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Issue No. 169 | November 30, 2010


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Feature Stories

  1. Preserving the Dignity of Queen's Park
  2. ACO Comments on the Provincial Policy Statement
  3. Provincial Policy Statement: Proposed Wording Changes
  4. Lloyd Alter, ACO President Responds to Kelvin Browne
  5. National Post : The hounds of heritage
  6. ERA Architects: North York Modernist Architecture Revisited
  7. Planetizen: Perfection Invites Destruction: Paris gets Toweritis
  8. TObuilt: Back Online
  9. Can you Help Fund Research into R.C. Harris?


Fort York: Dorothy Duncan Speaks
December 6
+ read

Ontario Association of Heritage Professionals Annual December Social
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
+ read

The Don Valley Art Club Exhibition and Sale, Todmorden Mills Museum, 67 Pottery Rd.
November 27, 2010
+ read

Courses: U Vic
March 21- 26, 2011/
+ read

Heritage Resources Centre
June 20-25, 2011
+ read

Descours: New Orleans
Dec 3-11
+ read

High Performance
November 23-January 9, 2011
+ read


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Built Heritage News Sponsors


1. Preserving the Dignity of Queen's Park
Rosario Marchese, MPP Trinity Spadina

Editorial Cartoon from Toronto Star--no joke though
Rosario Marchese

I recently received a number of inquiries regarding my private member’s bill, the Preserving the Dignity of the Ontario Legislative Building Act (Bill 95).

A developer has plans to tear down the Four Seasons Hotel at the corner of Bloor Street and Avenue Road and build two large condo towers in its place. My bill would ensure that the beautiful, historic view of Queen’s Park is not obstructed by this or any other future developments.

Bill 95 is currently awaiting Second Reading and I encourage you to contact the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and Premier McGuinty’s office to demand the government’s support for this piece of legislation.

I also wanted to let you know about another effort being made to stop this development. Speaker Steve Peters, on behalf of the Legislative Assembly, is championing the preservation of this historic building and its surroundings. Having launched an unsuccessful challenge with the Ontario Municipal Board, Speaker Peters is now taking his fight to Divisional Court. An initial hearing took place November 18. The decision will be released any day.

If you are concerned about protecting this remarkable piece of Toronto’s history, please write to your local MPP, the Premier and the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Rick Bartolucci. Let them know that you support my bill and the Speaker’s legal efforts.

Thank you for your support.


Hon. Rick Bartolucci
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
17th Floor
777 Bay Street
Toronto, Ontario
M5G 2E5 

Hon. Dalton McGuinty
Room 281, Main Legislative Building
Queens Park
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 1A1




Editor's Note:
I urge all BHN subscribers to email both Rick Bartolucci, Dalton McGuinty, and also call your local MPP. The city and the province need to work together to prevent such damage.

2. Landsdown Partnership Plan
Heritage Canada News Release


For the past two years the City of Ottawa has been working on plans to redevelop Lansdowne Park. What began as a general call for proposals for the project very soon changed to support for a single unsolicited bid by the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group to enter into an agreement with the City to rebuild portions of Frank Clair Stadium, build an urban mixed-use area consisting of retail and residential facilities and develop the eastern portion of the site as an urban park.

Heritage Ottawa has consistently express its strong support for an open competition for the entire site and to insist that whatever is developed recognize the letter and spirit of the heritage designation which the City conveyed on both the Aberdeen Pavilion and the Horticulture Building. Our various submissions to committees and council and our press releases have been regularly posted to our website or appeared in various editions of our Newsletter

It is now our contention that throughout this process, the City has acted in bad faith. They did not commission a heritage assessment of the site until after they had decided to relocate the Horticulture Building and ignore the Ontario Heritage Trust easement agreement on the Aberdeen Pavilion. The Cultural Heritage Impact Statement for the site, prepared in September seeks to justify a deal that the City already negotiated with OSEG and does not focus on what is best for the buildings themselves. The much-vaunted Design Review Panel has even been complicit in this.

Council has already approved a rezoning for the site and on November 24th the out-going “lame-duck” council is poised to approve the Integrated Site Plan for the project which will, among other things, recommend the relocation of the Horticulture Building and changes to the legal easements that the City negotiated with the Ontario Heritage Trust in the 1990’s. Our position on these matters is outlined in my submission to the Ottawa Built Heritage Advisory Committee (OBHAC) on November 4th, 2010:

On Friday, November 19th, Council, meeting as Committee of the Whole, will hear delegations on the Integrated Site Plan. This is our last chance to prevent the relocation of the Horticulture Building and to let the Mayor and Councillors know what we think of the project. Heritage Ottawa will be making a submission to Committee of the Whole, similar to our presentation to OBHAC and I urge all members who support our position to write to the Mayor and their Councillor expressing support for the retention of the built heritage of Lansdowne Park.

Other groups are offering different alternatives to the OSEG proposal. Also, there are currently14 appeals to the Ontario Municipal Board on the re-zoning and one court challenge on various aspects of the Lansdowne Partnership Plan and the procedures adopted by the City. While the Heritage Ottawa Board of Directors recognizes that there is some merit in these approaches, we have decided to focus on support for retaining the two heritage buildings in situ and have constantly worked to integrate heritage priorities into the OSEG plans because that would produce the richest and most attractive design.

I would however recommend that you consider the approaches proposed by the Friends of Lansdowne Park and the Lansdowne Park Conservancy in drafting your comments to the Mayor and your Councillor:

Friends of Lansdowne Park:
Lansdowne Park Conservancy:

Please copy any correspondence with the Mayor and your Councillor to:

Thank you for your consideration of this important matter.

David B. Flemming
Heritage Ottawa

3. The John Street Roundhouse, Anything is Possible.
Don Loucks, Heritage Architect (IBI Group Architects)

The John Street Roundhouse & Park, lit up on an autumn night in 2009. (Photo © Norm Betts)

In 2008, during the official re-opening ceremony, Torontos [former] mayor, David Miller called the John Street Roundhouse the most extraordinary adaptive reuse of a heritage building, probably in Canada...

Located in downtown Toronto, this 32-bay, Douglasfir, glass and brick engine house was built by the CPR in 1929 and at its peak serviced 60 locomotive train engines a day. It was in continuous service through the steam and diesel eras until the doors were closed in 1988.

The Roundhouse site was an underused and eventually derelict industrial remnant for decades. In 1995, the Metro Toronto Convention Centre constructed an expanded facility below a large portion of the site. Steam Whistle Brewing moved in to bays 1-11 shortly after, in 1999.

The approach IBI Group used to revitalize the Roundhouse was to balance the preservation of the heritage fabric with the requirements for a retail furniture showroom and railway museum, surrounded by an urban park. Terry Leon had the vision to commit to a new kind of Leons Furniture store within a heritage space that would be a laboratory, for testing their urban furnishings.

The design ideas and interventions were based on three principles:

1. The careful restoration and rehabilitation of the heritage fabric  rebuilding engine doors and windows, nonabrasive cleaning of wood and brick, the reinstatement of the turntable, the replacement of all the courtyard radial tracks and brick paving.

2. Environmental sustainability  adaptive reuse, a new insulated roof, a new interior curtain wall behind the engine doors and the use of district steam heat and deep water cooling.

3. The principal of reversibility  engine pit covers, a removable concrete floor slab, minimal penetrations of the original fabric.

Over the past several years the revitalization of the Roundhouse and park has coincided with the redevelopment of the surrounding railway lands. Along with the carefully restored Roundhouse building, the site is populated with a community of Toronto railway artefacts which have been rehabilitated and restored. The Coal & Sanding Tower and Water Tower were moved to their present location. Cabin D and Don Station were extensively restored and will become an integral experience in the Toronto Railway Heritage Centre.

Today the iconic circular form of the Roundhouse creates a centre for a vibrant, new urban neighbourhood, and its new uses animate this place'. The complex layering of adaptive reuse will continue with the construction of a Toronto Hydro substation next to, and below the Roundhouse.

4. Tremont owners feted for restoring former hotel

. From right to left: Bowie Lex, Nina Lex, Christine Cowley (nominated the project) Annette Snowdon (VP of ACO Collingwood), Anke Lex, Richard Lex, Lloyd Alter (president of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario).

Richard and Anke Lex  received the Peter Stokes Award for Restoration at the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario annual awards t in Toronto. The award recognizes exemplary restoration of significant heritage structures, undertaken in accordance with the accepted polices and practices of heritage conservation in Ontario. It's a fitting tribute for the couple, given that Stokes--one of the first full time heritage architects in the province -was involved in the early days of designating Collingwood's downtown as a heritage district.

"We are particularly grateful to receive an award named in honour of Peter Stokes," said Richard Lex. "Mr. Stokes played a vital role in the early development of the Collingwood Heritage District. It was his work in 1981, with the help of architecture students from the University of Waterloo, that surveyed the buildings and provided the background study to what would later become the District."

The couple purchased the building from the Town of Collingwood last year, and have spent the last year restoring the building - built in 1888 by John McCormick--to its original grandeur.

When the couple officially opened the building in September, they acknowledged the work to restore the building--which had fallen into significant disrepair while in the hands of the municipality, and was just about ready for the wrecking ball cost about$1 million.

"Inspired by places like the Distillery District and the Gladstone Hotel, we could see great potential in the Tremont," said Anke Lex. "We also had a pretty good idea that there would be a demand for the space. It was the wonderful encouragement from the community that kept us determined through the challenges."

The building is now home to an art school and a cafe on the ground floor, and artist studio space on the second floor. The top storey has been turned into apartments.

"Rick and Anke's work demonstrates how buildings that are supposedly only fit for demolition can become vibrant cornerstones of a community," said Annette Snowdon, vice-president of the Collingwood chapter of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario. "Colling- wood has a lot to learn from the Tremont restoration. It proves that landmarks should not become landfill: they are a major component of a community's social, economic and environmental sustainability."

According to the awards committee, the Tremont project "raises the bar for the restoration of heritage architecture in Ontario, and will serve as a model for other dreamers across the province."

5. Funding the architectural heritage: A guide to policies and examples
Robert Pickard

What systems can be used for the mobilisation of financial resources for the conservation, restoration, rehabilitation and integrated management of the architectural heritage through area-based regeneration initiatives?

This guide aims to provide authoritative information on different funding mechanisms, financial resources and management systems utilised in Europe and in North America as a means to assist the development of good and efficient practice. Consideration is given to examples relating to three principal forms of financial measures: subsidies (grant aid), loans and tax incentives, as well as specific measures to promote sponsorship through donations by individuals and corporate organisations.

Other revenue-raising methods are investigated, including easement donations and endowment funds, lotteries, concession agreements, monument annuities, the transfer of development rights and enabling development, and through the support of international organisations such as the World Monument Fund, the World Bank, the Council of Europe Development Bank and the European Union. Further consideration is given to the role of non-profit and other organisations operating for the benefit of the architectural heritage such as revolving fund organisations, charitable trusts, heritage foundations and limited liability companies.

Author(s) :
Robert Pickard

ISBN : 978-92-871-6498-8
Format : 16 x 24
No. of pages : 198
Price : 25 €/ 50 $
+ 10% postage
To place an order directly

Editor's Note:
Can't afford this one, but is anyone willing to donate a copy to ACO. The info would be great to have.

6. Yukon Journalist, B.C. Heritage Professional and Quebec Community Leader Join Board of Heritage Canada Foundation
Heritage Canada News Release

Ottawa, Ontario, November 5, 2010 - The Heritage Canada Foundation is pleased to announce three important additions to its board of governors: Marc Johnston of Whitehorse, Helen Edwards of Victoria and Richard Bégin of Gatineau. With an extensive career in broadcast journalism Marc Johnston brings a full understanding of media to the Heritage Canada Foundation. His 25 years of broadcast experience have made him well connected with Yukon political personalities and he is well positioned to use these connections for the benefit of heritage issues both in the Yukon and on a national scale. Marc settled in the Yukon in 1996 and today sits on the board of the Yukon Historical and Museums Association and the Klondike Visitors Association. Helen Edwards is a writer, researcher and heritage professional in Victoria, B.C. who has a long-time association with the Hallmark Society and Heritage BC where she was a director for eight years. She is the past-president of the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals and recently completed her third term as president of the Heritage Legacy Fund of BC. Helens contribution to the local heritage field was recognized in 2005 with the Victoria YM/YWCA Woman of Distinction award. In conjunction with his career in the federal government (Public Archives, Foreign Affairs, Privy Council Office) Richard Bégin has headed a range of community, social, heritage, cultural and business organizations over the last 35 years including Tel-Aide Outaouais, Aylmer Heritage Association, Association des professionnels, industriels et commerçants dAylmer and is the president of the Fédération des sociétés dhistoire du Québec, whose 231 affiliates comprise the largest number of history and heritage organizations in Quebec. The City of Gatineau recently awarded Richard its highest distinction, the Ordre de Gatineau. David Bradley of Newfoundland and Labrador returns to the board for a second term and was elected its chair. David is an archivist at Memorial Universitys Maritime History Archive and a former president of the Newfoundland Historical Society. He is the founding and current chair of the Association of Heritage Industries and sits on the board of the Newfoundland Quarterly Foundation. The Heritage Canada Foundation is a national registered charity dedicated to the preservation of Canadas historic places. Your support is vital to our work. Please join or make a tax-deductible donation today. For further information: Carolyn Quinn, Director of Communications, Heritage Canada Foundation Telephone: (613) 237-1066 ext. 229; Cell (613) 797-7206

7. ACO Comments on the Provincial Policy Statement
Lloyd Alter

Here follows letter sent by Lloyd Alter, President of ACO in response to Review of the Provincial Policy Statement:

The Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (ACO) is Ontario’s largest and longest standing charitable organization devoted to the preservation of Ontario’s special places. Founded in 1933, we have branches in 25 Ontario communities and are growing fast. We invite you to visit our website at to learn more about us.

As our primary interest is in the preservation of cultural heritage resources, both built and landscape, we will be commenting on the PPS sections that relate most closely to our objects, ie PPS Sections 2.6.1-3, on Cultural Heritage and Archaeology.

We were enthusiastic advocates for the strengthening of both the Provincial Policy Statement and the Ontario Heritage Act in 2005. Over the past five years we have observed much success, but also some significant failures which require adjustment in the PPS and other pieces of legislation.


Heritage is Green

The ACO has come to understand that cultural conservation and environmental conservation have much in common. Conserving built resources--and as a sub-category, built heritage resources -- conserves environmental resources.
This convergence of interests has been summed up as “the greenest brick is the one already in the wall”, or “Landmarks not Landfill”. “Heritage Conservation Districts are energy conservation districts” summarizes the value of preserving older pre-automobile planned areas. Their compact pedestrian oriented nature is inherently more energy efficient than lower density post-war neighbourhoods. Not only that, but historic buildings, designed prior to the availability of cheap energy, make the best use of solar access, shade, high ceilings, openable windows to achieve comfort levels without the need for air conditioning.

The ACO has been involved in discussions with Heritage Canada, Community Heritage Ontario, The Ontario Heritage Trust, The National Trust for Historic Preservation (U.S.), the Association for Preservation Technologists, the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals, and environmental organizations such as the Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Legal on matters of common interest. Over the past five years almost every conference of any heritage organization has included as its theme or sub theme “Heritage is Green”.

Application and Impact of 2005 PPS and the 2005 Ontario Heritage Act
It is difficult to examine the impact of the PPS on conservation of heritage resources separate from the Ontario Heritage Act that was amended at the same time. Since the strengthening of the Ontario Heritage Act and the PPS with regard to heritage we have observed many municipalities using the new powers extremely effectively. City of Toronto has refused demolition requests for several properties, a notable example being St. Stephen’s in the Field Church on College Street. Because municipalities can refuse applications for demolition many buildings are being repurposed.

Oakville has directed development away from its heritage precincts. Guelph has prepared a new Official Plan that is a model of integration of new development with existing heritage resources. Collingwood has upgraded its Heritage Conservation District Plan. Many communities are working hard to implement more and more Heritage Conservation Districts.

On the other hand the OMB decision regarding redevelopment in the Heritage Conservation District in Port Dalhousie has created a great deal of confusion about the status of pre-existing HCD Plans. In this case the OMB member favoured economic development and intensification over conservation of heritage resources.

Protection for Cultural Heritage Landscapes has not moved ahead as quickly.
The biggest challenge for ACO has been that the application of the new powers has been uneven across Ontario municipalities, resulting in some terrible losses -- the most dramatic being the recent demolition by the municipality of the south side of Colborne Street in Brantford, which included several pre-confederation buildings. A year earlier Alma College in St. Thomas was razed by fire, after years of unconscionable demolition by neglect. Provincial education policies are leading to abandonment, and demolition of many fine school buildings that could and should be repurposed. Churches are disappearing at a rapid pace. The attrition is gradual, but accrues across the province.


What policies of the current PPS are working effectively?

PPS 2.6.1-3 which refer to Cultural Heritage and Archaeology are extremely valuable sections, and should be retained. “Shall be conserved” is extremely clear and helpful language and under no circumstances should it be softened. Some modifications and adjustments to the wording and definitions would enhance protection.

Are there policies that need clarification or refinement?

Catch 22 – Conservation of Heritage Resources is mandatory, but their Identification is not

The PPS requires conservation of cultural resources, (shall be conserved) but does not require their identification. The PPS also directs “shall be conserved” to resources that have been identified.

Because the Ontario Heritage Act is enabling legislation, and does not require either the province or municipalities to participate in identification of heritage resources or their conservation, and the PPS refers to resources that have been identified, municipalities can avoid “shall be conserved” by not participating, or under achieving. This weakness in the Ontario Heritage Act undermines “shall be conserved”.

Many municipalities do not maintain a register of heritage properties. But even when actively pursued, a register can never be considered comprehensive. In municipalities that have been actively listing heritage resources for 30 years there remain vast un-surveyed territories.

As well, as time and research advances, properties that may have not been considered of importance in the past acquire significance. For example, post war properties are now being evaluated. It is therefore impossible to expect “identified” property to capture all that is important to conserve.

Therefore other means to ensure that development does not destroy unidentified resources are needed. Mechanisms might include requiring Heritage Impact Assessments as a normal part of all planning applications, making identification mandatory for both the province and municipalities, and removing municipal identification from the criteria for property that “shall be conserved”. Expanding how and when cultural heritage resources can be identified as part of the definitions would make it clearer it is understood that due diligence exceeds reviewing the municipalities inventory.

PPS definition of significant as it relates to cultural conservation presents a major loophole. It is inadequate and has been subject to much legal debate.

Are there new policy areas or issues that the Province needs to provide land use planning direction on?


Re-use of built resources is far more sustainable than demolition and replacement. Demolition occupies some 20-30% of landfill. Renovation, restoration, and adaptive re-use conserves material resources, provides stability in communities, reduces landfill, and produce twice as much employment per square foot as new construction.

Simply by the number of words devoted to the topics, the PPS places more emphasis on intensification through new construction than on conservation of cultural and environmental resources. The PPS should clearly recognize the environmental benefit of conserving the existing building stock, whether culturally significant or not. The Ontario Building Code more or less gives the right to property owners to demolish, except for property listed or designated under the Ontario Heritage Act. The ACO advises reversal of this emphasis towards repair, and reuse, requiring a strong planning justification prior to the issuance of demolition permits.

Is additional support material needed to help implement the PPS?
As noted above, amendments to the Ontario Heritage Act and the Ontario Building Code are needed to put strong emphasis on the conservation of existing building stock, and requiring durability of new construction. Such emphasis would make the need for a cultural justification as the only means to require conservation.

Do you have any other comments about the PPS?

Oakville has developed a good model for directing “intensification” to sites where it does not conflict with conservation of other resources.
Several decisions of the Ontario Municipal Board have favoured intensification over heritage conservation. Lawyers argue for compromise or “balancing” of the various policies instead of meeting all of them. The PPS needs to state much more clearly that it places the strongest emphasis on conservation of cultural heritage resources.


Appended is an essay on the sustainability theme Waste not, want not: Buildings are not garbage, written by Past President Catherine Nasmith, as well as a document containing some suggested wording to address some of the concerns we have outlined above.


We hope that this submission will lead to ongoing dialogue as the amendments to the PPS are drafted.



Editor's Note:
I worked on this with Lloyd and also Michael Vaughan, Wayne Morgan, Robert Shipley. CHO, and the University of Waterloo also submitted comments.

8. Provincial Policy Statement: Proposed Wording Changes

Appendix B: PPS Some Suggested Wordings

2.6.1 Significant built heritage resources and significant cultural heritage landscapes shall be identified and conserved.

2.6.2—no change

2.6.3 Development and site alteration may be permitted on Affected Lands to protected heritage property where the proposed development and site alteration has been evaluated and it has been demonstrated that the heritage attributes of the protected heritage property will be conserved.

Section 6- Definitions

Affected lands: means for the purposes of policy 2.6.3, those lands contiguous or in close proximity (within at least 120 metres) to a protected heritage property, having visual impact on, or as otherwise defined in the municipal official plan.

Cultural heritage landscape: means a defined geographical area of heritage significance which may have been modified by human activities and is valued by a community. It involves a grouping(s) of individual heritage features such as structures, spaces, archaeological sites and natural elements, which together form a significant type of heritage form distinctive from that of its surrounding landscape. Further, such a landscape may have a heritage value greater than its constituent elements or parts. Examples may include, but are not limited to, heritage conservation districts designated under the Ontario Heritage Act groupings of heritage properties in close proximity that may be included in the municipality's Register of Heritage Properties, and villages, parks, gardens, battlefields, mainstreets and neighbourhoods, cemeteries, trailways and industrial complexes of cultural heritage value.

Protected heritage property: means real property designated under Parts IV, V or VI of the Ontario Heritage Act; heritage conservation easement property under Parts II or IV of the Ontario Heritage Act; a property that is included in the Municipal Register as per Section 27 of the Ontario Heritage Act; a property that has been designated by or has been federally designated as a National Historic Site; a property identified by the Federal government through special legislation, such as railway stations and lighthouses; and a identified as having heritage significance by the Federal Heritage Building Review Office and property that is the subject of a covenant or agreement between the owner of a property and a conservation body or level of government, registered on title and executed with the primary purpose of preserving, conserving and maintaining a cultural heritage feature or resource, or preventing its destruction, demolition or loss.

Conserved: means the identification, protection, use and/or management of cultural heritage and archaeological resources in such a way that their heritage values, attributes and integrity are retained. This may be addressed through a conservation plan or heritage impact assessment. Such plans or assessments must demonstrate whether the resource's cultural heritage values or character as approved or endorsed by a municipality are being retained, improved, adversely impacted or lost by the proposed development Such an assessment or plan may not substitute alternate heritage values or characters for those approved or endorsed by the municipality. in the absence of approved or endorsed statements of heritage value the assessment or plan must document to the municipality's satisfaction the cultural heritage values of the property

Conservation may be encouraged and supported by:

a) 1. legislative incentives including zoning, building code and municipal standards;

2. financial incentives including grants, loans, tax and insurance relief;

• avoiding incentives that encourage deterioration, destruction, demolition or replacement of built heritage resources, including financial and cost penalties of ownership, official plan policies, zoning and development approvals for more valuable uses or structures than the built heritage resources to be destroyed;

• providing disincentives to deterioration demolition of built heritage resources including penalties, use of municipal and government powers to repair and stabilize built heritage resources, zoning and development disincentives to discourage approvals of replacements for demolished built heritage resources.

• adopting and enacting conservation incentives in official plans and zoning by-laws;

• implementing the provisions of the Ontario Heritage Act;

• encouraging the recognition, commemoration and celebration of built heritage resources by supporting plaques, tours, books, articles, academic courses, media coverage, cultural gatherings and events and other means.

Built heritage resources: means one or more significant buildings, structures, monuments, works, installations or remains illustrating, commemorating, manifesting or associated with architectural, cultural, social, political, economic or military history, valued by a community and identified as being important. These resources may have been evaluated against recognized standards of heritage significance such as the Heritage Places Initiative Standards and Guidelines or the Ontario Heritage Act (Regulation 9-06), or may have been judged by qualified experts to possess heritage value. Resources include but are not limited to those identified through designation or heritage conservation easement under the Ontario Heritage Act, or listed by local, provincial or federal jurisdictions. Such identification and evaluation is a continuing process.

Environment – includes the natural and built surrounding in which people and other creatures live

Heritage attributes: means the features, characteristics, context and appearance that contribute to the cultural heritage significance of a protected heritage property.


g) in regard to cultural heritage, built heritage resources and archaeology, resources that are valued for the important contribution they make to our understanding, appreciation and commemoration of the history or cultural value of a place, a built heritage resource, an event, or a people.or they contribute to our appreciation of the built or landscape architecture of a place or an area, and have been identified using evaluation procedures established by the Province, as amended from time to time. Municipal or other approaches to identification and evaluation that achieve or exceed the same objectives may also be used.
While some significant resources have been identified and inventoried by official and other sources, the significance of others have not, but may be determined after assessment and evaluation which is a continuing process.

Site alteration: means activities, such as injuring or destroying vegetation including trees, grading, excavation and the placement of fill that would change the landform and natural vegetative characteristics of a site.

Editor's Note:
This is not fun to read, but if we lose, it is at the OMB where words, and definitions have a huge impact on the outcome.

9. Lloyd Alter, ACO President Responds to Kelvin Browne
Lloyd Alter, originally published in Acorn in a Nutshell

Lloyd Alter, from Acorn in a Nutshell

As President of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, I suppose I am what Kelvin Browne might call a sanctimonious heritage interventionist. And having known Kelvin possibly longer than anyone else in this City, it saddens me to read how he has become mired in the past, stuck in a 20th century view of heritage that most of us have moved beyond.


Fifty years ago, the heritage movement really got its start with battles over Pennsylvania Station in New York and Union Station or Old City Hall in Toronto, those battles that Kelvin still admires. By thirty years ago, those battles were essentially won; postcard heritage is now pretty much safe in Canada.

Forty or so years ago, the battles that preserved those pretty Cabbagetown houses that grace Kelvin's article were won; The city is now full of houses with sealed windows, deteriorating brick and and missing front porches from what he calls "good" preservation. We have learned a lot since then about what makes a good heritage renovation.

Thirty years ago, Toronto did indeed see an outbreak of "façadism". Except where Kelvin calls this a victory for historical special interests, in almost every case it in fact represented failure. Heritage activists at the time could do little but beg for crumbs when important buildings were swept away by developers; Those façades represented defeat, not success. They remain a ridiculous notion of preservation, and in almost every case it came from the developers, not us.

I do not know of the particular house renovation that Kelvin bases this story on, but ten years ago, with civic amalgamation, the gutting of heritage at the City began, to where what is left is understaffed, overworked, and hardly "unconstrained." They don't get to fight very many battles, and they don't get to stop much development in the climate in City Hall of the last few years.

Fifty years ago, heritage was about saving Victorian buildings; the old stuff mattered and nothing else did. In this century, heritage activists realize that buildings evolve and change over time, and that sometimes that insulbrick garage is part of that evolution. If one shared Kelvin's idea of what heritage means, old houses wouldn't have indoor plumbing. But they do, and all of those changes become part of the fabric of the house.

In the last century, we fought to save heritage buildings because they were cute; now we fight because we don't like waste of perfectly good buildings with massive embodied energy, natural ventilation and low operating costs, that are adaptable to almost any use. We don't support just carting them to the dump to replace them with glass towers with almost no opening windows, that will suck energy year round and are environmental nightmares. We don't automatically fall for the "density is good" excuse either; Toronto isn't dense and there are lots of main streets that could be intensified. Paris is very dense and it doesn't have glass towers, or much demolition. They spread it around and they fix what they have.

Most importantly, Heritage is not about a single house and whether or not Kelvin Browne agrees with the stance taken by some heritage official, it is about a principle that the greenest building is the one already standing, that we don't just carelessly throw stuff away and replace it with the latest shiny glass-clad bauble. Kelvin writes "Some heritage officials are sanctimonious. Stopping development makes them feel superior to those trying to build something." No, Kelvin, they are not sanctimonious or superior, sometimes they are right.

21st century heritage is about preserving resilient, adaptable communities that can survive in an era after cheap energy and oil they way they did before it. It is about being more like Paris and less like Dubai. What a shame that so many people like Kelvin are so stuck in the last century, where polluters could pollute, robber barons could rob, and developers could knock down whatever they wanted pretty much free of any control. The rest of us have moved on.

Editor's Note:If you haven't already subscribed to Acorn in a Nutshell, I encourage you to do so. Lloyd is doing a fantastic job covering ACO issues in Ontario.

10. National Post : The hounds of heritage
Kelvin Browne

National Post photo, Preservation can be good, as seen in these heritage Cabbagetown homes

It’s difficult to determine whether it’s the not-in-my backyard ratepayers associations or the interventionist heritage bureaucrats that are the biggest impediment to the imaginative reuse of old buildings. But having recently witnessed what city heritage officials did to an inspired renovation in Toronto, I think I can come to a conclusion: It’s the unconstrained public servants who are most likely to pervert the idea of adaptive reuse.

Heritage buildings are becoming more of an issue as Toronto’s density increases. That our urban core is becoming more intense is a good thing, and certainly better than continued sprawl. Density provides the concentration of people that’s necessary for urban vitality, but it also puts pressure on existing buildings, usually older ones, to adapt themselves to new and higher-density uses.

A decade ago, the very idea of tall was a red flag for city planners in Toronto. A good city, in many planners’ minds, was squat. Though we seem to have gotten over that phobia, heritage has become the latest hurdle to clear as Canadian cities become more dense. The zealots who work in heritage administration (and are part of the building-approval process) only grudgingly admit, if at all, that a city fabric evolves and that density is desirable. Few will acknowledge that not every old structure is worth saving. To them, old equals good; if nothing changes, that’s success.

I haven’t always felt this way about heritage types. After all, they’re the people who saved Union Station and, in smaller towns, fought against strip malls that often render charming main streets derelict. More power to these groups, if that’s their ambition. But put these people into positions of power in a civic bureaucracy and, suddenly, it’s not about saving or repurposing, it’s about stopping development.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:Seems like Kelvin Browne chats with John Bentley Mays, both have been highly critical of preservation is damned if you do, damned if you don't. Facadism is a compromise that seems to please few. Perhaps these two might turn their creative minds to finding better win-win solutions to saving more of our heritage and developing new buildings at the same time.

11. Toronto Star: Renaissance Plaza, Bloor Street
Christopher Hume

his Renaissance was no rebirth

The recent improvements on Bloor St. between Church St. and Avenue Rd. are the best thing to happen to the Mink Mile in some time.

Despite the complaints, pedestrians will finally feel they belong. The new sidewalks, wider by four feet and paved with dark granite, give the stretch a sense of solidity and permanence. It will be interesting to see how long they last before some city department or utility comes along to chop them up. It’s only a matter of time. The addition of trees, benches, planters and bike stands brings greater interest and utility to the street. In short, Bloor is closer to looking like what it wants to be than ever.

On the other hand, architects have not always been kind to the street. Starting with the wretched towers at Bloor and Yonge and heading west from there, one sees an array of design failures, most of them from the 1960s and on. Landmarks do exist, however, including the Colonnade (now looking ratty), the Lillian Massey Home Sciences Building/Club Monaco (looking marvelous) and of course the new and improved Royal Ontario Museum and the Royal Conservatory of Music.


Condo Critic

Renaissance Plaza, 150 Bloor St. W.: This oppressive slab, built in the early 1980s on land once owned by the Church of the Redeemer, neatly sums up the clash between old and new. The latter looms ominously over the former, an earnest if not outstanding 1879 Gothic structure. Though the mixed-use Renaissance Plaza was clearly designed with the church in mind, it doesn’t so much address the building as cut it off and leave it marooned. Sitting on the northeast corner of Bloor and Avenue, the church was rightly considered too important to destroy. But in the hands of more imaginative architects, the relationship between Renaissance and Redeemer could have been better resolved.

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12. Toronto Star: Bloor Street Renewal
Christopher Hume

Despite reports to the contrary, Bloor St. has never been better

from Bloor St. BIA

If you believe what you hear, the Bloor St. renovations were a disaster even before they were finished. According to media reports, the work took too long, cost too much and wasn’t needed in the first place.

But now that the project is almost done and the road reopened, it’s clear this is an enormous success. Indeed, the new Bloor could serve as a model for the rest of Toronto, both as an example of first-rate urban design and how private/public partnerships can improve the city.

Despite all we’ve heard, the $20 million remake has transformed our premier shopping thoroughfare. This is what used to be called the high street and now Bloor lives up to the name.

Though a few things remain undone — flowers and trees must still be planted, benches and bike stands installed — Bloor from Church St. to Avenue Rd. is now an elegant promenade paved in granite and lined with greenery. It offers places to sit and spaces to stroll. The sidewalk has been widened by over a metre on both sides and can now handle the crowds that flock to the area. And given that Toronto’s incoming mayor is a proud philistine, the best part may be that it didn’t cost the city a dime.

“It’s taken more than 10 years,” says downtown councillor Kyle Rae, “and a huge amount of consultation with local businesses. No one likes to be inconvenienced, but that’s what happens when you replace infrastructure, some of it more than 100 years old.”

Rae, who will leave municipal politics at the end of the month after 19 years in office, talks candidly about a civic bureaucracy that fought the scheme every step of the way.

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Editor's Note:Not all are on board, a recent evening's drive showed garbage piled around the planters for pickup, and the old, battered, graffiti artist-adorned post boxes look pretty sad. Come on Canada Post!

13. Toronto Star: Victory in Caledon against Quarry
Phinjo Gombu

OMB kills Rockfort quarry proposal

The Ontario Municipal Board had crushed plans for a massive open pit stone quarry in Caledon, to the joy of citizen opponents who fought the project for 13 years.

The groundbreaking decision, says the province’s environmental commissioner, is reason for the aggregate industry to rethink its approach to quarries proposed close to major urban centres.

“You have to see these developments in the context of the surrounding landscape, and to a large extent, this is what does decision does,” said Gord Miller, reacting to Monday’s long-awaited decision. Miller said it’s important to asses not just the environmental impact, but also the cultural and fiscal aspects of such applications.

Over a 13-year fight, the Coalition of Concerned Citizens raised more than a million dollars to argue against the Rockfort quarry proposed by James Dick Construction, at Winston Churchill Blvd. and Old Baseline Rd. The site is on the Paris Moraine where it meets the protected Niagara Escarpment.

In the end, the OMB agreed with many of their concerns, in part over skepticism about the ability of the Ministry of Natural Resources to monitor the project’s potential negative effects.

“A failure in the mitigation measures proposed for the quarry … would have a catastrophic impact on the natural environment or the natural features and functions of the area,” the decision said. “Such an impact cannot be countenanced by the Board. In addition, the fundamental change to the character of the area attendant upon the proposed quarry would not be acceptable.”

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Editor's Note:One of the arguments being made to conserve Ontario building stock is the the need to conserve embodied energy and materials in them. Cheap easy supplies of gravel mask the environmental costs of new construction and undermine recycling efforts, whether its building or road materials.

14. ERA Architects: North York Modernist Architecture Revisited

Download Colour Copy

I had the pleasure of attending the session on November 9 at North York City Hall.   Speakers Leo de Sourcy, Michael McLelland, Dave LeBlanc and Geoff Ketel together set the context for North York Modernism and how and why it should be better protected. Not just the buildings but the context of wide open spaces, lawns, boulevards. 

There are many pioneering projects in urban planning and architecture in North York, Don Mills, Flemingdon Park, the Peanut, and so on. They are being spoiled or lost faster than you can say intensification. In the past five years we have lost the Bata building, Inn on the Park, and more recently Oxford University Press. If ever there was a community deserving of HCD status it is Don Mills, but efforts to organize the community have faltered. 

In any case, if you missed the session, you can still read all about it in North York's Modernist Architecture Revisited. E.R.A architects have done a real service to Toronto in compiling a massive number of photographs, architectural credits, and heritage status for 200 important structures. As well there is a terrific set of biographies in the back.

I brought this publication to the attention of Henry Sear's widow, Doreen. She commented the next time I saw her that her son had downloaded it for her, and had been surprised with some of the structures credited to his father's firm, Klein and Sears. "We thought we knew his buildings...and are delighted to have this record."

DON'T MISS the opportunity to download, and if you like publish for yourself, North York's Modernist Architecture Revisited.

The session was organized by Heritage Toronto and the North York Preservation Panel, and the City of Toronto.

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15. Globe and Mail: Hamilton's Modern Houses
Dave LeBlanc

Steeltown's architectural history comes alive

HIStory and HERitage
Roscoe House, LeBlanc

Blink and you'll miss it.

Nestled among the old fruit markets, laundromats and a few fancy art galleries, the 12-foot-wide black sliver of a building on Hamilton's James Street North near Cannon Street is indeed small, but in three short years this storefront multi-media gallery has already made a huge impact.

In fact, HIStory + HERitage has been an eye-opener: Although tiny, its mandate to tell the stories “of the men and women who have helped to shape the City of Hamilton” is a massive undertaking. In its first year alone, tales of The Women of Whitehern, Stanley Roscoe's amazing modernist Hamilton City Hall and the Royal Connaught Hotel have been shared, along with many others.

“The only stipulation is it has to be recognizable as Hamilton,” says H + H founder Graham Crawford, a 56-year-old retired management consultant who purchased the 1882 building after a quarter-century living and working in Toronto. He credits his gallery's success to the “partnership” model, whereby exhibit research is first gathered by specialists in the field or by local historians, to which Mr. Crawford applies his curatorial skills using six gallery video screens.

Today, H + H celebrates the opening of SLEEK: Hamilton's Modernist Residential Architecture a fascinating exhibit researched by retired architect Anthony (Tony) Butler. “And I had a ball doing it,” says the 79-year-old with a laugh.

It shows. On each screen is a loving tribute to a significant Hamilton-area modernist home using Mr. Butler's text, contemporary photographs by Mr. Crawford or noted local photographer Jeff Tessier, vintage photographs and original floor plans, all set to the languid sounds of Paul Desmond's saxophone.

Editor's Note:I went to see this show last week. Run don't walk. The work is wonderful, and the display of photos on video screens makes an excellent use of tight space. Allow a good hour to look at it all. Graham Crawford is also an inveterate collector of architectural fragments. As you enter the gallery some of the luminescent white marble that came off of Hamilton City Hall is lying on the floor. You don't want to know what happened to the rest! (hint...ask Graham to show you)

16. Globe and Mail: Arvida seeks World Heritage Status
Ingrid Peritz

Town that aluminum built hopes to join World Heritage list


To stand in the heart of Arvida, with its plume-spewing smokestacks looming nearby, it’s tough to feel you’re getting a glimpse into a modern-day Eden.

Yet this remote Quebec community was born as a model city and cutting-edge town, a Silicon Valley of its day. And now, local residents are dreaming big: They want Arvida, an industrial “utopia” carved out of the Saguenay plain, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Boosters say history has forgotten Arvida. After the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal and Versailles, could it be Arvida’s turn for UNESCO glory?

“The people want it,” says local councillor Carl Dufour, who is spearheading the effort, “and history wants it. Arvida was one of the most ambitious projects of its time.”

To boosters, Arvida deserves a place on the map, nearly a century after a hot-tempered, fist-pounding American industrialist literally put it there.

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17. Bytown or Bust
Jean-Claude Dubé

The Coliseum at Lansdowne Park

The Coliseum, Lansdowne Park, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

The Coliseum, designed by Hazelgrove & Burritt associated with Cecil Burgess in 1926, was part of a number of buildings constructed
in that year to celebrate the centennial of the City of Ottawa. The week-long celebration prior to the Exhibition in August 1926
was heralded with daily well-attended luncheons in the Coliseum's second floor dining room that seated 200 people. Alex L. Garvock
was the general contractor.

It's amazing that the architectural contract itself had just been awarded in February of the same year. This rapid construction was
due to the innovative use, at that point in time, of structural steel and reinforced concrete to create an internal skeleton for
the building upon which a cladding of bricks and glazed windows were fixed.

This technique, inspired by the method used to maximize use of rentable space while rebuilding the City of Chicago after it burnt
down in 1871, was known as Chicago Style. It was used early in the 20th Century for erecting large commercial buildings such as the
former Daly building designed by Moses Edey that used to be east of the Chateau Laurier Hotel.
The 1920's or Roaring Twenties brought this style of building to the pedestrian level. Society had just been through a World War
and the Spanish influenza. People wanted change: social norms changed, attire changed, music changed, and architecture changed.
Instead of the grandiose, robust and British Empire influenced buildings created during the War years reign of King Edward VII,
architects designed flat roof rectangular-shaped structures with minimal use of no longer required support components disguised
as adornments.

What used to be support columns became vertical wall variations intersected with horizontal features that projected a grid pattern.
Elements such as windows and window panes were part of this pattern. This new concept of an affluent society was purposely meant
to be simple, dignified and modern. This style with few decorations and much appeal carries the name of Modern Classicism and
was adopted by many progressive architects such as John Lyle of Toronto during the late 1920s.

Cecil Burgess, one of the architects, who lived at 25 Bellwood in Ottawa South, used this Modern Classicism style (also known as
Stripped Classicism) with elegant dashes of Art Deco in many of his later creations throughout Ottawa. The Duncannon Apartment
on Metcalfe St. and the Windsor Arms on Argyle St. are a few of his achievements.

The Coliseum stands out as one of the few early examples of this architectural style born in the gay period of Rudolph Valentino,
flapper dresses and the Charleston. Because of the easy and inexpensive construction, this design later became the preferred
mode of the Great Depression for urban civic buildings using funds released by the Public Construction Act of 1934. In the
United States, it was sometimes referred to as the Public Works style.

The Coliseum was built perpendicularly to an older exhibition hall built in 1906 (Northwood & Noffke) called Howick Place.
This in turn had been previously attached to a still older 1903 structure (Moses Edey) affectionately called the Fat Stock Building.
The Fat Stock Building was demolished and Howick Hall was renamed Coliseum to go along with the street frontage building to
which it was now attached.

This newly-named exhibition hall has since been modified many times with a south-east entrance added in 1995. The bleachers inside were
removed in 1971 or later for fire safety reasons. Other buildings afterwards attached to the exhibition hall have also been removed
since then. Except for the removal of a marquee and for new front doors, the 1926 Coliseum building has remained the same in and out
for the past 85 years. The second floor, with kitchen, washrooms, stairwell, dining room and an office, has been kept away from the
public eye for unknown reasons. The Coliseum is in much need of maintenance and a fresh coat of paint.

A special feature of the building is its wide array of wide and tall multi-paned windows that let in lots of natural light on all
three of its free sides. This and improved air circulation was innovative at the time. This healthy concept was copied in many of the
new schools built at that time and the following decades.

The Coliseum was essentially the congress centre of Ottawa for nearly 50 years. Federal political parties met at the Coliseum to
elect leaders such as Mackenzie King, St. Laurent, Lester B. Pearson, George Drew, John Diefenbaker and Tommy Douglas. The
inaugural convention for the NDP party was held at the Coliseum in 1961. The Ottawa Winter Fair was held there annually for 85 years.
The 4H Clubs from rural Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec would meet and compete in the Coliseum. The RCMP Musical Ride wintered on
the grounds and trained in the Howick Hall ring before 1926. The automobile industry had huge and popular car shows from the 1920s
onward. The Kiwanis Club started holding weekly luncheons in the dining room in 1926. All kinds of sports, commercial and social
events including New Year's Eve dances were held in the Coliseum. Entrance to these events was on Bank Street while the dining room
staircase entrance was on the south side. Canada's Diamond Jubilee in 1927, the year that Charles Lindbergh came to town, was also
cause for celebration in the dining room of the Coliseum.

The Coliseum Building has always had a landmark presence on Bank Street. To this very day, its Bank Street entrance, which used to
be under a huge chain-held marquee of a kind now only seen at the Conference Centre across from the Château Laurier Hotel, has
been a familiar part of the Bank Street streetscape. The Coliseum has stood on its own as an institution that marked a gateway to
Lansdowne Park. The building at 1015 Bank Street is part of the contextual fabric of the daily events and scene along Bank Street
and the approach to the Bank Street Bridge.

The Ontario Heritage Act empowers municipal governments to protect properties of cultural heritage value for present and future
generations. To be worthy of designation, a property must satisfy at least one of the following three criteria: design,
historical or contextual values.

The Coliseum is worthy of being considered because it meets all three of these criteria. Yet, no reflection was made in this regard
by the administrations of the City of Ottawa before it committed the city to a commercial partnership with three big land
developing families in 2009.

It's a pity!

... Jean-Claude Dubé

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18. Heritage committee rejects Horticulture Building move
Laura Mueller


Horticulture Building. Ottawa’s heritage advisory committee doesn’t want the Horticulture Building at Lansdowne to be moved, but council will have the final say on Nov. 19. Laura Mueller The city’s heritage advisory committee voted unanimously to send a strong message to Ottawa council: Don’t move the Horticulture Building at Lansdowne.
The vote on Thursday Nov. 4 was greeted by a round of applause from the 20 or so audience members who came to hear why the city wants to move the designated heritage building.

However, the committee’s decision is not binding on council, which will vote on the issue when it addresses the Lansdowne Park site plan at its Nov. 19 meeting.

David Flemming, president of Heritage Ottawa, said the Ottawa Built Heritage Advisory Committee’s recommendation against moving the structure likely won’t have much of an impact on council.

“I can’t see, given the current composition of council, that they’d vote against it,” Flemming said.

Flemming was one of several community members who spoke against the plan to move the building 120 metres directly east. The city wants to re-position the building to make way for a retail and residential development along Holmwood Avenue as part of the Lansdowne revitalization. Moving the structure would allow it to once again become a publically-used building with the option of housing part of the Ottawa Farmers’ Market and other activities. Re-positioning the building would place it closer to the Rideau Canal and the urban park portion of Lansdowne.

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19. Chatham Kent Daily Post: Log Home buried in House

Historical Cabin Uncovered In Grande Pointe

Wayne and Patricia Louagie knew that, buried under years of additions, there was an early log section of their home. After building a new house to the southwest of the original, Wayne began the task of tearing down their old house, as required when he received his building permit. Slowly, as additions were removed, the outline of the original and surprisingly intact log home began to appear.

Part of the way through the process, Wayne and Patricia contacted Heritage Chatham-Kent to see if the house could be salvaged and moved to another site. Moving the structure was going to be costly and would reduce its heritage value. A specialist in log home restoration was brought down from Hanover, Ontario to see if the house could be disassembled and restored on another site but felt that it was too small to be marketable. As more of the siding came off and the log house became clearly visible, Wayne and Patricia felt strongly that they would like to keep the house. Happily, with the cooperation of the local building inspector, they were given permission to keep it as a non-residential outbuilding. “This is a great outcome – the best possible since the house will remain in context on its original site in Grande Pointe,” says Dave Benson, Municipal Heritage Coordinator. “It looks a bit rough but is actually surprisingly intact and everything is there. Usually, over the years they become really cut up with new windows, doors, and additions.”

A few of these little log homes have been discovered in the French communities of Chatham-Kent. All are of very similar plan and appearance and are probably the most important remaining pieces of this community’s early francophone culture. Wayne and Patricia have traced the origin of this home back to Pierre Beaudin in the late 1800s and the Sylvains and Lozons in the 1900s, all early families who immigrated to Dover Township from Quebec.

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20. Globe and Mail: Moriyama and Teshima Score Aga Khan Award
Adrian Morrow

Toronto architects honoured for turning Saudi wasteland into parkland

A Canadian planning and architecture firm has won an Aga Khan Award for Architecture for the sweeping transformation of a once-polluted Saudi waterway into a system of parks in the heart of the desert, using a system of bio-remediation.

The challenge:

The 120-kilometre-long Wadi Hanifah, an oasis that cuts through the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh and the surrounding desert, was an odorous receptacle for the city’s refuse, clogged with algae, dead animals and weeds “twice the height of a man,” said George Stockton, president of Moriyama & Teshima planners. In 2001, his firm began planning its transformation into a parkland.


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21. Hamilton Spectator: Deconstruction of Thomas Bldg on James Street
Ted Brellisford

Piece work: James Street façade numbered and stored

from Hamilton Spectator, Facade removed

They’re putting a rebuilt face on a new body down on James Street North to maintain a streetscape in keeping with the Lister Block.

Workmen have been carefully taking apart the façade of the historic Thomas building at 42-56 James North, numbering the pieces and storing them at LIUNA Station for reassembly.

John Spolnik, director of Hamilton’s building services division, says the project to remove the heritage pieces and reassemble them on a brand-new building at the same site is one of the more complex construction jobs in Hamilton.

“They’re down to about nine feet above ground level and the demolition permit will be executed,” he said. “The condition of most of the building meant new construction was the only way to preserve heritage elements.”

He said the owners, LIUNA, acted quickly to shore up non-heritage elements of the building following a city order.

They were hoping to stave off a potential collapse like the Balfour building nearby on King William Street.

Meantime, a heritage consultant recommended the owner be allowed to build a new main structure and be granted a permit to deconstruct the façade following a 30-point guideline in removing, repairing and replacing elements to preserve as many original features as possible.

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Editor's Note:Restoration of the Lister Block next door is in progress

22. Ingersoll Times: 110 year-old Mt Elgin church to be demolished for new building
Jennifer Vandermeer, Sarah Hill

Mt. Elgin United Church to be demolished for new building

After 110 years as a mainstay in the community, Mt. Elgin United Church is going to be demolished. The good news is the building will be replaced with a new, modern and accessible church building.

The decision to demolish and rebuild was made not long after loose bricks were noticed in the building's bell tower. An estimate to remove the top part of the tower and the bell inside it came to $45,000. Rev. Lynne Allin said the congregation agreed it didn't want to put that kind of money into a building that is not accessible and may have more problems no one knows about. An engineer's report later showed the building has signifi cant structural issues that would cost $1 million to repair.

"It's served this community extremely well for 110 years, but it no longer suits our ministry's needs," said Allin. "Being inaccessible means it keeps people out."

The congregation spent the summer researching, talking and praying and in September, voted almost unanimously to take down the building and put up a new one. Presbytery approval has been given and now the planning begins.

"Rather than just close it up, we wanted to have one last Christmas here to give people the opportunity to come back and celebrate what a gift this church has been and say their goodbyes," said Allin.

December is homecoming month, with special final services in the church. Dec. 5 at 10 a.m. is a special service to voice appreciation for the building and the sadness of letting it go. The last worship service will be Dec. 26 at 10 a.m.

Starting Jan. 2, worship services will be held at Mt. Elgin Community Centre, which is where church dinners are currently held.

The new church building hasn't been fully designed, but plans will include everything on one floor and it will be fully accessible. The sanctuary will be a flexible space, so it will be equipped with moveable chairs, rather than fixed pews.

"It just doesn't make sense to have a space that's only used a few hours a week," said Allin. "We want space that can adapt to various needs."

There will be a food warming space (as opposed to a full kitchen), meeting room and office.

Some of the furnishings inside the church will be moved to the new building, including the cross that hangs at the front of the sanctuary. Church treasurer Linda Hammond said the cross is reportedly made from the special wood of a tree that grew on a former member's yard. Also on the list to be moved are the communion table and pulpit. While many items will be moved, some things are not portable and will be catalogued, with photographs, in a memorial book.

It will be up to the congregation to raise the money to build the new church, "as it was the people who came before us to raise the money for this one," said Allin, adding it cost $7,300 to construct the current building.

To that end, a fundraising committee has been working on plans for a number of events that will generate funds for the building project.

"It's an exciting time and I think when people see what's happening, they'll be with us," said Dawne Fewster, a member of the fundraising committee that is planning a fundraiser per month.

A building fund has been established and donations can be made by mailing Mt. Elgin United Church, Mt. Elgin, Ontario, N0J 1N0. The church is also part of a program called Shop and Support where members can purchase from a list of retail gift cards. Th e retailer contributes a percentage of the sale to the church. Anyone who is interested in participating in this campaign can call the church at 519-425-2091, leave a voicemail message and their call will be returned.

"I think it's a very exciting future for us," said Hammond. "With the Mt. Elgin community, when there is a need, the people rise to the challenge. God is always going to be with us."

It's hoped demolition will begin in February and the best-case scenario is that construction on the new building will begin in the spring.

Mt. Elgin United Church has a membership of about 100, with about 45 attending worship on average. There were 19 new members this year alone, and over the years, families have come from neighbouring communities to attend.

"I think it's the sense of hospitality and community that people enjoy here -by God and by neighbour," said Allin.

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23. Ottawa Citizen: Nun breaks silence to defend removal of murals from convent
Maria Cook

Art highlights debate about property rights versus conservation

After cloistered nuns vacated the Soeurs de la Visitation convent in Westboro, which they sold to Ashcroft Homes, it was discovered that murals and decorations that had adorned the public chapel had been removed, creating debate over whether heritage reso

When cloistered nuns vacated the Soeurs de la Visitation convent in Westboro last year, they left no trace of colourful murals that adorned the public chapel, prompting concern that they had been painted over.

One of the nuns has broken the order's silence to speak about the art, which heritage experts would have liked to see remain.

"These frescoes were not painted on, they were glued on," said the nun, who would not give her name. "The canvases were removed from the walls" and sent to the order's mother house and museum in Annecy, France.

Stencilled decorations were also removed and sent to monasteries run by the 400-year-old order.

In 2009, the Sisters sold the 5.2-acre site where they had lived since 1913. Ashcroft Homes plans to build 600 apartments in buildings as high as nine storeys.

The art highlights a debate about property rights versus heritage conservation.

The nun said that as the frescoes' owners, the nuns could do as they liked. "It's really bothersome to have people asking about things that are ours. Private property does not exist in some people's minds."

The site was designated as having heritage significance after the nuns moved to Pembroke.

"As movable objects (the paintings) could not have been designated under the Ontario Heritage Act, and the Sisters had as much right to remove them as they did the pews and furniture in the complex," said City of Ottawa heritage planner Sally Coutts.

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24. Planetizen: Perfection Invites Destruction: Paris gets Toweritis
Mary Campbell Gallagher

Who Will Save the Skyline of Paris?

Is Paris for sale to the highest bidder? Nicholas Sarkozy, the President of France and Bertrand Delanoë, the Mayor of Paris, are planning massive new towers that could destroy the character of the beloved city, says Mary Campbell Gallagher, J.D., Ph.D.

Today Paris may be the world's most beautiful city. Looking across its harmonious jumble of low rooftops to the distant Paris sky shimmering pink and blue, Paris melts the heart. The filigreed density of Paris enchants -- grand royal buildings with interior gardens, apartment houses with courtyards glimpsed through latticed iron gates, the Seine crossing the city, the boulevards penetrating the old neighborhoods and crossed in turn by narrow alleys, the churches cradling dark interiors, and outside, busy street life flowing along the tightly-built streets under the beautiful Paris sky.

But perfection invites destruction. Mr. Sarkozy's Grand Paris project, as approved by the French Senate this spring, includes building new Métro lines, which Paris has long needed, and it provides for massive changes that do not immediately affect the skyline, including building new centers of economic activity around Paris, and relocating academic institutions from Paris to a nearby area called Saclay. But Mr. Sarkozy has also announced that Grand Paris means that France must build towers in and around traditional Paris.

Towers are a radical departure. Paris has had some sort of height limits for hundreds of years, but in July of 2008, desiring towers at least as much as Mr. Sarkozy, the Socialist-dominated Paris City Council raised many limits. Instead of 31 meters (roughly 102 feet) in the center of the city and 37 meters (roughly 121 feet) on the periphery, the limit for housing on the periphery became 50 meters (164 feet). The Council also approved six tower projects, including its very own first skyscraper. Yhe shiny 50-story, 211-meter, 692-foot, glass "Projet Triangle" by Pritzker-prize winners Herzog and deMeuron will loom over the six- and eight-story buildings of Paris in the 15th arrondissement. It will contain offices, a conference centre and a 400-bedroom hotel as well as restaurants and cafés, and will be smack in the line of sight of the 81-story, 324-meter, 1063-foot, Eiffel Tower.

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25. Peter Michno's concept to transform the Gardiner Expressway
Donovan Vincent

Clear Vision for Gardiner

Picture a long, transparent worm with tentacles filled with cars, and you begin to get a sense of what architectural designer Peter Michno has in mind for the Gardiner Expressway.

He envisions a vented, glass-covered tube that would run seven kilometres, end to end, of the elevated section, from Dufferin St. east to the Don Valley Parkway. Tolls would fund the construction costs, and beneath the roadway would be new green space and pedestrian walkways.

Sound far-fetched? Maybe, maybe not.

Michno's idea has the support of a prominent principal architect in the city, and the president of the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA).

Exactly what to do with the Gardiner has been a hot topic for years. Officially called the Frederick G. Gardiner Expressway, it was completed in 1965 with much fanfare. But today it's caught between visions of the past and future.

Supporters say it's a key component for Toronto's downtown, feeding 200,000 cars per day into the downtown core from the west, and 120,000 cars per day east of Lower Jarvis St.

Critics argue it's an eyesore that divides the city from the waterfront, and that annual maintenance costs of about $3 million to $4 million could be better spent elsewhere.

Toronto Mayor David Miller and Waterfront Toronto officials support a plan to tear down a section of the Gardiner just east of Jarvis for about $300 million. An environmental assessment is currently underway, with no decision expected before early next year.

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Editor's Note:Originally published in Toronto Star, not available on Toronto Star website. I was co-chair of Gardiner Task Force for over 10 years. So many ideas, including versions of this one, have come and gone over the years, now the next generation is revisiting the work. Regrettably, with every year that the Gardiner stays up, the possibilities for change are reduced. Most of the possible places to re-route have disappeared. What is true is that there is no magic, if the city wants to preserve the number of cars using that facility relocation, reworking schemes end up trading one evil for another. If the City were prepared to accept less car traffic, (I'd vote for that), we could not only get rid of the Gardiner, but we could start to think about restoring the beauty and trees to many streets that were ruined for road widenings in the 60's.

26. New York University: New Program in Conversion of Historic Structures
forwarded by Margie Zeidler

Students in NYU's Historical and Architecture-Master's Program

Recognizing that a mixture of old and new buildings makes a city vibrant, New York University has launched a masters degree program in London focusing on the creative reuse of older buildings as a method for bolstering urban design.

Under the Historical and Sustainable Architecture program, offered in conjunction with London’s Sir John Soane Museum, students will study with British architects, designers, builders, and developers, who are leaders in the field of adaptive reuse and sustainable architecture.

“In an era when the demolition of older buildings has been recognized, not just as a loss to the urban fabric, but also as a major source of environmental pollution, retaining historic structures and using them for new purposes is increasingly desirable,” said Program Director Mosette Broderick, a clinical associate professor in NYU’s Department of Art History and director of its Urban Design program. “This program explores innovative ways to reconcile real estate development with historical preservation and environmental protection by recycling existing structures.”

In September, the first group of students will arrive in London for an academic year studying methods to effect the adaptive re-use of older buildings. The nine-month program will concentrate on solutions in the United Kingdom, which graduates will be able to translate to their home countries.

“The program relies on professionals who have successfully reused both important and modest older buildings, adapting them to new uses and integrating them into new projects built around, over, and even under historic structures,” Broderick added. “Our students will have the rare opportunity to study with these leading practitioners.”

The curriculum extends sustainable practices beyond architecture and building into the realm of urban design. Students will examine successful strategies for reviving entire districts, cities, and regions around repurposed historic buildings in areas as diverse as the London Docklands and the older industrial regions of Germany.

“These examples suggest new possibilities for post-industrial, Rust Belt cities in the U.S., such as Buffalo and Cleveland, where the numerous historic buildings provide resources to be adapted for new uses, not liabilities to be demolished,” Broderick observed.

The M.A. in Historical and Sustainable Architecture is the first academic program to unite the topics of sustainable architecture, adaptive reuse, and historic preservation within a single curriculum. Combining the multiple perspectives of finance, environmentalism, education, tourism, and government policy, this program will explore older buildings as assets to real estate development.

For more information on the masters program in Historical and Sustainable Architecture, go to:



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27. No Mean City: Canadian Prefab lands in Manhattan
Alex Bozikovic

A modern house in a box!

A couple of weeks ago, an unusual box dropped in on a corner in Lower Manhattan. It’s basically a shipping container – but with windows, wrapped in cedar, and containing a tightly designed modernist interior. Co-designed by the Torontonian Jason Halter, it’s a prefab house, and it’s both handsome and cheap: prices start from a remarkable $40,000 U.S. for 320 square feet, delivered to a port near you. People noticed. A famous movie producer dropped by, said he’d like to put one on his rooftop, and mentioned that his pal Julian Schnabel might want to be involved.

Yes, the company, Meka, is working with a sexy concept. Prefab housing has been one of the great dreams of modern architecture. The idea: build a house in a factory, ship it to a site and hook it up. Voila! A finished contemporary home without the complexities, imperfections – and waste – of regular construction.

I haven’t seen the Meka product in person, but reviews are very good, and Halter is a talented designer. The photos suggest a simple but well-detailed building – with bamboo flooring, bright orange cabinets and a few exposed sections of corrugated steel – that would make a very nice one-person cottage or sleeping cabin. Combined or stacked up in various combinations, they look equally handsome.

Click here for Link

28. TObuilt: Back Online
Catherine Nasmith, editor

Bob Krawczyk has graciously re-instated TObuilt until such time as he can develop a succession plan for the website. Bob deserves our thanks for his dedication. He received some rather sharp notes after he took the site down, clearly from people who haven't much sense of the volunteer time Bob has put into this project.

This site has invaluable photographs of Toronto, most of them taken by Bob. If you would be interested in partnering with Bob to maintain the site, assist with its ongoing web hosting costs, he is looking for new partners.

This would seem like a perfect role for Heritage Toronto? the Toronto Architectural Conservancy? or the Toronto HIstorical Association. Bob can be reached at

A toast to heritage volunteers, and to Bob Krawczyk in particular.

29. Can you Help Fund Research into R.C. Harris?
John Lorinc

The R.C. Harris Family Photo Album


Roland Caldwell Harris, who served as the City of Toronto’s works commissioner from 1912 to 1945, is known for many accomplishments during his 33-year stint as a senior municipal official – among them, the filtration plant that bears his name; the Prince Edward viaduct and numerous other signature bridges; Toronto’s sidewalk network; the expansion of the TTC’s streetcar service and even the operation of a municipally-owned jail farm in what is now Richmond Hill.

Early in his tenure, he hired Arthur Goss to serve as the works department photographer, and that decision has left Torontonians with a remarkable visual record of the city’s physical and social evolution in the 1920s and 1930s. Goss, an artist, met Harris through the Toronto Camera Club in or around 1906.
Harris’s patronage of Goss appears to have been motivated by more than just a professional need to record city operations and conditions. The commissioner himself was an avid photographer often seen around City Hall with his own camera equipment. Newspaper articles from the time recorded the extent of his interest:

“Mr. Harris’ habit of nearly always carrying a camera has been commented on, and, no doubt, many people have guessed that the Commissioner generally wears a tail coat for this very purpose. It might be supposed easy for him to tuck away a pretty big camera in its capacious folds. But the truth is Mr. Harris in his inveterate pursuit of photography has a fondness for a very small camera.” (Toronto Star, June 8, 1912)

“Works Commissioner Harris, as soon as the hour of the day comes when he is transformed to `Roly,’ turns joyfully from boiler plates to photographic plates, from blue prints to gas light prints. He is a camera fiend of much renown among the experts of the art.” (Toronto Star, March 2, 1914)

While we’ve known about Harris’ interest in photography for some time, none of his images have ever surfaced in the public realm. But a small number of his photographs, as well as a collection of private family images, exist in a family album owned by his grandchildren, Molly and John Harris. Molly is in physical possession of the album, and she lives in Los Angeles, where she works as a costume designer.

Earlier this year, Molly came to Toronto briefly to visit family, and brought the album to the city archive. She showed the images to myself, Wayne Reeves, director of the city’s museums, and Karen Teeple, the city archivist. Ms. Harris is the keeper of the family stories, and can identify all the images – both those taken by R.C. Harris and those of the family. She indicated she would be willing to help me catalogue the album and lend it to the archives, so the images can be scanned and added to the public record. Unfortunately, she left the city abruptly and unexpectedly, and we did not have time to do this work.

The images are quite fascinating. Harris had a habit of dressing his family members in period costume and photographing them in highly staged poses. He also liked to take action pictures, and the album includes images he took at several Toronto sporting events, as well as a series of pictures of early airplanes taking off and landing on a barren field Ms. Harris thinks could be Kitty Hawk. Other photos in the album show him in unguarded poses with his family at various stages of his life.

Together, the several dozen images in this album provide an unprecedented glimpse into Harris’ own interest in photography, as well as his private life. As such, they represent a historically important artifact closely associated with one of Toronto’s greatest city builders.


My goal is to raise sufficient funds to cover the expenses associated with a short trip to Los Angeles in January, during which time I will conduct a taped interview with Ms. Harris and work with her to catalogue all the images.
I will also ask Molly if I may transport the album to Toronto so the Archives can make high-res scans of the photographs and add them to its collection. Once the scan is complete, the album can be returned to John Harris, who lives in Toronto.

In the past, Molly and John Harris have demonstrated a great willingness to cooperate with the City Archives to transfer historically relevant material about their grandfather, including the donation of an album containing hundreds of newspaper clippings documenting Harris’ career as works commissioner. The album was almost certainly maintained by his wife. They may also be asked if they’d be willing to donate the photo album in its entirety to the Archives in exchange for a complete digital collection of the scanned images.

I estimate the cost of the trip to be in the $1200-$1500 range, including:

Roundtrip economy airfare to L.A.: $700.00

3-4 nights accommodation: $320.00

Meals/transfers/misc. expenses: $200.00
Total: $1220.00

I am donating the time required to conduct this research excursion.


1. Deposit a transcript of the interview with Ms. Harris, as well as the annotated catalogue of the images, with the Toronto Archives.

2. Undertake to publish a newspaper or magazine story in which I will write about Harris’ own photography. The article should be illustrated with a reproduction of one or more of the images from the album. It will also credit the support of the Toronto Architectural Conservancy and other supporters.

3. Deliver a lecture, at a place and time to be determined, outlining my findings about Harris’ hobby, its connection to the professional photographic work of Arthur Goss, and the creative link between the combined Harris/Goss photographic record and Toronto’s present day interest in photography.

4. Work with the City and the City Archives to display the images, possibly in conjunction with a show to be held in 2012 commemorating the centennial of Harris’ appointment as works commissioner.


Make a donation to the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario marked RC Harris Fund, the funds will be directed to John Lorinc, and you will get a tax receipt from the ACO.

You may also donate money or air mile points directly to John Lorinc, to do this contact John at john lorinc <>