Sudbury architect John Stefura, the visionary designer behind Science North, died Feb. 10.
He was 88 years old.
Born of Ukrainian heritage and raised in Espanola, Stefura shaped Sudbury’s landscape in creating a modern Northern Ontario community.
Starting in 1980, Stefura was part of the design team in the Science North effort, widely regarded as an “outlandish project,” according to a 2013 profile written by Laurentian University professor Dr. David Pearson.
The science centre helped evolve and repair Sudbury’s tarnished environmental image, known for its blackened "moonscape" caused by decades of nickel smelting.
The joint venture with Toronto architect Raymond Moriyama received the Governor General’s Medal for Architecture by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada in 1986.
Together with Art Townend, his business partner of three decades, they gave the community the “confidence to use in-town architects” that resulted in the Laurentian Hospital, the provincial Willet Green Miller Centre, Cambrian College, the University of Sudbury, Tom Davies Square – Sudbury’s municipal building – and other notable structures.
He played a major role in the city’s Ukrainian community in designing St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church, the adjoining seniors’ centre and the park in the downtown core.
Together with his wife of more than 60 years, Mary, the couple were staunch supporters of the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra, Sudbury Theatre Centre, Cambrian College and the Art Gallery of Sudbury.
Stefura retired from his profession in 1993.
The couple received a Community Builders Hall of Fame Award in 2013 for their civic and cultural contributions to Sudbury, including the creation of the Garlic Festival.
Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger delivered his condolences in a statement.
“I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of our community’s most talented and influential residents, Mr. John Stefura. John's legacy will proudly live on throughout our community in the many buildings he helped bring to life through his architectural designs including Science North and Tom Davies Square.”