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Issue No. 189 | January 12, 2012

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Feature Stories

  1. Happy New Year
  2. Toronto Star: Tax Break Killing Toronto Main Streets??
  3. Toronto Star: Good Main Street Business Killed by Landlord
  4. Globe and Mail: Lack of Protection for Canada's Federal Heritage
  5. Globe and Mail: Rod Robbie Dead
  6. Goderich Signal Star: Rebuilding the Downtown
  7. De Havilland Hangar, Downsview
  8. Property Management: Cleveland Arcade Acquisition
  9. New York Times: Slow Permit Process in San Francisco creates Resistance to Historic Districts
  10. Toronto City Museums: Update from Montgomery's INNovators

Events

Heritage Food Celebrations, Then and Now
Thursday, February 16, 2012
+ read


Riverdale Historical Society January Event
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
+ read


Goderich Planning Workshops
January 12, 13, 13
+ read


Toronto Society of Architects' AGM & Official Plan Review Forum
January 18
+ read


Heritage is Green Presented by ACO NextGen

+ read


NoonLit with Green Urban Planner Ken Greenberg
Tue Jan 17, 2012
+ read


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1. Happy New Year
Catherine Nasmith

The year begins with some good news, and some bad.

One trend that is alarming is a growing frustration in the U.S. with preservation.....for very interesting reasons, the movement seems to have become too successful, entrenched, establishment, too bureaucratic, too elitist. No danger of that in Canada, but in moving forward we need to be mindful of the danger.

Yet for every story like the one from San Francisco where a community is resisting historic designation, there is another praising the economic regeneration capabilities of preservation, such as the piece on the new Canadian owners of the Cleveland Arcade. 

In 2012 we will be publishing the 200th edition of BHN, who would believe it! With all your help we will try to keep you informed, and offer suggestions on how you can help. Remember what goes around comes around. It may be you who needs help next week.

In the next few months we will also be launching a revamped website with more ways for you to get and share the latest news. 

We can't do this without the help of subscribers. BHN is not a charity, and we do depend on the generosity of subscribers for content and for financial assistance, all of which goes to upgrade our web facilities. 

If you look to the left of the newsletter you will see three submit keys.  If you click on them will take you directly to the website where you can submit material that you want to share with others. 

If the mailbox gets full, BHN will go out weekly, if not semi weekly.

All the best to you and yours in 2012. 

 

 


2. Shore House threatened in Kingsville
Elvira Cacciavillani

A historic lakefront mansion in Kingsville, Ontario has been on the fast track to destruction since mid-October, 2011 and faces imminent demolition. Commonly referred to as the Shore House (167 Pineway Park), it is the only Moorish-Spanish Mission style property in the municipality. Built in 1934, it was home to Alexander Leslie, a prominent Ontario businessman. It was recently purchased by MVM Holdings Inc. and, as a condition of sale, the purchasers requested that Kingsville Town Council remove the property from its heritage register. Town Council, without appropriate consultation with its Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee, agreed to the request and now the new property owner is seeking demolition.

 

Time is of the essence, as those opposed to the bulldozing have until January 9, 2012 to submit objections in writing to the town. The Heritage Advisory Committee will be making a full designation presentation to Council on January 9th and is asking for a strong public presence at the meeting. Heritage supporters are also seeking a stop order from Michael Chan, the Minister of Tourism, and have contacted the Ministry of Natural Resources regarding Bald Eagles present on the property.

 


Read more:


http://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-the-Shore-House/186446368102859


http://www.windsorstar.com/Historic+Shore+House+heritage+inventory+Kingsville/5549777/story.html

Editor's Note:
I'm betting that Chan declines to get involved, this government has been very hesitant to get involved in anything unless invited by the municipal government.


3. 1915 Brighton Public School in Imminent Danger of Demolition
Gordon Tobey, Brighton

The East Northumberland Branch of ACO has been trying every avenue of opportunity to save this classic building, but without success. The Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board, which has now built a new school alongside the old one, declared from the beginning that they would demolish this heritage building. Nor has there been support from Brighton Council which has been asked to publish notice of intent to designate so that full exploration of opportunity for alternate use could be sought. The heritage building along with a 1962 addition has been valued by Architect Phillip Carter at 3.4 million dollars. Now it is slated to be demolished in February, 2012 and hauled off to the local landfill.

This is a classic case of bullying by the large geographic area school board. Several appeals to the board and many appeals to council by our local ACO have not been successful. There is real value in this building for alternate use in our community for conversion to a condominium or to provide for a much needed senior's centre and library etc. But the school board has declared that the school community wants it demolished. It's unconscionable that a small group of parents, whose concern may be only as long as their children are in the elementary school, should take precedence over the larger community. Surely school boards need to start to show consideration for the impact that their decisions about heritage buildings have on the small communities in their jurisdictions.

Certainly the East Northumberland ACO has gotten excellent media coverage and good rapport in Brighton. At the last appeal to save the school to Brighton Council, one hundred citizens turned up six days before Christmas to give a standing ovation. Surely the local concern and value for heritage preservation has been greatly enhanced over the issue of Brighton Public School.

More at the Save Brighton Ontario Public School From Imminent Destruction Facebook Page

Reprinted from the ACO newsletter, Acorn in A Nutshell, if you aren't already a subscriber go to this link 


4. Windsor Star: Save Building, MPP Urges
Julie Kotsis, Janet Cobban

Save Historic Building, MPP Urges

The saga of Kingsville's Shore House, continues

Click here for Link


5. Windsor Star, Shore House faces wrecking ball
Janet Cobban

Shore House Faces Wrecking Ball

Last fall Kingsville ON Town Council voted against the advice of its own Municipal Heritage Committee, and removed the Shore House from the Heritage Inventory.

The local historical society calls the Shore House "one of the five most architecurally significant buildings ever constructed in Kingsville" and the property has been nominated to Heritage Canada's endangered buildings list.
The new owner of the Shore House applied for a demolition permit. Community appeals for delay were not supported by Council, so the permit will be issued today, ten business days after the application was filed.

 

Editor's Note:

This house is gorgeous. The community has written to Michael Chan to ask for provincial intervention, ask your MPP to press Michael Chan.

See photos of the property and more information on Facebook Save the Shore House 

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-the-Shore-House/186446368102859

 

Click here for Link


6. Toronto Star: Tax Break Killing Toronto Main Streets??
Catherine Porter

A tax break that

I counted nine empty storefronts walking down one small block of my local commercial strip Monday afternoon.

Then I turned around and counted the storefronts that contained actual stores, deliberating before the jewellery shop showcasing one bare mannequin neck after another. They numbered 18, so one-third of the strip was empty.

Their dirty windows were blocked with drab sheets or cardboard. The glass in places was broken. Their tattered awnings were folded in unevenly, like broken pigeon wings.

Many didn’t even muster a “for rent sign.”

The block I was walking was on the east end of the Danforth, a few subway stops from the bustle of Greektown. But, it could well be a slice from Gerrard Street E., Queen Street, or Bloor St. W. Our city is full of ghost towns.

You could blame it on the lousy economy — the retail business is cutthroat in the best of times. But some of these spaces have been empty since I moved into the area seven years ago.

In that time, the value of my house has gone up $200,000 and a farmers’ market has started in the local park, crowded each week with people like me who are anxious to shop locally. As proof, a beautiful natural food store and toyshop opened recently and both are making good business, the owners tell me.

You’d assume the greedy hands of Adam Smith were rubbing together and local landlords were gleefully signing out leases left, right and centre.

Click here for Link


7. Toronto Star: Balancing Commercial and Residential in Toronto Developments
Jayme Poisson

A bolder and more balanced Toronto

A new planning research report that recommends, among other things, pedestrian-only streets, is painting a vision for the city that could help its future growth.

Commissioned by Etobicoke-Lakeshore Councillor Peter Milczyn, an architect by profession, the Balanced and Bolder report came in for discussion in a city committee Thursday and will influence this year’s review of Toronto’s Official Plan.

A key issue in the report, which takes stock of what other countries are doing, is finding a better balance of mixed-use development, which combines residential and commercial space. Some good Toronto examples include the new North Toronto Collegiate high school, which sits below a 24-storey condo tower, and the Shangri-La hotel, which when finished will also house condos.

Toronto is doing “not nearly enough” of such development, Milczyn said. “We’re doing phenomenally well in attracting residential development, but extremely poorly in attracting new office and commercial development.”

London, England, for example, requires 25 per cent commercial use in certain projects.

Another recommendation is to put in place planning rules designed to promote more intense development along new transit lines, such as the upcoming Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown LRT line. Hong Kong, Madrid and Vancouver offer some models.

The report also suggests improved incentives for heritage preservation and turning “dead” urban alleyways into welcoming, beautiful corridors.

Click here for Link


8. Toronto Star: Good Main Street Business Killed by Landlord
Kate Allen

The Real Jerk restaurant set to close after 28 years

Over the past 28 years, their kitchen has filled the bellies of loyal hordes, Island-born and not.

Wesley Snipes was a regular. Jack Layton came on bike for the jerk pork. Michael Jackson, Serena Williams, and LL Cool J all ordered takeout.

But at the end of the month, The Real Jerk, a Caribbean-food institution since 1984, will close its doors — hopefully temporarily, staff say.

Ed and Lily Pottinger, the husband-and-wife team who own the Real Jerk, were given a month’s notice to vacate after their longtime landlords sold the building to a company called Buckingham Properties in late December.

“The way this came down really put a sour taste in our mouth,” Ed Pottinger said in a phone interview from Jamaica, where he was visiting family when he learned the news.

“It came as a shock,” says Natalie Williams, who has worked at the restaurant for 18 years.

Pottinger said they intend to reopen in a new location and will continue to run a catering service until they find the right spot.

The three storefronts east of The Real Jerk were also purchased by companies run by Bill Mandelbaum, president of Buckingham Properties, according to property records. Mandelbaum was not available for comment on Monday.

Click here for Link


9. Toronto Star: Pickering Airport Lands
Liam Casey, forwarded by K Chandler

The GTA

A giant swath of land northeast of Toronto has been dying for decades. The land itself is pristine, but is littered with ruins. Mary Delaney has watched Brougham, a village in northern Pickering, slowly die since 1980.

“There’s not much of a community left,” she said. “And there is nothing new around here. Nothing. Look around, everything is either old or really old.”

That’s because the area near Brougham has been forgotten in many ways. Dozens of homes are boarded up, the coffee shop is barren and schools have been shuttered.

About five houses burn down every year — all are suspicious, according to Gord Ferguson, Pickering’s deputy fire chief. Teenagers party in other abandoned homes and someone recently built a dungeon in a property that has been boarded up since 2005. No one was killed or tortured there, but the police have no one in custody.

The land’s owner has let the properties slip into dereliction. The owner, the federal government, has had plans to build an international airport on the site for 40 years. There were grand plans that involved a “super highway” and high speed transit, in rail or hovercraft form.

In July, Transport Canada released a report that said the GTA needs an airport in about 15 years and this area is the spot for it. Demolition of abandoned homes has picked up since then.

Delaney pointed out more than two dozen homes slated for demolition as she gave the Star a three-hour tour of the land.

“These are beautiful homes that the government just let rot,” Delaney said. “Some of these old brick homes are more than 150 years old.”


10. Toronto Star: Bay Street Bus Terminal
Kate Allen

Landmark bus depot loses its lustre

Historic photo of the interior

The week before Christmas, the Toronto Coach Terminal celebrated its 80th birthday.

The building’s two dozen staff dropped into their conference room for a combined Christmas-and-birthday party, noshing on doughnuts and coffee from Kramden’s Cafe, the snack bar in the travellers’ lounge downstairs.

No one sent a birthday card.

“The whole thing went by with nothing, just a whimper,” says Gerry Brown, senior terminal manager.

It was a predictably modest celebration for the once-dignified, now-dismal Bay-Dundas landmark, the city’s main bus depot for passengers travelling on carriers such as Greyhound and Coach Canada.

Like so much transit infrastructure in the GTA, traffic at the terminal, which is owned by the TTC, has far outpaced its Depression-era facilities. When it was built in 1931, the population of Toronto was 631,200. Today, the terminal sees more than a million passengers a year.

“It’s crowded, it has outlived its size,” says Brown, who started his career at the terminal 40 years ago as a freight handler.

PHOTOS: Historical photos of the Toronto Coach Terminal

But a make-it-or-break-it moment awaits, in the form of secretive plans for a new Metrolinx-built GO bus terminal near Union Station.

A Metrolinx spokesperson confirmed to the Star this week that the agency is “contemplating” building a new bus terminal at 45 Bay St., currently a parking lot just east of the Air Canada Centre. Metrolinx is also looking at other sites adjacent to Union Station, the spokesperson added. The current GO bus terminal is south of Front St. between Yonge and Bay.

Greyhound and Coach Canada have been offered spots in any new GO terminal that is built, according to TTC documents and both bus companies.

“We, as well as Greyhound, have indicated that we want to participate,” says Don Carmichael, president of Coach Canada, adding that talk of a new bus terminal has been swirling for years.

“It is a possibility,” says Timothy Stokes, a spokesperson for Greyhound. “Nothing has been finalized, but we are interested in hearing more from Metrolinx and continuing these conversations with them.”

Says Brown: “If they move, this place will close.”

Greyhound and Coach, which operates Megabus, represent almost all of the passenger traffic in the current Toronto Coach Terminal. According to the terminal’s 2011 budget, platform rental and ticket commissions accounted for $4.9 million of the terminal’s $5.4 million yearly revenue.

Any move by the big carriers will render the entire terminal obsolete.

But if the bus companies decide to stay — and there are a lot of ifs, with Metrolinx only begrudgingly acknowledging that plans for a new GO terminal even exist — the bargaining chips are back at Bay and Dundas.

The Toronto Coach Terminal has pitched Metrolinx for its own new bus facility, a total overhaul of the current site that would combine the original building and a later Elizabeth St. annex. Ideally, the roomy new structure, which could fit more than double the current number of bays, would be complete by the Pan-American Games in 2015.

A Metrolinx spokesperson says the agency has not been presented with a formal proposal, but has been “made aware of the potential for renovating the Bay and Dundas terminal.”

There is, of course, a third option: that the bus companies stay but Metrolinx not approve the renovation, leaving everything exactly the way it is now.

For passengers like Camille Hollett, that’s not good news.

“The brown (decor), the tiles from 1980, the benches, the disgusting washrooms,” she said, listing complaints. But she added: “it is what it is — that’s why you pay $85 return to Montreal.”

Others had backhanded compliments.

“It’s alright to me. I just came out of jail — four years,” said Mani Perez, holding a clear plastic bag full of possessions and boarding a bus to Windsor on Friday.

“Better than prison” is probably not how Toronto Coach Terminal’s earliest customers would have described it.

On Dec. 18, 1931, the eve of the building’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, the Star reported that “this fine addition” to Toronto will “lead as the first exclusive structure in the Dominion to be designed and built especially and exclusively for the service of interurban motor coach travellers.” The next day, the acting premier of Ontario cut the ribbon with a pair of gold scissors.

The terminal was originally named after Gray Coach Lines, the TTC’s interurban bus carrier which was launched in 1927 to taxi passengers between southern Ontario communities. The TTC sold Gray Coach Lines in 1990 but kept the terminal, because renting platforms to other bus companies, which truck in passengers from all over North America, was profitable business.

Archival photographs of the building’s original interior show a grand lobby with soaring ceilings studded by art deco-inspired chandeliers. The airy lounge is flooded with light from stained-glass windows, including one centrepiece with the vermillion Gray Coach crest.

That window remains above the original central stairway, as do some of the chandeliers, but the rest of the interior is unrecognizable since a 1990 expansion meant to ease some of the strain on the terminal.

Today, passengers in the new lounge area sit below netting and spikes designed to thwart pigeons that infiltrated the building en masse several years ago. The birds snuck inside via automatic doors to the bus bays and promptly roosted in the ceiling, fouling the seats below. That’s all been fixed thanks to manually-operated doors, though the nets remain, just in case.

More troubling for many passengers is the roofed-in bus-boarding area. When the terminal was built, coaches were the size of short school buses, making boarding a prompt and orderly affair.

Today, the buses are easily three times as long and some are double-decker. Last week, when Greyhound needed five to depart for Ottawa at the same time, the lineup snaked around the bus bays and down Elizabeth St.

Besides being cold and uncomfortable, the long lineups often mean that incoming buses have to carefully nose through lines of passengers, a safety hazard that repeats itself at peak hours. Worse, those standing in line are forced to breathe in diesel fumes from the idling buses.

Ridership at the Toronto Coach Terminal is actually down from the 1970s and ’80s, when bus travel was at its peak. In fact, the terminal ceased generating a profit a couple years ago, until it introduced a new facility fee to ticket prices; Brown notes that, financially, the terminal “stands on its own two feet.”

But passenger traffic has still massively outgrown a facility designed six years after the city’s first set of traffic lights was installed.

Many decisions will hinge on Metrolinx’s proposed new GO bus terminal, details of which are scarce.

In 2007, 45 Bay St. was purchased by Ivanhoe Cambridge, the real estate subsidiary of Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, a pension-fund managing giant based in Quebec City. A spokesperson for the company said that a 50-storey office tower is planned for the site, and confirmed that the company is talking with various outside parties, but would not divulge details.

“It’s still early in the game for us,” says François Gaboury, Ivanhoe Cambridge’s director of public affairs and communications.

Click here for Link


11. Toronto Star: 1812-2012
Dean Beeby

Feds hire consultant to inject war into Canada Day bash on the Hill

OTTAWA— The Harper government has hired a consultant to inject a little war into this year's Canada Day bash on Parliament Hill.

A Toronto theatre expert has been asked to find ways to insert a War of 1812 commemoration into the July 1st festivities that typically include pop music, dance and pyrotechnics.

"I do big-ass special events all the time, so they asked me to do that," artistic producer Paul Shaw said in an interview. "It's sort of tricky to do a War of 1812 theme when you've got so many modern things in and around it."

The Conservative government, which has been promoting Canada's military culture and heritage, has earmarked money and resources throughout the year to commemorate the bicentennial of the outbreak of War of 1812 in North America.

The hostilities led to a stalemate almost three years later between the United States and Britain's budding settlements in Canada, and some historians consider the war a pivotal moment in Canadian nationhood, though it is little known outside academia.

The Canadian Heritage Department normally injects patriotic themes into the Canada Day noontime show on Parliament Hill, giving the National Capital Commission a free hand to organize the evening show with singers and fireworks in a party atmosphere.

But a recently posted document indicates that the war theme will appear in both shows.

"The events on Parliament Hill also present a key opportunity of the federal government to foster enthusiasm and excitement around other significant events," says a tender document from the commission.

"In 2012, the Government of Canada is commemorating the War of 1812 and this theme must be incorporated in both the Noon and Evening Shows."

Click here for Link


12. Globe and Mail: Lack of Protection for Canada's Federal Heritage
Peter Rakobowchuk

Canada's historic buildings at risk without legal protection

The century-old Pantages theatre, with its ornate interior and scenic canvas paintings, was torn down last April and plans are to replace it with a high-rise condo development.

The Empress, an elegant red-brick building built in 1888, was slated for demolition; after a local heritage group stepped in to try saving it, an arsonist burned it down.

A frustrated spokesperson for the national heritage foundation says it's time the federal government stepped in with legislation to at least protect designated historical buildings in Canada.

Carolyn Quinn points out that federal buildings — especially those on land belonging to Crown corporations — have no real safeguards against the wrecker's ball.

“Canada is really the only G8 country without laws to protect historic places owned by its national government,” said Ms. Quinn, whose foundation is privately run.

Click here for Link


13. Globe and Mail: Review Unbuilt Toronto II
John Bentley Mays

A Toronto that might have been

If things had worked out as planned, Torontonians might now be wrapping up the year-long celebration of our first centenary in the business of tunnelling subways. It was back in 1911, after all, that the city invited bids on the construction of its very first underground railway, slated to run up Bay and Yonge Streets from Front Street to St. Clair Avenue.

If high-rise engineer John Maryon had seen his dream come true, many Torontonians might be working or living in one of the tallest buildings on earth. Mr. Maryon’s slender modernist skyscraper, announced with much fanfare in 1971 for a site near the corner of College Street and Yonge Street, would have topped out at 140 storeys, a world record for height at the time.

A few days after the launch, however, the visionary project was scotched by the Eaton family, owners of the site, who said they hadn’t heard a thing about it.

Had the subway or the tower been realized, we would today have a city different from the one that actually came to pass. This difference, illustrated by these and numerous other examples, is the theme of Mark Osbaldeston’s fine new portfolio Unbuilt Toronto 2: More of the City That Might Have Been (Dundurn, $26.99).

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:A great read, and if you get a chance to hear Mark lecture on his book, don't miss it. And we may get a chance to see books on Unbuilt other cities as Dundurn searches for authors to explore the unbuilt history of other Canadian cities.


14. Globe and Mail: Rod Robbie Dead
James Adams

SkyDome and Expo '67 architect Rod Robbie dead

The architect for two of Canada’s most famous buildings – the SkyDome in Toronto and the Canadian Government Pavilion at Expo ’67 in Montreal – has died at 83 in Toronto.

Roderick “Rod” G. Robbie died Wednesday morning in St. Michael’s Hospital where he’d been admitted Christmas Day for treatment to alleviate the restriction of blood flow to his small intestine. Until shortly before this hospitalization, Mr. Robbie visited the offices of Robbie Young + Wright/IBI Group Architects daily.

Toronto city councillor Adam Vaughan, a long-time family friend, described the architect, an Officer of the Order of Canada since 2003, as “one of the most extraordinary craftspeople that’s ever graced the industry in this country . . . When my dad [Colin, now deceased, a former Toronto councillor and architecture partner with Mr. Robbie] talked about Rod Robbie, he talked about the best person he’d ever practised architecture with, bar none . . . The guy was just brilliant, as close to a genius as anyone, I think, in Toronto, the way he could transform ideas onto paper and from paper into reality.”

A native of England where he obtained degrees in architecture and town planning, Mr. Robbie immigrated to Canada in 1956, eventually becoming an associate at the highly influential modernist firm of Peter Dickinson Associates, Ottawa. In 1966, he moved to Toronto as partner in Ashworth, Robbie, Vaughan & Williams Architects and Town Planners.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:I worked with Rod Robbie while I was at Young and Wright Architects. He was a real joy to be around, always curious, enthusiastic, energetic and pretty funny too. I saw him on the street only a few weeks ago, no time to chat but did have time to yell across the street that he was looking terrific. His death must have been sudden and unexpected. Rest in peace Rod.


15. Goderich Signal Star: Rebuilding the Downtown

Heritage District Streetscape views unveiled

As downtown rebuilding continues, Heritage Goderich is giving a few sneak peaks as to what it's all going to look like. Heritage, with permission from the architects, is printing a few streetscape views of some of the buildings being erected.

"We wanted to share them with the town because there are exciting things happeneing when we rebuild," said Heritage Chair Kevin Morrison. "With Coffee Culture the exciting thing is there will be eight new apartments. The Avis building, same thing. Four residential units above. Prior to the tornado you didn't have any."

The new Caldwell Banker building will become one of Goderich's most unique, he said, as it is the only one being constructed with Max brick - about one-third larger than regular residential brick.

Included are the Coffee Culture building at 56/58 Courthouse Square, 56-62 West Street - the future home of Avis Architects, 138 Courthouse Square, the former Laurentian Bank and the new dentist office going in at the corner of North and the Square.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:There are some pics of proposed replacement buildings.


16. De Havilland Hangar, Downsview

Government decisions are made based on citizen push back. So far all officials have deferred to others....the most recent was Mayor Ford characterizing the abandonment of this highly significant landmark of Canadian aviation history as a private matter between landlord and tenant.

Nonetheless ten thousand signatures have been collected on the petition, and there is a place on the website to contact politicians and decision makers. 

Right now it feels a bit like the debate at the beginning of the Wychwood Park/Barns discussion. Some wanted a classic trees and grass"park" Some wanted to use the buildings as a bigger idea of arts and culture as part of a "park". It took several years for the tide to turn, but now no one would wish away the renovated Wychwood barns. Downsview is a pretty big park, this building represents a fantastic opportunity. 

Even though it is, as Lloyd Alter points out, a tough nut to crack....lets make sure there is lots of push back to the sluggards at all levels of government who don't think this matters much. 

 

Click here for Link


17. Brantnews.com: The future of Greenwich-Mohawk
Sean Allen

Preliminary estimates in a draft report on the condition of buildings on Brantford's Greenwich-Mohawk brownfield site pegs the cost of saving four of the structures at almost $4 million.

The estimates are contained in a structural engineering report by Picco Engineering, which was completed in conjunction with a heritage impact assessment by Taylor Hazell Architects. Cole Engineering oversaw the project.

All three firms will appear before a joint meeting of the city’s heritage and brownfields committees on Thursday to present their findings.

The heritage assessment recommends the city preserve and maintain parts of four buildings that are significant to the industrial heritage of Brantford and all of Canada.

“The historic importance of the Greenwich-Mohawk brownfield site is beyond dispute,” project manager John Chadwick wrote in the report summary.

The heritage assessment notes that Brantford was a key manufacturing location as early as 1848 and that the combined Greenwich-Mohawk site was one of the most important in the country.

In considering the current condition and historic value of each building, the consultant team recommends preserving all or part of four buildings on the 52-acre property.

It notes that the Cockshutt Plow Co. offices and time keeper’s office located at 66 Mohawk St. should be kept and repurposed. The report says only the front portion of the larger office building should be kept, since the rear portion of the building is a warehouse that was an addition to the building.

Both buildings have already been designated by the city under the Ontario Heritage Act.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:

The Heritage Impact Assessment - Greenwich Mohawk report by Taylor Hazell Architects Ltd. completed on the structures present at the Greenwich Mohawk brownfield site in Brantford, Ont., along with the other 3 reports can be seen at, http://www.scribd.com/collections/3417177/Greenwich-Mohawk-documents

 


18. Owen Sound Sun Times: Meaford looks at Heritage District
Bill Henry

Meaford takes first step to protect heritage buildings

Just days after one of Meaford's most recognizable old brick buildings was demolished, council has taken the first steps to preserve built heritage properties.

In a 5-2 vote Monday, council set aside $25,000 in the 2012 budget to begin the two-year process leading to a defined heritage conservation district.

Such a designation has been part of Meaford's community improvement plan for several years, but was not in this year's budget until Monday's vote.

It's unclear if the now-demolished former factory building known most recently as The Harbour Moose might have been protected under such a plan, said Coun. Barb Clumpus, whose motion it was to fast track the heritage conservation district application, which was to begin in 2013. But she said the upset within the community at the sudden demolition of the old factory building at the harbour late last week highlights the need for a heritage protection plan.

Workers were still at the site Monday, where the former mill, then fitness centre, then restaurant, among other uses, was pile of red rubble on the waterfont.

"It certainly brings this to the forefront," Clumpus said before the council meeting. "It reinforces the fact that we do have many, many buildings in our community with heritage architecture."

Councillors Lynda Stephens and Deborah Young voted against the resolution, while Clumpus, Mike Poetker, James McIntosh, Deputy-mayor Harley Greenfield and Mayor Francis Richardson also supported starting the approval process this year.

Poetker reminded council the Harbour Moose was the second heritage building in Meaford to fall within a month, including a house on Nelson Street he said has been described as architecturally "important."

He said after the meeting losing those buildings, especially the former factory building on the waterfront, influenced Monday's council decision.

"Everybody is disgusted, appalled and upset. Do we have any say in the matter when it's private and in tough shape? It's down and it's down," Poetker said.

McIntosh also urged council to approve the motion.


"We need to move this forward. If we just sit here for another year, we're going to lose more buildings," he said.

Objections from Young and Stephens to the heritage protection process starting this year focused on finances.

Stephens said it was already proposed for 2013 as part of the community improvement plan. Moving it up means cutting something else this year, she said.

"Where is the money coming from?" Stephens asked.

She also said building owners would be caught off guard by the decision, which under terms of the conservation district would eventually restrict what they can do with their buildings.

"We haven't even looked at what we would be requiring of people," Stephens said. "Some people have the money to do this, others do not."

She urged council to instead spend 2012 learning more about the designation and its impact on the business community.

Clumpus said initiating the process would lead to all those answers. She also suggested taking the money from $50,000 not used in 2011 for harbour development.

Young objected to the focus on urban Meaford and said any heritage protection should also include significant buildings throughout the former Sydenham and St. Vincent townships.

"Once again, it's Meaford first," Young said. "It has to be done for the whole municipality because the whole municipality pays taxes at the same rate."

She also worried that related regulations could mean unexpected expenses if building owners appeal.

Planning director Rob Armstrong said the heritage conservation district program deals with designating specific areas, while protecting isolated individual properties would be a different program.

Armstrong also confirmed if Meaford ends up at an OMB hearing, legal expenses could be significant. And he told council the $25,000 would start the process and pay a portion of consulting fees which could total as much as $100,000 over two or three years.

Greenfield said he supported the project, but would rather it encompass the whole municipality, citing Leith Church as a building to protect, along with Bothwell Manor.

He also said if $25,000 isn't enough to get started this year, he would happily amend the motion to $40,000 or more to get going on it.

Clumpus said after the meeting the approval just starts a process which will answer all the questions and give the community a chance to decide what's important to protect. She said the historic downtown buildings are "the main concern" along with stately older homes, but the process could designate the entire downtown or specific areas or buildings. She said some protection and enhancement of the built heritage which attracts visitors and new residents is vital and has long been something the business improvement area representatives have asked about.

"There's not many small Ontario communities around now that still have all of the original architecture and this has driven a lot of folks to really be concerned about preserving it," Clumpus said. She pointed to the former Meaford Opera House, now Meaford Hall, and the multi-million dollar renovation and restoration project led largely by community volunteers.

"This heritage architecture and ambience contributes to a pride of place in our municipality that speaks to solid values of conservation and heritage preservation," she said. "There's just a real commitment in our community to preserve what we've got and to value it."

Click here for Link


19. Waterloo Record: WLU to argue against Brantford conservation district
Terry Pender

 

BRANTFORD — This city does not need a downtown heritage conservation district to protect and enhance the old buildings remaining in the core, says Wilfrid Laurier University.

University representatives will appear before Brantford city council next month to suggest alternatives to a conservation district, which they fear will hamper plans to expand Laurier Brantford to 15,000 students, up from the current 2,500.

“It is an important issue for us and an important issue for the city,” Gary Nower, Wilfrid Laurier’s vice-president of physical resources, said in an interview.

Instead of a heritage conservation district, the city should identify the downtown buildings that are significant and need preservation. Design guidelines should be used to ensure new development reflects and compliments the existing architecture. A plan to intensify land use downtown while protecting heritage should also be done.

Nower said the university needs to buy properties, tear down some buildings, and construct some new, larger ones with eight to 10 floors in order to accommodate 15,000 students.

Some properties will be turned into surface-parking lots until enough land has been amassed to support redevelopment.
 

Click here for Link


20. The Star.com: Threat to Ormscliffe
Leslie Scrivener

At Norris Crescent: Ormscliffe Estate

Hidden behind the apartments of the Amedeo Garden Court are remnants of the age of elegance: Ormscliffe, a rare Edwardian-era property that has survived modern development.

"It is the last great Mimico Beach estate," says Michael Harrison, who grew up nearby and argues the site should be preserved intact.

The estate, or parts of it, is now threatened with demolition as the owners redevelop the property that fronts Lake Ontario. The plan is not finalized but will include rental apartments and condos, some mid-rise but some up to 45 storeys.

In the 1950s, Amedeo Longo, the current owners' grandfather, built six brick low-rise apartments on the site, preserving Ormscliffe and other old buildings among the newer ones.

The main house, a Queen Anne-style beauty built in 1909 for metal manufacturer Albert Benjamin Ormsby, is at the heart of the estate. Occupied by tenants, it's now worn down and trailing with vines.

Dino and Larry Longo, the brothers who run Longo Development Corp., say they've had to get their head around the heritage aspects of the property. But they've hired a heritage architect and recognize that the main house and garden are of significance. The other five buildings, less so.

Click here for Link


21. Property Management: Cleveland Arcade Acquisition
forwarded by Robert Allsopp

Skyline International Acquires Historic Cleveland Mall and Hotel

Toronto-based Skyline International Development Inc. has recently entered the U.S market in acquiring the oldest indoor shopping mall in America, the Cleveland Arcade in Cleveland, Ohio.

The landmark complex dates back to 1890 and was the first large-scale, indoor shopping mall in the U.S, as well as the ninth building to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The property was acquired by the Toronto-based firm at auction for $7.7 million after previous owners invested roughly $70 million in acquiring and restoring the Arcade, but then defaulted on a mortgage.

Michael Sneyd, Skyline CEO, sees this acquisition as a major milestone for the company. He noted, “It’s the right time for Skyline to expand beyond Ontario and Canada. The Arcade is the kind of mixed-use, legacy property where Skyline has expertise. It was an exceptional deal. It’s a well-known hotel and Cleveland is a relatively nearby destination for us, and a city that’s definitely on the move.”

 

The Atrium of the Cleveland Arcade

Company Founder and President, Gil Blutrich, further noted, “Cleveland is already filled with outstanding architecture, internationally famous chefs, top attractions like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and sporting facilities. With these new additions Celveland is poised to become a big regional draw for both meeting and leisure travelers.”

He also sees valuable parallels with the company’s ownership and asset management interest in Le Meridien King Edward Hotel in downtown Toronto, built in 1903, as well as the 115-year-old Deerhurst Resort in Muskoka, Ontario.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:Holy Dinah--anyone fancy a trip to Cleveland this year!


22. New York Times: Slow Permit Process in San Francisco creates Resistance to Historic Districts
forwarded by Adam Sobolak

An Unlikely Group Rebels Against Preservation Districts

Susan Beckstead stepped out of her sky-blue, three-story classical revival Victorian on Pierce Street — the one with bay windows, dentil and egg-and-dart molding, a modillion cornice and balustrade-lined flat roof — to show a visitor around her 120-year-old neighborhood bordering Duboce Park in central San Francisco.

A nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization providing local coverage of the San Francisco Bay Area for The New York Times. To join the conversation about this article, go to baycitizen.org.

Across the street her neighbor was finishing a $1 million remodeling of his 1898 taupe-colored, three-and-a-half-story Queen Anne Victorian, a process that so far has taken a year because of delays in getting permits. At the opposite end of Ms. Beckstead’s block, workers toiled on the roof of a pink, 1905 Queen Anne triplex, where restoration is still under way a year after the initial permit application, owing in part to a dispute with neighbors over the appropriateness of a proposed street-facing dormer window.

Ms. Beckstead said she has her own plans to replace her windows and fix up her garage, but she is loath to start, in part because of the difficulty her neighbors have had getting permits. Her biggest fear, she said, is that the city will make it even harder to obtain permits by declaring her neighborhood a historical landmark district, which would empower Planning Department officials to reject any changes that they decide might violate a building’s historical integrity.

Click here for Link


23. New York Times: Demolition: UNESCO Designation
Steven Erlanger, forwarded by Stephen Otto

What Does Unesco Recognition Mean, Exactly?

WORLD HERITAGE is big business, bringing hordes of tourists to poor countries that can use the jobs and the cash. It can also overwhelm the very sites it is designed to protect with all the less-savory aspects of mass travel, from chain hotels and restaurants to the impact of thousands of sport-shoed feet treading on fragile ground.
Multimedia

But World Heritage can also be an odd business, giving recognition to traditions (like premodern tribal dances and giant French family meals) that might have little aesthetic value to any group except the one that practices it.

Whatever the merits, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) has embraced the concept. In fact, Unesco loves heritage so much that it has created two treaties to enshrine it.

The first, the World Heritage Convention, dating from 1972, builds on the notion of the United States national parks system, which was set up to defend a wild landscape before it disappeared. The second, the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, was introduced in 2003 to defend traditions, not places, and is more controversial. Some 188 nations have ratified the first convention. To date, there are 725 cultural, 183 natural and 28 properties combining the two, in 153 countries. The World Heritage list represents a catalog of marvels. Italy, needless to say, includes the Leaning Tower of Pisa (the whole Piazza del Duomo, to be fair) and Venice and its lagoon. Jordan has Petra and Wadi Rum. France even lists the banks of the Seine.

Russia has the Kremlin, Red Square and Lake Baikal. The United States lists Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon and the Everglades (cited as endangered). Independence Hall is on the list, but not the White House. Funny, that.

Luxembourg pretty much lists itself; Afghanistan includes the sad remains of the great Buddhas of Bamiyan, blown up by the Taliban.

Click here for Link


24. Atlantic Weekly: Learning to Celebrate Brutalism
Llewellyn Hinkes-Jones

The Case for Saving Ugly Buildings

The Brutalist AT&T Long Lines building in New York is a looming grey monolith, a giant stone scabbard thrust into the heart of lower Manhattan. In Washington, D.C., the Third Church of Christ, Scientist is an almost windowless octagon resembling a military bunker more than a religious chapel. The University of Toronto's Robarts Library resembles an oppressive, stone Transformer with little access to sunlight. L’Eglise Ste-Bernadette du Banlay in Nevers, France, is an oblique, oversized, confusing stone bubble seat. Then there are the hundreds of worn, crumbling public housing projects, lifeless abandoned tombs more reminiscent of J.G. Ballard-style prison complexes than anything someone would willingly live in.

These behemoth structures of Béton brut, most built in the 1960s and ‘70s, are slowly crumbling from wear and disrepair, ignored by communities that no longer want the burden of upkeep of a giant, lifeless rock. But even horrendously ugly and soulless abominations are part of our architectural heritage and need to be preserved for future generations.

Even horrendously ugly and soulless abominations are part of our architectural heritage

Technically, many of them have to be. Their place in history and uniqueness as architectural oddities warrant their preservation from a legal perspective. They satisfy Criteria C for the National Register as having "distinctive design/construction techniques." They are the pinnacle of High Modernism: the architectural trend that started in the early 20th century with minimalism, Bauhaus, van Der Rohe, on down to Le Corbusier. Defined by sleek lines, little embellishment, and grandiose structure, High Modernism captured the attention of the architectural world at a time when it was eager to embrace something new.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:It is hard to see Robarts Library in Toronto used as the poster child for ugly buildings..... I have always enjoyed this building. Interesting argument, based in heritage theory, but misses the environmental argument...concrete structures contain a very high level of embodied energy because of the energy costs involved in producing cement, steel, as well as extracting and transporting the aggregate.


25. Toronto City Museums: Update from Montgomery's INNovators
Janice Etter

The good news is that no Toronto museum will have its City funding cut in the 2012 budget. All of our efforts have, at the very least, bought time.

The message is divided into sections
A. Short-term challenges
B. Longer-term challenges
C. What Montgomery’s INNovators plan to do
D. What YOU can do

Details are provided for those who want them. If you don’t want all of the details, feel free to skip to the sections that interest you.
There is good reason to be optimistic that by working together, Montgomery’s Inn will move into a new phase of its life, strong and healthy.

We have to make good use of the next few months to ensure that both the Inn and the INNovators move forward together to secure a future that is in keeping with our missions and goals, and with the community’s aspirations for the Inn.


A) Short-term challenges (January to June, 2012):

1. Upcoming reviews:

The City Manager and the City’s General Manager of Economic Development and Culture will be conducting the following reviews after the 2012 budget is approved in January 2012:

a) Examine divesting Heritage Toronto, and divesting the museums to it, in some reconfigured form: We do not consider this a viable option. One alternative being discussed is the creation of a foundation to operate the city museums.
b) Find operational efficiencies and increase fundraising: In a vacuum of any deep understanding of what museums do, why they do those things (e.g. the Inn’s farmers’ market), and how they function, this is scary. For example, some councillors seem to think that all paid professional staff can be replaced by volunteers, and they can’t.
c) Alternate models of service delivery: Examples might include divesting to site-based groups or some kind of privatization. This kind of language discounts the reality that museums do not just operate facilities. They display collections of artifacts that must be cared for. They are also artefacts themselves, which have significant capital needs because they are historic structures that must accommodate modern uses.
The results of these three reviews are to be reported back to the City’s Executive Committee by the end of June, 2012.

2. Possible labour disruption: This may occur in early 2012, as early as January 17. If the June deadline for completing the above reviews stays firm, it seems likely that decisions will be made by the same staff people who put us on the list for closure in Fall 2011. Also, we may start losing our part-time staff, who are the backbone of many of our programs. They will have no choice but to seek work elsewhere, and there is no assurance that they would come back.

3. Need for new measures of performance: Judging the performance of community museums – especially ones in suburban areas – has to involve more than looking at the number of casual visitors who come for tours!

4. New model of governance for the museums (Fort York excluded): A new model was approved by City Council and the Province in April, 2011, at the time that the City-appointed museum boards were disbanded. The new model took over two years to develop and reflects the changing role of museums. Performance measures must be rooted in that new model, not ones that are anchored in a now-outmoded idea of what museums are and what they do.
Montgomery’s Inn was the only museum that immediately implemented the new model by creating Montgomery’s INNovators. It is currently the only community museum with a citizens’ group to speak for it. The INNovators have done their best to speak for the others as well, whenever the opportunity arose.

B) Longer-term challenges (by the 2013 budget process and beyond):

1. Closing the doors: This is perhaps the smallest of the risks we have to understand and deal with. Some councillors say that we don’t need to worry because the doors will never close. What they don’t say is that Montgomery’s Inn may no longer be a community museum, accessible to the public.

2. Museums are no longer core City services: The museums have been removed from the list of the City’s core services. If they are not core services, they will no longer be included in the City’s budget. Some councillors have estimated that this could happen within two years.

3. The City’s museums actually fall into two categories, which have been treated as if they are one:
a) Tourist attractions: Fort York, Spadina House, and possibly Mackenzie House
b) Community museums, which by definition, have a high level of community involvement: Montgomery’s Inn, Gibson House, Zion Schoolhouse, Todmorden Mills, Scarborough Historical Museum, Mackenzie House (?), and Colborne Lodge. The York Museum has been open only for research purposes for some time now.
As long as there is one category of museums administered by the Economic Development and Culture Division, attendance numbers and revenue generated may continue to be the primary performance measure used.
Numbers are obviously important, but higher visitation and revenues will only result from program and service development, changing exhibits, and making the stories of the museums significant and more relevant to individuals and communities.

* * * * *
In other words, as the head of Museum Services wrote in 2008: The City needs a fresh perspective on the museums – to view them in a positive way – as opportunities for community and civic engagement and passion.

* * * * *

C) What Montgomery’s INNovators plan to do about these challenges:

1. Advocate, advocate, advocate for Montgomery’s Inn to remain part of the City, and to continue receiving core funding. Our goal is to support the direction in which the Inn has been moving to engage more people in its activities, and to heighten awareness of and appreciation for the history of our community. The difficult time we are going through now will become a chapter in that history.
2. Get our house in order, and build membership in Montgomery’s INNovators. The stronger our membership, the stronger our voice will be. As of December 21, 2011, it stands at 300 and grows daily.
3. Influence the reviews and how they will be conducted to ensure that performance measures are in sync with the new model of governance, which the former Inn board supported. That model will have to be tweaked if there is willingness to accommodate the two categories of museums that are housed within the City structure.
4. Use income from bread and fruitcake sales to strengthen existing programs, and fill in gaps with important activities or physical items that are not in the City’s budget allocation. In November 2011, the INNovators allocated funding to make it possible for groups that have never visited the Inn to do so.
5. Support new marketing initiatives to broaden community awareness of Montgomery’s Inn and its many programs and services (watch for the Inn’s new brochure coming soon!)


D) What you can do:

There are many things that you can do to support Montgomery’s Inn:
P If you’re a volunteer, keep volunteering… and thank you! The value of volunteers’ contributions is truly immeasurable. And if you’re not a volunteer now, please consider becoming one.
P If you’re a casual visitor, become a regular visitor.
P If you’ve never taken a tour of the historic house, there was never a better time.
P Become a member of Montgomery’s INNovators.
P Buy our bread, which will continue to be available in 2012. Details are being worked out.
P Come for tea, Tuesday to Sunday, 2 to 4 p.m.
P Come for special events, workshops, community gatherings.
P Spread the word that the Inn has facilities to rent: two large rooms (one will hold up to 70 people, and the other up to 50, depending on the room configuration needed..) The Inn also has a modern kitchen that is inspected by Public Health.
P Book a birthday party, a pizza party, a meeting, a cooking session in the historic kitchen, or a day of bread baking.
P If you have specific skills or knowledge that could be useful to the INNovators, let us know.

To find out what’s happening, check our website and Facebook for updates:
www.montgomerysinn.com
www.facebook.com/#!/montgomerysinn

If you have a suggestion or comment, write to us at montgomerys.innovators@gmail.com
or 4709 Dundas St. W., Etobicoke, Ontario M9A 1A8.

Editor's Note:
Janice sent in this note in response to the last Does Anybody Know regarding the state of funding for Toronto's Museums. I am including this report in full length because much of it applies to strategies other museums might adopt. It seems like the first thing you can do is form a "Friends" group for your local museum. The Friends of Fort York and the Montgomery INNovators are great ways for volunteers to get involved in Toronto's history, and are invaluable to the City.