Category Archives: Projects

Holy Trinity Cathedral in New Westminster

I’m not ready to quit my day job, yet, but after a stretch I do have some things moving forward in Heritage (at this point I’m not even sure if this is going to be a paying gig).  I haven’t too many details to post right now, but I have recently become involved with the seismic work and property development for New Westminster’s Holy Trinity Cathedral as a Heritage Consultant.  I will be working with the church’s Building Committee and Architect Oberto Oberti.

The overall goal of the proposed project is to complete seismic upgrades and some restoration work while increasing the density of the remainder of the property to help subsidize the project and future maintenance.

More to follow…


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Kilby: Phase I Complete

As of last Thursday (July 28th) this first phase of the work at the Kilby Historic Site was completed.  With scaffold erected, Enviro-Vac (a hazardous material remediation company) completed the removal of loose lead paint and caulking from the exterior of the building.  They also took care of some asbestos-covered piping which was exposed to the public space on the interior.

The foreman, Corey, was professional and a pleasure to work with.  The workers–their specialty being in safe work not fine restoration–had some learning curve with regards to removing paint without damaging the siding.  While there are a few places where we will have to smooth out scratches and gouges, the workers improved their technique as the job progressed.

The thing I have always found about scraping paint when you are not trying to remove all is that not matter how carefully you do it, the next day there are always sections where the paint is separating the next day.  The overnight moisture and the cool-warm cycle cause the paint and the wood to expand and contract at different rates, thereby separating the two.  NEVER sand to blend the two.  First, thinner paint film is more prone to curling when you start painting, and second you must go back to your lead abatement practices and at a higher hazard level.  I would recommend a slightly heavier coating of primer (always prime bare wood, regardless of the label on the paint can) which will fill the gaps and better adhere the old paint to the wood.  On this job we will be adding a second full coat of primer (not too rare in my heritage experience) followed by two coats of finish paint.  This will blend the surface nicely and maintain the patina.

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Kilby Project in Local Newspaper

Last week’s Agassiz-Harrison Observer featured a background story on my current project.

Click to read “Kilby saved by Emergency Funding”.

(That’s me in the foreground in the white helmet, trying not to get eaten by mosquitoes.)

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Please allow me to introduce myself…

My name is Philip Finlayson.  I am a Carpenter by trade, Historian by education.  I started in construction in the late 80s’ while still in high school.  Following high school, my next 10 years were spent picking away at post-secondary academics while continuing in construction.  On concluding my Bachelor of Arts in History at Simon Fraser University, I completed a full apprenticeship in Carpentry in less than three years (time off for experience).  I followed with an apprenticeship in the Joinery/Cabinetmaker trade.

In 2006, I was hired by Vintage Woodworks Inc.  They specialize in wood window restoration, and owner and heritage window expert, Jim Stiven is a prominent heritage figure in British Columbia.  I found myself in a career path where I could combine my academics and my work experience.  Since then I have worked with some of the leading heritage professionals in the Lower Mainland on heritage windows and storefronts, while continuing with general carpentry.  Currently, I hold memberships with Heritage Canada, the Association for Preservation Technologists and the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals.

In 2008, my work led to me managing a storefront and window restoration of the “Alhambra Hotel” (the link is a little dated but provides the best historical summery I could find) in Vancouver’s historic Gastown.  With my specialized knowledge, I was counted on to take a leading role in design and conservation, and worked hand-in-hand with architects, consultants, the general contractor and ownership, while managing personnel and resources. This project went on to share in the 2010 Lieutenant-Governor of B.C. Award in Architecture.

Last year, I became self-employed, starting Housewright Building & Restoration Ltd.  I have been working along the same lines and still strictly on heritage homes.  My wife and brother have been working with me.

In the Summer of 2011 I was hired by Tekton Project Management, expressly to provide in-house heritage expertise and site supervision for the Kilby Historic Site’s exterior restoration of the Museum and General Store.  That project has been recently completed and has won rave reviews from the stakeholders, including staff, public and the Province of British Columbia Heritage Branch.

My goal is to continue to evolve my role in heritage conservation, with an eye on management and planning for heritage resources.  To that end, I completed a number of architecture courses at BCIT and have been involved in the Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s “Old School” programme both as a student and instructor.  I am currently enrolled in the University of Victoria’s Post-baccalaureate Certificate in Heritage Conservation Planning.

Feel free to browse my CV.

Talk to you again soon.


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