The Ontario-based company is shortlisted for four World Demolition Awards

Several projects in Ontario have earned Priestly Demolition a trip to the World Demolition Awards.

The Ontario-based demolition company has been shortlisted in four categories at the upcoming award ceremony.

The categories include Civils Demolition, Collaboration in Demolition, Contract of the Year under US$1 Million and Recycling and Environmental.

“We’re very, very proud to be shortlisted in four categories this year,” said Brian Priestly, vice president of operations for the company.

Civil demolition

The Civils Demolition award honours a confined civil engineering demolition contract that was unusually complex or demanding.

As well, the project must have been completed safely and on time and on budget.

Priestly is shortlisted for its work on the Morningside Bridge in Scarborough. Demolition of the six-span bridge required the removal of difficult concrete girders.

“The big challenge on that job was we had to engineer a bridge deck to take large 350 to 400 ton cranes,” Priestly said.

The engineered deck was designed to displace weight on top of the bridge to accommodate the cranes.

“We actually added weight and mass to the bridge to take the cranes so we could lift out the girders where no access was possible from below,” Priestly explained.


The Collaboration in Demolition Award is presented to a company that demonstrates a high degree of collaboration between all parties involved, from the demolition contractor to the main contractor to the client. Priestly is shortlisted for its work on the Providence Care Hospital in Kingston, Ontario, alongside EllisDon.

“It was an extremely tight window to do a massive amount of square footage of demolition,” Priestly said. “As the concrete is being removed from the old footings, the backfilling was happening right in place with the material we had already started crushing.”

Priestly had 12 to 15 machines on site to tackle taking down the entire low-rise hospital.

“It was an extremely tight schedule,” Priestly said.

port bruce demolitionPort Bruce Bridge

The Contract of the Year Under US$1 million award honours a high-profile project that includes major challenges on the way to completion.

In this category, Priestly is recognized for its work on the Port Bruce Bridge near London, Ontario. The bridge, which spans Catfish Creek, collapsed as a dump truck filled with gravel was being driven across it.

“It was a highly publicized bridge collapse,” Priestly said.

The project required careful consideration of the waterway as well as environmental concerns.

Priestly supplied air lines to its hammers and brought in hydraulic shears to tackle underwater demolition of the bridge.

“We completed all the demolition below the water line to open up the water course before the fish began breeding again,” Priestly said. “With all the waterway and environmental concerns, we were able to use some pretty innovative techniques.”

hope island demolitionHope Island

The winner of the Recycling and Environmental Demolition award will be able to demonstrate their commitment to reducing environmental impact of its operations. As well, the award recipient will show its effective recycling strategies and green work practices.

Priestly was shortlisted for its work on Hope Island in Georgian Bay, where the company was recruited to demolish a lighthouse.  The company had to use a barge to transport the required demolition machinery.

“We went out and demolished the buildings, outbuildings and lighthouse,” Priestly said. “We also took all our equipment out and restored the island to its original state, prior to any inhabitance.”

The award winners will be announced during the World Demolition Summit, which takes place in Dublin Ireland on Nov. 7 and 8. About 400 people from 28 countries are expected to attend.

“All the demolition leaders from across the world are there,” Priestly said.

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Priestly is no stranger to the World Demolition Awards. Last year, the company won Contract of the Year Under US$1 million for its work on the St. Michael’s Hospital Stairway Project and the Recycling and Environmental Award for demolition at the Humber Hospital.

In 2016, Priestly won the coveted World Demolition award for its work on the Nipigon River Bridge on Lake Superior.

Priestly demolition celebrates 25 years

Alongside celebrating making the shortlist in four award categories, the demolition company is also marking 25 years since the company incorporated. Although the company began as Vic Priestly Contracting Limited more than 40 years ago, Priestly Demolition Inc. was incorporated as a unionized company in 1993.

“It took us from doing smaller projects to stepping up to the big general contractors that require unionized companies to work for them,” Priestly said.

When the company incorporated, it had a staff of about 10 employees. Today, the company has grown to about 300 people and a fleet that includes about 100 excavators. Although the company mainly works in Ontario, it has worked on projects in Goose Bay, Labrador to north of Fort McMurray, Alberta.

“Traditionally we’re in Ontario, but we’re always looking for the next challenge,” Priestly said. “We’re very proud of our work and we’re always looking to raise the bar.”

Throughout the years, Priestly said his favourite project the company has worked on was the interior demolition of Maple Leaf Gardens.

“It was emotional in the sense that it was the closing of the gardens as a hockey rink, but the restoration of a historical monument in Toronto,” Priestly said. “To be part of moving out with the old is always something special, especially when they can restore it and maintain it.”