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Issue No. 220 | November 25, 2013


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Feature Stories

  1. ACO's 80th Anniversary Book now Available
  2. Gehry Mirvish Scheme --- Working its Way through City Hall
  3. Opinion: Toronto's Built Patrimony - Whose Legacy Matters?
  4. National Post: Mirvish Gehry Scheme at TEYCC


Former Guelph Correctional Centre Tour
Saturday November 23, 2013
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1. ACO's 80th Anniversary Book now Available
Kayla Jonas

80 for 80: Celebrating Eighty Years of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario

November 15, 2013

The Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (ACO) is celebrating its 80th anniversary with the publication of a book, 80 for 80: Celebrating Eighty Years of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario. The illustrated book documents eighty among the hundreds of buildings and structures across Ontario that ACO has had a hand in saving since it rescued one building, the Barnum House, in 1933. Its founding mission was "To preserve, for the benefit of the people of Ontario, buildings and structures."

The book is a fascinating compendium of heritage architecture and history, ranging from modest homes built before Canadas confederation to an endangered mid-Century modern chapel. It includes commercial block, residential buildings, heritage cemetery, bridges, and cultural heritage landscapes. The stories included detail the creative ways that ACOs branches and volunteers have found to challenge unsympathetic development and to rescue buildings at risk. Through advocacy and education, research and gentle persuasion, the branches have hosted meetings, workshops, art exhibits and conferences and have attended council meetings to speak up for endangered properties. Over eighty years, ACO members have built the case for heritage preservation in communities across the Province.

As stated recently in an Architectural Conservancy of Ontario newsletter (ACORN in a Nutshell), Volunteers have no pockets, only passion and deep caring for the community they love. There is little public funding available for heritage protection and heritage volunteers have stepped up to shape their communities. These volunteers have dedicated numerous hours of their time to initiatives to save buildings that are as unique as the buildings themselves.

This book was launched at the Architectural Conservancy of Ontarios Annual Awards Ceremony on November 8, 2013 at the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto. The book will cost $30 and you can preorder it at It will be printed and mailed out just in time for the holidays, making it the perfect gift for the history or heritage lover on your list.

2. Heritage Groups Condemn Proposed Binning House Sale Vancouver, B.C.

Binning Residence

Heritage advocates are condemning the proposed sale of the Binning House to a private purchaser. “As part of our national and regional heritage, the Binning House belongs in the public realm,” says Westcoast Modern Heritage Society founding director Adele Weder. “The House was donated to The Land Conservancy under the premise that the House would be cared for and would remain a historic and scholarly resource for the community. If TLC is no longer able or willing to do that, then TLC has a moral imperative to transfer the House to an entity that is prepared to carry on that task. It does not have the right to obtain a cash windfall for a property that was donated to them in trust.”

Phyllis Lambert, Founding Director of the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, has expressed her objections in a statement to be filed in court today. “I wish to register my outrage that a conservation organization that holds the house in trust, namely The Land Conservancy, could attempt to sell a house that has been designated both a Municipal Heritage Site and a National Historic Site,” declared Ms. Lambert, who played a key role in establishing the House as a National Historic Site. “This transaction seems to have has been done surreptitiously without consultation with the appropriate authorities or the public in whose name the house has been designated.”

Peter Miller, President of the North Shore Heritage Preservation Society, adds: “We are shocked to learn that the historic Binning House may fall into private hands. We urge the court not to allow The Land Conservancy to go ahead with this sale.”

Designed and built in 1941 in West Vancouver by renowned artist Bertram Charles Binning, the Binning House is one of the first and most influential modernist houses in Canada. Strongly informed by Binning’s studies in London and New York under sculptor Henry Moore and others, it became a catalyst for the West Coast Modern movement in Canada and a gathering spot for the region’s cultural leaders. Mr. Binning, who founded the University of British Columbia’s fine arts faculty, brought generations of artists, architects and students through the house over the decades. Following Mr. Binning’s death in 1975, his widow Jessie Binning carried on the tradition of public and scholarly access for another generation of arts professionals, journalists, critics and interested citizens. Jessie Binning passed away in 2007 with no immediate heirs; her will indicated her hope and desire to bequeath the house as a cultural resource for historic and scholarly purposes. In 2008, the Binning House was donated to The Land Conservancy in order to carry out this mandate.

The Binning House features in Coast Modern, the acclaimed 2012 documentary film by Vancouver directors Mike Bernard and Gavin Froome. "We feel proud and fortunate to have featured the Binning House in film Coast Modern,” says Froome. “This architectural milestone is part of our collective heritage. It belongs to all of us."


For more information, contact Westcoast Modern Heritage Society founding director Adele Weder at .


MEDIA ONLY: Adele Weder can also be reached by cell/text at 604-916-1993 Attached supporting materials: Letter from CCA founding director Phyllis Lambert to Stephen Mikicich, Manager of Community Planning for the District of West Vancouver, in support of the District's objection to the proposed sale. Reproduction-quality archival and contemporary photos are available on request by contacting

3. City of Toronto wins National Heritage Award
City of Toronto News Release

The City of Toronto has received the Award of Excellence for outstanding achievement in heritage planning and policy for the City Planning Division's Official Plan Amendment 199: "Official Plan Heritage Policies." The award was given by the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals (CAHP) which honours the work of CAHP members.

The CAHP recently announced its 2013 awards for the Conservation of Heritage Value through Preservation, Rehabilitation or Restoration, Planning and Communication. The City of Toronto is proud to be one of five recipients of the award of excellence. The award was presented at the Heritage Canada Foundation's annual Conference which was held this year in Ottawa.

"I am consistently impressed by the work done by our City Planning Division staff, and am proud of their recent recognition by the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals," said Councillor Peter Milczyn (Ward 5 Etobicoke-Lakeshore), Chair of the Planning and Growth Management Committee. "This award is proof once again that the City's Planning Division staff continue to punch above their weight class."

City Planning Division staff, along with multiple stakeholders, created a policy document that will provide clarity, leadership and stewardship for the City's heritage resources into the future.

"These new Official Plan heritage policies are the result of feedback from the public and the work of many stakeholders who came together to share thoughts and provide input," said Jennifer Keesmaat, Toronto's Chief Planner. "We all want Toronto to be a city that is a great place to live, work, invest and play, and the Official Plan policies will help to set out the vision for where and how Toronto will grow through to the year 2031."

According to the awards jury, the new Official Plan heritage policies created through the Official Plan Review, were found to exemplify the principles described by the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada.

The jury comments also commended the new Official Plan heritage policies for the process (including the extensive and widely attended consultation process) as well as the result. The policies were praised for recognizing the importance of protecting cultural landscapes and re-instating detailed requirements for views protection and definitions of adjacency. The new policies were also applauded for bringing the Toronto Official Plan into better conformance of the cultural heritage policies of the province and the nation.

More information on the Official Plan Review and the new heritage policies is available at

Sign up for City Planning email updates at .

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Media contact: Bruce Hawkins, Senior Communications Co-ordinator, Strategic Communications, 416-392-3496,

4. Gehry Mirvish Scheme --- Working its Way through City Hall
Catherine Nasmith

Gehry Scheme for Mirvish King Street Properties

The discussion of the demolitions required to realize the current Mirvish Gehry scheme will be at the Toronto Preservation Board on December 6th. I will be deputing on behalf of the Toronto Architectural Conservancy, asking the Mirvish/Gehry duo to sharpen their pencils and improve the scheme by incorporating the legacy of previous generations. I hope other subscribers will be there, and also writing to their councilors to insist that planning permission be conditional on preservation.

Preservation staff have prepared a very detailed report recommending that Council refuse any applications for demolition. The developer has not yet applied for demolition permission, but the removal of four designated buildings on the site is assumed in the current plans that were before Toronto East York Community Council on November 19. Deputations were heard from Mr. Mirvish and Mr. Gehry, but few members of the public had any comment. (See National Post report this issue)

Link to Planning Report:

Link to Preservation Staff Report:


Margie Zeidler of UrbanSpace Properties has expressed her concern that allowing such a massive project will put pressure on  land values in the surrounding area, pushing land value based property taxes through the roof. Ms. Zeidler has kept rents at 401 Richmond affordable for artists and social entrepreneurs, but fears that granting such overblown development rights in the area will create an unaffordable tax burden for her and her tenants.

TEYCC took the unusual action of not making any recommendation on this project to Toronto City Council, voting to simply receive for information the staff reports that recommend that the project be refused. Given that the application dates back to November 2012, the applicant may well be in a position to launch an appeal to the OMB.

Councillor Adam Vaughan moved the motion to receive the staff report. When questioned on the reasons for not making a recommendation, he indicated he is concerned that the planning staff reports would be an inadequate as a basis for Council to refuse the overall project. Mr. Vaughan has expressed concern about the loss of heritage buildings, but it is not clear from his actions whether he supports the project or not. He is aware that many of his long-standing supporters are opposed to the project in its current form.

Acting Manager of Heritage Preservation Services, Ms. MacDonald explained in an email regarding the process as follows: “What it technically means is that, should council support that motion, the applicant and city won't deal with OHA matters at the OMB in tandem with Re-zoning. The applicant is adamant on record that they haven't applied to demolish and therefore Section 34 [OHA} is not in play. Someday they will need OHA approval, they'll have to apply, and I'll have to write another report for a council decision. Meanwhile, the report will still be considered by the TPB on Dec 6.”

Clear as mud as a process.

When the item goes to Toronto City Council, there won't be an opportunity to depute, but it will be possible to make your views known through letters, emails and phone calls to councillors and the Mayor(s). You can depute on the heritage matters at the Toronto Preservation Board, December 6.

5. Opinion: Toronto's Built Patrimony - Whose Legacy Matters?
Catherine Nasmith President, Toronto Architectural Conservancy

Do we have to choose? - This or

A Question Posed by the Mirvish Gehry Scheme

Every generation leaves its built legacy.

David Mirvish has said a lot about the Frank Gehry designed project for King St. constituting the Mirvish family legacy. 

The heritage laws now in effect in Toronto (and throughout Ontario) were passed in the sixties and seventies—a time when urban renewal meant urban removal. Similar laws were crafted around the world to enable communities to grow and thrive without destroying the legacy of previous generations.

One of the most important and innovative projects of that period was York Square in Yorkville (Avenue Road and Yorkville). It was the first development to mix new construction with old to achieve something really special. Undertaken by visionary developer Richard Wookey and the brilliant young architectural firm of Diamond and Myers, it was lauded in publications in no less than eight countries, and received a massive ten-page spread in Progressive Architecture, at the time the world’s most highly regarded professional journal. York Square proved to be the first of many Toronto projects that kept the best of the past and made it fresh again.

We have become expert here at combining vibrant new design with traditional buildings to create our most urbane places. It is what we do best—in fact we can legitimately say we showed the world how it’s done.

Toronto builds best by addition not subtraction. Major cultural projects like The National Ballet School, The Art Gallery of Ontario, The Royal Ontario Museum, and Koerner Hall have all expertly and gracefully combined new and old. Housing projects like Dundas-Sherbourne and the Hydro Block did it. Big commercial projects like Scotia Plaza and Commerce Court did it, too, Almost everywhere you look in Toronto you can see a layered approach to city building. It is Toronto’s other “better way”.

Toronto also pioneered Doors Open in North America. The first honourary chair of Doors Open was David Mirvish, invited because of his family’s history of preservation and sensitive infill, including not only the Royal Alex and Princess of Wales theatres, but all their buildings along King Street. The Mirvish family have made wonderful contributions to our city. That is a legacy that should be cherished, because of his family’s involvement, but also because conservation honours the legacy of all the families who built all of those buildings.

Mr. Mirvish is now arguing that his family will be better remembered by razing most of what his father spent a lifetime conserving in order to create a trio of new buildings by Frank Gehry. Says who? I find that position puzzling to say the least. Rather, it represents a glaring change in direction for the family, and runs against the grain of the very kind of city building Toronto does best.

Frank Gehry has built many, many projects that integrate new and old. In fact, the project that made him famous started with an ordinary house that he turned into something extraordinary. Here in Toronto, Gehry, reworked the AGO with great results.

It is incredible that these two figures stood before Toronto East York Community Council on November 19 and maintained with straight faces that the only way forward is to sacrifice the past. Their own portfolios argue against it.

Toronto knows better than almost any other city that projects and cities are better when the past is woven into the future. It is an approach that yields great places, and respects the legacy of all Toronto’s city builders, from modest unknowns to famous international stars. 

6. York Square at Toronto Preservation Board Dec 6
Catherine Nasmith

York Square, Diamond and Myers, 1969

The proposed listing of York Square will be at the Toronto Preservation Board on December 6. This listing has been a high priority for the Toronto Architectural Conservancy, and we will be there in support. 

I expect that the developers who have an option on the property will also be there to speak. 

For background: 

7. 200-Year-Old Mallard Cottage in St. John's Converted to Restaurant
Taryn Sheppard

Mallard Cottage in Quidi Vidi Village, St. John's, NL


Owners of the Mallard Cottage have their ducks in a row. Taryn Sheppard took a look.

The newly-opened Mallard Cottage restaurant in Quidi Vidi has made national news for its rustic, local approach to food, but that approach extends to the renovation of the building too. Todd Perrin - chef
and B&B owner - and Stephen Lee - formerly of Raymonds and Atlantica - have earned one of this year's Southcott Awards for their restoration and preservation of the 200-year-old Mallard Cottage building. The exterior has been carefully restored, but it's inside where both of them really show off the owners' design philosophy - all centred around locally-sourced building materials and labour.

Lee and Perrin chose this site for their business because they were drawn to the historical significance of the area. They saw it as a great opportunity to be a part of the built cultural heritage of the province.

The biggest challenge was the limited space. The original cottage had far less than they needed to squeeze in all their kitchen equipment and a large dining hall, so a plan was developed by local architects with Stantec (formerly the PHB Group) to make an addition to the rear of the property - something that wouldn't overshadow the original building or change the streetside presence.

The cottage portion is an architectural heirloom, with original finishes preserved and restored. Dark and lustrous floorboards - rumoured to date back to the 1700's - were carefully extracted during structural work and carefully reinstalled. Above, exposed rafters are painted red ochre on white-washed ceiling boards. A cabinet, original to the cottage, is displayed with antique vases of dried herbs and flowers. All the walls are finished with rough original wood from floor to ceiling, with no drywall to be found. The chairs - actually extras from The Ship [a downtown bar and restaurant] - have been refinished and upholstered with local sealskin leather (which the owners also plan to use to bind the menus.)

The focal point of the cottage sitting room is a commanding fireplace. It's an original part of the cottage but the fireplace wasn't just repointed or painted, but disassembled, brick by brick, and rebuilt to include a polished concrete slab that juts out on three sides to form a seatwall. The base of the fireplace is faced with old granite cobblestones from a St. John's street.

In the new addition the owners took characteristics of the cottage and spun them into a mix of 21st-century
open plan style and proportions with 18th-century finishes and furniture. The most impressive features are the high ceilings and exposed trusses, contrasted like in the cottage with the whitewashed plank ceiling. The trusses were made by Sweet Lumber Enterprises and use blackened, hand-forged metal connection plates from the Green Family Forge - both businesses in Trinity [an outport village in Trinity Bay]. The majority of the seating in the dining room is antique windsor bow-back chairs with tail bracing - a mainstay of early North American furniture design. Pews from an out-of-commision outport church have also been recycled for seating along the walls.

In an era of big, shiny, fast-tracked commercial builds, it's nice to see a local project with a thoughtful and responsible approach to architecture. This resto has original, beautiful design - all sourced from local materials, finishes, skills and trades. What's not to like?

Editor's Note:
No doubt the food will be as good!

8. National Post: Mirvish Gehry Scheme at TEYCC
Peter Kuitenbrouwer

The only two buildings in Toronto worth saving are Old City Hall and Osgoode Hall, Frank Gehry says

Osgoode Hall, one of the keepers
The other keeper

The only two buildings in Toronto worth saving are Old City Hall and Osgoode Hall, Frank Gehry says

Architect Frank Gehry says there are only two buildings in his hometown worth saving: Old City Hall and Osgoode Hall.

Everything else is fair game to be torn down, Mr. Gehry suggested to Toronto and East York Community Council on Tuesday morning.

“I don’t know whether we should be designating heritage buildings,” said Mr. Gehry, who was born in Toronto. “I think you should preserve [Old] City Hall because I used to go there when I was a kid.”

Frank Gehry thinks Toronto’s architecture is ‘mostly banal,’ but don’t worry, every city is like that
Mr. Gehry, 84, also said we should save Osgoode Hall, home to the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Other than that, “the old General Hospital building I was born in should have been sacred. It was torn down.”

Mr. Gehry, head of Los Angeles-based Gehry Partners, LLP, and David Mirvish, the theatre impresario, sought permission on Tuesday from community council to build three condo towers, 82, 84 and 86 storeys tall, on the site of the Princess of Wales theatre and other buildings to its east on King Street West.

Mr. Mirvish wants to demolish four designated heritage properties, at 266, 276, 284 and 322 King Street West. Staff is recommending that the city refuse the demolition permit.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:Absurdly arrogant of Frank Gehry on so many counts. The only places that matter are those that are touchstones for Him. What Toronto doesn't need is a fancy pants foreign architect insulting the city, and then promising to put us on the map!??

9. Toronto Star: 14 Blevins a monument to our pattern of failure
Christopher Hume

Its historic value is debated, but 20th-century architecture was no success at housing the poor

Bob Krawczyk - 14 Blevins Place - The collection of tall buildings known as Regent Park South won a Silver Medal by the Massey Medals for Architecture in 1961.

When it opened in 1958, 14 Blevins Place was hailed as the way of the future. Designed by the celebrated British-born Toronto modernist architect, Peter Dickinson, the 14-storey apartment building won awards and made Regent Park one of those social housing projects that experts came from around the world to study.

Today, it is reviled by residents who demand it be torn down, erased from the face of the Earth never to be seen again. To them, the tower, however well-intentioned, is a ghastly brick box where the poor are warehoused and forgotten.

Architectural heritage preservationists, on the other hand, insist it should be saved as an important local example of mid-century modernism and one of few Dickinson buildings remaining in Toronto. Already many of his finest creations — Inn on the Park and the Four Seasons Motor Hotel — have disappeared. Others, such as the Sony Centre, have been seriously altered.

To untutored eyes, however, 14 Blevins is the sort of nondescript slab one sees throughout this city and countless others. Talk of the significance of its “pattern of fenestration” sounds fatuous, even ridiculous.

According to a 2013 city report, which recommended the building be given heritage designation, “the Dickinson Tower (1958) has cultural heritage value for its unique Modernist design, its associations with the notable Toronto architect Peter Dickinson, its integral role in Toronto’s planning and social housing history, and its status as a neighbourhood landmark.”

Click here for Link

10. Globe and Mail: Obituary Peter Stokes
Lori Fazari

Architect Peter John Stokes brought heritage to life

It was the late 1970s, and Peter John Stokes was contacted by a student of urban and regional planning at the University of Waterloo.

Mr. Stokes was running a private practice as a consulting restoration architect out of his home off the main street in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. The student, Paul Dilse, was interested in heritage buildings but finding few resources to help him learn about Ontario’s historical structures. Georgian style, regency, neoclassical – “It was all mixed up in my head,” Mr. Dilse said, “and there was no easy guide in those days, and nothing geared to Ontario.”

Mr. Stokes invited him to visit, and so Mr. Dilse ended up being chauffeured around town by the architect as they looked at old buildings. He was the reference guide Mr. Dilse was looking for, a living encyclopedia eager to share his knowledge of the design, building methods, uses and lasting value of some of Ontario’s earliest architecture. Mr. Stokes even had him over to his house for afternoon tea with him and his wife.

“I had the whole day with him. He was so generous,” Mr. Dilse said. “He gave a lot of volunteer time.”

This inspiring encounter proved to Mr. Dilse that he, too, could make a living in the field. He went on to become a heritage planner, based in Toronto and working across central and southern Ontario.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:At the ACO 80th Anniversary dinner Peter Stokes was honoured in many ways. ACO has an annual award named after him. He was a Past President of the organization. A key figure in Canada's heritage movement. I was honored to be able to name this award after him, and to also present him with the first Eric Arthur Lifetime Achievement Award.

11. Globe and Mail: Redevelopment - New spirit for redundant religious properties

(Google) Westboro United Church on Churchill Avenue - Hundreds of surplus religious properties are expected to hit the Canadian real estate market over the next decade.

One hundred years ago, the Soeurs de la Visitation purchased a pristine five-acre plot of land in what was to become Ottawa’s fashionable Westboro neighbourhood, and erected a four-metre-high perimeter fence so that the cloistered sisters would be shielded from the world. Meanwhile, about a kilometre away, the finishing touches were put on the Westboro United Church, newly built to serve the congregation and the needs of the neighbouring community.

Although their missions were very different, by the end of the 20th century each organization had come to the same conclusion: Their shrinking memberships meant the time had come to sell their underused properties.

They’re not alone. As faith congregations amalgamate because of dwindling attendance, hundreds of surplus religious properties are expected to hit the Canadian real estate market over the next decade. The United Church alone is looking at as many as 800 over the next 10 years, according to Chris Henderson, a renewable energy developer and congregation member who led the search for a buyer of the Westboro United property.

After Westboro United amalgamated with two other congregations to become Kitchissippi United Church, the organization sold the surplus Westboro site in 2011 to Springcress Properties Inc. The developer is constructing 19 townhomes on the property, and has transferred the church building to the Ottawa Music Foundation, organizer of the annual Ottawa Bluesfest, so that it can be redeveloped to a community arts purpose.

The sisters, meanwhile, decided to sell their property in 2010 to Ashcroft Homes, which is in the process of building residential condos on the site. Ashcroft will also redevelop the only structures to have been built on the property – an 1865 mansion and the sisters’ 1913-built convent – as commercial space.

The lack of public consultation as to the fate of the sisters’ property had the community in an uproar. There were strong objections to the additional density and increased traffic that the development will introduce to the neighbourhood. Community groups, including the Westboro Community Association, couldn’t afford to challenge Ashcroft’s plans at the Ontario Municipal Board level, so they eventually reached a compromise in 2011 that, among other things, had Ashcroft agree to cap the building heights at no more than nine storeys, and to donate $200,000 for community improvements.

Click here for Link

12. Dispute over demolition work remains unresolved
Steve Bennish

The City of Dayton has placed a stop work order on the demolition company that is taking down the former Dayton Daily News building. A large chunk of the facade along W. Fourth St. was damaged during the work. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

It could take weeks to resolve a dispute between the city of Dayton and demolition contractor Steve R. Rauch Inc. on the extent of the demolition underway at downtown buildings formerly occupied by the Dayton Daily News.

Demolition was halted by the city on Monday after a Rauch crew tore down part of the structure’s 1922 facade, said Aaron Sorrell, director of planning and community development for the city.

Sorrell said the city Landmarks Commission had required that developer Student Suites Inc. retain the original 1908 facade at Fourth and Ludlow, as well as facade facing Fourth Street that was added in 1922.

But engineering drawings provided by Rauch Wednesday indicate the entire 1922 addition was to be demolished, with only the 1908 building standing after a total of four structures were torn down.The four buildings are all shaded out and drawing notes say only the 1908 building is to remain standing.

Click here for Link

13. Globe and Mail: How an old school building is bringing artists back to Queen West

A surplus school at 180 Shaw St. in Toronto has been converted into artists' studios and rehearsal spaces by Artscape.(MOE DOIRON/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

Although she isn’t sentimental about old buildings, Marta Legrady knows the one at 180 Shaw St. inside out.

“How many times did I do this?” she wonders, climbing up a mammoth stairwell. Peering into a pristine washroom, she’s surprised: “There isn’t toilet paper stuck to the ceiling!”

Ms. Legrady is the last principal to have worked inside the hulking, Edwardian-era Shaw Street School. Declared surplus and shut down by the Toronto District School Board in 2000, the 75,000-square-foot, century-old building sat vacant for nearly a decade. Last week, following a $17-million renovation, it has opened its doors again, reborn as Artscape Youngplace. Billed as the “new social heart” of the West Queen West neighbourhood, it’s the latest project from Artscape, the organization behind the Wychwood Barns, a shuttered streetcar repair yard resuscitated into a hive for foodies uptown. On Shaw Street, the repurposed three-storey school will serve as a community hub and a new home for artists, galleries, cultural institutions and a children’s centre.

Click here for Link

14. Owen Sound Sun Times: Owen Sound wins heritage award

The City of Owen Sound has been awarded a prize for its strong commitment to the preservation of its historic places.

On Wednesday, the city announced it was the 2013 winner of The Heritage Canada Foundation's Prince of Wales Prize for Municipal Heritage Leadership.

On the foundation's website it highlighted a number of areas in recognizing the city's "impressive commitment" to the conservation and promotion of its heritage.

On the website it recognizes the Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee, which has actively been protecting the city's "considerable stock" of heritage buildings and landscapes since 1977.

The Heritage Register, created that same year as an inventory, now contains over 150 properties, 30 of which are designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act, it says in the foundation's website.

"The City has shown leadership by designating seven City-owned properties, including the Carnegie Library, the Old Courthouse, the CPR Station and the Billy Bishop Home and Museum," the website reads.

Other areas mentioned as factors in the city receiving the award includes the city's employment of a half-time heritage planning co-ordinator, its continued preservation of a network of cultural landscapes including Harrison Park and its facade and structural improvement program.

The city is also commended for highlighting the importance of cultural heritage in its official plan, where it stipulates that "significant built heritage resources and significant cultural heritage landscapes within the City, which are valued by the community, shall be conserved for the benefit of present and future generations."

The website also highlights the city's architectural control guidelines which have required that residential developments don't have a negative impact on heritage areas by ensuring that housing and streetscape designs fit in with surrounding neighbourhoods.

Click here for Link

15. Owen Sound Sun Times: Re-opening of Chatsworth bridge
Denis Langlois

Historic arched bridge reopens

Thelma Hatten says she feels a deep connection to the historic arched bridge south of the village of Chatsworth.

“I’m very happy to see it saved. It was very upsetting that it was going to be destroyed,” she said Friday, following a ceremony to celebrate the $600,000 restoration of the county-owned structure.

About 75 people, including Hatten, county councillors and the area’s MP and MPP, stood in the cold rain for a ribbon-cutting event at the bridge.

It was Hatten’s great grandfather William Henry, who, along with two other stone masons, built the structure in 1854.

Henry, W. Henderson and John Forbes were recruited to travel from Scotland to what is now rural Chatsworth to build a stone bridge as part of a new rail line, later called the Canadian Pacific Railway.

The trio had built numerous bridges on the Edinburgh-Glasgow train line before coming to Canada, Hatten said, so their work was well known.

Henry, his wife and six children boarded a boat on April 24, 1854, and arrived in Quebec after a voyage of six weeks and five days, she said. Her grandfather was born later in Canada.


Click here for Link

16. Raise the Hammer (RTH): Interview with James Street Baptist Church Owner
Ryan McGreal

Louie Santaguida, President of Stanton Renaissance, answers questions about the plan to demolish most of James Street Baptist Church and incorporate the east facade and tower into a new structure.

James Street Baptist Church (RTH file photo)

After the news emerged that the new owner of James Street Baptist Church had applied for a partial demolition permit, RTH asked Louie Santaguida, President of Stanton Renaissance, for an email interview.

Santaguida agreed, and we sent a list of questions. We followed up after a few days without any response. Finally, a week later, a spokesperson replied to say that Santaguida would not be responding to any media until after the follow-up meeting on October 10.

After that meeting, we resubmitted our questions. On October 23, a representative from Kaiser Lachance, a public relations company Stanton Renaissance has retained, contacted us and advised that Santaguida would be willing to answer five questions. We narrowed down our list of questions and resubmitted them.

On October 24, the Municipal Heritage Permit Review Subcommittee met again and voted to approve the demolition permit with some conditions.

The next day, we received Santaguida's responses to our questions. Following are his responses.

Click here for Link

17. Saugeen Shores Heritage Committee resigns

SAUGEEN SHORES - The members of the Town of Saugeen Shores’ Heritage Committee have all officially resigned and there was no comment from the Town Council last night.

“We have resigned because Town Council would not let us do our job and would not listen to the experts they appointed,” said Heritage Committee chair Ken Pace. “The rejection of our proposed Heritage Registry without any consultation whatsoever between our committee and Town Council is upsetting and undemocratic.”

On October 23, 1998, the last building provincially designated was Aunt Annie’s Place in Southampton; so in 2007, the committee asked the staff to begin researching the creation of a Heritage Register.

In 2013, they did two deputations, one on July 22, which resulted in deferment, and October 15, when the Council abandoned it with no discussion and no communication with the committee.

The proposed Registry would be for non-designated buildings, which falls under a different section of the Ontario Heritage Act than designated buildings like Aunt Annie’s Place and the Port Elgin Library.

Click here for Link

18. Windsor Star: Editorial - Saving the Bellvue
Dr. Lloyd Brown-John

At times one wonders about the point at which government ineptitude or ignorance - at all levels - becomes an indifferent threat to our heritage and communities. As somebody once observed, "if we fail to learn from our history, we are doomed to live it again."

But there are also occasions when the learning comes far too late. Occasions when the failure to act has irreparable consequences for a community and society.

Every now and then, somebody burns down (accidentally, of course!), destroys or conveniently ignores something that was public treasure in many respects because those who could have acted failed to do so, were too parsimonious with funding or simply did not care.

Governments almost have a studious capacity to ignore issues until they achieve crisis proportions and/or it is too late to correct a significant error.

In Amherstburg there is a magnificent historic structure called the Bellvue House. Many people have passed it at 525 Dalhousie in Amherstburg. It is a former residence fast approaching its 200th anniversary. Constructed between 1816 and 1819 by Robert Reynolds, commissary of the British garrison at Fort Malden, Bellvue is a unique architectural design in Canada.

The House is one of only two structures in Canada (the other being in Halifax), which was constructed in a neo-classical style known as "Palladium" ("Federal" in the U.S.). Bricks for Bellvue House came from the Rouge River area near Detroit. Bricks remaining after the house's construction were used to build Christ Church in Amherstburg. The two share some design similarities.

Bellvue House has been a private residence, a Veteran's Affairs hospital, a Ukrainian Catholic Church and now it sits vacant as a slowly deteriorating reminder that for some, heritage apparently matters not one iota.

Bellvue House was designated a National Historic Site in 1959. It received an Ontario Heritage Trust designation in 1962 and the town of Amherstburg designated it under the Ontario Heritage Act in 1982. There is no doubt this magnificent building is worthy of preservation and restoration. So, why then is it being left to slowly rot and decay? Two immediate issues emerge.

First, the Town of Amherstburg apparently has not, or will not, enforce a property standards bylaw.

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19. CBC News: Uptown Saint John seeks heritage building code changes

Organization wants to make it easier to renovate historic buildings


Uptown Saint John wants council to amend the city's building codes to make it easier to renovate historic buildings.

The problem is the application of modern building codes to heritage era structures, said Peter Asimakos, general manager of the organization.

Alternatives to the building code are allowed, but getting them approved at city hall takes time and money.

John Johnson, an engineer and consultant who works with builders in the planning stage of a renovation, says getting city hall to approve a workaround can be costly and time consuming.

"You shouldn't have to go on your hands and knees begging for something that we know is acceptable," he said.

Johnson says too often the city requires developers to cover the same ground when it comes to finding solutions to building code problems.

Once a workaround, such as a less costly or space-eating fire exit is approved for one builder, it should apply to others, he said.

"Then you've established the principle once and everybody else can use it."

Johnson believes an amendment to the building bylaw or to the minimum property standards bylaw would solve the problem.

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20. Melbourne Herald Sun: Historic Royal Exhibition Building will be protected from development
John Masanauskas

Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens © Silvan Rehfeld

DEVELOPMENT around the Royal Exhibition Building will be kept in check under a State Government plan to protect the iconic structure.

Planning Minister Matthew Guy has approved a master plan for the building and the surrounding Carlton Gardens to comply with the UNESCO World Heritage-listed status of the site.

Mr Guy said this would involve detailed conservation policies to ensure that local, state, national and international heritage values were protected.

"In most great cities there is one building that sums up its spirit and history. In Melbourne this is the Royal Exhibiton Building," he said.

"This is the kind of area that will be protected to say, 'you can't build over or tower in the gardens and the buildings.'"

Built in 1880 to host the Melbourne International Exhibition, the building was the seat of the first federal Parliament and was used as a venue for the 1956 Olympics.

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