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Issue No. 164 | June 14, 2010

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Feature Stories

  1. Brantford Demolition, June 4, Letter to Michael Chan, Minister of Culture
  2. Toronto Historical Association: Questions for Mayoralty Candidates
  3. DFO Declares All Lighthouses Surplus Undermining Intent of New Act
  4. Rosario Marchese Introduces Bill to Protect Views of Queen's Park
  5. Michael Vaughan Commentary on Marchese Bill
  6. Toronto City: Red is the Winner, St. Lawrence Market Competition
  7. Toronto Star: Demolition imminent in Brantford
  8. Brantford News.com: Goodbye South Colborne Street
  9. Manitoulin Expositor: Impact of DFO on Bruce and Manitoulin Lighthouses
  10. John Lorinc Looking for Background on R.C. Harris

Events

Architecture at Harbourfront Centre Summer Exhibition 2010
June 18, 2010
+ read


SNØHETTA, architecture  landscapes  interiors
June 17 - August 14, 2010
+ read


Tune in to Saving Places

+ read


Heritage Ottawa Walking Tour of The Glebe
Sunday, June 27
+ read


A New Mayors Vision for Architecture, Design & Planning in The City of Toronto
June 16, 2010
+ read


Edmonton and Northern Alberta Historic Festival
July 9 - 18, 2010
+ read


Doors Open Edmonton
July 9 - 11, 2010
+ read


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1. HELP: Please unsubscribe any old email addresses you may have with BHN
Catherine Nasmith, editor

Look for the subscribe, unsubscribe buttons under this header

Each time I send out BHN I get a lot of messages indicating bad email addresses. I try to keep up by cleaning these out, but it is difficult to find the time, and I don't want to risk losing subscribers by deleting the wrong ones. Generally having an old address in the system doesn't stop you getting BHN, but it could affect your ability to post material to the website.

A few subscribers have had difficult posting material getting a message "you are not a subscriber" when they are. This has been a challenge to solve, but we think we have identified a couple of things. There are two causes. Your email address has a space in it, or there is also an old email address in our list along with your present one. The first I have to fix, but the second one you could do yourself. 

I would really appreciate it if you would unsubscribe any old email addresses you may have. To unsubscribe just click on the buttons at the side of the newsletter marked subscribe and unsubscribe and fill in the form.


2. Brantford Demolition, June 4, Letter to Michael Chan, Minister of Culture
Lisa Wood, President ACO Brantford

4 June 2010

The Honourable Michael Chan
Minister of Tourism and Culture
Hearst Block, 9th Floor
900 Bay St
Toronto ON M7A 2E1


Re: Demolition Plan for South Side of Colborne Street and North Side of Water
Street, Brantford, Ontario


Dear Minister Chan,

I am writing to implore you to use your power under the Heritage Act to issue a Stop Work order on the contested stretch of buildings on the south side of Colborne Street.

Yesterday evening, the South Side of Colborne Street Task Force ignored the recommendations and concerns of both the federal government and their own consultants (UEM), and drafted a bylaw to proceed with demolition without the funding from FedDev (attached). The bylaw will be brought to City Council for voting Monday night. Based on past experience, I assume that the bylaw will pass 6 to 5.

Predictably, the Chair of the South Side of Colborne Street Task Force is refusing to take responsibility for the flaws in the process, instead blaming citizens and other levels of government for the delay: "The (anti-demolition) lobby groups have been successful in getting to the federal and provincial bureaucracy," Littell said. "The (federal) rules have clearly been changed to the point of view that the requirements they want will end up costing us more than the grant will be" (http://brantfordexpositor.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2607614).

There are significant reasons for concern here.

First, of course, is the considerable heritage value of the buildings themselves, for the community, the province and the country. These assets can never be recovered. The UEM report (attached) cites heritage and archeological concerns as two key reasons for the federal government's delay, and consequently FedDev "requests an analysis that contemplates all alternative options for the development of the South Side of Colborne Street including consideration of options other than demolition." In requesting that this analysis follow "an established framework for analyzing options for treating cultural heritage resources," FedDev is simply asking the City to comply with well established procedures.

Secondly, the wide perception in the community is that this Council is "dysfunctional" and lacking in integrity, as described in the following editorial (http://www.brantnews.com/columns.cfm?page=columns&section=readColumn&titleId=435). Any decision made by this Council will come under increased scrutiny as a result of this. A decision of this magnitude should not be made by a Council riven by infighting and personal animus. It is no surprise that FedDev's third area of concern is the lack of public and expert consultation on this issue, as this Council has a history of discouraging public participation.

Thirdly, I worry about the potential impact of this case on the ability of the Ministry to effectively protect heritage in the province. In spite of significant resistance from citizen's groups, the federal government and your Ministry, this group of six is refusing to consider any alternative to their reckless and wasteful plan. They have publicly denied the power of the Ministry, while simultaneously blaming other levels of government for their own errors in judgment. This case has the potential to set a very dangerous precedent.

In today's Brantford Expositor, the Chair of the task force, Mark Littell, purports to speak for the Ministry: "The Minister of Culture was very clear," the chairman said. "He is not interfering with the municipal process. This was a couple of months ago, in a conversation with the mayor" (http://brantfordexpositor.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2607614). I pray that Littell has misrepresented the matter.

I understand that FedDev has put you in the difficult position of having to take action in this matter, and I regret that this pressure must come to bear on your office. However, I implore you to issue a Stop Work order immediately, to help us safeguard the history of our community and the province.

Sincerely,

 

Lisa Wood, PhD
President, Brantford Branch, Architectural Conservancy of Ontario

Editor's Note:
Lloyd Alter, President ACO Ontario, wrote too to ask for a STOP ORDER, finishing with "I plead with you to respond to this situation. I advise that I certainly will be, and will be releasing these documents with a press release to the media on Monday. I hope that I will have an answer when asked What is the Minister of Culture doing? DEAD SILENCE What does the Minister of Culture think he has this power for?


3. Wrecking Crews Descend Upon 41 Historic Buildings in Brantford
Heritage Canada News Release

Ottawa, ON – June 8, 2010 – Last evening, the City of Brantford voted to proceed with the demolition of all 41 historic buildings on the south side of Colborne Street, without federal funding. The decision allowed the City to bypass new heritage and archaeological conditions imposed by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) before the $1.38 million earmarked for the project would be released. This morning, an excavator began cutting into buildings on the west end of the street.

Colborne Street represents a rare example of an early Ontario commercial district made up largely of buildings dating from the 1850s and 1860s. Although the area fell into decline in the 1980s, more recent investment in heritage buildings helped give the downtown a significant economic boost.

The move to haul three blocks worth of irreplaceable historic buildings to landfill—without any firm plan for their replacement—is short-sighted at best and flies in the face of exhaustive efforts by members of the local community and heritage experts, including the Heritage Canada Foundation.

The Heritage Canada Foundation is a registered charity and voluntary organization created in 1973 as Canada’s National Trust to encourage the conservation and use of heritage buildings and historic places for the benefit of all Canadians.

For more background information, including the history of all Brantford City Council motions related to the demolition project, visit HCF’s website.

Contact:
Carolyn Quinn, Director of Communications: cquinn@heritagecanada.org.
Telephone: 613-237-1066 ext. 229; Cell: 613-797-7206


4. Heritage Canada Foundation Urges Ontario Minister of Culture to Intervene on Behalf of Threatened Brantford Buildings
Heritage Canada Foundation

Ottawa, ON, June 4, 2010 – In a letter sent today to the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Culture, the Heritage Canada Foundation (HCF) strongly urges Minister Michael Chan to intervene on behalf of 41 historic buildings threatened with demolition covering three blocks of the south side of Colborne Street in downtown Brantford. HCF was motivated to contact the Minister upon learning of the City’s controversial plan to bypass new heritage and archaeological conditions imposed by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) before $1.38 million in federal funds will be released to the City for use in the planned demolition.

“The 41 heritage buildings currently slated for demolition on Colborne Street are of strong municipal and, indeed, provincial significance,” writes Natalie Bull, HCF’s Executive Director. “FedDev Ontario is unwilling to accept that the starting point of the environmental screening process be demolition and not building retention, among other alternatives.”

On 2 June, UEM Consulting released a memorandum outlining the key issues and recommendations in the FedDev Ontario review of the Environmental Assessment for the Demolition and Slope Stabilization of the South Side of Colborne Street (35-151). In it, FedDev Ontario requested an “analysis that contemplates all alternative options... including consideration of options other than demolition.” This would require a detailed Heritage Impact Assessment consistent with, among other things, the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Culture’s Toolkit for the Evaluation of Properties, a Stage II Archaeological Assessment, to be approved by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, and an extensive public consultation program.

In response to these recommendations the City has drafted a bylaw set to go before City Council on Monday June 7th which will enable the immediate demolition of the buildings entirely at civic expense, circumventing the opportunity for consultation and debate about the future of this historic row. The proposed bylaw states that “The City shall accept the grant monies with thanks if and when they are received, but in the meantime shall precede without any dependence or reliance on the receipt of the grant monies from the Federal Government...”

The Minister’s intervention in the form of a Stop Order (OHA sect. 35.2) would allow
60 days for the Ministry to prepare a study to determine the cultural heritage value of the properties.

The Heritage Canada Foundation is a registered charity and voluntary organization created in 1973 as Canada’s National Trust to encourage the conservation and use of heritage buildings and historic places for the benefit of all Canadians.

For copies of HCF’s letter to Minister Chan; the UEM Consulting Memorandum; an excerpt of the proposed bylaw; and further information, contact:
Carolyn Quinn, Director of Communications, Phone: 613-237-1066 x. 4; Cell: 613-797-7206
cquinn@heritagecanada.org


5. Toronto Historical Association: Questions for Mayoralty Candidates
Toronto Historical Association

We Want To Hear Your Views on the State Of Heritage in 2010 Toronto
In September, Heritage Toronto, in partnership with the Toronto Historical Association, will be hosting a mayoral candidates’ debate on heritage issues.

To get ready for this, we want to hear from all those involved in the heritage community to get your views on the state of heritage preservation in Toronto. Do you think the city’s current system provides adequate protection of the city’s heritage and, if not, how could it be improved?

A summary of these consultations will be prepared, and used as background information for the debate. We will also circulate the report to the media. Representatives of local heritage organizations will be invited to participate in a consultation session in their area. To help guide the discussions, we have prepared the following questions, but participants should feel comfortable in raising any other heritage related issues that we may have missed.


What comes to mind when you hear “heritage property”?

Why is the preservation of heritage buildings important to you? What do you see as the value to the community of preservation of heritage properties?


Do you think that Toronto’s built and natural heritage features are: a) adequately identified, and b) adequately protected? If not, what do you think should be done to improve the situation?

How do you think Toronto compares to other North American cities in its efforts to preserve its heritage? And do you have any examples of best practices that Toronto could adopt?

What do you think is the single most important action that the city could do to encourage heritage preservation in Toronto?

Do you have examples in your neighbourhood of loss of heritage that you think should have been saved? If so, what would have been needed to change the outcome? If you live in an HCD, do you think that the HCD designation has provided your neighbourhood with the protection that you anticipated?


What changes would you make to the current system as it pertains to heritage protection?


 

Editor's Note:
This struck me as a set of questions that should be directed to every candidate running in the fall elections. Look to the Guelph Civic League to show how to track voting records of your existing councillors on heritage, and how to present the answers of candidates. If you are a charitable organization you can't back particular candidates, but you can certainly present comparitive information and let voters make up their minds. Over the summer when campaigns are a bit quiet is a good time to start calling candidates to get their views. Time to clear out Ontario of councillors who are prepared to sacrifice the unique fabric of our towns to questionable development pressures!


6. Naval Historic Sites, Ontario Street and Princess Street are City's latest free self-guided tours
City of Kingston

KINGSTON, ONT. / June 8, 2010 - The City is now offering three new free self-guided historic tours in both English and French:


- Two new historic walking tours - one of lower Ontario Street and another of the lower parts of Princess and Brock Streets - offer strollers rich background information on heritage buildings in Kingston's beautiful downtown core.

- A Naval Historic Sites tour pointing participants in the direction of sites like Fort Frontenac, Fort Frederick, the Royal Naval Dockyard, Fort Henry, the Kingston Armoury, Navy Memorial Park and the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes.

"The average age of the buildings on these two tours [Ontario Street and Princess/Brock Street tours] is about 160 years. Many of these buildings retain their original street level facades and everyone knows them to be 'old'. But look up! Even those buildings with modern facades at street level reveal their age and beauty in their upper stories," says John Duerkop of the Municipal Heritage Committee.

The tours are the latest editions of the very popular free self-guided tour series produced by the City with considerable help, guidance and expertise from members of the Municipal Heritage Committee.

Commanding Officer Susan B. Long-Poucher of the HMCS Cataraqui notes:

"Kingston has a rich and vibrant naval history that is often overshadowed by today's large army presence. It's important that local Kingstonians and visitors alike have an opportunity to learn of and explore this heritage. So much of Kingston was shaped by the evolution of a naval presence. Today the navy continues as HMCS Cataraqui, Kingston's Naval Reserve Division, located on the shores of the Cataraqui River. We're delighted to be partners in the production of this historic sites brochure and hope it contributes to a deeper appreciation of Kingston's naval roots."

Last year, the City produced four free Historic Walking Tours including ones that take visitors down Earl, King and Wellington Streets and one that focuses specifically on the architecture of John and Joseph Power.

Both French and English versions of all seven tours are available FREE at the Visitor Information Centre, or can be downloaded at www.cityofkingston.ca/walkingtours. Please note that the Naval Site tour is self-guided, but, unlike the other tours in the series, is not considered (or called) a walking tour as it involves longer distances.


7. DFO Declares All Lighthouses Surplus Undermining Intent of New Act
Heritage Canada News Release

Ottawa, ON – June 10, 2010 – The Heritage Canada Foundation (HCF) is deeply disappointed to learn that the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has declared surplus all of its active and inactive lighthouses, numbering close to 1,000. The move undermines the intent of the new Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act (HLPA), leaving the door open to their abandonment and demolition by neglect.

The intent of the HLPA is “to conserve and protect heritage lighthouses”—legislation that elected officials, HCF, the Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society, and other groups across Canada worked tirelessly to enact for over 10 years.

Passed into law in 2008 and only recently brought into force, the HLPA recognizes that lighthouses form “an integral part of Canada’s identity, culture and history” and that measures are needed to protect them for posterity. The Act establishes a process to: select and designate federally-owned heritage lighthouses; prevent their unauthorized alteration and disposal; require their maintenance by the federal government; and facilitate sales or transfers in order to ensure their continuing public purpose.

However the Act excludes lighthouses that are declared surplus from being designated unless a community group or private owner commits to acquire them and protect their heritage character. The impact of DFO now declaring all its lighthouses surplus effectively emasculates the HLPA and shifts the responsibility for their protection entirely onto local communities.

Lighthouse divesture was a component of the Act, but never the principle intent.

HCF calls on communities across Canada to petition for the heritage designation of lighthouses regardless of their “surplus” status, and urges the Minister of the Environment to ensure the full intent of the Act is adhered to.

The Heritage Canada Foundation is a registered charity and voluntary organization created in 1973 as Canada’s National Trust to encourage the conservation and use of heritage buildings and historic places for the benefit of all Canadians.

Contact:
Carolyn Quinn, Director of Communications: cquinn@heritagecanada.org.
Telephone: 613-237-1066 ext. 229; Cell: 613-797-7206

To be removed from the mailing list, send us an email with the word “unsubscribe” in the subject box.


8. Rosario Marchese Introduces Bill to Protect Views of Queen's Park
Ontario Hansard

PRESERVING THE DIGNITY
OF THE ONTARIO LEGISLATIVE
BUILDING ACT, 2010 /
LOI DE 2010 SUR LA PRÉSERVATION
DE LA DIGNITÉ DE L'ÉDIFICE
DE L'ASSEMBLÉE LÉGISLATIVE
DE L'ONTARIO

Mr. Marchese moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 95, An Act to prohibit the construction of certain buildings north of the Legislative Building at Queen's Park / Projet de loi 95, Loi interdisant la construction de certains bâtiments au nord de l'Édifice de l'Assemblée législative à Queen's Park.

*The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters):* Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

/First reading agreed to./

*The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters):* The member for a short statement.

*Mr. Rosario Marchese:* The bill prohibits the construction of a building or structure if any part of it is visible above the roof of the legislative building at Queen's Park when viewed by a person standing at the intersection of Queen Street West and University Avenue. The bill also renders any decision or order of the Ontario Municipal Board that would permit such construction void, including any decision or order made after January 1, 2010.

Editor's Note:
This Bill was introduced on the last day of the Spring sitting. Nothing further will happen before the House comes back in the Fall. Private Members Bills rarely move forward unless all party support is obtained. Contact your MPP to support the Marchese Bill. More later.


9. Michael Vaughan Commentary on Marchese Bill
Michael Vaughan

Rosario Marchese as Minister [of Culture during the Rae government], was the strongest Ministerial supporter of heritage preservation that I remember. Our thanks must go out to him for this initiative.


Rather than bemoan what has happened, [OMB Decision to Permit Highrise Development at 21 Avenue Road] it is important to understand why it has happened.


The Province generally defers heritage decisions to municipalities. That is wrong, at least in my view, but it is politically convenient. Our municipality [Toronto] has no meaningful or effective official plan policies addressing heritage preservation, let alone views, so the City planners have nothing to hang their hats on in making recommendations.


The heritage preservation policies in the Provincial Policy Statement are so brief and skeletal in comparison with the other policies that they convey a clear message that heritage is a very low and subordinate Provincial policy.


The OMB is bound to make its decisions based on the applicable, approved, written down, government policies. It does not and must not make up its own policies. If it were to do so, can you imagine the uproar?

In order to get the decision you want from any approval system, it is essential to know how that system works. The OMB is the tribunal that we have at the moment and the one we will have for the foreseeable future. Not only is it the only tribunal we have but, in my view, it is the right tribunal because it is skilled in weighing competing points of view in the public interest, including planning and so on. The Kelvingrove decision illustrates this. Of course the OMB is an "adjudicator" and an "arbiter" but it does not simply adjudicate or arbitrate disputes between parties. It has an overriding obligation to make decisions in the public interest and it tries to do so.

The way the Board determines the public interest; the way it must, in our democratic system determine the public interest, is to have close regard to the policy documents setting out the public interests that are articulated and specified in the written policies of the elected governments. That includes the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto. Our issue is not with the OMB, but rather with the heritage policies, or lack thereof, that our set out in the City of Toronto official plan, and to some extent in the Provincial Policy Statement.

The City's official plan is around one inch thick. The heritage "policies" in it are less than two pages long. They deal *only *with the City's internal processes of listing and designating properties and heritage conservation districts and dealing with City owned buildings. There is no policy whatsoever that heritage buildings or heritage conservation districts, views etc. should be preserved. The "policies" are just an internal procedural guide, not a land use or preservation policy.

It is clear to anyone reading the document, including the OMB, that it is not the policy of the City that heritage properties themselves should be protected and preserved. The City's policy is simply that the City should list and designate buildings so that the Ontario Heritage Act can apply. There is not and never will be enough staff to do that. The entire listing and designation process set out in the Ontario Heritage Act assumes that, at any given point, not all heritage properties will be designated. We know that to be true.

In these circumstances the City's official plan heritage policies are astonishing and telling in their silence.

In our system where democratically elected governments determine policies that the Board applies, the outcome of many heritage battles is therefore pretty well determined in advance.

This City has a long history of activist citizens groups which over time have dramatically altered the physical form of the City that was desired by the then elected officials of the City. Stopping the Spadina Expressway and the Crosstown Expressway, stopping the St Jamestownization of King-Spadina are only a few of many many examples.

The time has come for the heritage community to get busy doing what matters and that is crafting or commissioning the crafting of the heritage protection policies that we so sorely need.


What is needed is for someone to draft up a set of heritage policies for the official plan that the City could adopt. Then we could try to get the City to adopt those policies, failing which we could make a formal application for an official plan amendment and appeal it if necessary.


The second thing that would be very helpful in this case is for the Speaker to commission heritage policies that would protect Queen's Park. These could be Provincial policies and/or could be put in to the City's official plan.


The third thing we could do is appeal the height limits in the City's new zoning By-law around Queen's Park including the subject site. To do this someone needs to make written or oral submissions to the June 8th and 9th Council meeting which would buy time and give us or the Speaker another kick at the can before the OMB by which time appropriate policies might be in place.
It is unlikely that we can change how the system works. What is much, much easier though, is to feed it the policies that will generate heritage outcomes that are in the public interest. This is the course of action that is needed.


10. blogTO: The Brick Works Remembered
Jonathan Castellino

The Don Valley Brick Works Remembered

Click here for Link


11. Waterloo Record: Lang Tannery
Rose Simone

Digital media will soon come alive in the Lang Tannery building

KITCHENER — A century ago, it was a thriving hub of leather exports for the British Empire.

Now the main Lang Tannery building on Charles Street is coming back to life with workers again, as digital media centre businesses move into the space.

On Wednesday, politicians and high-tech company officials got a “sneak preview” of the transformation that is rapidly taking place inside the main tannery building as Toronto developer Cadan Inc. continues the $30 million redevelopment of the tannery complex that has been underway for three years now.

The Hub, the name given to the Communitech Digital Media and Mobile Accelerator centre, will be moving into 30,000 square feet of the building in July.

It will house early stage companies developing new digital media products. Established local technology companies such as Christie Digital, Research In Motion and Agfa Healthcare will also use the space to showcase their technology and collaborate with talented people in those early stage companies.

Meanwhile, Desire2learn, an e-learning software company in Kitchener, will be moving into the third and fourth floors of the building in August. John Baker, the founder and chief executive of Desire2learn, said the staff is excited.

Click here for Link


12. Globe and Mail: First Canadian Place Makeover

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/toronto/the-reichmanns-dreams-of-glory-dismantled-one-panel-at-a-time/article1593108/

from Globe and Mail

Anthony Reinhart
From Saturday's Globe and Mail
Published on Friday, Jun. 04, 2010 7:24PM EDT
Last updated on Friday, Jun. 04, 2010 8:04PM EDT
For 506 years, 369 of them outdoors, Michelangelo’s David has endured as a masterpiece carved from soft Italian stone.

First Canadian Place, just 35, hasn’t aged quite as gracefully. Canada’s tallest corporate tower might boast some of the best bones on Bay Street, but the 72-storey building – clad in the same Carrara marble that produced David – has a serious skin problem.

Thus begins one of the most extensive high-rise makeovers the country has seen: a $100-million-plus project that includes exfoliation of all 4,000 tonnes of the tower’s marble, and its replacement with sleek, white-patterned panels of multilayered glass.

The goal of owner Brookfield Properties, which took The Globe and Mail on an exclusive tour this week, is to deliver a brighter, lighter and greener building with minimal disruption to tenants, the largest of which is Bank of Montreal, whose head offices occupy 30 floors.

Click here for Link


13. Globe and Mail: First Canadian Place Makeover

video

Click here for Link


14. Toronto City: Red is the Winner, St. Lawrence Market Competition

Click here for Link


15. Toronto Star: David Brown - Dundas St. E. Houses Renovated as Social Housing
Joe Fiorito

Old houses are new homes for native people

David Brown used to own a couple of old Victorians on Dundas E. He ran them as rooming houses. Here’s why he’s my favourite landlord:

I had been writing about bedbugs a while back, and he called to say he’d cleaned them out of his buildings. I was impressed, and also curious, so he invited me over to show me how he’d done it:

He sealed cracks, laid down diatomaceous earth and insecticide powder, made rapid repairs, replaced any and all rot, and when a room was vacant and there was a chance to renovate, he made that room as neat and bright, as tightly sealed and bug-proof as is humanly possible.

He did not have to do this; he did it because it is the right thing to do, which is why he is my favourite landlord.

He called again recently to say he’d sold his old houses and bought three in a row, quite similar, a few doors up the street; he was just finishing a gut reno, and he had a nifty plan for renting out the rooms, and did I want to drop by again?

Click here for Link


16. Toronto Star: Demolition imminent in Brantford
Raveena Aulakh

Brantford

Brantford Main Street, photo Catherine Nasmith

It’s not the end just yet — but it’s ominously close.

Forty one buildings in Brantford’s small downtown core — some as old as 170 years old — could be rubble on Tuesday if the town’s council votes, as expected, in favour of the demolition.

“I am hopeful that on Monday night, the council will unanimously agree to demolish these buildings so that we can get a fresh start,” said Mark Littell, a councillor. “These buildings are in a terrible, terrible shape . . . they need to go.”

But the province’s heritage and architectural experts are asking Michael Chan, Ontario’s minister of tourism and culture, to intervene and issue a stop-work order.

“These buildings were part of the birth of commerce and industry in Ontario,” said Lloyd Alter of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario. “They should be preserved.”

If the bulldozers are out on Tuesday morning, “they will face a serious number of people too,” said Alter. “We’ll fight for them.”

The battle for Brantford’s buildings, a three-block stretch of south Colborne St. where the businesses outnumber drug dealers and prostitutes, started a few months ago.

In 2008, the city council spent $11.5 million to expropriate 80 buildings from 42 owners and resettle businesses and residents. Littell says there were no business proposals forthcoming for the strip, so the council voted in favour of demolition on Jan. 7.

A few days later, the federal government stepped in and offered $1.3 million grant to assist in demolition under the Southern Ontario Developmental Fund. The government wanted an environmental assessment done, said Littell. “We did everything but were told in May it wasn’t enough,” he said. “What they wanted would have cost us $400,000. We don’t want that.”

The council will meet on Monday night and on the agenda is a vote on demolition. Previously, six councillors have voted in favour of demolition, five against it.

Littell says there is interest in the neighbourhood if it’s cleaned up.

SC Johnson, manufacturers of household cleaning products and other things, has given $1 million to Wilfrid Laurier University, Brantford campus and of that, $250,000 is for a YMCA, said Littell.

Click here for Link


17. Brantford News.com: Goodbye South Colborne Street

Colborne demolition underway

At 10:50 a.m. on Tuesday morning, a high-reach excavator knocked out the southwest upper corner of 35-37 Colborne Street and the demolition of the south side began.

About two dozen onlookers and media organizations from across southern Ontario gathered to witness the first bricks fall on the expropriated south side.

The doorway to immediate demolition was opened with an 8-3 council vote on Monday night to proceed without waiting on a $1.38-million federal grant to pay for tearing down the buildings.

South side of Colborne Street task force chair Mark Littell joined the crowd about 20 minutes into the demolition work by contractor AIM Waste Management.

“Finally,” Littell said. “The city has been waiting 30 years for something to happen and finally it is happening.”

As the excavator peeled through the upper floors of the first building to fall, those gathered to witness the historic moment had mixed emotions.

“I can feel this in my gut,” Jim Bartlett said. “I’ve lived in Brantford all my life and it just gets me.”

A young man in his 20s who didn’t break stride as he walked past the scene shouted “Goodbye to the ghetto!”

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:depressing photos, such a waste


18. Ottawa Business Journal: City appoints design panel to examine convent redevelopment plans
OBJ Staff

The City of Ottawa announced Monday it will appoint a panel of urban design experts to review redevelopment plans for the former Sisters of the Visitation property at 114 Richmond Rd.

 

The property has been the subject of intense wrangling since it was purchased by developer Ashcroft Homes for $12.7 million, which unveiled its redevelopment plans – which included plans for a 12-storey mixed-use building, a nine-storey hotel and condo building and five-storey seniors residence – alongside architect Roderick Lahey in March.

“This type of panel is the first of its kind in Ottawa and will be part of the efforts we take to ensure that any development of this site respects the site’s heritage and the principles of sound intensification as developed in the community plan,” said Kitchissippi Ward Councillor Christine Leadman, in a statement released by the City of Ottawa on Monday.

Click here for Link


19. NORTHUMBERLAND NEWS: Possible resurrection for Port Hope landmark
Karen Lloyd

PORT HOPE -- Revitalizing community spirit one brick at a time, Rod Stewart is focused on Port Hope's biggest eye sore and the remains of a factory long gone. Describing the Cavan Street's former Nicholson File Factory as a "beached whale" to Port Hope's Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (ACO) members, Mr. Stewart has put forth a recommendation (and a challenge) to transform the spacious and airy, but badly bruised collection of industrial buildings into loft condominium housing. With a robust architectural character that could never be recreated in today's economy, the old factory stretches along the Ganaraska River -- on one of the most desirable plots of land in Port Hope -- with a uniform front and scores of windows that give it a unique Dickensian 19th-century feel. "Authenticity is one thing that we have here in spades," said Mr. Stewart. "(The building) is inherently precious for that reason." Although the property has been listed on the market for years, there hasn't been any kind of private sector investor willing to solve the problem of the old file factory, he pointed out. The cost of the restoring the building is enormous, and the risks are large. A misfortune that sometimes comes with age, the old life blood of Port Hope is now a victim of both neglect and abuse, protected only by the ivy that covers its fallen bricks and cracked windows.

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20. Manitoulin Expositor: Impact of DFO on Bruce and Manitoulin Lighthouses
Jim Moodie, forwarded by Eric Rogers

Coast Guard deems over 900 lighthouses surplus to its needs

All of Manitoulin's beacons cited as redundant structures


LAKE HURON--The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is poised to unload nearly 1,000 lighthouses, including all of those on Manitoulin, plus most others on Lake Huron.

This shocker was quietly tucked into in a little-read notice posted at the DFO website late last month regarding the rollout of the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act, which came into force on May 29.

This new legislation, which allows communities to nominate beacons for a stricter type of protected status, requires that "all federal ministers who administer lighthouses" provide "a list of all lighthouses that are surplus to operational requirements," according to Parks Canada, which oversees the heritage program.

Parks Canada itself owns several lighthouses five of which, including the Point Clark tower near Goderich, are commemorated as national historic sites"and it has assured that none of these will be jettisoned.

The vast majority of towers in the country, however, belong to Fisheries and Oceans, with maintenance provided through the Coast Guard. And the great bulk of those, judging by the whopping list of superfluous structures that was recently posted by DFO, it spans 29 pages when printed from the website, now seem to be up for grabs.

Fisheries and Oceans "has declared approximately 480 active lighthouses and approximately 490 inactive lighthouses across Canada surplus to its needs," reads the release. "Under the new Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act, these properties can be transferred to new owners wishing to take advantage of their heritage designation or tourism potential."

Among the lighthouses DFO wishes to divest itself of are such Manitoulin staples as Strawberry Island, Janet Head, Mississagi Strait, Manitowaning, Kagawong, the South Baymouth range lights, and the tower at Great Duck Island. The beacon at Lonely Island is on the list too, as are Killarney's lights, not to mention the one at Badgeley Island.

Even Cove Island, the famous cylinder glimpsed from the Chi-Cheemaun, is on the block. Ditto for the Lion's Head lighthouse on the Bruce Peninsula.

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21. Globe and Mail: Wiinipeg: Barber House Fire
Patrick White

Winnipegs historic Barber House damaged in suspected arson

Globe and Mail Photo

Known as city’s oldest wooden home, 150-year-old dwelling suffers $200,000 damage to its roof and interior.

It shortchanges Barber House to say that the modest structure was a century-and-a-half old before suspected arson eviscerated $200,000 worth of its roof and interior Monday morning.

Perhaps this does it more justice: When workers first laid the home’s oak timbers in the New France style, Louis Riel was just a Montreal seminary student, John A. Macdonald was just a politician and Queen Victoria was just 25 years into her 63-year reign. Abraham Lincoln was freeing the slaves and the site of present-day Winnipeg numbered under 1,000 souls.

In the years since, the dwelling, commonly referred to as the city’s oldest wooden home, has been through nine major Red River floods, three fires and the vagaries of city planners who have a tendency to flatten historic buildings.


22. The Sunday Herald: Restoration in Halifax

Gardens, Dingle to get facelift

Two of Halifax's National Historic Sites are getting $1.35-million worth of restoration work.


The Memorial (Dingle) Tower on the Northwest Arm and the Public Gardens downtown are getting $850,000 and $500,000 respectively for the work. The municipality and the federal government are splitting the costs evenly through the National Historic Sites of Canada Cost-Sharing Program.

The Dingle Tower will have its exterior masonry refurbished, and plaques will be restored and stabilized inside the tower and elsewhere.
The Public Gardens bandstand, which was constructed in 1887, is going to be stabilized and improved cosmetically.


Federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice, who is responsible for Parks Canada, announced the federal funding Friday.


Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly said the money will make sure the landmarks last.

"This support will help us ensure these much-loved treasures are enjoyed by future generations," he said.


He said the projects have to go out for tender before the actual work begins, but they will be finished this year.


Noting that Halifax city hall will likely need a $6-million to $8-million upgrade, he said it's important to make timely investments to protect older properties to ensure they survive.


23. Globe and Mail: Development Compensation for Heritage Tree
Frances Bula

Vancouver Council being asked to agree the tree is so precious that land developer should get special compensation for working around it

The tree in question, Globe and Mail photo

In a city renowned for its lush greenery, the tulip tree on Harwood Street in Vancouver’s West End still stands out as a rare work of natural art.

At 120 feet, it’s the tallest deciduous tree in town and, at approximately 107 years, one of the oldest.

The tree may also generate one of Vancouver’s most unusual heritage-protection arrangements, if city councillors this week agree that it’s so precious the developer who owns the land should get special compensation for working around it. The arrangement would allow the developer to build a condo tower six floors higher than zoning allows, up to 18 storeys.

That would be a first for any tree in the city. The deal would be even more unusual in the annals of heritage preservation because nearly half of the tree’s roots are on a neighbouring property where the owner won’t commit to a legal agreement to protect the tree.

“There is no precedent for this,” Vancouver heritage planner Yardley McNeill said. “This is the first time we’ve had anything remotely like this, and that necessitated this enormous bonus.”

The architects trying to preserve the tree say city councillors need to figure out what their priority is. “The city has to decide now where its values are,” architect Michael Heeney of Bing Thom Architects said. “You can’t just replace these 100-year-old trees.”

The tree saga started six years ago when the then-owner of the land, Dorothy Fuchs, contacted Mr. Thom for help in ensuring that her 1903 house and tree, on a lot just over three times the size of a normal residential property in Vancouver, were preserved. Tulip trees are native to eastern hardwood forests, not B.C., and Ms. Fuchs, who knew she was dying of cancer, wanted to make sure the future of the rare specimen and the rest of her estate were in order.

Mr. Thom and Mr. Heeney started the work to get a heritage agreement with the city so that any future owner would receive a density bonus – extra space beyond what normal zoning would allow – for any new development, in exchange for preserving the house, garden and tree. That density would be needed to offset the extra cost for underground parking, which would have be built around the tree’s enormous root ball, Mr. Heeney said.

After Ms. Fuchs’s death, the property was bought by a client Mr. Thom found, West Vancouver resident Kai Yan Dan, who was willing to try to work with the city to save the tree.

But city staff became concerned when the next-door neighbour, Mary Wong, whose $2-million parcel of land is home to 40 per cent of the root ball, wouldn’t commit to a legal agreement to preserve the part of the tree on her land.

As Ms. McNeill’s report notes, even after giving away six floors of building space to the developer, “the city could find itself in a circumstance whereby only part of the resource is protected, which would further diminish the long-term assurance of its survival.”

The city has given dozens of developers density bonuses in the past to protect various pieces of Vancouver’s scarce heritage, including for sites with heritage houses plus trees, or for granite walls.

This is the first that involves a tree on two different pieces of property, so what councillors will be asked to approve is a general principle stating that they are willing to give one owner a bonus in return for preserving a “landscape resource” on the heritage list, even if another owner is not willing to make the same deal.

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24. John Lorinc Looking for Background on R.C. Harris

I am looking for any type of information on the life of former City of Toronto works commissioner R.C. Harris as part of a long-term research project. These could include personal correspondence and photographs, but also anecdotes, either direct or handed down. As well, I am interested in interviewing anyone who might have been an employee of the city during his tenure. He held the post from 1912 to 1945. Please feel free to contact me any time at 416-651-7369 or by email, lorinc@rogers.com