UW architecture professor appointed to the Order of Canada


Rick Haldenby, a professor and former director of the University of Waterloo’s School of Architecture, has been appointed as a member of the Order of Canada. 

The Order of Canada recognizes people in all sectors of Canadian society for outstanding achievement, dedication to the community, and service to the country. 

Haldenby received recognition for his efforts toward the advancement of architectural education in Canada as well as his contribution toward the conservation of industrial and mid-century buildings.

“My appointment to the Order of Canada came as a complete surprise. I had never thought it possible. At the same time, I am aware that I have had opportunities because of who I am and where and when I was born,” Haldenby said in an interview with Imprint. “I loved school. I also loved architecture. I built my first building in the backyard when I was seven years old. I traveled at every opportunity. I came to study architecture at Waterloo when both I and the school were very young.”

Haldenby’s accomplishments were acknowledged by Vivek Goel, president and vice-chancellor of UW. 

“Through his important work in the community and in architecture education, Rick Haldenby shapes our landscape in ways that both honour history and that will benefit society for generations to come,” Goel said in a press release.

Haldenby is a teacher in the area of Iconography Theme and has also received the Distinguished Teacher Award for his excellence in teaching. 

“After graduating I spent a year traveling alone by bicycle from Greece to England, living on almost nothing. While I was in Greece I was asked to apply for a teaching position at the school from which I had just graduated. Months later, in the south of France, I found out I had a job. I have been in it ever since,” Haldenby said. “I have spent the last four decades sharing my passions for architecture, for cities, for art and building an institution that helped students discover who they really are, be successful architects and lead lives of initiative, passion, engagement and generosity.”

An expert in Mediterranean archaeology, Haldenby is the founder of Waterloo’s Rome program and has conducted archaeological work in Italy, Malta and Tunisia.

“We gave them a School in which they are supported in thinking and working independently; a School in which their work is their own. We gave them the opportunity to work in the best architectural firms around the world,” Haldenby said. “We made certain that every student had the opportunity to spend a term in Rome, perhaps the richest architectural environment in the world. We gave them a building in Cambridge that celebrates the power of landscape, of design and of community.”

Haldenby has previously received the Special Jury Award from Arts Awards Waterloo Region and the Dr. Jean Steckle Award for excellence in heritage education from the Waterloo Regional Heritage Foundation to his name. He is also a fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary May Simon, Governor General of Canada, announced 135 new appointments to the Order of Canada on Dec. 29, 2021.

Geoffrey Fong, a professor in the Department of Psychology cross-appointed to the School of Public Health Sciences at Waterloo, was also appointed to be an officer of the Order of Canada in the same announcement as Haldenby.

Fong and Haldenby will receive their insignias at a ceremony at Rideau Hall. The Order of Canada recognizes people in all sectors of Canadian society for outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the country.