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Issue No. 174 | March 22, 2011


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Feature Stories

  1. Eaton Centre: Renovation or Destruction?
  2. Toronto Star: Editorial Save Old City Hall Clock Mechanism
  3. The Revue Cinema
  4. Bentwood Chairs Gone from Toronto Reference Library!


William Morris Symposium
Saturday, 26 March 2011
+ read

Energy and Heritage Buildings Workshop
April 2nd & 3rd, 2011
+ read

Clay to Capital - The Building of Toronto
Saturdays, April 16 - June 4, 2011 (6 sessions; no classes on the two long weekends)
+ read

Riverdale Historical Society April event
Tuesday, April 26
+ read

Willowbank Lecture Series
Saturdays, April 16 - June 4, 2011 (6 sessions; no classes on the two long weekends)
+ read


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1. National Post calls for End of Environmental and Heritage Protection in the name of "Property Rights"
Lloyd Alter

The National Post has been one of the biggest media supporters of heritage in Ontario, often editorializing about it. But they lost it last week, looking at the issue of property rights in an editorial on Friday.:

"The absence of a constitutional protection for property rights -Canada is one of few industrialized countries without one -means that municipalities and provinces can run roughshod over property rights without fear of reprisal. They can impose Heritage Building designations, which prevent the redevelopment of buildings even when they are in a state of disrepair. They can declare land to be part of a greenbelt, and decimate both its potential uses and its value overnight. They can deny citizens building permits to modify their homes, even when they are disabled, on the grounds of cultural preservation. The list of potential -and real -abuses is long, and citizens have no Charter grounds on which to fight back."

Ah, the greenbelt, which so horribly calls farmland farmland, so egregiously prohibiting farmers from planting houses, a much more profitable crop. But of more significance to us is the horror of imposing Heritage Designations and prohibiting modifications on grounds of Cultural Preservation? Where do we start?

1) if only it were so, we wouldn't be having the problems that we do have across this province, of municipalities refusing to even list buildings, let alone impose heritage designations because of their belief in "property rights."

2) Why pick on heritage here, or a poor protected bird? Why can't I run an auto paint shop in my backyard, a tannery in my basement, or build twelve stories high? What right does the City have to restrict what I do on my property?

3) I challenge the Post to name one other country besides the United States with explicit property rights, and to explain why the United states has a) zoning b) heritage restrictions c) greenbelts e) environmental legislation restricting actions and uses; d) expropriation of private land for commercial purposes, confirmed by the Supreme Court in Kelo vs  New London

In fact nobody has these so-called "property rights," because even in the USA, people realize that there is a common societal good that is sometimes more important. If these guys don't like heritage or environmental regulations because they can't build subdivisions or kill endangered species, be honest about it.

This article originally appeared in the ACO e newsletter which is a terrific innovation of current president, Lloyd Alter. To subscribe go to:

2. OMB supports "The Greenest Building Is The One Already Standing"
Lloyd Alter, President Architectural Conservancy of Ontario

Three years ago at the ACO conference in Collingwood, Donovan Rypkema described the green rating system, LEED, as "Lunatic Environmentalists Enthusiastically Demolishing". He noted that "going green" was being used as an excuse and justification for destroying historic buildings and neighbourhoods. Here is an example: There was an interesting case at the OMB recently, where a homeowner in the Kingsway wanted to knock down a bungalow and build a 4248 square foot monster home. While it was not a heritage house, it was in character with the neighbourhood and the case has relevance to heritage, since it is such a common excuse. The applicant noted that the new house would be LEED certified, " and must maintain its 'green' features to be able to use this internationally recognized label".

M.C Denhez wrote the entertaining decision, emphasis mine:

"The Applicants' case opened with emphasis on LEED. The architect's letter called LEED "the best guarantee with regard to the quality"; and the Applicants' Planner told the Board that "environmental sustainability will be promoted". Those words demand consideration: history is riddled with instances where innovation was hamstrung by overly literal adherence to rules, and where environmentalism was poorly served by hidebound regulation.

The Board must be cautious, however, concerning "sustainability" and various trademarks for "green building" - not for fear of overextending the cause of environmental innovation but, on the contrary, of trivializing it. The Board takes notice that, with so many reported attempts by all and sundry to oversell environmental benefits (notably to expedite approvals), a new word was coined in North America - "greenwashing". It also applies to construction....

Does this project nonetheless deserve favourable treatment for "promoting environmental sustainability"? In a province where sending a plastic bag to landfill is considered environmentally problematic, the notion of turning entire buildings into landfill - in the name of environmental sustainability - would surprise at least some observers. For present purposes, it is sufficient to note that such claims are no shortcut around the Planning Act."

As I like to say, the greenest building is the one already standing. LEED is not an excuse to demolish and build a monster home.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in the ACO e journal, Acorn in a Nutshell, to subscribe go to:

3. HCF Accepting Nominations to the 2011 Top Ten Endangered Places List
Heritage Canada News Release

Submit your nominations to Canada’s TOP TEN Endangered Places List by May 1, 2011

Ottawa, ON March 1, 2011 – The Heritage Canada Foundation is accepting nominations to Canada’s Top Ten Endangered Places List. The list is released annually to bring national attention to sites at risk due to neglect, lack of funding, inappropriate development and weak legislation. It has become a powerful tool in the fight to make landmarks, not landfill.

HCF uses three primary criteria to determine the 10 final sites for inclusion on the list:
Significance of the site
Urgency of the threat
Community support for its preservation
If you know a site that should be included on our list, tell us about it today.

Click here for the 2011 Top Ten Endangered Places List Form.

Nominations should be received by Wednesday, May 1, 2011. The 2011 list will be announced in June.

Feel free to contact us if you’re considering a nomination or have any questions.

By email: or phone: (613) 237-1066.

The Heritage Canada Foundation is a national registered charity dedicated to the preservation of Canada’s historic places. Your support is vital to our work. Please join or make a tax-deductible donation today.

4. Eaton Centre: Renovation or Destruction?
Tye Farrow and Sharon Vanderkaay

When the Toronto Eaton Centre opened in 1977 it immediately drew huge crowds of local and international origin.

Today it remains one of Toronto's top tourist destinations, attracting more than 50 million visitors each year, while holding the distinction of best-performing centre in Canada in terms of sales per square foot.

For the first time in its 34-year history, the interior of this grand urban space is undergoing a major renovation. Begun last July and scheduled for completion in the summer of 2012, the $120-million revitalization project will, according to owner Cadillac Fairview, “reinvigorate the retail experience” and “reaffirm the well-known landmark’s position as Canada’s premier urban shopping destination.”

Within the main galleria space, the new environment will be sleek and transparent: handrails, escalators and elevators will be finished in glass and stainless steel, floors will be granite tile in various shades of grey, and a custom light sculpture will be suspended over the iconic fountain.

It’s what’s being lost that is troubling. Designed by renowned Canadian architect Eberhard Zeidler, Toronto Eaton Centre literally redefined the urban shopping mall. It was a revelation: an bright, airy, truly exuberant interior shopping street. The design details—strong vertical pipe handrails, exposed structure and mechanical systems brought the strong, unifying industrial details of the city inside.

At this point it is worthwhile stopping to reflect on the reasons for this building’s iconic status. Charles Eames, the eminent American designer wrote, “The details are not details – they make the product. It is, in the end, these details that give the product its life.”

What made the design of Eaton Centre so powerful? It was the sum of many details, where each element, no matter how apparently insignificant, was carefully designed to complement other elements and contribute to the greater whole. For example, the railings were not standardized assemblies, but rather specifically designed as sculptural elements to harmonize with the steel space frame of the galleria overhead and to elegantly integrate with the floors and walls. Their perfect proportions emphasized the vertical thrust of the space and were complemented by floors of crystalline white terrazzo trimmed with warm-toned Welsh quarry tiles and pebbled aggregates. The tiles were carefully arranged to visually compress the expansive floors to a human scale. Those design details were intrinsic to Zeidler’s creation and thereby to its overwhelming popularity and financial success.

Unfortunately, these railings and other details that added up to this bold Canadian innovation have been eradicated by the mall’s revitalization project.

How big a leap of faith was the design of Eaton Centre? In May, 1977, Eb Zeidler said in Canadian Architect, “If the downtown area of the city is its heart then the building of Eaton Centre can be compared to open heart surgery and like such (an) operation is not without danger.’’

This risky intervention was undertaken with gusto and led to building a culturally significant icon that many shopping centre designers have tried to imitate without success.

Let’s consider how other countries regard their culturally significant structure? Would citizens of Paris condone a facelift of the decorative grillwork of the Eiffel tower? Or replacement of their Art Nouveau subway entrances with an updated structure?

There is a vast difference between renovations that serve evolving functional needs, and making changes that alter the design’s essence. This is not a clear issue of what is right and wrong. However, in the same sense that we have come to expect a vigorous design review of proposed waterfront buildings, future renovations to modern designs such as Ontario Place deserve a healthy dialogue regarding what has lasting value.

Why does our society demand that noteworthy designs of a hundred years old or more be preserved, while modern architecture is routinely being destroyed? In fifty years’ time, it is conceivable that Eaton Centre will undergo a major restoration to bring back the celebrated original impact.

As a society we need to engage in a larger discussion regarding the essential elements of an enduring design. Increased visual literacy can help us bypass the “oops” step of performing unnecessary surgery that threatens the building’s life.

Tye Farrow is a principal in the Farrow Partnership

5. Heritage Toronto Awards - Call for Nominations
Heritage Toronto

The Heritage Toronto Awards celebrate outstanding contributions  by professionals and volunteers  in the promotion and conservation of Torontos history and heritage landmarks. Heritage Toronto asks you to consider some of the more significant achievements during 2010, and invites you to submit a nomination for the 37th Annual Heritage Toronto Awards.

This year, nominations will be accepted in the following categories:

William Greer Architectural Conservation and Craftsmanship  honours building owners for excellence in the restoration or adaptive reuse of a building 40 years old or older. Projects of all sizes will be considered; from the restoration of the façade or front porch on a house to a major renovation of a commercial building.

Book  for a non-fiction book about Torontos archaeological, built, cultural and/or natural heritage and history, published in 2010.

Media  for a production about Torontos archaeological, built, cultural or natural heritage and history. Projects such as films, videos, websites, and newspaper and magazine articles are eligible in this category.

Community Heritage Award  a cash prize awarded to one volunteer-based organization in each of the four Community Council areas for a significant activity that promotes or protects heritage within the Community Council area.

We would like to hear from you! The success of this program depends 100% on the participation of the community and you are encouraged to submit a nomination for any initiative you feel is worthy of recognition.

For information about the eligibility standards for submissions, and nomination forms, please visit our website --

The deadline for nominations is Wednesday, June 1, 2011  4:30 PM. If you have any questions about the nomination process or the eligibility of projects, please contact Nancy Luno at or 416-338-2175.

This year's Awards will be announced and presented, in conjunction with the William Kilbourn Memorial Lecture, at a gala evening on October 4, 2011.

6. Dr. John C. Carter named as recipient of 2011 Agnes Macphail Award
East York Agnes Macphail Recognition Committee Release

Since choosing to move into East York in the late 1980s, Dr. John Carter has made a point of being connected to his community. He was one of the original group who petitioned East York Council to honour Agnes Macphail. From then to now, John has been an active advocate for Agnes Macphail. As president of the Ward 3 Ratepayers Association, he successfully led negotiations with a developer that resulted in a plaque and the development of the Agnes Macphail Square at the south-west corner of Pape and Mortimer Avenues.

John works as a Museum and Heritage Advisor for the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Culture. His doctorate is in Museum Studies.

His many volunteer leadership activities have included:
- Don Valley Brick Works – member of the Public Advisory Committee
- East York Seniors’ Heritage Groups – speaker over past 10 years
- Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations – Board member and President
- East York Public Library Board - Trustee
- The East York Foundation- Vice-Chair and Director of Heritage
- OPSEU Local 527 - Vice-President
- East York Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee - Chair
- Toronto Preservation Board – Executive Member

Contributions to honour John can be made through The East York Foundation, c/o East York Civic Centre Mailroom at 850 Coxwell Avenue, East York, Ontario M4C 5R1. Donations this year will go to the Jean Carter Memorial Scholarship in Gerontology at the University of Guelph. Charitable receipts for donations are issued.

The Award will be presented on the anniversary of Agnes Macphail’s birth, Thursday, 24 March 2011, at a public ceremony at the East York Civic Centre, starting at 7:00 p.m. The public is cordially invited to attend.

Agnes Campbell Macphail (1890 – 1954) was the first woman elected to the House of Commons (1921) and the first seated in the Ontario Legislature (1943). During her years in office, Agnes Macphail focussed on issues of equality rights and social justice. During her time as MPP she served East York.

For further information contact Committee Chair, Lorna Krawchuk,

7. CBC: Death of Paul Oberman

Plane crash kills Toronto developer

Paul Oberman was the president of Woodcliffe Landmark Properties, an award-winning company that specializes in restoring heritage buildings. ( )

An award-winning Toronto developer died Monday after his plane crashed during a snowstorm near the Maine-Quebec border.

Paul Oberman, the 53-year-old president and CEO of Woodcliffe Landmark Properties, died when the four-seat Diamond DA-40 plane he was travelling in went down in a remote wooded area south of Saint-Pamphile, Que., in Maine's Somerset County.

A second man in the plane was taken to a hospital in Quebec City with serious injuries.

Steve McCausland, with the Maine Public Safety Department, said the plane left Halifax for Quebec on Monday.

Click here for Link

8. Globe and Mail: Death of Paul Oberman
Les Perreaux

Heritage developer killed in plane crash on Quebec/U.S. border

He was a wealthy Toronto real-estate developer with the necessary eye for the bottom line, but Paul Oberman had a most unusual second identity: He was one of the best protectors heritage buildings ever had.

The country’s neglected architectural gems have lost a key ally. Mr. Oberman, a flying enthusiast and president of Woodcliffe Landmark Properties, died Monday in a plane crash in a heavy forest in northern Maine. State officials say he and a fellow pilot flew their four-seat Diamond DA-40 aircraft into a snowstorm en route from Halifax to Quebec City.

One of the pilots reported the aircraft wings were icing just before it went down a few kilometres from the Daaquam, Me., border crossing near Quebec. The other occupant of the aircraft was taken to hospital with “relatively minor injuries, for what he’d been through,” according to Steve McCausland of the Maine State Safety Department.

Click here for Link

9. National Post: Death of Paul Oberman
Peter Kuitenbrouwer

Toronto developer, heritage ally killed in plane crash

The crash of a small plane in Maine on Monday night took the life of Paul Oberman, chief executive of real estate developers Woodcliffe Corporation.

The loss has left a gaping hole not just in the Oberman family but in the fabric of Toronto itself, which has lost one of its biggest champions for saving and restoring the city’s rich history.

Even the normally quarrelsome debates at Toronto City council came to a halt as councillors observed a moment of silence Tuesday for a man who was a titan of the city’s heritage conservation movement.

On Tuesday, staff at Woodcliffe Corp., fought back tears as they confirmed Oberman’s death. He was 53 and leaves behind his wife Eve Lewis, and their six children.

The company and family referred all calls to Bonnie Hillman, a public relations agent and a family friend. She said Oberman had been flying back from Halifax, where one of his children attends university.

“It’s pretty tragic and horrible as you can imagine,” Hillman said. “They are investigating everything.”

The four-seat aircraft went down in a remote wooded area about 1.7 kilometres across the border on the U.S. side, south of Saint Pamphile, Que., killing Oberman and leaving one man injured.

“He was a really great dad, too,” said Hillman. “He was an incredibly big, generous guy. Very passionate about the greatness of Toronto and what was possible. He was never in a bad mood.”

Catherine Nasmith was among the first to hear the bad news Tuesday, and quickly posted an obituary on the Built Heritage News website.

Click here for Link

10. The Puglies: Paul Oberman on Toronto
Catherine Nasmith

Paul Oberman talks about his pride in Toronto, and that the physical city does not live up to the promise of the society.



Click here for Link

11. Toronto Star: Tribute to Paul Oberman
Christoper Hume

Paul Oberman; the man who came in from the old

Few Torontonians have heard of Paul Oberman, but most know his work whether they realize or not.

He was the driving force behind the brilliant renovation of the old North Toronto train station on Yonge St., better known as the Summerhill liquor store, as well as a number of heritage renovation projects around the city.

The Toronto real estate developer was one of tiny handful of builders who understood the value of architectural history and who made it part of his work.

His death Monday night in a plane crash over Maine will be a huge loss in a city that places little value on its past. Where most of his fellow developers happily pay lip service to preservation, Oberman didn’t just talk the talk, he also walked the walk.

Last year, for example, he led a last-minute charge to save the vintage Second World War hangars at what’s now Downsview Park. He went so far as to contact generals in the Department of National Defence to persuade them that these old structures could find new life in the 21st century.

The fact he failed was more a reflection of the fossilized thinking and lack of enlightenment at DND than Oberman’s willingness to fight for heritage.

“Where do you find land developers like Paul?” wonders City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, in whose downtown ward Oberman lived and worked. “He was a visionary. He put forward a new model of heritage preservation that allowed developers and property owners to be profitable while doing the right thing. Every brick and stone in his buildings would be restored.”

By the standards of the development industry, Oberman’s commitment to architecture was remarkable, even unique. Compared with most developers, who feel put upon when asked to save a façade or two, Oberman went out of his way to restore, rehabilitate and reuse buildings of architectural and civic significance.

Click here for Link

12. Toronto Sun: Death of Paul Oberman
Ian Robertson

Toronto heritage developer dies in plane crash

Toronto developer Paul Oberman’s plane crash death has shocked friends and admirers of his warm personality and devotion to historic buildings.

“Paul’s support of the heritage community was immeasurable,” Heritage Toronto’s Rebecca Carson wrote in a tribute.

Known also for supporting charities, “Paul will be sorely missed,” she said. “He understood the value of preserving our heritage and a beautiful, liveable city, and was a much-needed voice in the heritage community.

“He is really irreplaceable,” Carson said.

Oberman, 53, died Monday on a personal trip from Halifax to Quebec City when a four-seater plane tore into deep snow on a bog among tall trees during an ice storm in remote northern Maine.

He was a known aviation buff, licensed pilot and father of six who lived in Rosedale with wife Eve Lewis.

The pilot radioed a distress call in mid-afternoon, said Stephen McCausland, a spokesman for the Maine Public Safety Department.

Click here for Link

13. Globe and Mail: 7 Austin Terrace
Tamara Baluja

Heritage Maclean House faces uncertain future

Its century-old sash windows have been stripped down. The distinguished portico gone.

Boarded up, with a hornets’ nest tucked into a window corner, 7 Austin Terrace is a glum looking home stripped of its former glory. If anything of value is left inside, you couldn’t tell by looking through the wired mesh gate preventing entry.

Gentrification of Queen Street takes former Big Bop space from punk to funk
Alberta, stop chipping away at your history
Toronto’s heritage buildings face ‘demolition by neglect’
The heritage building – and home of John Maclean, founder of Canada’s political weekly Maclean’s magazine – is rotting away, and property owner 1626829 Ontario Ltd. has applied to demolish it and build a new three-storey, eight-unit townhouse complex attached to another three-storey rental building with six units.

The battle over Maclean House – local residents and heritage preservationists are fighting its demolition – represents the classic struggle between individual private property rights and communal heritage interests. As the law now stands, individual property rights rank higher.

“It’s demolition by neglect,” said Toronto Councillor Joe Mihevc. “And there’s not really much we can do about that.”

Mr. Mihevc has joined heritage groups and the Casa Loma Residents Association in their fight to have the 1910 Georgian Revival property saved. Designed by Canadian architect John Lyle, the mastermind behind Union Station and the Royal Alexandra Theatre, Maclean House was already on a list of potential heritage properties when its present owner bought it for $2.3-million in October, 2008.

The following year, contractors tore out the window sashes and the portico above the front door, which were key heritage features.

“It was definitely targeted. They deliberately took out elements that made the building … valuable,” said Dyan Kirshenbaum, vice-president of Casa Loma Residents Association.

When she saw the contractors stripping down parts of the building, Ms. Kirshenbaum called the police. But the razing continued in spite of the angry protest of the residents association as the owner was within his legal rights to do so.

“We were absolutely powerless to stop them and the police instead of helping us, just watched and stood there,” she said.

The municipal government had limited ability to stop the contractors, so it appealed to the province. MPP Aileen Carroll, then Minister of Culture, issued the stop order – only the second time the province has intervened this way since the Ontario Heritage Act was enhanced in 2005 to give the province and municipalities the power to protect properties that may have heritage significance.

This January, Maclean House was finally granted heritage designation, and the case has gone before the Ontario Municipal Board with an appeal from the developer.

And that’s where the situation has stagnated.

Click here for Link

14. Globe and Mail: Archaeology in Canada
Gloria Galloway

Canadians dig their history

The staff at Parks Canada’s archeological resource centre in Ottawa’s south end don’t allow themselves to contemplate the monetary worth of the objects they identify and restore.

The axe heads, chipped pottery, leather shoes, ship planks, sword hilts and hundreds of thousands of other remnants of Canada’s past are beyond commercial value – priceless despite having long ago outlived their usefulness.

Dazzling anniversary book captures grandeur of Canada’s national parks

Parks Canada's artifacts
But the physical bits and pieces of history are just visual aids that help to tell the story of the country in which they were found, said T.J. Hammer, the archeological resource manager for the National Historic Sites Directorate.

“Archeology is much more than the artifacts,” Mr. Hammer said this week as Parks Canada prepares for a new season of digs in a year in which it will also celebrate its 100th anniversary. “The artifact is what people see,” he said, but “it’s all the associations and stories behind it that archaeologists pull out of archaeological sites.”

Click here for Link

15. GreenSource: Wychwood Barns
Beth Broome

Barn Raising: A former transportation facility is reinvented to serve its community in a whole new way

Once an active transit hub at the western terminus of Canada’s Toronto Civic Railways (TCR), the five parallel streetcar storage and maintenance barns comprising the St. Clair Carhouse fell into disrepair after being decommissioned and abandoned in 1985. The story of the facility’s revival as Artscape Wychwood Barns, a neighborhood arts and cultural center surrounded by the single-family residences of Toronto’s 21st Ward, offers multiple lessons in the value of adaptive reuse and sustainable design, historic preservation, and community engagement.

The former streetcar maintenance and storage barns house a variety of programs and are surrounded by a public park.

The TCR constructed the barns on the 4.3-acre site between 1913 and 1921 as the city and its urban railway grew. As the role of streetcar transit diminished, the Toronto Transportation Commission (which succeeded the TCR) closed the facility and, soon after, it became the subject of debate as the neighborhood struggled with what to do with the property. An effort to remediate the brownfield site was spearheaded by Artscape, a nonprofit arts-based developer, and the City of Toronto. It faced civic and community opposition, but after 10 years resulted in a 60,000-square-foot amenity, surrounded by a city park, which provides affordable housing, office and studio space for nonprofits and a host of public facilities.

Click here for Link

16. National Post: Demolition by neglect
Peter Kuitenbrouwer

Peter Kuitenbrouwer, National Post · Mar. 11, 2011 | Last Updated: Mar. 11, 2011 4:03 AM ET

On Monday Paul Oberman, the prolific developer who built a fortune preserving Toronto's heritage, died in the crash of a small plane in Maine. This week I thought of Mr. Oberman as I walked up Yonge Street and passed two of the city's most remarkable old buildings, north of Queen Street on the east side: the former Bank of Commerce building at 199 Yonge and the former Bank of Toronto building at 205 Yonge.

Both went up in 1905; both are locked and decaying. This sort of disrespect infuriated Mr. Oberman.

"They are absolutely stunning examples of some of the best architects that our city has ever had," says Rebecca Carson of Heritage Toronto, an arms-length agency funded largely through donations, "and to have them sitting on our main public artery and not shared with the citizens is almost criminal. It is stunning to us that they haven't had any TLC."

E.J. Lennox, architect of Old City Hall and the Ontario Legislature, designed 205 Yonge Street as the Bank of Toronto, a precursor to TD Bank. Some call this our finest example of Beaux-Arts architecture. The building boasts four huge columns topped by a richly sculpted crown of stone. The aluminum-covered dome roof resembles an observatory. The banking hall, with its columns and mosaics, is a show-stopper. The building later became home to Heritage Toronto, until the city sold it in 2003 to Irish businessman John Cavannah. Today, an Irish flag flutters on the roof line and pigeon poop speckles the columns. The Downtown Yonge business improvement area provided a telephone number for Mr. Cavannah; a recording says, "The customer you are calling is unavailable at the moment."

To its south sits 199 Yonge, designed by Darling and Pearson -architects of the original Royal Ontario Museum and the North Toronto Railway Station (transformed by Mr. Oberman into the Summerhill LCBO). The building at 199 Yonge has sat vacant for about 40 years. Today it and the parkette to its north belong to Salvatore Parasuco, owner of Parasuco Jeans Inc. of Montreal.

On a chain-link fence bolted to its front flutters a for-rent sign mentioning, "Prestigious location." No one returned calls to the Montreal telephone number on the sign. Workers recently sealed off the parkette between 199 and 205 Yonge Street with a Modu-loc fence; a sign screwed to a tree in the park warns, "Persons found dumping food or garbage in this area will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law."

"We have owned it for six or seven years," Melanie Bergeron, a spokeswoman for Parasuco in Montreal, says of 199 Yonge. "We still have mockups to build a hotel." She adds, "We are looking for someone to rent it or use it in a nice way because our project is delayed." She later called back to say Parasuco Jeans does not own the building. Al Rezoski, a manager at Toronto Planning, says, "I believe that the Parasuco family still owns the building."

In a recent show, Building Stories, Heritage Toronto wrote that 199 Yonge "is boarded up and appears to be quite seriously threatened by neglect."

Given the tragic loss of Yonge's Empress Hotel of 1888, torched in January (by arsonists, police say), are these two gorgeous banks being demolished by neglect? Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (Toronto CentreRosedale) did not answer requests for comment. Mary MacDonald, manager, heritage preservation services, said both bank buildings have heritage easements registered on title, adding, "The city has a heritage property standards bylaw to address the failure of owners to maintain their designated properties and municipal licensing and standards, with our assistance, will not hesitate to investigate those heritage properties that are falling into disrepair." She would not say whether Toronto has lifted a finger to protect these buildings.

Cathy Nasmith, a prominent heritage architect in Toronto, notes that "enforcement on demolition by neglect tends to be complaint-driven."

In that case, consider this my complaint.

Click here for Link

17. Toronto Star: Editorial Save Old City Hall Clock Mechanism

Yes, times are hard. And Toronto could save $50,000 in annual maintenance costs by silencing the bells of Old City Halls 110-year-old clock and using recorded sound instead. But bureaucrats should refrain from that dreary cut and keep this great timepiece ticking, and ringing, in its traditional way. The issue resonates now because companies are being asked to bid on a five-year contract to maintain the clocks antique mechanism. Possible options include disconnecting its century-old gears and making the clock electronic. It wouldnt look any different on the outside, and would very likely sound much as it does now. But something will have been lost. History isnt just found in a book  it can be physically experienced, seen, and even heard. Thats where the clock comes in. New electronic innards could be installed, but few such timepieces remain with their mechanism intact and operating. As one of these rare devices, Old City Halls clock is a moving, beating part of Torontos history. Thats why its original function is worth preserving even if modern, and cheaper, facsimiles are readily available. It doesnt help much to know that the clocks disused mechanism and bells would remain in the tower. A bells not a bell til you ring it, wrote composer Oscar Hammerstein. And hes right. Toronto doesnt have enough ties to its past. Disconnecting a marvel of Victorian technology, in favour of an electronic imitation, would sever yet another rare and slender historic chord.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:I must say I found the stories on this situation, the Star has done 3 so far, very upsetting. I grew up listening to my grandmother's clock chiming every 15 minutes as a child. The sound of Old City Hall clock links me to her, and to 1890's Toronto. This cut diminishes us all.

18. Toronto Star: Toronto's Future and Transit
Paul Bedford

Fords critical 100-year decisions

Is progressive city planning possible under Mayor Rob Ford and the current Toronto City Council?

I believe it’s not just an option, but an absolute necessity. The most immediate priority is to figure out how best to spend the $8 billion allocated by the province for transit development in Toronto, a decision that will shape our future for decades to come.

As Toronto’s chief city planner for eight years, and during my 31-year career in the city planning department, I worked with a wide range of mayors and councillors. The record shows progress was made regardless of the political leanings of those in charge.

Left-of-centre mayors David Crombie, John Sewell, Barbara Hall and David Miller were collectively responsible for the Central Area Plan, the St. Lawrence neighbourhood, City Home, the revitalization of King-Spadina and King-Parliament, waterfront renewal, transit, tower renewal and the priority neighbourhoods program.

Right-of-centre mayors Art Eggleton, June Rowlands and Mel Lastman were responsible for, among other things, embracing group homes in all residential neighbourhoods, the ascendancy of urban design and public art, the first State of the City report, Official Plan ’91, the office-to-residential conversion by-law, a new official plan for the amalgamated city and the plan for the central waterfront.

This partial list shows progressive planning is not the exclusive preserve of the left or the right. The most dramatic illustration of this occurred during the seminal debate over the future of downtown Toronto in January 1976, when the majority of council’s left wing voted against adopting the new Central Area Plan, which first introduced the idea of mixed use.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:Interesting to see Paul track critical planning decisions under different Toronto Mayors. He didn't mention this, but Mayor Lastman was a great champion of taking down the eastern leg of the Gardiner Expressway. I have a piece of it on my office window sill.

19. Toronto:Saving Victorians on St. Thomas St. Toronto
Christopher Hume

Giving the past a future

Look on one street and you’ll see developers tearing down the city’s architectural history as fast as they can. Look on another and they’re making heritage the centrepiece of a new project.

Traditionally, demolition has been the preferred option. Even today, that’s still the case; an empty site is more desirable than one graced — God forbid — with a few Gothic-revival houses from the 1870s.

Slowly but surely, however, that’s beginning to change. Toronto developers, those stalkers of the bottom line, are waking to the economic potential of heritage.

One wouldn’t want to overstate the case — just weeks ago, the old Empress Hotel building at Yonge and Gould was destroyed by arson — but there are reasons for optimism. The Royal Conservatory of Music on Bloor is a good example, so are the National Ballet School on Jarvis St. and the Wychwood Barns. All three projects — and there are others — are instances where old and new have been integrated to the greater advantage of both — as well as Toronto.

Yet anyone wandering around Charles, St. Thomas and Sultan streets might rightly be confused about the city’s real feelings about heritage. To make way for a new condo tower on the north side of Charles just west of St. Thomas, a row of exquisite 19th-century houses was recently torn down.

By contrast, a development planned steps away on the south side of Sultan, east of St. Thomas, will enthusiastically incorporate a number of handsome Romanesque heaps from the 1880s, possibly designed by the great E.J. Lennox.

But measured in time and money, the difference between keeping heritage and killing it is huge. It’s no mystery why most builders would rather start from scratch.

“If we didn’t have the heritage component the project would already have been finished,” says Patrick Quigley, president of St. Thomas Commercial Developments, now building on Sultan. “We have spent a couple of years working on it. The heritage part was a huge constraint.”

Heritage architect Michael McClelland of ERA Architects, who has consulted on many heritage projects, confirms Quigley’s observations.

“It’s such a difficult process with the city,” he explains. “Usually developers hate it. But you end up with a much better project when you take contextual issues into consideration.”

In this case, the issue is six three-storey houses that have stood on the site about 130 years. They remain in use, but the interiors have not fared well. The temptation would be to tear the whole lot down.

Because Quigley’s firm owns the whole block, and has already constructed a 28-storey condo on the corner of St. Thomas and Charles, he could afford a more relaxed approach to the Sultan Street site. Rather than go for another tall tower, Quigley opted for a midrise building nestled above the heritage houses, or at least the facades.

“Our plan works well on a block scale,” says architect David Pontarini, who designed the new development. “It was one of those rare occasions when we got to look at the whole block, not just one building.”

His response is a softly-curved glass box that sits atop a podium located in the space behind the heritage houses. It rises above them, but only six floors. As Quigley likes to say, you won’t be able to notice the addition from the street. And because the box will also be set well back from the heritage facades, it barely interferes with the buildings below.

Also significant is the fact that this will be a mixed-use project, commercial and retail as well as residential. Indeed, some of the units will be office condos, a rarity in Toronto.

By contrast, the residential tower going up nearby on Charles won’t have to worry about incorporating the past. For some mysterious reason, the city “delisted” these heritage houses several years ago and they were quickly torn down. No doubt the developer was thrilled, but a number of fine old houses were destroyed to make way for the new scheme.

Meanwhile, back on Sultan, Quigley figures he will be lucky to have shovels in the ground a year from now. Indeed, he’s keeping his fingers crossed the city will approve the zoning changes by the end of this year.


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20. Former Restroom Now Showcases Art
Leslie Albrecht

The West Side Arts Coalition hosts art exhibits in a one-time public bathroom at Broadway and West 96th Street.

UPPER WEST SIDE — A lot of people wander into the little building on the median at Broadway and West 96th Street expecting to find a public bathroom — but they get a pint-sized art exhibit instead.

The city-owned structure was a restroom years ago — a sign marked Women still hangs above one door — but today it's an exhibit space for the West Side Arts Coalition.

The nonprofit was founded by a group of Upper West Side artists in the late 1970s who wanted to create a "non-exclusive" venue to show their work, said co-curator Anne Rudder.

Artists renovated the bathroom building and today the structure is known as the Broadway Mall Community Center. Some people mistake the Beaux-Arts style building for an entrance to the 96th Street subway station, which is right across the street.

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21. National Post: Erasing Christian Heritage of Canada
Rex Murphy

Protecting the clutter, razing the culture

When Heritage protection and promotion became fashionable in this country, I wasn’t all that keen on the movement. It has touches of the too, too precious about it, and a kind of plastic enthusiasm that bestowed itself on any odd and old thing — a building, a fisherman’s house, some oldish farm implements. Back home in Newfoundland, you’d hear sophisticated people going on about the virtues of the “salt box house” or buying up old cluttered clapboard houses as if they were Fabregé eggs. This mentality was described once, in a moment of steel-eyed illumination, as “middle class magnanimity for the architecture of the dead poor.”

It got so bad in certain parts of “urban” Newfoundland, that a guy trying to build just an ordinary 1,000-square-foot bungalow for his family might run into the devil’s own mess of codes, and restrictions, and bureaucrats claiming that he was about to set up his family in a protected area, and would thereby have to “heritage” his place up, or look elsewhere for shelter. Don’t block the view to the gutted and forgotten lighthouse. Don’t screen off the road to the old leather factory. Down with that aluminium siding you heathen vandal.
I though it was all, or most of it, a yuppie game. Heritage preservation got a lot of grants, federal and provincial. It was arty. It was community. It was — shades of cultural nationalists — “telling our story.”

I’ve retreated a fair bit, however, on my callow and early scorn for heritage endeavours. The cynicism was too easy. Some of heritage preservation has been very good indeed, and some of the people who volunteered in the effort have indeed saved much that is valuable.

Set against this, in another terrain of social and political endeavour, we have a great wind of cross purpose: efforts to cancel or erase not our physical or material history, but (to my mind) the far more significant and profound ideas and practices that have marked Canadians’ presence in this country from its founding. In recent years, such efforts have been rampant, and nowhere more determinedly pursued that in the area of Christian heritage.

For have we not seen the cultural vandals of human rights commission, or the new imperium of political correctness, conjuring up all sorts of codswallop about why we must take down Christmas trees and crèches, strip municipal buildings of all crucifixes or mentions of God, take emblems of the Cross from legislatures, halt overt expressions of patriotism in schools, forbid reciting the anthem because it has Christian bias, a “gender” tilt, or isn’t (this is the worst word of the lot) “inclusive” enough?

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22. Effort to preserve historic inn abandoned by Heritage Uxbridge
Don Campbell

Effort to preserve historic inn abandoned by Heritage Uxbridge


UXBRIDGE -- Citing a lack of resources and expertise, Township officials have abandoned efforts to save a former Uxbridge inn.

Heritage Uxbridge had attempted to preserve the Altona Inn for the past three years, but due to rising costs and difficulty establishing a long-term plan and fundraising efforts concluded it was time to move on.

In a report by Councillor Pat Mikuse, Uxbridge's chairwoman of culture, it was noted that based on studies by two local companies it would cost approximately $500,000 to restore the site.

"The committee has no one with the expertise in completing one- to five-year plans and fundraising to that extent," she said.

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23. Owen Sound Sun Times: St. Mary's High School in Owen Sound

Council puts off St. Mary's decision

The 120-year-old annex of St. Mary's High School in Owen Sound should be spared from demolition until all options are exhausted to preserve and save it, says city Coun. Jim McManaman.

The Bruce Grey Catholic District School Board has "not even scratched the surface" towards trying to save the historic building, he said.

"Not all old buildings can be saved and not all old buildings should be saved. But we must do everything possible to preserve buildings that should be saved," he said in an interview prior to Monday's city council meeting.

"I don't think enough has been done to save the old portion of the school."

City council agreed Monday night to postpone until March 21 voting on the school board's latest plan to commemorate the original school building in exchange for council's blessing to rip it down.

McManaman presented the motion to table, saying the decision is "significantly important" and should be made when all council members are present, if possible. Mayor Deb Haswell is on vacation in Australia, while city/county Coun. Arlene Wright is away at the Ontario Good Roads Association conference in Toronto. Coun. Jan Chamberlain was also absent from the meeting.

The planning department at city hall is recommending council conditionally approve the school board's latest proposal to commemorate the original wing of St. Mary's High School in Owen Sound in exchange for a permit to demolish the 1891 annex.

The board is seeking permission to build a 73-square-metre, mostly glass addition to the school to replace the annex at the school's west end.

The entranceway features of the original school would be reconstructed, after demolition, using materials from the old annex, to create a "monument" to the old school, according to plans submitted to city hall by the school board.

Pam Coulter, the city's community services director, said the monument would not be an entranceway to the school, but would contain interpretive heritage panels for people to view. An entryway would be built into the glass addition.

Staff is recommending that council require the board to submit a three-dimensional electronic survey of the building's exterior and photographs of the interior for preservation before a demolition permit is issued. It is also recommending that council require the school board to detail how original materials from the demolished annex would be salvaged to create the monument. Staff is also recommending a completion deadline of February 2012 for demolition of the original school and construction of the new entranceway.

The city and school board have been engaged in back-and-forth discussions over the fate of the original school for nearly three years.

Council voted in July 2008 to protect it under the Ontario Heritage Act.

The board objected, sending the matter to Ontario's Conservation Review Board.

Board officials said the structure is shifting and cost prohibitive to repair.

The province provided $3.7 million to the board for construction of a new wing on the opposite end of the school, which is now complete, but no cash to preserve the original annex.

The board closed off the old wing to students in 2009 and boarded up its windows.

Before a full-blown hearing by the conservation board, the city agreed to give the school board a chance to entice council to withdraw its intention to designate by presenting a plan to commemorate the building's historical significance.

A plan presented in 2009 failed to impress council.

Council voted on April 26 to withdraw its intention to designate the annex, saying it would work with the board to come up with a mutually acceptable plan to permit its demolition.

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24. Peterborough Examiner: 'Great day' for Peterborough as renovation plans announced for former YMCA building

"We want this project to be a significant contribution to Peterborough and to the life of this city. We hope to create life, activity, commerce, recreation at this location."

Mayor Daryl Bennett called it a historic day, as a new strategy to develop the city's old YMCA building was unveiled Tuesday morning that would meld the heritage building with retail and residential units at the northern gateway to Peterborough's downtown.

"Welcome to another great day in the history of the City of Peterborough," Bennett said during a press conference at the building. "We are about to have a renaissance.

(The building) will be saved. It will be restored and it will be given a new life."

Dr. Jenny Ingram, the building's owner, described a new vision for the site at the corner of George and Murray streets that included three retail stores, 56 independent apartments, 84 assisted living apartments, 47 underground parking spaces, the Kawartha Regional Memory Clinic and rooftop gardens.

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25. The Hamilton Spectator: passing of architect Trevor Garwood Jones
Daniel Nolan

Trevor Garwood-Jones redesigned Hamilton in the late 20th century

Trevor Garwood-Jones redesigned Hamilton in late 20th century
Trevor Garwood-Jones left his fingerprints all over Hamilton. The award-winning architect designed some of the most prominent buildings in the city during a 50-year career.
GARWOOD JONES Trevor Garwood-Jones left his fingerprints all over Hamilton. The award-winning architect designed some of the most prominent buildings in the city during a 50-year career.
Hamilton Spectator file photo

Its not a stretch to say Trevor Garwood-Jones left his fingerprints all over Hamilton.

The award-winning architect designed some of the most prominent buildings in the city during a 50-year career, most famously Hamilton Place, the Hamilton Convention Centre, the Art Gallery of Hamilton, the Ellen Fairclough Building, St. Peters Hospital and the Hamilton Regional Cancer Centre.

There are not many architects that the average person could name, but I think his name would be familiar to a lot of Hamiltonians, says Mayor Bob Bratina. His legacy is here before us and I dont think we will ever see any of his buildings knocked down.

Garwood-Jones, who worked on more than 100 buildings, including the recent $72 million renovations to Hamilton City Hall, died Monday morning at the Hamilton General Hospital from a heart attack. The Waterdown resident was to turn 83 this Thursday, St. Patricks Day.

His most recent project was the current $5 million-renovation of the Dundas Valley School of Art.

Perhaps his illustrious career was foretold when he had the opportunity to meet Walter Gropius, the famous German architect who founded the Bauhaus school of design after the First World War.

Garwood-Jones daughter, Alison, said Gropius  who fled Germany when Hitler came to power  paid a visit as a guest critic to the architectural firm where her father worked in London, England, during the early 1950s. She said her father was the top student in his class, but got his wife, Catherine, to make him a bow tie like the ones Gropius always wore and also got himself a hat like those of the great architect.

Gropius came in, looked at my dads work, said something to the effect of Nice work, young man, and took off my dads hat and put it on his head, said Alison, a freelance writer.

My dad just went over the moon. That was his affirmation. He just went out into the world with a spring in his step and started his career.

Born in Chatham, England, Garwood-Jones was the son of an engineer and an artist. His daughter believes he got his three-dimensional way of looking at projects from his father and his artistic bent from his mother. Garwood-Jones first studied to become an engineer at Cambridge University after the Second World War, but switched to architecture at the University of London. He graduated with a degree in 1953.

Garwood-Jones and his wife, who married in 1951, came to Hamilton in 1959 because a pal told him the firm of Husband & Wallace was looking for some young architects to join the firm. He scouted out the city and liked what he saw.

Garwood-Jones stayed with Husband & Wallace for a decade and then set up his own firm. It was then that the big projects he is now known for started coming his way.

His struck out on his own in 1969, and it wasnt too long after that he was drawing up plans for Hamilton Place, said Alison.

Retired Burlington architect Harry Lennard, 72, worked with Garwood-Jones in the 1970s. He retired six years ago, but said his friend kept working even at the age of 82 because he loved the work.

He always believed the clients needs were paramount to a successful relationship, said Lennard. He was a great guy to work with.

Even though Hamilton Place was not his favourite design  his favourite was St. Peters Hospital  Alison said her father was proud to be part of a community like Hamilton. He was very grateful. Hamilton was really good to him.

Apart from the landmark buildings, Garwood-Jones also designed a new Mormon church in Stoney Creek, a new Catholic church in Grimsby, a wing for St. Josephs Hospital, and renovations at the Hamilton GO Centre and the downtown armouries.

No one can say if he might have worked on the new Pan Am Stadium, but he voiced his support last summer for locating it beside a highway, as opposed to councils idea of building it at the west harbour. Ivor Wynne is being renovated for the Games.

Garwood-Jones leaves his wife Catherine, 82, children Peter, 48, Richard, 46, Alison, 44, plus family in England.


Hamilton Place

The Art Gallery of Hamilton

St. Peters Hospital

Hamilton Convention Centre/ Ellen Fairclough Building

The Hamilton Regional Cancer Centre (now the Juravinski Cancer Centre)

Flamborough YMCA

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Stoney Creek

St. Josephs Roman Catholic Church, Grimsby

Hamilton City Hall renovations

First Place Hamilton


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26. BlogTO: Exploring a derelict Marmora quarry
Jonathan Castellino

Don't quarry, everything will be alright

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27. Toronto Star: French Heritage for Sale
Agn├Ęs Catherine Poirier

Sarkozy is selling off the family silver

Tell your friends: France is for sale! Since Nicolas Sarkozy was elected president almost four years ago, the French government has, rather quietly, been selling the jewels of the republic.

And the republic is very rich, or was rich.

The French state owns 60 billion euros ($82 billion U.S.) worth of Renaissance châteaux, grand Haussmann buildings, art deco mansions, Baroque churches, 18th century convents, Middle Ages forts, Vauban barracks, fertile lands and precious woods. In fact, France actually owns the largest collection of public properties in the world: a legacy of the revolution, when all the country’s riches were appropriated by the state in the name of the people; and a heritage of a strong Jacobin tradition of public intervention.

Sarkozy, the great undoer of France, has decided it is high time France became less idealistic (riches to the people), and more pragmatic (riches to the rich). Coffers getting empty? Recession starting to bite? Let’s sell the family silver. He could have raised taxes slightly — what else are taxes for? — but the thought never occurred to him.

Instead, he put a big sign outside his office at the Elysée Palace: France for sale. The government recently announced it was hoping to do away with 1,700 properties by 2013. To make us swallow the pill, the president’s spin doctors came up with this argument: We can’t afford looking after those grand buildings anymore, why not sell them to private individuals in exchange for their reassurance to restore the place? A win-win arrangement, non?

Not quite. Take the magnificent Hôtel de la Marine, standing at the foot of the Champs-Elysées in Paris, on the famous Place de la Concorde. Built between 1757 and 1774 at the request of Louis XV, the 240,000-square-foot palace, with Piranesi-inspired decor, has housed the naval ministry since the 1790s.

Yet, today, the civil servants are being thrown out so a private entrepreneur can transform it into a luxury hotel. Citizens should sleep soundly, says the government: Four salons will be kept intact.


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28. Toronto Star: Timeless Materials-Waterloo
Ellen Moorhouse

Salvaged in a Waterloo barn

Ken Kieswetter is as enthusiastic as a kid in a toy store. Only he isn’t a kid, and he’s on his own company’s premises.

“Come here!” he says, again and again. And off he goes, up and down the stairs of a remarkable 1870s three-storey barn in Waterloo, now a showroom for salvaged materials. He wants to point out another treasure.

Here’s a man who loves what he does.

Kieswetter and two of his six brothers run three businesses embracing their own version of reduce, reuse, recycle. Kieswetter Demolition deconstructs buildings, many historic, sorting and saving everything reusable. The reclaimed materials are showcased by The Timeless Material Co. in the barn and on its 10-acre site (305 Northfield Dr. E., Timeless Timber Structures Inc. designs, builds and reconstructs, using historic structures and salvaged materials. At a second location in Southampton, the Kieswetters have a timber-frame structure inside a Quonset hut.

Right next to the Timeless barn property is the expanding campus of Research In Motion, home to the BlackBerry and a work force of thousands, many of whom no doubt embrace the industrial and rough-hewn aesthetic the Kieswetters can satisfy through their preservation efforts.

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Editor's Note:Great photos

29. Huffington Post: New York Landmark Commission
Roberta Brandes Gratz

Landmarking Urban Change in New York

New York City has undergone enormous change in the past decade and there is no better place to observe this change than at the Landmarks Preservation Commission. This may seem counter-intuitive for those who think the Landmarks Commission is about stopping change or "freezing the city," but it is only counter-intuitive to those who limit their definition of change to building new, big and tall.

There has been plenty of that too. New York City in the decade before the bust had been transformed by new construction in every borough. But the most transformative and enduring change -- the kind that spreads economic benefits citywide and affects more than corporate high rises and the new luxury condos their employees occupy -- has come both through the upgrading of existing buildings and new infill located in diverse neighborhoods.

Some of the most celebrated new buildings designed by star architects, like Jean Nouvel and Herzog + de Meuron, are in historic districts, adding residential density to neighborhoods that once had none. In fact, it is primarily in historic districts where one can observe the variety of layers of urban change over time.

As one of the eleven Landmarks Commissioners, I was both a witness to and participant in this change. I had written about and been active in the preservation movement since the 1970s when many in the development industry aggressively sought to demolish some of the very buildings they are now profitably restoring, buildings standing today because preservationists won some battles over demolition.

I resisted joining the commission at first, thinking that the outside observer/critic should never cross over. I was mistaken. I learned much from inside the process. Most significantly, I observed close hand the sea change that has occurred in attitudes toward historic preservation. In the 1970s, one could not even get an Art Deco building designated. Now, pressure to designate even Modernist buildings is strong, particularly since the animated public discussion over the alteration of 2 Columbus Circle, Edward Durell Stone's iconic 1960s museum design.

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30. Landmarks 45: Edward Glaesar attacking Preservation
Anthony C. Wood, forwarded by Margie Zeidler

Preservation and The Triumph of the City

Every preservationist needs to read Edward Glaeser’s new book Triumph of the City. I suggest you borrow a copy so his book sales don’t soar leading others to conclude popular support for his ideas. Preservationists need to read the book because it is a wake up call. Besides raising your blood pressure, the book provides all the evidence one needs to know that preservation is still very much under assault by very powerful and sophisticated forces. It also underscores the need for preservationists to more clearly make the case that preservation is indeed in no small part, responsible for the triumph of the city.

Glaeser’s assault on preservation is particularly dangerous because he has a gift for getting media attention and his misdirected attacks on preservation are mixed in with some otherwise solid observations about cities. Glaeser can be seen as an upgraded and more presentable version of the old wise use movement. Clothed in the respectable garb of a Harvard economist and sounding a note or two of concern for “ordinary people,” his attack on preservation tries to provide academic cover for those who have been working for years to roll-back or essentially gut appropriate land use regulations.

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Editor's Note:Would these be the same Harvard Economists who advocate financial de-regulation too? Big Banks, Big Development, Crude Cityscapes....find me an exception where a big development produced a humane vibrant environment. Nothing beats the small property, small building, diverse, resiliant, adaptable.

31. Southwest Business: New Future for Stothert and Pitt foundry, Thomas Fuller

Council unveils development blueprint for thousands of jobs

Council chiefs have revealed more details about the sort of development possible at a string of Bath sites where thousands of new jobs could be created.

A document suggests new shops, bars and offices in Manvers Street, riverside cafes and creative workshops around the old Stothert and Pitt factory in Lower Bristol Road, and a new hotel and conference centre development at Green Park Station.

For the first time, Bath and North East Somerset Council has estimated the number of jobs that could be created at nine different locations in the city.


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32. The Revue Cinema
Peter Hamiwka

The Revue Cinema is a repertory cinema in Toronto - - operated by the Revue Film Society, a not-for-profit community-run volunteer organization. The Revue is a heritage property designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.

We are presently beginning preparations to commemorate the centenary of the opening of the Revue Cinema - construction on the building commenced in late 1911, and the cinema first opened its doors to the public in the spring of 1912. The building has been used continually as a cinema to this day. We understand that the building is the oldest purpose-built cinema which remains in Toronto, as well as the oldest cinema in Toronto which still is being used for that purpose.

We were wondering whether the readers of Built Heritage News may be able to help us determine where the Revue may stand with respect to being the oldest purpose-built cinema remaining in Ontario, and/or the oldest purpose-built cinema remaining in Canada. If there are any older cinema buildings which remain standing, are they still being used as cinemas? We're particularly interested in buildings that were built specifically to be used as cinemas, and not previously existing storefronts, theatres or vaudeville or concert halls which may have been adapted for film exhibition, as was common in the early days of cinema.

Additionally, we wonder whether anyone may have any other interesting information of a historical nature regarding the Revue. We are particularly interesed in obtaining old photos of the cinema, especially any photos which show the original Georgian facade of the building, before the Art Deco makeover in the 1930's added the marquee [now sadly lost after it collapsed in February, 2007.] Any and all photos, information, articles, artifacts, stories, reminiscences, etc. may be sent to , or mailed to Peter Hamiwka, c/o The Revue Cinema, 400 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M6R 2M9.

Thank you very much for any information which anyone may be able to provide.

Peter Hamiwka
Revue Film Society

33. Bentwood Chairs Gone from Toronto Reference Library!
Marcia Cuthbert

The other day on one of my regular visits to the Toronto Reference Library I was shocked to find that the bentwood chairs on the main floor of the Library had disappeared. These chairs, elegant examples of the best of modern design, have been in the Library ever since it opened in 1977 and undoubtedly were selected by the buildings architect, Raymond Moriyama. I believe the chairs were designed by Michael Thonet in the late 1800's or early 1900's. A picture of a similar Thonet chair from the year 1900 may be found at where their use by Le Corbusier in a number of his buildings is noted.

These iconic furnishings have been replaced by some very heavy chairs with thick hard wooden seats which, among other things, must have the effect of reducing the amount of time that people can sit on them with any comfort. A label under the seat of one of the replacement chairs reveals that it is a Coalesse chair by Steelecase Inc., Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, model number 3500S, order number 3957818, delivery date 12/15/2010.

The specifications, pricing and a drawing of the chair may be be seen by scrolling down to the Coalesse Enea Stacker Without Arms - Wood Back and Seat, at The little wings on the back of the chair, not visible in the drawing, may be viewed in a photo of a variation of the chair at

Information about the chairs designer, Josep Lluscá, a professor and award-winning industrial designer from Barcelona, may be found at

I found out that the library has sent the bentwood chairs to Platinum Liquidations to be auctioned off, and so I e-mailed Platinum Liquidations in late February and got this reply: Hi, All items are sold @ auction and not before. We do not have a date for the next auction at this time. Please continue to check our website Thanks kindly....

Now that this drastic change has already been made without any public consultation and, as far as I know, without the input of the building's architect and organizations such as Docomomo, Dominion Modern, Spacing magazine and others devoted to the modern movement and the design of public spaces, is it too late to do something?

I handed in a comments form at the Library in early March suggesting that they keep the rest of the chairs which apparently are still on other floors of the Library, that they not make any further changes to the design elements of the Library without public consultation, and (fat chance) that they buy back the chairs. No response received so far.

When the chairs from the Eaton's College Round Room were auctioned off many years ago, the former Toronto Historical Board acquired some of them, probably now in storage for future display. If the bentwood chairs can't go back to the Library, could an appropriate home be found for them now?

In the current political climate, when the budgets for libraries and other cultural institutions are being slashed, how many more things that delight the eye, offer comfort and make life worth living in our City will disappear?