Thorneloe University Celebrates Prestigious Architectural Honours

November 09, 2017

Faculty and friends gathered in the Fielding Memorial Chapel of St. Mark at Thorneloe University on Thursday, November 9, 2017 to celebrate two architectural honours.

The unique design of Thorneloe University’s chapel garnered provincial recognition alongside some of Canada’s most famous landmarks this year. The Fielding Memorial Chapel of St. Mark shared the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) Landmark Award with the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto.

According to the OAA, the award pays tribute to buildings constructed before 1992 “that demonstrate architecture’s beauty, endurance and lasting contribution to the community and to society.” Past Landmark Award recipients include Massey College, the Toronto Eaton Centre, the CN Tower and Ontario Place.

The chapel was recently listed in the City of Greater Sudbury’s Heritage Registry. The listing recognizes the chapel’s importance from a cultural perspective. Not only does the registry afford buildings protection under the Ontario Heritage Act, it also serves to build community interest and awareness in local architecture.

Designed by Townend, Stefura, Baleshta & Pfister (now Yallowega Bélanger Salach), and built by Neil Smith Construction, Ltd., the chapel was completed in 1968 with a generous gift from the Fielding family in memory of George Parker Fielding and Agnes Fielding. The chapel underwent extensive renovations during the summer of 2011 to improve accessibility and enhance its use as a place of worship and learning.

The chapel’s unique construction includes a series of progressively larger triangular walls forming a rising spirit that culminates over the altar. The quiet interior is adorned with several unique icons, all created by Canadian iconographer Michael O’Brien of Ottawa.

The natural light that reflects on the concrete walls transforms the colour of the space throughout the day, creating a warm and welcoming sanctuary. The design features are so unique that faculty and students at the McEwen School of Architecture at Laurentian University use the chapel as a case study.

Members of the family of Arthur Townend, Sr., noted Sudbury architect who designed the chapel 50 years ago, joined The Rt. Rev. Anne Germond, Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of Algoma and Chancellor of Thorneloe University, and Dr. Robert Derrenbacker, President of Thorneloe University, at the celebration.

“On behalf of Thorneloe University, I would like to commend the Ontario Association of Architects for choosing this beautiful building for the Landmark Award,” said Dr. Robert Derrenbacker. “I would also like to thank the Mayor and Council for adding the Fielding Memorial Chapel of St. Mark to the City of Greater Sudbury’s Heritage Registry.”

He added: “The chapel is a gem on the hill of the Laurentian University campus that has brought Thorneloe University tremendous pride and praise. It will be a guiding light as we continue to focus on revitalizing spaces for living, learning and working.”

Thorneloe University has offered academic programming in the humanities for more than 50 years. As a founding member of the Laurentian University Federation, on the campus of Laurentian University in Sudbury, Thorneloe is home to the departments of Ancient Studies, Theatre and Motion Picture Arts, Religious Studies, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, as well the Thorneloe University School of Theology.

For more information about Thorneloe University, visit

Media Contact:

Dr. Robert Derrenbacker, President, Thorneloe University
(705) 673-1730, ext. 101,

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