we can ensure the facilities they use are better for the environment,' architect Les Klein says. The LEED Silver-certified buildings feature waterless urinals and touchless faucets designed to reduce water use by 40 per cent. Canadian Tire operates the gas kiosks and facilities for electric car charging are also planned.

Ben Rahn, A-Frame Studio

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The centres bear the name of their nearest town; signage and screens promote local events. Enhanced accessibility features include changing tables for infants and lowered condiment counters and garbage cans to accommodate visitors in wheelchairs.

Ben Rahn, A-Frame Studio

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HMS Host, which is managing and maintaining the centres, says free Wi-Fi has gotten a resounding thumbs up, as have expanded choices for food and beverages.

Ben Rahn, A-Frame Studio

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The ONroute network will feature 17 hospitality brands across the province, up from four or five in the old facilities. The larger centres are expecting to see foot traffic in excess of 1.5 million people annually.

Ben Rahn, A-Frame Studio

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Architect Mr. Klein concludes: 'This was an opportunity for the province to brand itself in a unique way to travellers from within and travelling through the province. We’re referring to these projects as shamelessly Canadian.'

Ben Rahn, A-Frame Studio

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