HGTV Celebrates 150 Years of Great Design in Canada

Gulf Islands, BC: Origami House. 2014 prefab design by Tony Robins | © HGTV
Gulf Islands, BC: Origami House. 2014 prefab design by Tony Robins | © HGTV
A new documentary, Great Canadian Homes, aired yesterday, Sunday June 18 on HGTV. The hour-long celebration of great design explores Canada’s most iconic historical homes, unusual conversions, and modernist architectural feats.
Gulf Islands, BC: Origami House. 2014, prefab designby Tony Robins © HGTV

Starting with Queen Anne architecture from the late 19th century and ending with spectacularly quirky converted spaces, HGTV’s Great Canadian Homes explores the best in Canadian design. Interior designer and host Tommy Smythe tours private residences all over the country, and interviews current owners and architects to uncover the historical and architectural value of each property. While the documentary elicits serious house-envy, the hour-long special is more educational than it is hyperbolic.

Abbey Church Lofts conversion © HGTV

Veering from HGTV’s DIY/remodeling/fixer-upper trajectory, Great Canadian Homes taps into the historical narrative of each home, including the “story” of the current and previous owners, and offers an insightful glimpse into time period-specific design. It manages to condense entire design histories into short segments, and the viewer walks away feeling as if they really know something about, let’s say, the arts & crafts movement or mid-century design.

Inside the Integral House with host Tommy Smythe © HGTV

The featured homes include the calculus-inspired Integral House in Toronto, Tony Robbin’s Origami House in the Gulf Islands, a mid-century schoolhouse conversion in Ontario, and even a modern church loft conversion.

Read our full interview with interior designer and host Tommy Smythe here.

Gulf Islands, BC: Origami House. 2014 prefab design by Tony Robins © HGTV