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Courtesy of Stantec


The Taku Inn is a 1950s era landmark building that sits proudly at the corner of Main Street and 4th Avenue in the City of Whitehorse, Yukon. During its life, the building has operated as a hotel, flower shop, restaurant and a lively tavern among other ventures. In 2007, Taku Investments Inc. purchased the building and assessed various development options including complete demolition. Although the Taku Inn was at the end of its normal service life, the owners recognized the inherent value of the building structure and in lieu of demolishing the building and starting new, they opted to retrofit the Taku Inn. 

Designers worked to maintain as much of the existing historical building as possible, while retrofitting it for modern use. Many of the post and beams visible today date back to the original 1958 structure. By salvaging the building, the owners diverted approximately 421,000 kg of building material from the landfill site. Structural design included raising the building and seismic upgrades as part of the reuse of the building shell. This significant challenge of reduced available services space for mechanical and electrical equipment and systems distribution spurred creative solutions from the project team. [1]

The prominent downtown location and its imprint on the Whitehorse landscape prompted the design/build team to maintain its character while responsibly upgrading the building systems. Designers worked to maintain as much of the existing historical building as possible, while retrofitting it for modern use. 

Existing floors were structurally upgraded and insulated with mineral wool insulation. Exterior walls were substantially increased in width to allow more mineral wool insulation and increased thermal comfort. All windows in the store are triple glazed, low “E” to maximize the insulation value. 

The highly efficient heating and cooling system has the ability to move heat within the building before calling upon the high-efficiency boiler.  The system combination with independently controlled heat pumps now serves to supply heat and fresh air. Air quality was also a priority during construction with an indoor air quality plan implemented to protect ducting and materials from contaminants. Low VOC paints, adhesives, carpets and plastic laminates also help to maintain a healthy environment. 

Water reduction is established through the use of low flow faucets, low flush toilets and low flow showerheads. Recycling was also a priority during the renovation. The hotel’s furniture was distributed to charitable organizations and wood, metal and copper material donated to the local recycling centre. 

“This project proves sustainable building and design can be a reality for the future in the Yukon,” [project supervisor Craig Hougen] says. [2]


[1]      “Taku Inn Retrofit.” Stantec. Stantec Architecture, n.d. https://www.stantec.com/en/projects/canada-projects/t/taku-inn-retrofit.

[2]      “First LEED Building Certified in the Yukon.” Building, February 21, 2012. https://building.ca/first-leed-building-certified-in-the-yukon/.

Additional information:

“LEED Canada Buildings Review, 2011.” Ontario Association of Architects. Canada Green Building Council, SAB Mag, n.d. https://www.oaa.on.ca/Assets/Common/Shared_Documents/Tools-Resources/05.Documents/2011-LEED-Canada-Buildings-in-Review.pdf.

“LEEDing the North in Sustainable Design.” Construction Canada, June 24, 2014. https://www.constructioncanada.net/leeding-the-north-in-sustainable-design/.

Playing for Keeps. YouTube. YouTube, 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wroi3UR11oA.

Project Title: Taku Inn
Artists:  Stantec
Year: 2011

Place: Whitehorse, Yukon Territory

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