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Issue No. 205 | December 29, 2012


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Feature Stories

  1. Raise The Hammer: Hamilton--Gore Park Buildings
  2. December 5, 175th Anniversary of the Rebel's March
  3. Rosedale Project Still Looking For Space


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1. Happy New Year from Built Heritage News

Happy New Year from Built Heritage News

The barrow cycle combines the favorite recreation of the editor and her husband, drawing by Robert Allsopp

2. 2012 Good News and Not so Good
Catherine Nasmith

Queen's Park Views - Round 2 at OMB in 2013
Sharon Temple undergoing ongoing restoration

What would a year end/beginning be without a round up of the year’s news.

Through 2012 we saw many ups and downs. In the down category, Brighton Public School, the Ontario Northland train, with its stations to follow, Hamilton’s Education Building, and Macy Dubois 45 Charles Street in Toronto. Fire has taken its toll in Toronto, with losses on George Street, and Queen Street East and West. Winnipeg seemed to have more than its share of downs, but perhaps that is only because we have had such good reporting from Winnipeg this year. (Thanks to Winnipeg posters!)

For ups, Station K seems to be headed for designation, but it is never clear whether designation is just a pause before evisceration to just the facades. The Sharon Temple seems to be going from strength to strength with restoration ongoing. Fort York is looking forward to breaking ground on its visitor centre.

This year we have also lost important people, Herb Stovel will be missed across the country. London Ontario is grieving Julia Beck, a longstanding member and past-President of the local ACO branch. Coming up behind to replace them are the next generation of heritage preservationists, best exemplified by ACO Next Gen.

Parks Canada  is reeling across the country with the cutting of thousands of staff members, an astounding attack on natural and cultural conservation, which seems to be culturally linked with extraordinary tax scrutiny of charities with conservation in their objects.

In the threatened category, all ten of Heritage Canada’s endangered places., a block of Main Streets buildings in Hamilton along the edge of Gore Park, a block of King Street West in Toronto which is almost entirely designated…no matter we have Frank Gehry on board for a replacement scheme. Interestingly, one non-designated building in that strip at King and John, is the first warehouse adaptive re-use project in Toronto done by Diamond and Myers in the late sixties - early seventies, and which is still home to Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg architects one of the successor firms to Diamond and Myers. They have received their notice, which hurts more for having recently invested significant funds in their office space. Another early project of Diamond and Myers, York Square, is on the block to be replaced by another Toronto condominium. This proposal will destroy a project that was the first to turn the tide of urban razing by re-using older building stock, 7 years before there was an Ontario Heritage Act. York Square received local and international recognition, an unheard of 10 pages in Progressive Architecture. The proposal to replace York Square falls in the proposed protected viewshed north of the Ontario Legislative Assembly Buildings.

Shift, the Richard Serra sculpture near King City may soon be surrounded with suburban blight. Now there is a cause worth getting behind. I dream of a major fundraising campaign led by Ontario art lovers to purchase the site and its surrounding landscape, perhaps management by AGO or Kleinberg as a remote site. Is there a fairy godmother for great works of art? I hope so. The recent CRB decision that advised King City not to designate because there was no community interest in the site, ie it is on private land and a private commission, should not be seen as meaning there is no cultural value, but rather a reason to make the site publicly accessible.

In the world of good news, Willowbank is steadily expanding to produce the skilled graduates so needed in Ontario. The recent purchase of the Laura Secord School in Queenston will make a huge difference to the number of programs they can sustain, but remember it is a private charity. You can support Willowbank by donating at The Peterborough Y will be coming back as part of a new housing complex. The City of Toronto has passed an OP amendment to give modest protection of the Queen’s Park silhouette, but not before several local developers appeal.

Looking ahead, the year will begin with two hearings. The first at OMB will be the Don Quixote charge by Al Carbone at the City of Toronto’s failure to protect Restaurant Row from development. I can only wish him well, having tilted at a few developer windmills myself. We may see a half loaf for preservation on King Street if Councillor Vaughan is successful in protecting the rest of the block. If David Mirvish succeeds in demolishing his two blocks of King Street, restaurant row will be the lone survivor in that area.

A second hearing is at the Conservation Review Board on the proposed designation of 3 municipally owned sites near the Bala Falls. Later in the year, protection for the views of Queen’s Park will be once again at the OMB. Perhaps new political leadership at the province will result in the declaration of a provincial interest in that case.

Ontario Place will no doubt be in the news again, having been unceremoniously shut down by the McGuinty government even though it was more profitable than it had been in ages. Casino anyone? 

You do have to be an optimist to be involved in heritage preservation. Happy New Year and success to optimists across Canada.

 P.S. I invite subscribers from across Canada to post their local ups, downs and files to watch, preferably with pics. To do that, click on post a news item at the side of this newsletter or webpage and just type away. 

3. BHN Editor to Receive Diamond Jubillee Medal
Catherine Nasmith

A little bit of news, in January I will be receiving the Queen's Diamond Jubillee medal for volunteer work in heritage.

I am grateful to Steve Otto for his nomination of myself and other members of the Friends of Fort York for their work. Steve Otto, Rollo Myers, Robert Allsopp and myself were the founding members. I served on the board for the first ten years, but can take little credit for the amazing ongoing success of the organization. It is great to see new directors such as Shawn Micaleff and Matthew Blackett of Spacing bringing a new generation to this important Toronto site.

4. Fort York: Fife and Drum-Subscribe
Catherine Nasmith with reports from others

A fantastic free well reseached newsletter you can subscribe to by email. Click here to get it. Produced by the Friends of Fort York electronic subscription is free. 


Click here for Link

5. Globe and Mail: 6 New Toronto Buildings
Lisa Rochon

6 beautiful Toronto buildings that let in (plenty of) winter light

With the winter solstice behind us and the holidays ahead, architecture critic Lisa Rochon goes on a quest to find places that poetically capture light in the city – and discovers that even an elementary school or community centre can offer spiritual respite when the winter sun hangs low in the sky

Oak Ridges Community Centre, Richmond Hill: Past the big-box retailers and just-constructed executive townhomes, on a lonely, rural stretch of Bayview Avenue, comes a muscular, big-beamed community centre that celebrates wellness as well as the hard-fought battle to preserve the lush ecosystem of the Oak Ridges Moraine. The stone and wood lodge spins its facilities – including a gym, work-out room and multiple pools – out into the gorgeous landscape; terraces step down to the shimmering Lake Wilcox. The bloom of the sunset comes at me when I step into the big lounge, with its suspended white globe lights and glassed-in fireplace. A guy in a baseball cap falls asleep in one of the lounge chairs. By 4:30 p.m., I can track the sunset blaze of golden-pink further back, through the glass of the pool area. In downtown Toronto, this community centre would be jammed with an adoring public, folks looking to invigorate their bodies and bring some badly needed sunlight to their winter eyes. Think of it as a temple of fitness and light, and every community serious about reducing health-care spending should build one. Its sweet Oak Ridges Moraine Eco Centre, with displays of native flowers, local birds and the 73 fish that flourish on the moraine, is worth a trip. Genuinely intelligent and invigorating architecture is a rare gift, so thanks goes to Andrew Frontini, design director at Perkins + Will, and his team. Days before Christmas, the glow of the sunset spreads joy.

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6. Raise The Hammer: Hamilton--Gore Park Buildings
Kieran Dickson

A Call to Action to Save the Gore Park Streetwall

Call on the Province to stop the demolition of 18-28 King Street East and designate these buildings as heritage properties that help define Gore Park as the city's geographic and civic heart.

The Gore has been the heart of civic and commercial life in Hamilton since the earliest days of the city - and it remains so today. Postcard images of Gore Park have been synonymous with Hamilton for over 150 years, and this landmark has been the predictable destination when Hamiltonians have come together as a people, in protest or to celebrate the end of wars.

The importance of Gore Park to Hamilton's history and identity cannot be overstated. But what exactly is "the Gore"? The park itself does contain a grand fountain, our Cenotaph, and some of our most important statues, but it isn't really that narrow little triangle of land that means so much.

What's truly important is the civic square, defined by an intact streetwall that includes important heritage buildings - some of which are older than the park itself.

The current plan to demolish a substantial portion of the streetwall along the south side of the Gore is a major threat to the integrity of this most important civic space.


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7. Owen Sound Sun Times: work to rehabilitate a 140-year-old arched bridge get Federal funding
Rob Gowan

Funding approved for historic bridge

Federal funding has been approved for work to rehabilitate a 140-year-old arched bridge on the CP rail trail in Chatsworth.

The county received word earlier this month that its application to the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund for 33% of the total estimated eligible project cost had been approved.

We said all along that receiving funding would determine what the outcome would be, said Chatsworth Mayor Bob Pringle, who also sits on county council. It looks favourable at this point anyway.

Pringle said if tenders come in a lot higher than the estimated cost the restoration plan could be put on hold. Consultant R.J. Burnside has recommended a construction budget of $380,000 for the rehabilitation of the bridge.

If they start getting pricing and it exceeds that by significant amounts there is only so much limited funding available, said Pringle. Public money is hard pressed and not everyone is eager to have tax dollars go to that.

Earlier this year, Grey County approved demolishing the brick-and-stone archway, known as Culvert 21, and installing a prefabricated structure. The bridge, which is just off Hwy. 10 south of the village of Chatsworth and spans the Spey River, was at risk of failure and presented a risk to public safety and the environment.

But after hearing from members of the public who wanted the bridge saved, council voted in August to cancel the request-for-tender process for the project and reconsider the plan. It was then that county council instructed staff to apply for CIIF funding.

In the fall Bud Mervyn Construction installed a platform to protect the bridges brick arch as well as a tarp to prevent water from entering the structure. The portion of the rail trail that runs over the bridge has been closed and the trail was rerouted onto Elder Lane.

On Dec. 18, the countys planning and community development committee received a report containing recommendations that a bylaw be prepared authorizing the warden and clerk to sign the contribution agreement for funding under the CIIF for the rehabilitation of the bridge.

A second recommendation asked that the contract to prepare plans and design specifications and to oversee the project be awarded to R.J. Burnside.

In its 2013 budget, approved last month, the county set aside $350,000 for the project.

The planning and community development committee approved both recommendations and Grey Countys director of planning Randy Scherzer said via e-mail on Thursday that the motions will be proceeding to county council on Jan. 8 for approval.

Should the two motions be approved by county council on January 8, 2013, staff would work with R.J. Burnside to finalize the design specifications for the full rehabilitation of Culvert #21, including reconstructing the brick arch, Scherzer wrote in the e-mail. Once the design specifications have been completed, a tender would be released in 2013 and construction would commence in 2013 with the intention that the project would be completed in the fall of 2013.

Click here for Link

8. Toronto Star: Change the Only Toronto Constant
Shawn Micaleff

Torontos constant change a product of the people: Micallef

f there is one constant thing in this city, one thing you can bet on, it's that this place is always changing. Only a city that is broken or dead doesn't change. It's the nature of the beast. People come and go and they're all relatively free to do their own thing, so they add and subtract their bits from the city. They build things, redecorate, sometimes tear things down, and make “city” all the time.

Change is funny though: once it happens, we quickly forget how things were before. It leads to a kind of geographic amnesia. What we see before us feels like it's been there forever. When the physical reminder, such as a construction crane, building permit or that fresh paint smell, disappears, it’s erased from our memory too.

The end of the year is a good time to look up and down your block, wherever that block may be, and think about what has changed. Maybe you altered it just by moving in, planting a tree in your yard, adding a satellite dish on your balcony or replacing your Ikea curtains with different Ikea curtains.

Everything we do that's in public view changes the city. It's a miraculously complicated machine we live in, with a few million people contributing to how it looks and functions as a whole. That it even seems to stay the same for a little while is a marvel.

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9. Toronto Star: Future of Masonic Temple
Rachel Mendleson

Masonic Temple: Heritage property a tough site for condos, experts say

It’s played host to Frank Sinatra, David Bowie and Led Zeppelin. But its original purpose was as a home to the Masons, a semisecret fraternal organization that performed elaborate rites and rituals in the meeting rooms upstairs.

More rooted in the past than the present, the Masonic Temple is steeped in a unique dual history still evident within the brick and limestone building that has presided over the intersection of Yonge and Davenport since 1918.

The 1,200-seat ballroom remains a grand-yet-intimate space, with original hardwood floors, decorated ceiling beams and gallery. The intricate emblems and millwork of the Masons can be found on the upper levels, in the hallways and on the floors. In the cavernous Scottish Rite room, gothic thrones and dark wood panelling accompany a weighty snooker table, left behind in 2003 by the Rolling Stones.

But the future of this place is once again uncertain.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:

Site contains fantastic series of interior shots

10. Toronto Star: Wychwood Park
Jim Rankin

Inside the weird world of Wychwood Park

New and Old in Wychwood Park, photo CNA

The trees of Wychwood Park stand naked, the leaves bagged and gone. On Taddle Creek Pond, a sign warns of deep water and quicksand in warmer months, but come winter  a real one, mind you  out will come the sturdy steel and twine hockey nets that rest on the bank.

Kids, as they do any time of the year, roam freely, and in whatever house they wind up in at noon on a Saturday, it is understood lunch will be served.

No pro hockey to watch? No problem. Reruns of the 72 Canada-Russia series are playing in one home. Please do drop over.

Bucolic postcards from a unique private enclave tucked in the heart of urban Toronto. Indeed, all would seem fine in Wychwood Park, at least to an outsider.

But as usual, in a place where you do know all of your neighbours  and there are 60 households  who kick in private money to care for a private road and common land  there are the usual and occasional crises that, over the 121-year history of the park, tend to come to a full boil before something has to give.

Today, the trust deed that binds the place, drawn up long ago, is showing its age. It comes with no teeth to make folks pay up. It may not, in fact, even be tenable, depending who you ask. Trustees have had to go to court to force one resident who steadfastly, out of principle, refuses to pay for something he says brings him no benefit. A heritage document that sets out what one can and cannot do is also weak. There are suspicions over how a private levy is calculated and over who pays what.


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11. Medicine Hat: Brick and Tile site a Provincial Historic Resource
Medicine Hat

Medicine Hat Brick and Tile site a Provincial Historic Resource

Alberta Culture Minister Heather Klimchuk made a whirlwind tour through the Gas City on Saturday, officially proclaiming the Medicine Hat Brick and Tile site a Provincial Historic Resource, and presenting cheques on behalf of the government to three organizations in the city.

"Medalta potteries has been an icon here in southern Alberta for quite some time," said Klimchuk, noting that as a young girl, she came for visits to the site regularly. "To come here today with the restoration going on, and what they're going to be doing here, it's absolutely important that we declare the last piece an Alberta Historic Site."....

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12. Grende Prairie AB: Eight buildings declared historic sites
Grande Prairie Daily Herald Tribune

Eight buildings declared historic sites by County of GP

A number of buildings throughout the County of Grande Prairie have been deemed historic sites in an effort to preserve the legacy of those Peace Country residents of yore who played important roles in establishing the county.

During a meeting on Monday, council members unanimously voted to deem eight sites as historic, meaning those buildings may not be destroyed, disturbed, altered, restored, removed, or repaired other than with the written approval of council, according to the bylaw....

Click here for Link

13. A History of Winnipeg's Metrpolitan (Allen) Theatre
Christian Cassidy, Winnipeg Dowton Places blog

A History of Winnipeg's Metrpolitan (Allen) Theatre

Opened in 1920 as the Allen Theatre, Parks Canada calls Winnipeg's Metropolitan "Canada's first movie palace." It also showed Manitoba's first talking pictures.

After sitting vacant for a quarter century, The MEt has been restored to its former glory as a supper club and venue.

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14. A History of Winnipeg's Sherbrook Pool
Christian Cassidy, Winnipeg Dowtnwon Places blog

A History of Winnipeg's Sherbrook Pool

The Sherbrook Pool was built in 1930-31 as a Depression relief project. On November 29th civic officials closed the facility without notice due to structural concerns. It is unclear when, or if, the facility will open again.

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15. Winnipeg: Answers wanted on Historic Pool's Closure
Winnipeg Free Press

Group, Councillor Push for answers on pools closure

Community groups and city officials continue to meet to address the sudden and abrupt closure of the Sherbrook Pool.

"The lack of information makes people fear the worst," said Coun. Harvey Smith (Daniel McIntyre), who was expecting to meet with the private engineering firm which has been tasked to undertake a structural assessment of the pool.

On Nov. 29, the city abruptly closed the pool after a routine maintenance inspection.

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16. Winnipeg: The MEt theatre's faded beauty's glory restored by renovations
Winnipeg Free Press

Faded beauty's glory restored by renovations, MET reborn as events centre

Twenty-five years and four days after the old Metropolitan Theatre went dark, its grand hall lit up once again.

On Friday, Canad Inns used an invitation-only pre-opening gala to reveal the old theatre's $20-million transformation from a building in decay to a revamped entertainment centre in the heart of downtown. The nearly 93-year-old facility, now to be known as the Met Entertainment Centre, has been fully restored. The renovations include heritage elements such as mouldings that originally adorned the venue when it opened back in 1919....

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17. Wall Street Journal: Wyoming Town Hopes for Revival With Carousel

Folks in Buffalo Go Round and Round About Ride's Restoration

The Cowboy Carousel Center. Visitors last summer at the Cowboy Carousel in Buffalo, Wyo


BUFFALO, Wyo.—Civic boosters say they can help revive this Old West town at the foot of the Big Horn Mountains by restoring the only public merry-go-round in the state.

But opponents worry that the creaky old carousel will take Buffalo, pop. 4,600, for a ride.

Built in 1925 by master craftsmen in North Tonawanda, N.Y., near Niagara Falls, the amusement-park attraction was put out to pasture by its original owner on the East Coast a quarter century ago.

That's when the owner of a Super 8 motel on the outskirts of this town bought it and gave it a Western makeover, with new horses sculpted by a local woodcarver.

There is Steamboat, the bucking bronco featured on Wyoming license plates; Little Soldier, a pony ridden by a Crow Indian at the battle of the Little Bighorn; and Comanche, a steed that was reputed (inaccurately, some historians now believe) to have been the only member of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer's detachment to survive his infamous last stand.

Buffalonians proudly claim that the Cowboy Carousel, as it is now known, is the only historically accurate cowboys-and-Indians merry-go-round in existence—and not one that kowtows to modern sensibilities.

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18. Daily Telegraph: 18th century French chateau bulldozed 'by mistake'
Henry Samuel

A French village is up in arms after an 18th century chateau among the Bordeaux vineyards owned by a Russian millionaire was accidentally knocked down by Polish builders.

Ch√Ęteau de Bellevue

With its twin outside staircase and arched entrances, the 140,000 sq ft Château de Bellevue was one of the most eye-catching sights in Yvrac, a small wine-making village, an area north-east of Bordeaux, nestling among its famous vineyards.

Beautiful, but tired and in need of repair when bought by Russian Dimistry Stroskin, the chateau received a renovation permit and was due to be restored to its former glory. Instead it was razed to the ground by a Polish building firm.

Workmen were only supposed to demolish a separate smaller building on the grounds of the estate, but that is the only edifice still standing after the main building succumbed to the wrecking ball last month.

According to local French newspaper Sud-Ouest, the chateau’s owner said: “I had no idea the chateau had been destroyed. I’m in shock.”


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19. National Post: Oops French demolish Wrong Building
Henry Samuel, forwarded by Ian McGillivray

18th-century French chateau demolished by mistake when builders confuse it with separate building

PARIS — With its twin outside staircase and arched entrances, the Château de Bellevue was one of the most eye-catching sights in Yvrac, a wine-making village nestling among the famous vineyards of Bordeaux.

Beautiful, but rundown and in need of repair when bought by Dimistry Stroskin, a Russian millionaire, the building received a renovation permit and was due to be restored to its former glory.

Instead, it was razed by a Polish building firm. Workers were supposed to demolish only a separate smaller structure in the estate’s grounds, but that is the only one still standing. Villagers are furious about the “accident” and local authorities have opened an investigation.

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20. New York Times - Sale of Wright House Assures Its Preservation

Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press - This home in Phoenix that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright had been threatened by demolition but has now been purchased.

A house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright here for his son was sold on Thursday, guaranteeing its preservation after it had been threatened for months with demolition by its owners, who had planned to replace it with new homes.

The deal closed after at least one offer to buy the property had fallen through. Its former owners, Steve Sells and John Hoffman, principals at 8081 Meridian, a local development company, bought the property for $1.8 million in June and several times raised the price as the controversy over the potential demolition intensified.

The buyer’s identity has not been revealed; he requested anonymity as part of the transaction. He paid $2.387 million for the house, which Wright built in 1952 for his son and daughter-in-law, David and Gladys, according to Robert Joffe of Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty, who represented the sellers in the transaction.

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21. Toronto Star: 2012 Best New Buildings in Toronto
Christopher Hume

Christopher Hume picks the best architecture of 2012

Regent Park Aquatic Centre

Given the amount of construction underway in Toronto, it’s no surprise architecture looms almost as large as the towers its practitioners produce. These days, however, those towers are overwhelmingly residential, not commercial, as they would have been decades ago.

High-rise condo architecture has steadily improved, and now interesting things are starting to occur in midrise residential, a form that historically has not fared well in the city. Even so, outstanding midrise projects designed by RAW Architects for Ossington Ave. and Queen St. E. have been greeted with unabashed NIMBYism.

At the same time, projects such as Market Wharf and Clear Spirit in the Distillery District, both by Peter Clewes of architectsAlliance, have brought a new level of urbanism to condo architecture. Vancouver architect James Cheng made a spectacular Toronto debut with Shangri-La, a condo/hotel that goes out of its way to grab our attention, which it amply rewards. Even Daniel Libeskind’s L-Tower, despite the unfortunate blue cladding, grows more convincing every day.

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22. Philadelphia Daily News: Legacy of Frank Furness burns during citywide celebration

TOM GRALISH - Frank Furness' work includes this stairway at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

ONCE DISMISSED FOR his eccentric designs, Philadelphia architect Frank Furness has been celebrated around the city this year to mark the 100-year anniversary of his death.

Furness created some of Philadelphia's most iconic buildings, including the Fisher Fine Art Library at the University of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts on Broad Street, which is hosting a retrospective about him through Dec. 30.

The centennial celebration series is called "Revolutionary Philly: Making Buildings Out of his Head," referencing a comment his contemporary, architect Louis Sullivan, made about Furness - that his designs seemed to spring straight from his imagination, not the architectural trends or conventions of the time.

According to PAFA press materials, Furness "created a new architecture that incorporated the materials and expressed the energy of the Iron Age. Just as Barcelona's Antonio Gaudi symbolized his city in the twentieth century, Furness embodied the values of Philadelphia in the industrial age."

But Furness' bold Victorian style was not generally appreciated as tastes changed in the 20th century. Many of his creations - he's said to have designed 1,000 structures - were destroyed, including the original Broad Street Station, razed in 1953.

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Editor's Note:

For more images of Furness commissions see,

23. South China Morning Post Magazine: Then & now: ivory tower
Jason Wordie

A new chief executive means a lick of paint, and maybe an extension or two, for Government House

Government House in 1980. Photos: SCMP
No peeping - we'll have to wait to see the results of the latest renovations

Recent weeks have seen Government House, on Upper Albert Road, swathed in scaffolding as renovations are undertaken ahead of Leung Chun-ying's move into the historic building. Over the years, most of Hong Kong's governors - and now, chief executives - have made alterations, additions or amendments to the official residence.

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24. South China Morning Post: Hong Kong's balancing act on heritage building conservation made difficult
SCMP Editorial

Good and bad news about the city's heritage buildings can create confusing perceptions about the government's commitment to conservation. In a welcome "about-face" on the redevelopment plan for the former government headquarters, the new administration has decided that the west wing will not be turned into a commercial tower, as had been decided by its predecessors. Instead, it will be used by the Department of Justice and related bodies. But the bad news is that the new administration has given up on a plan to save an 85-year-old private mansion on The Peak, although it has been graded by monument experts as more important than the government block. The different approaches to the buildings, which are exactly opposite to the previous administration's, reflect a dilemma in Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's heritage conservation policy.

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25. The Guardian: Restoration of Roman tunnels gives a slave's eye view of Caracalla baths
Tom Kington

Tourists will see 'maniacal Roman perfection and incredible hydraulic technology' in labyrinth under Rome's Caracalla baths

The temple to Mithras under the Caracalla baths. Initiates to the cult would line in a niche and be drenched in the blood of sacrificed bulls. Photograph: Chris Warde-Jones

In the middle of a patch of grass amid the ruins of the Caracalla baths in Rome, there is a staircase that takes visitors deep into the ground to a world resembling the lair of a James Bond villain.

"This is our glimpse at maniacal Roman perfection, at incredible hydraulic technology," said archaeologist Marina Piranomonte, as she descended and waved at a network of high and wide tunnels, each measuring six metres (20ft) high and wide, snaking off into the darkness.

The baths, on a sprawling site slightly off the beaten track in a city crowded by monumental attractions, hold their own against the nearby Circus Maximus, its shattered walls standing 37 metres high, recalling its second century heyday when it pulled in 5,000 bathers a day.

But for Piranomonte, it is the three kilometre, triple-tiered grid of tunnels that lies under the site – the first tract of which will open for visits this month – which really shows off how seriously the Romans took their sauna time.

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26. The Times: Critics battle over "brutalist treasure" bus station
Russell Jenkins

Campaigners say it is 'raw, futuristic and instantly recognisable'

The station was regarded as an “architectural triumph” when it was built in 1969 for bringing a touch of airport-style glamour to the heart of an industrial northern city. The vast concrete interchange, which is showing the ravages of age, has eluded attempts to list it for posterity and survived at least one city regeneration project. But now it is again in danger of demolition.

The city council cabinet is expected to decide next Monday to demolish the building, although it is anticipating fierce opposition from campaigners, who have accused it of vandalism. Peter Rankin, the council leader, said it cannot afford to keep the building, which would cost £23.1 million to refurbish in addition to its £297,000 running costs. He said: “I do understand why some people like the building and want to keep it. It ... creates strong emotions both for and against. Certainly as a council we have looked at and explored the option of investing and refurbishing the current bus station building.

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27. December 5, 175th Anniversary of the Rebel's March
Michael Vaughan

We missed it!  

Today is the 175th anniversary of the march of the rebels down Yonge Street.  And we are taking no action to mark it. Next year we should organize a commemorative march
 from Montgomery's Tavern (Postal Station K) down to around Wood or Alexander Street.  We need not bring muskets or pikes.  That is something that Bill Kilborne would have done and perhaps did do.  We should co-op the Mayor to join in the march. 

I will try to round up the people who now are on rebel John Doell's two lots on the west side of Yonge between Walker and Woodlawn Avenue West.  We could stop off at the Rebel House on Yonge Street by what was blue clay hill.  We could pause for a moment at gallow's hill to remember the rebel who was shot there.  

What I do not know is what route the marchers would have taken.  Around that time, perhaps earlier, to get around gallows hill, the trail went west of Yonge Street just south of Woodlawn and diagonally up to Farnham, and Balmoral and back to Yonge south of St. Clair.  You can still see where it must have been.  Also, at some point the trail would have gone through Summerhill, down the old road and across the stream by what was Price's Mill and through to Parliament.  Later, it would have gone south down Yonge to the top of blue clay hill and headed east through Cluny Drive down to Bloor and then down Parliament or Church.  It would be nice to figure this out.  Let me have your thoughts about this if you have time.  


28. Rosedale Project Still Looking For Space
Catherine Nasmith

I am writing this as the President of Toronto Architectural Conservancy.

We have 25 research file boxes which we need to move from a private home in order to continue the work on Rosedale research. We have retained an archivist, and have permission from the owner to move the material, but we are caught in a chicken and egg situation. We can't look at the material to determine how to best make use of it in a publication, online or otherwise until we can get the boxes to a place we can examine the contents. The material was collected 25 years ago by volunteers and we understand contains information on all Rosedale properties.

We are looking for space to store the boxes, with a table and access to photocopying, and need it to be close or in Rosedale. We estimate we would need it for from 3-6 mos. A school, library, community building,....if you have any ideas or space to share please contact Catherine Nasmith at 416 598 4144 or

We can offer a tax receipt for the use of the space.