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Issue No. 183 | October 31, 2011

1. Moriyama Teshima Office on Davenport Rd.
Steve Nugent

This office building designed by the most important Canadian arcitect is about to be demolished. The circumstances leading to that decision are unclear and not stated. The condominium taking it's place will soon be under construction. These are it's last days.

I have appealed, without response, for its retention.

Would Buffalo not save a Frank Lloyd Wright building?

Editor's Note:
Catch 22, preserving the building would likely pose a severe hardship on the very firm the designation hopes to honour. Preserving Moriyama's built commissions seems more important to me than preserving this adapted gas station and garden, no matter how lovely.

2. Petition to Support Collingwoods HCD
Lindsay Cook, owner of Clerkson's

As you know, I am a proud business owner in Collingwood. Clerkson's has been located in Collingwood's downtown for 32 years. My store is also located in our beautiful Heritage Conservation District. I am very proud of Collingwood's commitment to our architectural heritage. I feel the Heritage District promotes tourism to our town and is a definite draw for those who are relocating to our area. This is why I am so very worried about the challenges the Heritage District currently faces. Please take a moment to read the letter below and sign the online petition (click on the link).

I am sending this letter to everyone in my email contact list because I feel so strongly about the subject. You have my permission to forward the petition letter to any person you feel may be interested in this important matter. If I have sent this letter to someone who does not agree with my sentiments, I am truly sorry and I mean no disrespect.

All the best,


Collingwood is known and admired provincially, nationally, and even internationally for its downtown Heritage Conservation District. Our downtown forms one of the largest conservation districts in Ontario and was the first heritage district in all of Canada to be listed in the Canadian Register of Historic Places. This prestigious designation identifies Hurontario Street as “among the best preserved 19th century grand main streets in Ontario.”

And yet, the Heritage District is currently facing its biggest challenge.

Tourists from far and wide come to Collingwood to walk our downtown streets and shop in our stores. Town, regional and provincial publications praise our historic downtown and its architectural heritage. Collingwood has become one of the most popular retirement destinations in Ontario – in no small part because of the beauty of its built and natural landscapes.

And yet, the Heritage District may begin to break apart.

Why? Because Collingwood Town Council has requested a report from its staff on what steps are needed to remove a prominent property from the Heritage District.

Property owners in the Heritage District understand that our downtown represents the heart and history of our town, and as such, is a boost to our town’s tourism and economy. The Heritage By-Law that governs our district was well-researched, well thought out, and approved by town and council. To let a developer simply “opt out” of Collingwood’s Heritage District in order to remove obligations outlined in the By-Law is completely unfair to the many individuals and businesses who have abided by our town’s legislation for years.

If the town council goes forward and allows the property to be removed, then the entire district is vulnerable to similar requests from any other resident or corporation which will slowly erode our heritage. Eventually, there may not be a Heritage District.

Help us to protect Collingwood’s Heritage Conservation District by signing this online petition or one of the paper versions, which are circulating within the Heritage Conservation District.

Here's the Link: 

3. CBC. Downsview Building
forwarded by Steve Otto

Historic Downsview building slated for demolition

A building that played a major role in the production of aircraft for the Allies in their fight against Hitler during the Second World War is facing the wrecking ball.

It's located in Toronto's Downsview Park and is described in federal heritage documents simply as "CFB Plant .1, Building .1."

Just one month after the federal government celebrated Canada's aviation history by reintroducing the name, "Royal Canadian Air Force," it was sending an eviction notice to a building where RCAF planes were assembled.

Built in 1929, the plant housed the operations of the de Havilland Aircraft company which provided 17 per cent of Canada's planes during the war years.

The old brick-and-glass building in a sprawling industrial complex produced more than 2,500 Mosquito fighter bombers and Tiger Moth trainers during 1939 and 1945.

The building is on federal land and is currently rented by the privately run Canadian Air and Space Museum.

The museum and neighbouring tenants were told on Sept. 20 they would be evicted to make way for a four-rink ice complex. Everything but the facade of the old airplane factory is slated for demolition.

Museum CEO Robert Cohen says Parc Downsview Park Inc., the Crown corporation redeveloping the area, has not been honest with the museum and the 10 other tenants.

"I can only say that if Stephen Harper really knew what was going on here, I think he would be totally appalled as to how the people at Parc Downsview Park have been treating us," he said.

Cohen says all tenants facing eviction from "65 Carl Hall Road," including a sewing school and a few small businesses, were misled into believing they had a long-term future there.

"They broke many hearts, they've put these small entrepreneurs into a terrible predicament," he added.

The air and space museum has a number of classic aircraft in its inventory, including a full-scale $3-million replica of the ill-fated Avro CF-105 Arrow, which was built by volunteers — many of them former members of the military.

Production of the cutting-edge intercepter was halted and all planes were ordered scrapped by the Conservative government of John Diefenbaker in 1959.

Click here for Link

4. Globe and Mail Real Estate: A bit of Riverdale History
Deidre Kelly

Home of the Week: History of Riverdale tied to Victorian-era abode

This restored Victorian-era home was built circa 1880 for the Robinsons, prominent members of Ontario’s Family Compact of Anglo elites. The Robinsons early on influenced the development of Riverdale, the Toronto neighbourhood where this detached two-storey is located. According to agents Irene Kaushansky and Philip Brown, who investigated the home’s heritage, the original owner, Christopher Robinson, received one of the four original land grants in Riverdale; Pape Avenue, located at Riverdale’s eastern boundary, was originally called Robinson in his honour. His son was Sir John Beverley Robinson, Bart., Attorney General and Chief Justice of Upper Canada, and his granddaughter was Mrs. William Forsyth-Grant, after whom Grant Street was named. The original Mr. Robinson also had a daughter who married a General Lefroy after whom part of the present First Avenue was once named.

Click here for Link

5. Globe and Mail Real Estate: Yonge Street Old and New
Dave LeBlanc

Yonge Street's oldsters make room for a glitzy neighbour

from Globe and Mail

If Don Shebib's Pete and Joey from the seminal 1970 film Goin' Down the Road were to go down Yonge Street today, they might mistake it for Bay Street.

Well, perhaps not yet, but very soon.

First off, there are all the high-rise condominium projects currently reaching for the sky, such as the sculpted balcony behemoth at 1 Bloor East and what will be Canada's tallest residential tower, Aura, at College Park, but what's more interesting is the scene unfolding at Yonge and St. Joseph streets.

While a tower will eventually go up there as well, about a third of the low-rise, 1880s retail block running south on Yonge – where typical, er, “colourful” businesses once stood – is about to undergo a metamorphosis. Suffice it to say that once newcomer MOD Developments Inc. and veteran partner Graywood Developments Ltd. (fresh from partnering at the Ritz-Carlton) have incorporated them into “FIVE – Condos at 5 St. Joseph,” our friends from Nova Scotia would become even more disoriented.

And it won't stop there: Also getting a makeover is the south side of St. Joseph all the way to cobblestoned St. Nicholas Street, and a good portion of that street as well.

It's not often developers get to play with such a large chunk of Toronto's most famous street and a handful of heritage architecture, and, thankfully, MOD's Gary Switzer and Graywood's Stephen Price have decided to sidestep the path of least resistance.

That means retaining full building shells from 606 to 618 Yonge rather than just façades, and, where façadism is a necessary evil along St. Joseph, the face of a 1905 warehouse is being held up by an enormous, bridge-like structure so that it can remain in situ while the foundation for the Hariri Pontarini-designed 45-storey tower is dug directly underneath it. On St. Nicholas, the warehouse wall will be disassembled and trucked off-site until the tower has been erected.

To ensure authenticity, heritage heavyweights ERA Architects will oversee brick repair, paint removal, the reintroduction of period-specific windows (double-hung wood frame) and the recreation of shop-front niceties such as metal canopies, cornices or corbels that were removed decades ago.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:There is nothing quite like Toronto's main streets, vibrant changing businesses in small buildings, 20' or so wide lots. This fabric has continued to be the breeding ground for all kinds of invention, stability, new and old business. I have compared Main Streets to old growth forests. Jane Jacobs rightly pointed out to the fact that small properties could be owner occupied as the key to our interesting retail strips. This approach to Yonge Street seems to offer much more promise of an ongoing evolution of the strip than facadism. Condo corporations are not as flexible as independent ownership, but offer a step up from the only Shoppers Drug Mart can rent here phenomenom of most new condo developments. I am watching this development with great interest...too bad such an approach was not applied at Yonge and Bloor.

6. Globe and Mail: Hockey and War of 1812????
Jane Taber

Birthplace of hockey threatened by Heritage focus on War of 1812

Proudly on display in a tiny museum in a small town in the Annapolis Valley is what is believed to be the last autograph signed by hockey great Howie Morenz.

The Montreal Canadiens’ forward died an untimely death at age 34 in 1937, following a hockey injury he sustained during a game against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Now, the Hockey Heritage Centre in Windsor, N.S., the valley town that bills itself as the “birthplace of hockey,” could face its own untimely demise after nearly 16 years in operation.

It’s pretty much broke, its volunteers are burned out and only an 11th hour intervention saved it from closing its doors for good this year.

“It was typical of anything. We tried to keep it together on a shoestring ...,” says Windsor Mayor Paul Beazley. “It was a case that it was just ‘let’s keep the doors open’ for many years. It’s difficult to do these days.”

Windsor’s hockey museum, which attracts between 2,000 and 3,000 tourists a year and runs on an annual budget of $40,000, is just one of hundreds of treasured local sites across Canada, perhaps neglected and fallen into disrepair, that are worthy of saving.

Click here for Link

7. Open File: History of Casa Loma...and What may be next
Jerry Langton, forwarded by Steve Otto

Since Taking over Casa Loma, What has the City done with it?

When the City re-assumed control of Casa Loma this past June, it was anybody’s guess as to what would be done with it. One person, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, had an idea: “Casa Loma is something that I think we are eventually going to have to sell,” he said at the time. “That’s the bottom line.” That might be easier said than done, though. After all, what’s the market for a faux-medieval castle in the middle of a big city? More importantly, how has the City fared with one of Toronto's most recognizable landmarks since its takeover?

In real estate agent parlance, Casa Loma could in fact be a cursed location. It also has a history of sometimes brutal government interference. In 1911, Henry Pellatt was one of the richest men in Canada. A stockbroker and retired soldier, he made vast fortunes with investments in hydroelectricity, railways and aircraft manufacturing. In an era when conspicuous consumption was considered a good thing, Pellett decided to enjoy his millions by building a castle-like mansion atop Forest Hill, overlooking Toronto.

Designed by E. J. Lennox—who had been the man behind Old City Hall, the Bank of Toronto and other local landmarks—and finished in 1914, Casa Loma was the largest private residence ever built in Canada at the time. It included a smaller house called the Hunting Lodge and nearby massive stables accessible by an underground tunnel.

But things didn’t go well for Pellatt. The accepted story around town was that he simply overextended himself financially with the project, but the truth is less of a crude morality play about hubris. Using World War I as justification, the provincial government took over his hydroelectric interests and the federal government grabbed his aircraft manufacturing firm. On both occasions, he was given a pittance in return. Perhaps feeling left out of the action, the City of Toronto used a post-war recession as an excuse to raise Pellatt’s property taxes from $600 a year to $1,000 a month—a 2,000 per cent increase. According to his biographer Bill Freeman, Pellatt also found himself embroiled in a conflict-of-interest insurance imbroglio. After less than ten years in his mansion, Pellatt was forced to leave and went to live with his former chauffeur in Mimico, eventually dying nearly penniless in 1939.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:I was in a fantastic private club last week, The Buffalo Club....which was a former mansion. Whatever the use is it needs to be one that would continue to allow public access to the property, but not necessarily as a museum. A hotel would do that, but is not the only option.

8. Toronto Star: City Plaquing Program from the 70's
Susan Pigg

If these old walls could talk &

The Toronto Historical Board plaque is the first hint to would-be buyers that 7 Wellesley Ave. is every bit as special as its $775,000 price tag.

And it is.

This classic Cabbagetown Victorian is a historic home without a history.

It’s among a sizable inventory of old houses the City of Toronto knows almost nothing about because they were listed as historic homes and issued historic plaques decades ago when standards were relatively lax.

“There was no test. If you had a new four-storey apartment building you could get a plaque, at least in theory, as long as you were in a historic district.

“We were quite happy that people would treasure their buildings sufficiently to want a plaque,” recalls lawyer George Rust-D’Eye, a renowned Cabbagetown historian and former volunteer member of the Toronto Historical Board.

The brass plaques, which grace thousands of properties across Toronto, were especially hot commodities during the 1970s in Cabbagetown, where 7 Wellesley Ave. still stands proudly.

In fact, half its 20 Victorian neighbours have one. They are points of pride for homeowners on this picturesque cul-de-sac that runs north off Wellesley St. E.

“There’s a bit of quiet boasting,” says one longtime resident. “It tells visitors that these homes have been around for a long time and they’re going to be around forever, hopefully.”

But that’s about all it tells you. Yet the plaque has its own photo on the home’s MLS listing, alongside shots of its beautifully renovated main floor.

The only official history of the house is that it was built in 1887 and added to the city’s inventory of heritage properties in 1975.

If anything, it turns out, the plaque on 7 Wellesley is simply a sign of the times.

Click here for Link

9. Windsor Star: Council won't be moved on heritage registry issue
Dylan Kristy, Janet Cobban

Kingsville home staying off heritage registry

Two weeks ago, Kingsville Ontario Council voted against the advice of its Heritage Committee and removed the Shore House from the municipal heritage registry. Council was told a potential purchaser wanted the property off the list.
Fifty people attended the Council meeting this week to ask that the registry decision be recinded. A motion to that effect failed.

Click here for Link

10. Brantford Expositor: Interactive Heritage Game
Susan Gamble, forwarded by David Simpson

Online game touts heritage

Who knew that the Who Knew? campaign would be so successful?

Six months after launching a publicity campaign based on interesting trivia about Brantford and Brant museums and art galleries, the campaign is hitting Phase 2 with an online game aimed at educating people about the history of the area.

"Speaking for the (Brant Historical) Museum and Myrtleville House, we have definitely seen an increase in visitors, volunteers and donations of artifacts," said Joan Kanigan, the executive director of the Brant Historical Society.

"Most important, I think this campaign has put museums and galleries more 'top of mind' for people and it's got them more excited about their history and heritage."

While the first phase of the campaign focused on some online videos, posters and newspaper ads, the second phase will be spread through social media.

Each week, three online videos will highlight an interesting fact or event and then pose a simple set of questions. Players then will get to enter their name in the contest. They can get more ballots anytime they visit one of the 13 partners in the campaign.

Here's the link to Who Knew: 


Click here for Link

11. Indianapolis Star Online: FLW in Phoenix, Arizona

Architecture in the Wright Style

At Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West, there's a "door" from one area to the next.
Frank Lloyd Wright sites

Taliesin West: The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation offers public tours every day, except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's. Tours range from one to three hours and $18 to $60 in price. Details: 12621 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd, Scottsdale, Ariz.; toll-free (855) 860-2700;

Arizona Biltmore Hotel: Tours are given on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 10 a.m. Reservations are required, and the cost is $10 for non-hotel guests. Call (602) 955-6600. Private tours for groups of 10 or more available at various prices. Call (602) 954-2550. Details: 2400 E. Missouri Ave., Phoenix.;

First Christian Church: Wright designed the structure in the 1950s, but work on it wasn't started until 1971, well after his death in 1959. The church spire looks like a triangle. Details: 6750 N. Seventh Ave., Phoenix;, look under "info & links" tab for more information.

Gammage Memorial Auditorium: The Arizona State University building was designed in 1959 and houses an auditorium, concert hall and theater. Details: 1200 S. Forest Ave., Tempe, Ariz.;

Private homes. There are four private homes that are visible from the road:

The David Wright House (which isn't inhabited and is surrounded by a chain link fence) is in the Arcadia area. Built in 1952 for Wright's son using block construction, you can see it off Rubicon Street, although the address is 5215 Exeter.

The Adelman and the Boomer houses back up to the Biltmore Hotel golf course: 5802 and 5808 N. 30th St. Both have been recently restored.

Lykes House, 6636 N. 36th St., is north of the hotel and has a stunning valley view.

Wright -- the architect of such famous buildings as Fallingwater and the Guggenheim Museum -- had his winter home and studio in the Valley of the Sun for years, and designed and built a number of buildings and homes, several of which are open to the public.

Wright came to Arizona in the late 1920s when he was hired by a former architecture apprentice, Albert C. McArthur, to help design the Biltmore Hotel.

Wright camped out in the desert in 1929 when his Wisconsin business was struggling. He loved the land that became Taliesin, saying he felt he was on the rim of the world. His architectural school apprentices came out, and they cut a road and lived in tents. He used money he earned from designing Fallingwater in Pennsylvania to build on the 600-plus acres. Wright spent 22 winters in Phoenix, and today the architectural school is still there.


Another helpful list: 


Click here for Link

Editor's Note:Anyone interested in organizing a group trip to Arizona this winter?