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Issue No. 248 | February 9, 2016


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Feature Stories

  1. ACO Celebrates Heritage Week Meeting with MPP's, February 18
  2. Central Experimental Farm under Threat
  3. Globe and Mail: Asking for a New Future for Davisville Junior School
  4. Toronto Star: Cardiac deaths and High Rise Living
  5. Dan Schneider Heritage Blog: Important Decision on Development Adjacent to Heritage
  6. BuzzBuzzhome: !5 Toronto Projects Giving New Life to Heritage Buildings in Toronto


ACO Celebrates Heritage Week at Queen's Park
February 18 2013
+ read

Willowbank Centre Presents - Telling Heritage: A Lecture Series
FEBRUARY 6, 2016
+ read

Willowbank Centre Presents - Telling Heritage: A Lecture Series
FEBRUARY 21, 2016 ~ 5PM
+ read


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1. ACO Celebrates Heritage Week Meeting with MPP's, February 18
Catherine Nasmith, ACO President

Architectural Conservancy Ontario delegates from across Ontario will be gathering at Queen's Park on February 18 to celebrate Heritage Week by meeting with our MPP"s. Our “Ask” follows on our submission drafted by Dan Schneider to the Culture Strategy process, posted in Culture Talks.
The case we are making is that heritage is fundamental to the Ontario Culture Strategy, but heritage needs a Strategy of its own. "New ideas need old buildings" according to Jane Jacobs, yet we continue to lose them as intensification and other provincial policies put impossible pressures on Ontario's heritage fabric. 
OUR BIG ASK, tied to an ongoing government process, is that the Minister of Culture initiate a focussed Strategy for Ontario’s Cultural Heritage, either a sub process of developing the current Culture Strategy, or a parallel process.  
We are coming to our MPP’s as volunteers who work incredibly hard to conserve Ontario’s heritage, but we need the help of MPP’s to be successful. 
The presentation touches on several key issues which are a sampling, but not all, of what is needed. Action is needed across several pieces of legislation, involving several Ministers. Those are summarized on the fourth slide, and the rest of the slides expand the points. 
NEEDED: An Ontario Cultural Heritage Strategy

Our challenges are many and complex  -  We need your help to:

•Create Respectful Growth Plans
•Ensure Taxes Help Not Hinder
•Minister of Culture’s to do list
 •Public Property-Heritage First
•Create an Ontario Culture of Conservation--Buildings are not Garbage!
•Invest in Heritage
• Create Respectful Renewable Energy
The full presentation is available at the ACO website, click at the bottom of the item to download the pdf.

2. Central Experimental Farm under Threat
Leslie Maitland, Past President, Heritage Ottawa

Photo via The Western Producer

In November 2014, Minister John Baird announced that 60 acres of the Central Experimental Farm (CEF) would be allocated for a new campus for the Civic Hospital. No public consultation. The scientists at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and the heritage community found out when they opened their morning paper.

The CEF is the place where science and history intersect. AAFC scientists do long range studies on the effects of climate change on agriculture, and understanding soil health. The specific acreage identified is the place where Marquis wheat was developed, and where northern hardy varieties of soy were developed, making it now Canada's third largest crop. For its scientific achievements and as a significant scientific landscape, the CEF was named a national historic site. Imposition of a large structure such as a hospital will render the climate change studies null and void.

Hospitals can be built in many places. The CEF is a unique research station and national historic site. There is no legislative protection for national historic sites or any other federal heritage properties (24 Sussex?).

The Coalition to Protect the Central Experimental Farm National Historic Site calls upon the Trudeau government to reverse this bad decision, and help the hospital find another site. For more information, see

3. Ontario Heritage Conference Open for Registration

Dont' Miss - Preservation in a changing world

Certainly, a daunting challenge. But the place to assess, argue and address that challenge is not at all daunting. In fact, it’s welcoming.

Join us May 12-14 in Stratford and St. Marys, where as many as 300 professionals and advocates, young and old, will zero in on the future of our rich Ontario heritage.

It’s an ideal setting, the Festival City and the Stonetown, with their tree-lined streets, their walking trails, their rivers and parkland, and their assortment of history-soaked buildings, the styles of which run from Queen Anne Revival to Gothic Revival to Romanesque Revival, from Georgian to Italianate to late Victorian.

In addition to built heritage, the two centres are richly steeped in the history of sports and culture. On Morenz Drive along the Avon River in Stratford is the oldest working arena in the world. On the Thames River flats in St. Marys is Milt Dunnell Field, and not far away, the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

Then, of course, there’s live theatre, for which the trump card belongs to Stratford and its long-running and internationally recognized Festival, whose 2016 offerings, beginning in April, include Macbeth, A Little Night Music, and A Chorus Line.
It’s quite a backdrop for the 2016 Ontario Heritage Conference, and a program that will examine the impact of climate change on preserving our heritage, new approaches to building our communities while preserving our heritage and cultural values, the effect of new technologies on the adaptive re-use of heritage properties, and the use of social media to more effectively organize heritage activism initiatives.






4. Former Baptist Church, Elora, Receives Protection by Heritage Designation
Beverley Cairns, ACO rep.for Twnshp of Wellington, Guelph/Wellington Branch

33 Henderson Street, Elora

At the Council meeting of the Township of Centre Wellington, January 25, the simple red brick 1863 former Baptist Church at 33 Henderson Street, Elora, received heritage designation.

This building has not served as a church since the 1880s, but its importance in maintaining the integrity of the core historic Victoria Crescent Neighbourhood of Elora cannot be over-stressed. It is within a unique grouping of three historic churches, all within a 100 meter radius, namely the former Baptist Church, the former Chalmers Presbyterian Church and St Johns Anglican Church.

What is important to bring to the fore is that the request to designate 33 Henderson Street was initiated by a heritage conservation-minded citizen residing in Eloras historic Victoria Crescent Neighbourhood, not the property owner. Under the Ontario Heritage Act any person can propose a designation. In fact, this same citizen initiated and researched the designation of several other buildings in the Victoria Crescent Neighbourhood, itself a proposed Heritage Conservation District. The township's heritage committee agreed to the citizen request and recommended the designation to Council. The property owners agreed.

It should be acknowledged that the necessary research to support the designation process for 33 Henderson Street was completed at no cost to the township by the heritage conservation-minded citizen who formally requested in writing that the Township designate this at-risk property. As the former Baptist Church is presently for sale, it faced a potential threat due to the interest of developers in demolishing and replacing with multiple units not in keeping with the existing height, scale, massing and style of single family homes which characterize the neighbourhood.

Proactive citizen engagement in the heritage planning process continues to be an essential element in the conservation of Centre Wellingtons natural and cultural heritage resources.

With the addition of the Baptist Church, 12 of the 27 buildings in the proposed Victoria Crescent Heritage Neighbourhood are now designated. 96% of the homes and churches in the Victoria Crescent Neighbourhood are more than 100 years old, with some 30% being constructed pre-Confederation. The Baptist Church and the Victoria Crescent Neighbourhood are entirely within the boundaries of the Township Official Plan designated "Elora Heritage Area".

In fact, citizens embracing conservation of the Victoria Crescent Neighbourhood also initiated the request for a Heritage Conservation District in 2004, the first area in the Village of Elora to be formally evaluated as a heritage district and a significant cultural heritage landscape. Acting as an appointed sub-committee of Council, four representatives of the neighbours along with two appointees from Heritage Centre Wellington produced an in-depth study of the area in October 2008, with a revised final study in May 2010. This Heritage Conservation District Study was accepted in March 2011 by Council, recommending that Eloras Victoria Crescent Neighbourhood be protected as a Heritage Conservation District under the Ontario Heritage Act. Staff were instructed by Council to prepare a work plan and budget for completion of the requisite Heritage District Plan and in April 2011 funding for completion of the HCD project was allocated in the Township budget and reserves. The Study was praised for thoroughness, having taken over five years to produce.

However, in a subsequent budget necessary funding to proceed to a Heritage District Plan was reallocated. To date the required public meeting has not been initiated by the Township of Centre Wellington staff or Council. In the absence of a cost-effective Heritage Conservation District Plan under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act, buildings like the Baptist Church and conservation of the historic Victoria Crescent Neighbourhood will continue to be at risk. Without HCD protection, citizen vigilance and intervention may again be necessary to protect their integrity.

Beverly Cairns is ACO rep.for Township of Wellington, Guelph/Wellington Branch


5. New Book: Planning Toronto, The Planners, the Plans, Their Legacies, 1940-80
Richard White, link forwarded by Stephen Otto


If, as is commonly reported, actor Peter Ustinov described Toronto as "a kind of New York operated by the Swiss," what was he seeing? A metropolis born of successful civic planning or a jumbled kaleidoscope of differing visions and plans put in place over a time of unprecedented expansion? According to historian Richard White, it was a little of both. 

Planning Toronto takes a close look at planning in and around Toronto through the critical years 1940 to 1980 and asks whether, and if so how, planning contributed to making it a functional, world-class urban centre. The question is not whether the city’s plans were good or bad, but whether they made a difference. And the answer is that they did. Not all plans, at all times, by any means, but several plans, or perhaps more correctly planning programs, had considerable impact.




6. Globe and Mail: Asking for a New Future for Davisville Junior School
Dave Le Blanc

Architects want to save Davisville school from chopping block

Visual artists see potential before the rest of us. They look past the decay and work required to make a neighbourhood habitable and just go with it. A few decades later, the rest of the city agrees and claims the area.

While architects are also artists, they don’t have the same influence. Often, they try to tell us when a building is worth saving for future generations–if only we’d look past the rough edges–but we rarely listen.

Such is the case with Davisville Junior Public School/Spectrum Alternative Senior School on Millwood Road near Yonge Street and Davisville Avenue. It sits on architectural death row while a handful of prominent Toronto architects call for a stay of execution.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:ACO Toronto is involved, if you want to join the Mod Squad, get in touch http:/

7. Toronto Star: Cardiac deaths and High Rise Living
Diana Zlomislic

Cardiac arrests and highrises a deadly combination, Toronto study shows

 A new study examining 911 data in Peel Region and Toronto found survival was “negligible” for heart attack victims on the 16th floor or above.

Cardiac arrests happen most often at home. Researchers knew that. What they didn’t know, until now, is this: If your home is a highrise, the higher your floor, the lower your chance of survival.

A new study published on Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal examined five years of health data from the City of Toronto and Peel Regions — areas selected because of high population density. Specifically, researchers wanted to see how “vertical delay” affects matters of life and death.

Researchers at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital examined nearly 8,000 cases of cardiac arrest between 2006 and 2011 that occurred in private residences, including highrises, houses and townhomes. Those who lived on the ground or second floor fared best in the study. The data showed 4.2 per cent of them survived to hospital discharge. Survival dipped to 2.6 per cent for patients on or above the third floor. Above the 16th floor, the survival rate was “negligible” — less than one per cent. The statistics are most grim, though, for the 30 patients who went into cardiac arrest on or above the 25th floor.

“They all died,” said Dr. Laurie Morrison, a scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital and one of the study’s authors. “It’s like the higher you go the more isolated you become.”

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:For you lovers of the comfortable low rise neighbourhood, here's a powerful argument against moving to that new condo. Not to mention the wind they churn up that makes it near impossible to walk or cycle some days!

8. Torontoist: Thinking about Old City Hall-History In The Making
Erica Ngao

Why Old City Hall could be the perfect grounds for a civic museum

Karen Carter stepped into the courtyard of Old City Hall in awe.

It was Nuit Blanche, eight years back. A cultural worker with a background in history, Carter, like many Torontonians, had seen only the outside of the building. Usually locked, the heavy iron gates guarding the courtyard entrance were open, inviting the public in for one night. Carter has long forgotten the specific installation tied to the unlocking of the gates, but she still remembers the courtyard vividly. In the cobblestone path to the stonework of the wall, the scale and grandeur of the building, she saw possibilities.

“To walk in those gates and think historically about what they may have represented and what that public square may have been … My brain went everywhere,” Carter says.


Click here for Link

9. Dan Schneider Heritage Blog: Important Decision on Development Adjacent to Heritage
Dan Schneider

Adjacency and the OMB: New decision says the new must respect the old

Adjacency and the OMB: New decision says the new must respect the old

2015 ended with an important OMB decision on the question of adjacency — the impact of proposed development on adjacent heritage property.
But first, some background.  Ten years previous, a new cultural heritage policy was introduced in the 2005 Provincial Policy Statement.  Policy 2.6.3, known as the “adjacent lands policy”, now reads:
Planning authorities shall not permit development and site alteration on adjacent lands to protected heritage property except where the proposed development and site alteration has been evaluated and it has been demonstrated that the heritage attributes of the protected heritage property will be conserved. [Note 1]
While new provincial policy measures are clearly a response to emerging problems or issues occurring in many places, as we have seen previously there is often a particular situation or controversy that comes to epitomize the issue and plays an outsized role in convincing decision-makers to act.
Was there one such controversy behind policy 2.6.3?  I’m not sure. [Note 2] But there was a high-profile situation that certainly contributed to the wake-up call: the threat posed by new construction near the iconic Sharon Temple.

Click here for Link

10. CTV-House moving in Victoria BC

Heritage Homes trucked to Inner Harbour

Quite a sight from Victoria

Two heritage homes in Victoria floated to new homes....interesting footage. 

Click here for Link

11. Canadian Architect: Reviews on Two Books on Toronto City Hall
Aliki Economides


Competing Modernisms: Toronto’s New City Hall and Square

By George T. Kapelos. Halifax: Dalhousie Architectural Press, 2015.

Civic Symbol: Creating Toronto’s New City Hall, 1952-1966

By Christopher Armstrong. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015.

Viljo Revell’s competition-winning design for Toronto City Hall and Square marked a key moment for Canadian architecture, with impacts that resonated globally. (Panda Photography)
Viljo Revell’s competition-winning design for Toronto City Hall and Square marked a key moment for Canadian architecture, with impacts that resonated globally. (Panda Photography)
Officially inaugurated on September 13, 1965, Toronto’s City Hall and Nathan Phillips Square are a stunning pair: an iconic landmark in the city and a highly successful public plaza. The story of how this civic complex was realized offers a revealing glimpse into the socio-cultural and urban character of Toronto during the postwar years of its metropolitanization. More broadly, the competition that drew over 500 entries from 42 different countries and the winning scheme by Finnish architect Viljo Revell signals a key moment in the development of Modern architecture in Canada—and illuminates the state of international architectural culture in the late 1950s. Marking the 50th anniversary of Toronto City Hall’s opening, two monographs focus on the complex and on the competition leading to it, from complementary perspectives.

In Civic Symbol: Creating Toronto’s New City Hall, 1952-1966, historian and emeritus professor Christopher Armstrong describes Toronto in the 1940s and 50s from firsthand experience as well as based on archival research. He provides a behind-the-scenes account of the politics that drove—and threatened—the civic centre’s coming into being. Tensions ran high between the ambitions of local politicians, planners and architects who promoted the idea of an international competition and others who resisted what was perceived as radical change. Armstrong adopts a critical stance towards what he terms the “underlying currents of backwardness and timidity” and the “local protectionism” exhibited by various groups, including the Ontario Association of Architects.

Click here for Link

12. BuzzBuzzhome: !5 Toronto Projects Giving New Life to Heritage Buildings in Toronto
Josh Sherman and James Bombales

There is much to lament in the loss of Toronto’s historic buildings.

But there are also examples of architectural preservation to be found throughout the city, structures that have made their mark on the streetscape for a century or more, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Click here for Link

13. BlogTO: 35 Top Buildings in Toronto

35 of BlogTO's favourite Toronto Buildings

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:Chosen by Blog TO, mostly interesting BIG Buildings. Interesting contrast to the 15 at BuzzBuzzFeed. No doubt one of your favourites has been the Fort York Visitor Centre, or....please send me your faves and I'll put out a BHN subscribers list in the next issue. email me at

14. Annex Gleaner: Was Toronto's Harbord Street named for Edward Harbord?
Annemarie Brissenden

Tireless English abolitionist, 3rd Lord Suffield

Harbord Street may have been named for an early nineteenth-century advocate of parliamentary reform and tireless crusader to end slavery, says a past board member of the Harbord Village Residents Association.

I started asking the question a few years ago, explains Wendy Smith. Ive lived in Harbord Village for almost 20 years, but nobody knew about [how the street got its name]. Its really been a mystery.

Click here for Link

15. Stratford Beacon Herald: Archives Building in Stratford Ontario at Risk
Steve Rice

County looks at options, including demolishing former archives building

Archives and Court House, Stratford Ontario

Perth County is looking into demolishing the former archives building on St. Andrew St. in Stratford as one possible answer to overcrowded office space at the courthouse next door.

At Thursday's council meeting, county chief administrative officer Bill Arthur gave councillors a detailed analysis of the many issues at the courthouse along with 16 potential solutions, including tearing down 24 St. Andrew St., which has been empty for nearly a year, and rebuilding.

That solution, however, requires approval from Stratford's heritage committee. Although not designated a heritage building, the more than 100-year-old structure is located in the downtown core heritage conservation district.

“To my way of thinking, before we do anything we have to know what we can do with 24 St. Andrew St.,” said Coun. Walter McKenzie. “Can we renovate it? Can we tear it down? What are the restrictions? And until we know that, we really can't take our first step to go one way or the other.”

Most councillors agreed.

The former archives building has only 109 square metres (1178 sq. ft.) of space for offices, and councillors have lamented the problems inside the building, which include asbestos. When it was suggested Thursday that the building could be put up for sale, some councillors questioned who, if anyone, would be willing to buy it.

“It's a beautiful building on the outside, but it's a horrendous space to even contemplate renovating for what you're going to get out of it,” said Coun. Bob McMillan, who agreed with McKenzie that looking into demolition was the first step.

“Realistically we're doing something for 50 years out and the best utilization for that space is to remove it and replace it with something.”

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:Hoping for a solution that repurposes the building in either public or private hands!

16. Toronto Star: Head to Buffalo's Lafayette Hotel

Buffalos renovated Hotel @ The Lafayette offers experience a chain hotel cant match

BUFFALO-Some hotels are charming, some are modern and some have storied histories. 

Few have all three, unless you’re talking about the Hotel @ the Lafayette where French Renaissance interior architecture, contemporary furnishings and a fascinating past combine to create a unique experience with a down-to-earth friendliness that is a hallmark of everything Buffalo.

Built in 1904 when Buffalo was the eighth wealthiest city in America, the hotel was designated as one of the country’s top 11 luxury inns. Designed by Louise Blanchard Bethune, the first American female architect, the hotel is now on the coveted United States Register of Historic Places.

For decades, the Hotel Lafayette (as it was first called) hosted presidents and dignitaries, businessmen and local elites. But as the city gradually lost its industrial might, the hotel mirrored Buffalo’s steep economic decline. 

Gradually, the Lafayette devolved into a fleabag hostelry, home to vagrants, crack addicts and assorted pigeons, its once grand public spaces and guest suites literally rotting. 

Enter Rocco Termini, a prominent local developer who bought the property in 2009 and launched a three-year, $40 million (U.S.) restoration.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:This hotel was under restoration during the recent National Trust Conference, it is terrific we can now go and stay there. Buffalo is a very interesting place for art and architecture fans.

17. MessyNessy, Loss of the Cincinnati Public 1955
MessyNessy, forwarded by M. Zeidler (Thanks!)

Seriously though, how did the Most Beautiful Library in America get Demolished?

The old Public library of Cincinnati was the sort of place you only see in a Harry Potter film; colossal cast-iron book alcoves and spiral staircases that went several stories high, checker board marble floors that shone beneath the skylight roof; a magnificent maze of books that is now lost forever.

In 1955, without a whimper, the building was demolished when the library opened a more sizeable and contemporary building just a few blocks down on Vine Street. Today, a parking lot and an office building stand in its place…

And now, let us all take a moment to collectively facepalm.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:Wow, how many of our contemporary losses will be similarly mourned. I would never have known about this one.