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Issue No. 215 | August 7, 2013


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Feature Stories

  1. Death of Peter Stokes
  2. CBC News: Manitoba family giving away Eaton's catalogue house
  3. New York Times: A Hidden Woman Architect
  4. The Golden Arches of McModernism


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1. Death of Peter Stokes
Catherine Nasmith

Peter Stokes, 2007 on the occasion of receiving the First Eric Arthur Lifetime Achievement Award from ACO
Born in England in 1926, Peter came to Canada during World War II, and graduated from the University of Toronto in 1953 with a Bachelor of Architecture degree. He began his career in 1958 as the restoration architect for Upper Canada Village, where he stayed till 1961. Subsequently he became known first for the restoration work he did in his adopted hometown of Niagara-on-the-Lake, and then throughout Ontario for such projects as Sandyford Place in Hamilton, Victoria Hall in Cobourg, and the Grange in Toronto.
Peter’s career coincided with the pioneering era of architectural conservation in the province. When the Ontario Heritage Act first passed in 1975, countless communities called on him for his much-needed expertise, his valuable advice in the face of crises, and his unwavering commitment to authenticity, at a time when few people understood the true value of preservation. He enlightened many a community as to the value of its own heritage.  For his many contributions to Ontario’s heritage, Peter was the recipient of ACO’s first Eric Arthur Lifetime Achievement Award.
There will be a memorial/life celebration service for Peter Stokes in September. Watch this space for details.

Editor's Note:
Bio Text from the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario's web pages.

2. Removal of One of the Last Ice Houses in Canada
Rachel Morgan Redshaw

Early Icehouse & Creamery in Downtown Ayr, ON

Removal of One of the Last Ice Houses
Remaining in Canada located in the Heart of Ayr, ON

By Rachel Morgan Redshaw
On behalf of the North Dumfries Municipal Heritage Committee

Unassumingly, the building at 18 Tannery Street stands in its own dire state as a cadaver of chipping plaster and crumbling limestone. However, amongst its own destruction it stands strong even as the old vines creep up along its walls seeking desperately for a place to get inside. Deep amber hoists and pulleys contrast with the once bleached plaster, and inside the building remains silent except for the odd screech or cry of curious animals that have crept their way through the nooks and crannies of its wooden ribs and stony skeleton walls. The doors keep it that way, unwelcoming and closed to wandering eyes.

Many are not aware of this building, concealed behind the storefronts of Northumberland Street, nestled down a dusty path that lies across from the once greatly renowned Watson factory. I remember in my early teens heading down to the river and wondering what had left it there standing on its own looking out onto its fellow remains of Abel Mudges Mills. They seem to be hidden, a forgotten chapter in a long, continuous story, unfortunately to seldom be reflected upon.

As I organized some of the files at the Township, I came across a report called The Ayr Ice House and Creamery written by Shelley Respondek in 2002 who, after gathering information from a report in 1989 and 2001 by other students under the authority of the North Dumfries Municipal Heritage Committee (formerly L.A.C.A.C.), completed a thorough, detailed account of the building that stands at 18 Tannery St, Ayr.

I have heard about harvesting ice and ice houses from my father but it was the first time I had seen one of limestone and plaster. Many of these were made of wood framing, as can be seen in Hamilton Bay. This could explain the limited number of ice houses still existing in Ontario. The structure of the ice house in Ayr is actually one of only four remaining ice house structures across Canada.

According to the report, the building began as an ice house in the 1850s and the addition of the creamery/ cooling house came in the 1870s. This combination was quite common since the ice was placed in the top rafters so that the melting water from above could be used to cool dairy products underneath as well as in the adjacent cooling house. The twenty plaster markings on the outside of the building were to support tongs that would lift the ice into the building. The floor boards would be slanted so that the cold water would be directed to the cooling room.

According to an 1884 Fire Insurance Map, the ice house had three floors which were essential for ice storage and cooling functions. The cooling house attached has some similarities to photographs of cooling houses in Scotland, perhaps influenced by Scottish William Baker.

The ice house, and eventually also creamery, provided general stores on Northumberland with a space to keep dairy products cold. In particular, the ice house served to store dairy products for William Bakers general store. Within the ice house and creamery he stored butter that he had made from local farmers milk. It was even acclaimed in the Galt Reporter to have been used to store 50,000 pounds of butter that was then taken to Europe by William Baker to sell in British markets in 1878! According to the Saturday Globe in 1889, Mr. Baker was particularly noted for selling large quantities of butter, transactions in butter, very large.

When William Baker passed away in 1891, the store went to his son, Thomas Baker and daughter Elizabeth McColl who was married to David McColl. Eventually Thomas sold his share to David turning the general store into D. McColls General Store and they continued to use the ice house and creamery.

To harvest ice, they would set out with one handed crosscut saws and move the ice blocks to shore often with horse power at the driest part of winter. Even in recent research it is clear that ice harvesting was an important part of the North Dumfries community as a means of preserving food.


In 1918, the building was purchased and continued on as W.A. Ramsay Company. Unfortunately, in 1937 the owners lost control of the land and it was sold to G. H. Lawrence and became G. H. Lawrences Bakery, known as the Home Bakery. Lawrence provided baking products for 32 years to the village. He was an important man, a trustee for the Ayr Board of Education, Master at Masonic Lodge, and treasurer for 20 years. The building was later sold to Purity Flour Mills Limited until 1958 when it was sold again.

After considering the state of the roof, the report reviewed options that were presented to Council. The first option was that the ice house could be used as office space or local museum and could initiate a Request for Proposal (RFP). The second option was Council reviewing the possibility of setting aside funds for the ice house refurbishment as part of the 2013 budget process. Thirdly, the ice house could be sold. Initially, Council chose the first option of using the ice house for another purpose. 

The decision had to be reviewed by the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA). Due to the structures location in the middle of the flood plain the GRCA sees no development or re-purposing potential.

The GRCA advised that the -refurbishment of the ice house does not meet GRCA policies for several reasons given that the structure is abandoned and due to flood depth, flood frequency, risk to life and property damage concerns. The GRCA advised that an application/ RFP is not submitted.

The report also outlined the financial expenses needed to repair the roof as well as the ice houses demolition. As for the $35,000 quote for the roof refurbishment and removal of rubble, it is stated that staff solicited informally and received a quote&A local contractor was prepared to do this work for less than $35,000. The informal quote from the local tradesman did not differ from the source of the structures demolition quote which came informally from a roofers estimate.

After the Council reviewed the GRCAs comments and the staffs propositions, they refused to pay an approximate sum of $35,000 to repair the roof. The report continued to fulfill its initial purpose by concluding with staffs recommendation of removal, Staff is recommending that the RFP not be pursued and that the Ice House be removed.

At this point, there are many issues at hand. Not only is the ice house in danger from the floodplain (in addition to other heritage properties in the location), but businesses along Northumberland Street in the downtown core as well.

Chief Building Inspector Official Darryl Denny stated in a meeting with the North Dumfries Municipal Heritage Committee that the roof has to be dealt with though all loose pieces were removed at this point. Although the ice house is abandoned, internal renovations could be performed.

We must keep in mind that this is not one in four structures in North Dumfries, Waterloo Region, or even Ontario. It is one of four structures that exist all across Canada. The removal of the attached brick cooling house is likely to happen this summer.

The North Dumfries Municipal Heritage Committee has developed alternative ideas for repurposing the building. An information/ tourist centre has been suggested, a small scale archives/ museum, an ice cream shop operating alongside its previous use as a creamery, a look-out tower over the park and Nith River, a boathouse, and even a second storey bar/ lounge called The Ice House Bar!

The building is in need of some major restoration and the GRCA regulates re-purposing of the building. Putting aside regulations, if given the opportunity what would you do with our local charm, the ice house?

Feel free to submit comments or support to

3. Update From Councillor McHattie on Gore Properties
Brian McHattie

Under the current deal with Wilson-Blanchard, they will demolish 18-28 King Street East, construct a new building and re-attach heritage elements from the current facades.

It's important to know the results of meetings that Councillor Jason Farr and I have had with the Blanchard group. This represents my belief in what will transpire - and I say belief, as there still needs to be a legal commitment on the part of the developer to ensure the way forward.

The developer has held demolition permits since December 2012 for 18-22, 24 and 28 King Street East. The demolition permits were issued following the process as described in the Building Code Act, wherein a permit application must be granted by the Chief Building Official with 20 working days (subject to minor clarifications).

There is no requirement under the Act for anyone to know about such permit requests, including City Councillors.

That is not the case for buildings that are on the Register of Buildings of Historic Interest or those that are designated under the Act.

It's important to note that Municipal Heritage Committee made a recommendation in November 2012 that 18-28 King Street East be added to the Register. That recommendation was denied by Planning Committee and Council.

In January 2013, Councillor Farr and I met with the Blanchard group and a subsequent Council motion confirmed an agreement that three of the five King Street East properties (the Thomas buildings) would be preserved in some way and two of the buildings would be fully demolished.

Click here for Link

4. National Post: Ontario
Karen Selick

Empty lots are declared 'heritage' properties while century-old barns are ordered retrofitted to meet fire codes.

Here’s a challenge for readers: try to reconcile two apparently conflicting trends taking place across Ontario.

First, there are the barn closures. In May, 2012, the Office of the Fire Marshal sent a communiqué to all Ontario municipalities warning them that they should not permit barns within their territory to be used for public gatherings such as dances, weddings, concerts, meetings or religious services. After Ontario enacted a new fire code in 2007, the use of a barn for “assembly” purposes, rather than exclusively for housing animals and storing farm equipment, triggers an obligation to comply with building and fire codes.

Bringing an aging barn up to the fire standards of a theatre or banquet hall is astronomically expensive. It means installing sprinkler systems, alarm systems, separation walls, new exits, new driveways and myriad other modifications.

A simple sign saying “Warning: Building does not meet fire code—enter at own risk” does not satisfy the nervous politicians and bureaucrats now ensconced in Ontario municipalities. Consequently, rural Ontario is losing the unique, quaint, picturesque and charming barn venues that give local communities their individuality and allure.

In 2012, for instance, storyteller Mary Eileen McClear of Wilmot Township near Waterloo had to close her Story Barn, a renovated farm building where she hosted storytelling workshops for librarians, teachers and business groups.

Nearby, widow Carol Foster had renovated the building she called The Healing Barn in 2004 at a cost of over $100,000, primarily so she could hold support meetings for bereaved spouses and children. Her insurance company was satisfied with the risk, charging a nominal premium surcharge for each event. But after the fire code changed in 2007, Foster’s building no longer satisfied municipal requirements. After losing an appeal last year, she closed The Healing Barn.

Click here for Link

5. Council, Province Have an Obligation to Protect Heritage
Kieran C. Dickson

At both the municipal and provincial level, there is a clear process for determining whether and when to intervene to protect a heritage building from demolition.

There is no question that both Council and the Province have the ability to protect our built heritage, in particular the buildings at 18-28 King Street East, threatened with demolition.

I will go a step further and say that both levels of government have an obligation, as a matter of good governance, to use their powers under the Ontario Heritage Act when appropriate.

But when is it appropriate to intervene? Not every old building can or should be saved and the determination of whether a building warrants preservation is complex. So how do our elected representatives know when to act?

Municipal Heritage Committee

At the municipal level, we have heritage staff and a Municipal Heritage Committee consisting of professionals and others who have a special interest in built heritage.

The Committee is charged with advising Council on heritage matters and does so after evaluating individual cases on their merits, based upon criteria set by regulation under the Ontario Heritage Act.

On December 20, 2012, our Municipal Heritage Committee considered both 18-22 King Street East and 24/28 King Street East and advised Council to designate these properties, all of them and without condition or limitation.

Click here for Link

6. T.O. Blog: Toronto's Central Prison Chapel
Chris Bateman

ort and violent history of Toronto's Central Prison

Toronto's barbaric Central Prison, a place where inmates were routinely beaten and subjected to cruel and unusual punishments, often for petty crimes, is thankfully long gone. The last part of the original Victorian structure is presently at the centre of a development proposal by a local restaurant chain. If approved, the former chapel of the old jail will be repurposed into a bar and grill.

Ironic really given the building's connection to the Roman Catholic faith and the numerous people locked up just beyond its walls for drunkenness.

Looking back on Central Prison, its practices, and inmates is to take a trip into an arbitrary and brutal time when relatively minor transgressions were punished with shocking savagery. The consequences of breaking the law were never so terrifying in Toronto.

Click here for Link

7. The Record: Saving one of the last ice houses in Canada
Jeff Hicks

I'll take cold cash to save the Ayr Ice House

AYR  A crumbling dragon's keep rises behind Rob Deutschmann.

But soon the limestone Tower on Tannery may fall forever. Townsfolk on council have decreed. The medieval look is so 15th century. Time for a wrecking-ball makeover.

Yet the eager executioners pause and waver. The old beast stands awaiting a mortal blow.

"It's hard to say knock it down," said Deutschmann, the Mayor of North Dumfries.

"You just can't bring yourself to do it."

Demolition is cold. Like death. Like the bitter breath that long-ago bellowed from the lungs of this old place down a lane by the water.

The Ayr Ice House and Creamery? Yes, this was the place.

Ice was kept here 150 years ago.

Fire had no dominion here, on the banks of Watson Creek aside the century-old lawns of a dwindling-numbers bowling club spinning towards irrelevance.

The frigid flow of ice melting on the planks up high cooled the dairy delights below drip-by-drip. So long ago. Few remember. Few seem to care, the mayor laments.

Chunks of the roof  which would cost $35,000 to replace -- have already fallen into the collapsed lungs of one of the last standing ice houses in Canada. Windows are boarded up with drawbridge-sized planks.

Finish the job, the unsympathetic urge. Pave over the gravel moat that engulfs the old Castle of Cold. Sure could use the parking, a passerby in a Tilley hat urged the mayor.

Not so fast, Deutschmann says.

A vision came to His Worship one day as he jogged the streets along the Nith River. Yes, the tower stands on a flood plain. It cannot be transformed into condos, as the last owner hoped. That's why she donated it to the Township.

But what if the lawn bowling club moved its little pitch to the massive new community complex on the Greenfield-Northumberland edge of town? What if the old bowling greens on Tannery became a parkette leading up to the Ice House, where its time-worn charms could lend a gritty gravitas to lush surroundings?

This is Deutschmann's dream of a future with a past.

The Castle of Cold could become a fun focal point of local pride instead of a dismal dungeon surrounded by debris and dabbed with graffiti.

"If an area is not used, things will happen, kids will congregate," Deutschmann said.

"If you start to use an area more, like a park area, it's kind of like you are reclaiming it."

Reclaiming your history. That's the Ice House idea from a mayor who says he will not run again next year. But he is willing to see this reclamation project to completion, whenever that might come.

The end could be restored glory. Or it could be an asphalt memory for patrons of a pizza joint, Chinese restaurant and variety story on the main drag.

The former will take money. Like maybe $250,000 to move all the pieces in play.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:My husband and I own a small ice-house in Windermere, double stud construction, walls lined with sawdust. We use it for storage, but the idea of going out and taking ice off the lake to use for cooling in summer is tantalizing.

8. OTTAWA CITIZEN: Heritage designation sought for St. Charles Church in Vanier
ia Cook

Its commonly believed that St. Charles Church has no heritage value because of renovations in the 1960s. Thats quite untrue, says Steinhauer. Some of the key elements were not touched and remain intact.

One man is trying to get the church heritage designation to protect it from a wrecking ball - Photograph by: Wayne Cuddington , Ottawa Citizen

St. Charles Church in Vanier may soon be on the market as a teardown. But despite the view of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Ottawa that the church lacks historic value, a Vanier resident is seeking heritage designation for the 105-year-old building.

“There are many empty lots where you can put up condos,” says Mike Steinhauer, a Department of Canadian Heritage employee and former director of the Bytown Museum. “Why wreck such an asset when this could again be the town square of the community?”

Built in 1908, the church has been vacant for three years and the parish wants to sell. The property is not on the market yet, but the development company Domicile, which is building a 10-storey condominium building three blocks east on Beechwood, has expressed interest.

The church sits on a large green lawn at the corner of Beechwood Avenue and Barrette Street. According to Steinhauer, it helps to establish the character of Beechwood, the main street where four neighbourhoods converge — Vanier, New Edinburgh, Lindenlea and Rockcliffe Park.

He recently looked inside. “To my surprise I discovered a pristine space with elegant columns and many beautiful architectural details,” he wrote in the blog VanierNow. “The quality of natural light permitted by the large rounded windows is soft and warm.”

Click here for Link

9. Battle Creek New life for Heritage Tower? Building bought by Grand Rapids development firm

The Heritage Tower and 17 West Michigan have been purchased by a Grand Rapids-based developer. / John Grap/The Enquirer

The partly condemned building that has been a pillar of Battle Creek’s skyline may soon get a facelift.

A Grand Rapids-based firm, 616 Development, has purchased the Heritage Tower.

“616 Development is looking forward to continuing the revitalization of downtown Battle Creek with the purchase of Heritage Tower,” Derek Coppess, the group’s founder, said in a statement to the Enquirer. “We are in the process of finalizing our plans for reactivating this iconic building in a way that will add to vitality of downtown. We look forward to sharing our vision for the Tower with the Battle Creek community later this year.”

Click here for Link

10. CBC News: Manitoba family giving away Eaton's catalogue house

Manitoba family giving away house

Two Swan Lake brothers are offering to give away their family's house.

The only condition? The new buyers would have to move it.

And this isn't just any house. It was bought from the Eaton's catalogue almost a century ago.

Owner Albert Devloo says his father purchased the house in the 1930s. He believes the house dates to the 1920s.

In those days Canadian retail giant T. Eaton Co. would sell plans, lumber, and hardware through its catalogue. A customer would pick the house he or she wanted, and Eaton's would ship the kit to the nearest railway station.

Devloo said the building's had some upgrades over the years, but much of it is still original.

"The basic shape is original," he said. "The little extra roofs on the corners that you see, that's original. And the cedar shakes on the gable ends."

Devloo said he and his brother, George, on whose land the house sits, would rather not tear it down, but it needs some work.

"It would be really great if somebody would take the house, fix it up and redo it," he said. "Because it means something to us. We're not that sentimental, I guess. But to put a track hoe into it would be tough, too."

Devloo said moving it won't be easy.

The 2½-storey home is 1800 square feet.

"They need to talk to a building mover. There's lots involved because, of course, it's a high building, so hydro line are a big issue."

They are giving the house away because George and his family have built a brand-new home right beside it.

The house is posted on Kijiji.

Click here for Link

11. CBC News: The blunder of Saskatchewan's northern dam, 100 years on

The blunder of Saskatchewan's northern dam, 100 years on

An avid history buff is marking the 100th anniversary of the day the plug was pulled on a massive hydroelectric project that was started on the Saskatchewan River, north of Prince Albert, Sask.

What was launched as the La Colle Falls Hydroelectric Development instead became a multi-million dollar monument to lofty ambitions, and a financial millstone for Prince Albert taxpayers for decades to come.

"The dam was one-third finished, into the river," Paul Van Pul, a hydraulic archaeology surveyor who has written extensively on the La Colle blunder, said Tuesday. "They never managed to start building the power station."

According to Van Pul, who checked out the remnants of the project, there are only a few holes in the ground that could have been the start of foundation work for a power plant.

The unfinished dam, however, is a prominent  if odd-looking  feature on the river.

Some have suggested the unfinished La Colle Falls dam should be designated a heritage site. Some have suggested the unfinished La Colle Falls dam should be designated a heritage site. (Courtesy: Paul Van Pul)

By the time the project was halted two years of construction work had gone into it and Prince Albert had spent $3 million, or about $62 million in today's terms, adjusting for inflation using a Bank of Canada calculator.

"The project was, in fact, too big for the engineers from Prince Albert," Van Pul believes, when asked how it was that the plan was scrubbed. "They had to depend on the city engineer at the time who had no experience at all building such a big, complicated project."

The city was sold on a hydroelectric dam by the engineer who developed Niagara Falls. That expert, however, rarely checked in on how the La Colle venture was proceeding.

Van Pul said design changes, during construction, also added to the costs.

The burden of loans used to finance a project that was never completed nearly drove Prince Albert into bankruptcy, and it wasn't until 1965 that the debt was paid off.

"P.A. never became the second-largest city of Saskatchewan just because of La Colle Falls," Van Pul believes.

"And the thing is, they almost got there," he added, wistfully.

Van Pul is hoping the concrete structure that remains is designated a heritage site.

"It's a cautious reminder," he said, even as cities embark on large-scale projects today. "Something can go wrong and then we're stuck with it for the next 50 years."

Click here for Link

12. West End Dumplings: A sad 100th birthday for Winnipeg's St. Charles Hotel
Christian Cassidy

A sad 100th birthday for the St. Charles Hotel

Normally a 100th birthday would be cause for celebration, but not in the case of the St. Charles Hotel which opened August 1, 1913.

Vacant since 2004, the building was initially touted as the home of an upscale, boutique hotel. In recent years, though, the same owners have been keeping just one step ahead of the city which wants to seize it as a derelict building.

The block of Albert Street adjacent to the hotel has been the scene of a spectacular meltdown in the past 12 months. The neighbouring Albert Street Block burned to the ground in August 2012 and the much anticipated spring reopening of the Royal Albert Hotel, (also at one time touted to be redeveloped into a boutique hotel), turned out to be brief, (and bizarre.)

Despite its treatment over the last few years the St. Charles has managed to hang in there to reach the ripe old age of 100. Lets hope there are good times ahead for it and its neighbours.

For a history of the building, check out my Winnipeg Downtown Places blog post. Also see my Flickr album for the hotel which includes some interior photos I took just a couple of weeks ago.

Click here for Link

13. West End Dumplings: Last hope for the James Avenue Pumping Station?
Christian Cassidy

Last hope for the James Avenue High Pressure Pumping Station ?

On August 6, 2013 an open house was held to present a new (and likely the last) development idea for the site.

I say "the last" because since it has been shuttered since 1986. A number of potential buyers have come looking but the high cost to renovate the building, clean the machinery and remediate the land (all in return for a small amount of usable space) have driven them away. CentreVenture, the building's owners, have let it be known that they want this piece of land developed soon, with or without the building.

The plan involves driving piles through the floor and adding a mixed-use, fourteen-storey tower on top. It would have a restaurant and market on the first two floors, three floors of office space and the rest would be rental apartments.

A catwalk and suspended floor above the machinery level would provide the space for restaurant and cafe seating.

A key element for the developers would be the city / province to commit to developing parkade on the on the provincial land north of the museum, currently a large surface parking lot.

For more photos from tonight's presentation. For a history of the James Avenue High Pressure Pumping Station.

Click here for Link

14. Westman Journal: Keeping Brandon's heritage intact
Jordan Wasilka

Keeping Brandon's heritage intact

Sometimes, you don't fully appreciate something until it's gone.

That's the scenario that Katy Singleton, heritage co-ordinator for the City of Brandon's Municipal Heritage Committee, is trying to avoid.

"Although Brandon is relatively young, especially compared to Europe and places like that, [our heritage] is important because it shows how far we've come, how much things have changed in our city," says Singleton. "We try to pre-emptively preserve some [heritage sites] so we don't have a lot of coming back and talking about the loss of something like the Prince Edward Hotel and other structures, and how it's really taken away from the look and feel of our city; they add a lot to the aesthetic of Brandon."

In her position as heritage co-ordinator, Singleton has a bevy of responsibilities  putting together agendas and taking minutes for Municipal Heritage
Committee meetings, attending city council meetings and presenting there when necessary, researching heritage locations, planning events and getting public input on heritage issues. While having so much on one's plate might seem daunting, Singleton says that this diversity is the best part of her job. "I like focusing on the details and making sure everything's taken care of," says the co-ordinator.

As for the process of getting a building defined as a heritage site, Singleton explains that most buildings the Municipal Heritage Committee evaluates come from a "significant buildings list," which currently consists of around 250 sites, or a member of the community contacting them about a certain site they'd like to see considered.

The Heritage Committee then visits the potential heritage site, takes interior and exterior evaluations of the property, and completes an "evaluation document." This document is based on a point system that looks at multiple areas, including the structure's surrounding environment, age, history and architecture, as well as important builders and residents. When this is complete, the Heritage Committee then presents a recommendation to Brandon City Council, which then takes a vote on whether to designate the location a heritage site or not.

Once a building is voted as a heritage site, Singleton explains that it is then given by-law protections, such as not allowing its demolition or major renovations without getting permission from the Heritage Committee to do so. "There might be some back and forth between what a homeowner would like to see and what the Heritage committee would like to see, and then we try to come to a good consensus, looking at a lot of different factors.

"While heritage status gives the Heritage Committee some say in what people can do to their properties, it also opens the door to grant possibilities, because we like to financially assist heritage homeowners," adds the co-ordinator.

Singleton points out that, within the past year, the committee has designated four new municipal heritage sites  339 Victoria Ave., 662 11th Street, 1037 Lorne Ave. and 706 Lorne Ave.  after about a half-decade where no new sites were given heritage status. "We've really started re-looking at sites, moving ahead with some designations."

Singleton's personal interest in Brandon history was kindled when she accepted a summer position in the heritage department as a student in 2010. After then-heritage co-ordinator Ken Storie retired, she was offered the position in November of the same year.

"I found it all really interesting," recalls Singleton. "I really enjoy all of the components involved. It pushes me outside of my comfort zone, and I think that's good. It helps me to grow."

But fostering that same passion for history and Brandon's history into the youth of today is a challenge, says Singleton, and she cites the city's "Doors Open Brandon" programming as a free, city-wide event that helps to instill the public with a sense of heritage's importance.

"The Heritage Committee is always trying to look at new options for programming and find better ways to increase the interest of youth in local heritage," adds
Singleton. "With our website, we think that really opens up a door, because younger people tend to be really technologically savvy; they're online all the time."

In fact, a new revision of the Heritage Brandon website ( was recently released. Singleton says that there was a focus on creating a smartphone-friendly interface for the site that makes it more useful to youth who are more adept with such devices. The website hosts a plethora of information, including current municipal and provincial heritage sites, a photo gallery, heritage bylaw information, a historical chronology of Brandon, heritage site submission info and contact information.

With the recent crop of repurposing projects  namely the Strand Theatre project and the Brewtinerie proposal for the former #1 Fire Hall  the co-ordinator says that the committee would love to see somebody come in and utilize the space, whether it's officially designated a heritage site (the former #1 Fire Hall) or not (the Strand Theatre.) "If it's a good fit, we'd love to see someone get in there and use a space," she says, though she adds that there are concerns about maintaining the heritage of the building when a repurposing occurs.

"If someone is restoring or renovating a heritage building, certainly there's going to be some changes made," explains Singleton. "Not everything is going to remain the same or be able to be done exactly the same as it was maybe 50, 60, 100 years ago. So the Heritage Committee's concern would be making sure that the heritage of the building is maintained  that it's not going to look a lot different, that it's not going to feel a lot different. That's something that would be discussed back and forth between the Heritage Committee and any municipal heritage site owner."

As for choosing a favourite heritage site in the Wheat City, Singleton says that it's impossible. "It's like picking a favourite child; I couldn't do it," she jokes.

With the Open Doors Brandon event over for the year  it had a great turnout despite less-than-idea weather, according to Singleton  the next big project for the Heritage Committee is the dedication ceremony for the Veteran's Memorial and Green Space currently being built at the corner of 11th Street and Victoria Ave. the co-ordinator encourages those who would like to add a veteran's name to the site's Plaque of Remembrance to contact her up until the end of 2013.

Singleton says that those looking for more information about Brandon's history have a multitude of options, including Bill and Sue-On Hillman's Manitoba Photo Archive (, the S.J. McKee Archives at Brandon University, and the Heritage Brandon site itself ( You can also contact Singleton directly by emailing

Click here for Link

15. Winnipeg Free Press: Bold new plan for pumphouse
Murray McNeill

Bold new plan for pumphouse

A consortium of local developers has unveiled an ambitious plan that would see a mixed-use, highrise tower -- the first in the Exchange District -- built inside the walls of one of the area's most historically significant and redevelopment-challenged buildings -- the James Avenue Pumping Station.

The proposal, unveiled at a public meeting Tuesday, would see the original brick structure and all original pumping equipment in the lower level retained.

Rising from near the centre of the building would be a slender, 24-storey steel-and-glass tower that could include a mix of public, retail and office space on the lower levels and rental apartments and penthouse condominiums above.

A spokesman for the developers said the public and retail space would be on the main and mezzanine levels of the existing building and on the main floor of the new building. It could include features such as an indoor-garden-style public gathering space, a restaurant/bar suspended above the lower level of the pumphouse, some smaller cafés or restaurants and some clothing stores.

Several local groups have expressed interest in including a "water-interpretive centre" and museum. The latter would explain the history of the building and some historic events in the area, including the 1919 general strike.

The consortium's spokesman, who didn't want his name published, said they're all local people who are withholding their names until they know if the project is a go. They hope to know sometime this fall.

He said the apartments would be a combination of one- and two-bedroom units ranging from 600 to 1,150 square feet. They would require what the spokesman said is the going rate for new rental units in the city -- $1,100 to $1,195 per month for a one-bedroom unit and $1,395 to $1,495 for a two-bedroom.

He said the group has discussed its plans with officials from the city, CentreVenture Development Corp., Heritage Winnipeg, local historical groups and local retailers.

"We wanted to get their input and see if they think we're moving in the right direction," he said, "and it's our understanding that they think we are moving in the right direction."

He said if there's opposition to the plan, it will likely be over the height of the new building.

He suspects some people, including some residents in the two neighbouring condominium developments -- The Sky and The Strand -- may argue it's incompatible with the area.

But the building needs to be that height to accommodate enough apartments to make the project economically feasible, he said.

"If we don't have the height, it won't be economical... and the show is over."

That's what torpedoed most other redevelopment proposals that have surfaced during the last decade in which CentreVenture has been trying to find a way to save the existing building and equipment, which has been described as a rare jewel from the city's industrial era.

CentreVenture currently owns the property, and the consortium's spokesman wouldn't say how much it will have to pay for property or how much the project is expected to cost.

CentreVenture president and CEO Ross McGowan said in a written statement the agency has been working closely with the new group for nearly a year.

"Their mixed-use proposal has merit and from our perspective. The redevelopment of the pumphouse has been a priority for CentreVenture for many years," he said.

"The removal of this blight amongst the private investment that has been made in the East Exchange and along Waterfront Drive, while preserving the historical elements, is essential. This development will provide additional residential density in this emerging neighborhood, benefiting the current residents and also provide another living option for people who are considering living downtown."

Heritage Winnipeg executive director Cindy Tugwell said she also feels the proposal has merit and said she hopes it proceeds, especially in light of all the failed past proposals.

"Everybody wants really badly for this to work," she said, "and I think it's great they're getting feedback from the area residents and stakeholders."

Cecil Duncan, who lives in the neighbouring Sky condo development, attended Tuesday's open house and said he liked what he saw and heard.

"Any new development is good for the area residents," he said.

He said he has no concerns about the height of the proposed building. He conceded his condo faces the river, so the view wouldn't be obstructed by the new highrise.

"But I also think it'd be a good trade-off for more people and more activity coming to the area," he said.

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16. Winnipeg Free Press: Fine building that shouldn't have been

Fine building that shouldn't have been

CARBERRY -- Accidents do happen, and in the case of Carberry a century ago, the accident was a palatial, three-storey bank building.

The Union Bank of Canada wanted to build a signature bank in 1902, but not here. Somehow the plans and materials wound up in Carberry, instead of either Winnipeg, or "down East," depending on who's telling the story.

Construction went ahead before anyone figured out Carberry was just a regular two-horse town, not the metropolis the Union Bank was banking on. The result was a majestic, landmark building in the Classical Revival style in downtown Carberry. It was even designed by famed architect George Creeford Brown, whose credits include the Masonic Temple on Donald Street and Wesley Hall at University of Winnipeg.

You'd be surprised how many heritage buildings there are in Carberry -- its downtown stood in for Main Street scenes in the Aaron Johnson movie, For the Moment, starring Russell Crowe. In fact, its entire two-block downtown has been declared a Provincial Heritage District, the only such declaration in Manitoba.

The bank and other heritage buildings will be on display at the First Annual Carberry Heritage Festival on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 9-10.

Actually, Carberry, 50 kilometres east of Brandon, is wall-to-wall-to-wall-to-wall heritage buildings -- literally. For two blocks, nearly all the buildings, built in the early 1900s, share a wall with their neighbours. The thinking seemed to be, why build two walls when you could just build one and share? On one block, 11 buildings are sandwiched together like a long condo. (An exception is the aforementioned bank building. Wonder why?)

"You can't take a wall out because your neighbour needs it," said Penny Shaw, the town archivist for eight years up until last year.

Shaw believes it was just "by chance" that Carberry wound up with its bounty of heritage buildings. "The buildings were just here and nobody could afford to replace them." Carberry's downtown was originally all wood buildings, but several fires changed that. "So they built this train of buildings out of bricks, and there have been no fires since."

Some of the buildings, like the Magic Bean Cafe, have a trap door to the basement. Many have two front doors, one for customers and one for owners to access their second-storey living quarters.

Some buildings have succumbed to stucco, however. The stucco is chipped off the side of the downtown grocery to reveal the original owner: Andy Robertson, Furniture, Wholesale and Retail, Pianos, Organs, Sewing Machines, Wallpaper. "And he was also the undertaker," said Shaw.

Unlike some local councils that are in a rush to tear down old buildings, Carberry's council led by Mayor Wayne Blair sets aside funds annually to match private restoration spending of up to $3,000 per year. The town has been recognized by the Association of Manitoba Municipalities for its heritage preservation. Three downtown buildings have been privately restored in recent years and five more are in the process.

Blair is one of those who believes the Union Bank building was a mistake. It is oversized, and overly extravagant, for such a small community that might have numbered 1,000 residents a century ago.

Also the fact the Union Bank imported brick for the facade, in a region renowned for its brick manufacturing with the nearby Carberry sandhills, seem to cinch the local theory that someone made a booboo building it here.

The interior is rich with oak panelling and staircases, and half a dozen fireplaces. There were even offices in the basement of the building that is heated with radiated steam. The bank was on the main floor and the manager and his family lived on the second flood, which also had a small dance floor and reception area.

The Royal Bank took over the building in 1925 and it later became the Bank of Montreal. A private owner purchased it for salvage, stripping the interior. Later, a young web designer from the United States used his inheritance and bought it online. He moved in but his business failed. His uncle, a Texas millionaire, now owns it but it has sat vacant for several years.

Carberry is also home to the Seton Centre, a lovely tribute to a former resident, the naturalist Ernest Thompson Seton, which fits into the "world's small museum" category. It also has a garden in the back with clearly signed native grasses and wild flowers.

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17. ABC Northern Tasmania: Digital future for historic building
Hilary Burden and Tim Walker

The past is about to meet the future in what is being promoted as a 'world-class collaborative workspace and innovation hub in the centre of Launceston'

A three million dollar funding grant has been announced for the Macquarie House Innovation project (Tim Walker - ABC Local)

The 1830 built Macquarie House in Civic Square, Launceston, will be redeveloped as a digital hub for entrepreneurs, start-up companies and individuals to come together to develop technological ideas into profitable ventures.

The Catalyst Project has gained Federal Government funding from the carve up of 100 million dollar forest peace deal compensation.

James Riggel has been one of the people behind developing the project to this stage, along with local politicians and other interested individuals.

He spoke with Drive presenter Hilary Burden on the day Prime Minister Kevin Rudd came to Tasmania to make the announcement of the 31 projects and initiatives that have been supported by the deal.

"The project has a long and varied history; it's basically a collision of a whole heap of different bits of momentum, that we are all trying to do something exciting for Launceston."

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18. NSW Government to sell heritage-listed sandstone buildings
Geraldine Chua

The Department of Lands building. Image courtesy of International Business Times.

Two of Sydney’s most historic buildings, the Department of Lands building and the Department of Education building, are set to hit the commercial market as part of the New South Wales government’s second tranche of asset sales.

Together with two other properties – the Ausgrid Building on George Street and a vacant plot of land at Macquarie Park – the sales are expected to generate a total of approximately $200 million for the NSW government.

The Education Building occupies an entire city block, and features four detailed sandstone walls designed to dominate the precinct. The site is the longest official seat of the head office of the NSW government education administration, having been occupied since 1881.

The Department of Lands building, at the heart of Sydney’s CBD, is another sandstone-clad building which could reap as much as $80 million. Bounded by Bridge, Gresham and Bent streets, it was designed by colonial architect James Barnet and completed in the late 19th century.

The three-storey structure was developed in the Italian Renaissance Revival style and was once Sydney’s largest buuilding. However, its present tenant, the Department of Planning and Infrastructure, says that the building’s floor space is too big for their needs.

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19. Woolworth Offers More Insider Tours Of Its Century-Old Lobby
Hana R. Alberts

Bob Estremera, Foto Architectura - architect Cass Gilbert

Tours of the Woolworth Building's exquisite, typically closed-off lobby have proven so popular that they are being extended. Organized by architect Cass Gilbert's great-grandaughter, they were originally launched as a way to complement an exhibition about the iconic tower (and erstwhile tallest building in NYC) at the Skyscraper Museum, which honored its milestone 100th birthday. The lobby, full of carvings, golden embellishments, and other impressive features, has been off-limits to the public since WWII, according to the Journal, but it's only since 9/11 that landlord Witkoff Group has really started to enforce the ban.

Small groups can sign up on the official website for visits that range from a simple 15-minute self-directed stint in the lobby to a 90-minute "deluxe" option led by Anthony Robins, a historian who wrote the designation report when the Gothic beauty became a landmark in 1983. Prices run from $10-$40.

Robins, it turns out, was one of the many Woolworth aficionados who were dismayed when public access to the lobby was cut off, telling the WSJ, "It's one of the great commercial interior spaces in New York, one could argue in the country."

Photos by Bob Estremera, of Foto Architectura, originally appeared in a previous post, "A Rare Glimpse Inside As The Woolworth Building Turns100.

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20. 'Soulless' tower block designed by architect Goldfinger is given listed status despite once being earmarked for demolition
Anna Edwards

Ernö Goldfinger's Metro Central Heights, has been branded 'soulless' - - Designs angered author Ian Fleming so he named a villain after architect

Alamy - Once branded 'soulless', the building has now been given special status because of its high caliibre design


A cluster of towering concrete blocks that loom over London's Elephant and Castle will now join a list of national treasures, as they've been awarded Grade II listed status.

Ernö Goldfinger's Metro Central Heights, has been branded 'soulless' and one of the 'worst examples of post-war development'.

But that has not stopped Heritage Minister Ed Vaizey giving the building the prestigious award.

The influential architect, who was renowned for his 'austere' projects, angered James Bond author Ian Fleming so much with his designs that the novelist named one of his most famous villains after him.

Fleming had been among the many unhappy objectors to the pre-war demolition of some Hampstead cottages which were removed to make way for Goldfinger's house in Willow Road.

The Budapest-born architect threatened to sue who Goldfinger was published in 1959, which prompted Fleming to threaten to rename the character 'Goldprick', but eventually he climbed down and dropped his threat.

Built between 1959 and 1967 and originally called Alexander Fleming House, the south London block housed the Department of Health and Social Security until 1989.

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21. Hartford Courant: Revisiting Downtown Hartford's Lost Architectural Treasures

Hartford's first skyscraper demolished in 1990.

In 1990, a local Hartford bank reassured city leaders that plans for an office tower at the corner of Main and Asylum streets were real and the 45-story edifice would be built.

Just one thing stood in the way: the 78-year-old Hartford-Aetna Building, the city's first skyscraper. Over the protests of preservationists, the 11-story building came tumbling down.

Today, nearly 25 years later, there is no tower, only a parking lot.

Hartford's first skyscraper isn't alone in its departure from the downtown skyline. Architectural gems like the New Palace Theater, the original YMCA building, the hotels Heublein and Garde, are all no more.

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22. New York Times: A Hidden Woman Architect
David W. Dunlap

An Architect Whose Work Stood Out, Even if She Did Not

Natalie de Blois helped guide the design of buildings like the Lever House, whose suave steel-and-glass facades still exude the cool confidence of postwar Park Avenue.In architecture’s “Mad Men” era, there was a woman.


Ms. de Blois, a senior designer at the architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, was the hidden hand behind a number of modernist buildings in New York.
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Almost invisibly in her own day, Natalie de Blois, of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, helped guide the design of three of the most important corporate landmarks of the 1950s and ‘60s — the headquarters of Lever Brothers, Pepsi-Cola and Union Carbide — whose suave steel-and-glass facades still exude the cool confidence of postwar Park Avenue.

“There wasn’t anybody in the country quite like Natalie, because there was no one else working for a firm quite like Skidmore,” said Beverly Willis, the founder and chairwoman of the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation in New York, which seeks to raise the general consciousness about the role of women in the building industry.


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23. Heritage revived, brick by brick
Anil Mulchandani

During the early-20th century, affluent members of the Dawoodi Bohra community started building palatial homes around Gujarat.

It’s like going back in time to another era. Driving around the quaint historical town of Sidhpur in north Gujarat, one cannot help but stop by a cluster of colourful havelis. The havelis form a Bohravad, a colony or neighbourhood of Dawoodi Bohras, a Muslim trading community. The havelis draw influences from Baroque, Gothic, British colonial and art deco architectural styles and are a treat for the eyes.

During the early-20th century, affluent members of the Dawoodi Bohra community started building palatial homes around Gujarat. Resplendent with European architectural styles like Renaissance elements and ornate pediments, the houses also embody Gujarat’s fine wood and stone craftsmanship. The architecture reflects the community’s tradition and practices that calls for privacy for women. Most of the houses have stone plinths, wooden structures, wooden beams, carved wooden doors and windows with wooden shutters and stained glass. One of the largest concentrations of these ornate Bohra houses can be seen in Sidhpur. The neighbourhood is complete with European-style lampposts and other colonial trappings.

However, as many Dawoodi Bohras have moved out of Sidhpur in search of better prospects, most of these houses are now derelict. A group of concerned individuals that include tourism entrepreneur and yoga instructor Bhuvneshwari Makharia, architect Zoyab A Kadi, and a few Bohra house owners have now taken upon themselves to conserve and promote the heritage of Sidhpur’s Bohravads.

Speaking on the initiative Makharia says, “When I visited Sidhpur a few years ago, I was amazed to see the stunningly beautiful facades of Dawoodi Bohra houses. During my visit I spoke to Asger Shahpurwala, who is involved with philanthropic work in Sidhpur, about the importance of forming an organisation to conserve their ancestral homes. Thus, the Sidhpur Smruti Trust was formed with a focus on preserving the rich but neglected architectural and cultural heritage of Sidhpur, making it viable through a heritage tourism plan that includes heritage homestays, heritage walks, spiritual tours and promoting Bohra cuisine and culture.’’

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24. The Golden Arches of McModernism
Design Decoded Blog

In the early 1950s brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald hired architect Stanley Clark Meston to design a drive-in hamburger stand that carried on the traditions of roadside architecture established in the 1920s and 1930s.

The second McDonalds ever built and the oldest still standing, in Downey, CA. (image: Alan Hess via Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians)

When the ancient Romans marched through arches, it was a celebration of victory, an end to long-fought battles and distant travels. Today, when we march through arches, it is a celebration of globalization, efficiency and Shamrock Shakes. And it is decidedly less triumphant – unless of course, you happen to be a franchise owner.

McDonald’s recently opened up location number 34,492 – it’s first in Vietnam, the 116th country to serve up the franchise’s famous French fries. In honor of the occasion, The Guardian took a broad look at McDonald’s McInfluence around the world. More interesting to me though, is Nicola Twilley’s closer look at a typical McDonald’s location on the excellent blog Edible Geography. Twilley notes that there are more than 50 different factors that McDonald’s judge when they determine the precise locations to expand their empire:

“These included predictable benchmarks, such as property tax levels and the age, race, and income levels of the local population, as well as more fine-grained details such as speed limits and the direction of traffic flow (e.g. “going home side versus going to work side”). Meanwhile, complex algorithms govern the optimal placement of a McDonald’s in relation to its competition, Burger King.”

McDonald’s even provides potential franchisees with a site plan of an ideal location. It’s an all-too familiar design, though one that looks much more depressing when seen from above. The fast good store becomes an oasis in a sea of cars. A model of efficiency for an automotive culture.


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