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Issue No. 109 | January 9, 2008


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Feature Stories

  1. Editorial: New Year, New Challenges
  2. Musings on the Loss of the Bata International Building
  3. The Community History Project needs a new home!


Lecture: Cameron Sinclair of Architecture for Humanity
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
+ read

Tomorrow's Past Matters: Investing in Heritage and Enriching Democracy
NEW DATE: Monday, January 21, 2008
+ read

Tuesday, January 8,
+ read

A Reason to Go to Havana this Winter
25th, 26th, 27th and 28th of February, 2008
+ read

Birthday Party for Robbie Burns
Sunday, January 20th
+ read

ORD documenting the definitive modern airport
01/14/2008 - 05/31/2008
+ read

Enoch Turner School House - Authors Lecture Series 2008
February 6, 13, 20, 27
+ read

Call for Abstracts and Proposals Heritage Canada Foundations Conference
September 25-27, 2008
+ read


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1. Editorial: New Year, New Challenges
Catherine Nasmith

The view from the Windermere office of BHN over the Christmas holidays
Having spent a good part of the holiday break in Windermere, one of Ontario's loveliest places, I am back at my desk in Kensington Market looking at a depressingly long list of losses gathered from papers all across the province. I hesitate to press the send button, there is so little good news.

One by one Ontarios architectural treasures are disappearing. In any community, the attrition is a little here a little there but the collective rate of loss across the province is staggering. We have the tools to stop the destruction but we are still short on the collective will to use them.

Before we even have a chance to document our modern buildings they are being destroyed. Bata International is almost gone, following neighbouring Inn on the Park into the dumpster&.Riverdale Hospital is next to go. In Chatham Alysson Storey and the Joe Storey Conservancy are fighting to save his greatest work, the Chapel at the Pines.

Demolition by neglect is a serious problem. Alma College in St. Thomas hangs on by a thread, Locust Mount in London will go down following a recent fire in the vacant property. The Lister Block is back in the news, the carefully negotiated deal abandoned leaving 7M of provincial money on the table.

Even though we have had the power to stop demolition in Ontario since 2005, there is hesitancy to use these powers at all levels of government. One of the key reasons for hesitation is the lack of financial incentives available to assist property owners with the costs of looking after our landmarks. In all other countries with heritage protection laws, there are financial incentives too. If it is in the public interest to keep architectural work of cultural value, then surely it follows that a portion of the cost of retention should be borne by the public.

Reluctance to interfere in a private landowners affairs seems to be the reason behind the muddled solution to protecting the Moore farmhouse in Sparta. The house will be preserved but without dignity as a garage attached to a much larger new house. This 1/2 empty glass was negotiated by the Provincial Facilitator Alan Wells.

The Court decision on the Lakeshore churches reminded us we have heritage laws to encourage public interference when the property is deemed to have value to the broader community. At the same time, it feels pretty rude to tell a property owner that "we think your building has value to the broader community, but you must pay all the costs to preserve that value."

The New Year should be a time of new beginnings, not new destruction. On the brighter side we have a new government, and a new Minister of Culture in Ontario. We have four years ahead of us to work to make the changes we need. The time has come to finish putting into place a complete system to preserve Ontarios beauty.

2. Musings on the Loss of the Bata International Building
Adam Sobolak

Ah, December: the long-anticipated demolition of John B. Parkin Associates' 1964/5 Bata International HQ in Don Mills finally arrived as a lump of coal in the Toronto architectural preservationist's Christmas stocking. Yet for all its deserved stature on national most-endangered-landmark lists, there was a complicating issue: the promise of a genuinely superior, even global-class, replacement, in the form of the Aga Khan Museum (architect: Fumihiko Maki) and Ismaili Centre (architect: Charles Correa).  Indeed, the case for Aga Khan was such that even Sonja Bata was willing to sacrifice the earlier landmark whose conception she, together with Parkin, practically deserved part credit for.

Other than merely highlighting what was being lost and going the distance with that, what was a preservation-minded individual to do? The fix was in from the start. Not since Carrere & Hastings' Bank of Toronto at Bay and King was replaced by Mies van der Rohe's Toronto-Dominion Centre had there been such a clear and conspicuous "landmark sacrificed for greater landmark" heritage case.

It could be a cue for some soul-searching on the casual heritage buff's part; for instance, if Mies van der Rohe designed the replacement for New York's Penn Station, would the preservationist narrative of the past four decades be framed differently, and perhaps less flatteringly? After all, a lot of what fueled the "heritage revolution" (as at Penn Station) were humdrum-to-execrable replacements for lost landmarks: the deck was inadvertently (if fortuitously) stacked on heritage's behalf.

It's a relevant question for today, especially in a city with global aspirations such as Toronto; for even as the heritage cause has been ramped up to the more comprehensive level of "landmarks not landfill" we're at a moment when uncompromisingly contemporary architecture has become "sexy" again: itself a cause to rally for, more so than it's been for decades. To the point where some potted, misleading perception of heritage activism can be framed as a reactionary force, akin to NIMBYism at its worst.

Admittedly, heritage long had it easy; in hindsight, it succeeded at a moment when, thanks to the perceived failure of the Modern Movement, the predominant tenor of contemporary architecture was apologetic at best. Now those apologetic days seem awkward and antiquated; and even the forces of heritage--or at least certain awkward bows to it, such as"facadism"--are in some eyes tainted by association.

Take one of Toronto's most conspicuous landmarks of the new contemporary-friendly spirit: Daniel Libeskind's "Crystal" addition to the Royal Ontario Museum. Of all the possibly valid criticisms that can be levelled against it--institutional edifice complex, starchitect's ego, flaws in function and execution and aesthetic--the "heritage"argument might well come off as the weakest: a subjective hangover from 80s-style reactionary monstrous-carbuncle-bashing." (Paradoxically, the 80s additions which the Crystal replaced and superceded were, for better or worse, truer to the "carbuncular" aesthetic which Prince Charles once railed at.) Even ACO's Catherine Nasmith, in her BHN 100 "The Crystal has no Clothes" critique, stops short of such inflamed rhetoric. By and large, for what it is (like it or hate it), the Crystal left well enough alone with the old, perhaps more so than its fellow competition finalists--and besides, a lot of what might stand out as crimes against ROM heritage (the closing up of the 1931 entrance; the redlining and potential condo-spiking of the Planetarium) have more to do with curatorial decisions than with Libeskind. Above all, now that the Crystal is a fait accompli, it pretty well guarantees that tomorrow's most valid crusade will be against undoing it; devilishly enough, it's become the Heritage Of Tomorrow.

But a coffee-table landmark such as the Crystal is atypical of today's "sexy contemporary"--more to the point might be the sleek modernism of Peter Clewes and aA which connoisseurs have come to label "Toronto School" or "Toronto Style" Might mainstream heritage buffs be able to judiciously appreciate this new stylistic paradigm? Or have they been fatally jaundiced by a history of reacting against the so-called contemporary? The question may be unanswerable by any means other than spot circumstance, i.e. a Clewes is fine, as long as it doesn't involve the unnecessary removal or disfigurement of an existing prized landmark. But if there's any consolation, it's in a certain common cause: that is, when it comes to either side of the argument, the heritage creme de la creme and the Sexy Contemporaries alike, there's nothing more insulting than needless facadectomies and faux.

A true double-sided travesty which "we" don't like any more than "they" do. And thus we come back around to Bata, an icon of a previous age when the uncompromisingly "contemporary" was sexy. A sad loss, to be sure; but one can empathize to a certain extent with the notion that it might have been awkward to accommodate within the grand Aga Khan schema, and the murmured potential of physically moving the building to another location was preposterous--all in all, it could have been tantamount to Bata itself becoming a three-dimensional "facadism" paraphrase, a mere bauble. Or perhaps not.

But then again, maybe there's Pyrrhic consolation. After all, the heritage community did succeed in highlighting Bata's fundamental worth.; It became a "most endangered landmark", and an oft-referenced object of vigil within the urban blogosphere. It certainly helped the heritage argument (and the case at the Toronto Preservation Board) that, thanks to North York's foresight in establishing a Modern inventory in the 1990s, it was already "listed"; perhaps Bata's loss reflects the regulatory weakness of mere heritage listing (or more dubious political manouvreing), but given the building's date and style, and not knowing that Aga Khan was around the corner, it would have been a precocious preemptive heritage sell anyway--and more so in 2002 than in 2007. (And while Sonja Bata might appreciate the attention paid to her/Parkin's creation, perhaps to her classically Modernist sensibility there's a touch of inapt bathos about overfetishizing the building as do-not-touch "heritage", especially in face of a so-deemed superior replacement.)

Consider this: even if it's not so obviously "heritage" to the casual observer, Bata was probably more ";recognized" for its architectural and heritage worth in its dying days than Carrere & Hastings' Bank of Toronto was in its dying days. Back then, the heritage infrastructure that we're familiar with today (regulatory, cultural, grassroots) simply did not exist; and anyway, "elite" opinion might have viewed the Bank of Toronto as too chronologically new and/or stylistically retrograde--in 1966/67, it was all about restoring St. Lawrence Hall, not propping up an obsolete Beaux-Arts crock and compromising Mies' vision in the process. True, the old building's now a fading memory, and Mies is rightly cherished now--but it's an unfair alibi for endorsing such sacrifices; after all, had retention of the Bank of Toronto been allowed for from the start, we'd never have known the present conditions. We might have had a different kind of T-D Centre, and a different kind of Mies. And likewise with Aga Khan vis-a-vis Bata.

 With proper regulatory founding, even euphemistic "worthy sacrifices" are preventable. So, yes, perhaps it's all too often a case of "managing" rather than preventing our losses." Even so, we've come a long way, baby...though we haven't gotten there yet.

3. Sign Petition to Save Hamilton's Education Centre
Robert Philip

The following campaign has been initiated by Robert Philip who plans to present the results of his online petition at the HWDS Board's Jan. 10 meeting. I would urge you all to participate. Robert doesn't credit the quote at the end of his appeal which comes from a New York Times editorial published on 30 Oct 1963 on the demolition of Pennsylvania Station (1910) New York, NY designed by McKim, Mead & White. If you click on\"signatures" at the top of the petition form, you can read comments from some of our supporters. If you click on "email friends" you can forward the petition to interested colleagues and friends. The time has come to launch a public campaign to save our Education Centre in downtown Hamilton. Outrage is growing over the idea of demolishing this 40-year old landmark located at the corner of Bay and King Streets. The over-simplified view seems to be that the building has outlived its usefulness. Board administrators and some Trustees seem to want to take the easy route--demolish, rebuild, relocate--rather than maintain, upgrade and restore a "jewel" that adds architectural depth to our cityscape. Join this campaign to convince the HWDSB's Trustees that the building, designed by architect Joseph Singer and built in 1967, should be saved from the "wrecker's ball". Destroying one of the few architecturally attractive buildings in our City core seems to run counter to the wishes of elected officials at City Hall, for the economic development and rejuvenation of our downtown. Show your support by signing this petition and encouraging Trustees to vote for "going the reno route", when they meet on January 10 to receive public input. Remind them that "Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and ultimately, deserves...and we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build, but by those we have destroyed."

4. Year End Summary on Essex Churches
Andre Chenier, SOS Eglises

First of all, a very Happy New Year to all SOS-Églises supporters! And a big farewell and THANK YOU TO 2007 for being one of the most encouraging period of our seven-year odyssey together! So many positive events occured during this past year:
- The attitude of the 2007 Council toward heritage conservation has changed dramatically from the early days of our campaign. You will recall that the 2002 Council refused to even receive our proposal that the two churches be protected!

- The municipal heritage committee established by the Town of Lakeshore will soon start to provide our elected officials with leadership and informed advice on all matters related to heritage conservation. This committee would not now be in place had SOS-Églises not given the issue of heritage conservation such a high profile in our community. Some of you may remember that SOS-Églises' proposal that a heritage committee be established was voted down 8-1 in 2002!

 - In the Spring of 2007, the Ontario Conservation Review Board accepted to hear SOS-Églises' appeal of Lakeshore's plan not to give the Saint-Joachim church the same protection as Annonciation. - In June, the Review Board held hearings in Belle River . Lawyers from the Diocese, the Town of Lakeshore and SOS-Églises presented their case. We were fortunate to benefit from the contribution of Christopher Knowles, a local lawyer who freely invested his time, energy and skills in the management of our successful presentation to the Review Board. Thank you Christopher!

- In September, the Board announced that it agreed with SOS-Églises' contention that both churches had equal heritage value. It recommended to municipal Council that both should receive equal protection under the Ontario Heritage Act.

- Of course, the most important development of the last seven years happened later in September when Lakeshore Council granted full heritage designation to both churches. And best of all, the vote was nearly unanimous (7-1) ! A complete reversal of the position held by 2002 Councillors !

In November, in recognition of the success of our efforts so far, the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (ACO) presented to SOS-Églises its A..K. Sculthorpe Award for Advocacy for 2007. You will find attached a photocopy of the award certificate. Roger and Juliette St-Pierre represented our group at the presentation ceremony in Toronto. This is a further indication of the importance the heritage conservation community at the provincial and national level is giving to our efforts to save our two rural churches.

For more news about other recent developments, please visit our web site (

5. Oshawa Regent Theatre Renewal

The Corporation of the City of Oshawa Toronto Theatre Entrepreneur Will Restore, Reopen and Operate Historic Theatre The City of Oshawa has finalized the sale agreement that will see the historic Regent Theatre restored and reopened in the city's downtown under the management of theatre promoter Glyn Laverick. "The Regent Theatre is an irreplaceable social, economic, historic and cultural resource for the City of Oshawa" said Councillor Louise Parkes. "Preservation says a lot about who we are as a community.  The thought of demolishing the Regent was a loss that was too difficult for me to accept. It's taken a lot of hard work, but today we revel in our efforts, as we announce a new life for the Regent under the leadership of Glyn Laverick.' Mr. Laverick who operates The Music Hall in Toronto has purchased the heritage building from the City. The agreement guarantees 1,000 live performances over a period of 10 years. Renovations to the facade of the historic landmark will be completed by spring 2008. In addition, state-of-the-art sound and lighting will be installed, as well as new seating for up to 700 patrons. The theatre will open by The Regent Theatre opened in downtown in 1919 showing vaudeville acts and motion pictures. It operated for many years as a movie theatre. The state-of-the-art General Motors Centre opened in November 2006, and the Durham Consolidated Courthouse that will house more than 500 full-time employees is scheduled for completion in 2009.

6. Bye Bye Bata
Adam Schwabe

Bata International Building, John B. Parkin

Thanks to reader Richard for tipping us off that Bata Shoes' former headquarters that overlooks the DVP at 59 Wynford Drive is now history and in the process of being demolished. Completed in 1965, the building has been the subject of quite a bit of debate since Bata abandoned it a number of years ago.Originally designed by Canadian architect John B. Parkin (who was also involved in the design and construction of City Hall, the TD Centre, as well as IBM's massive Canadian facility in Don Mills), it was one of the many buildings constructed during the 60's that gave Toronto a real taste of modernism.

Click here for Link

7. Riverdale Heritage Conservation District

South Riverdale seeks Heritage Conservation District designation - Designation also being explored for Queen Street East, Balmy Beach area

St. Matthew's Church First Avenue

A group of south Riverdale residents have voted to approach the city to designate their community as an official Heritage Conservation District. About 35 residents as well as Ward 30 (Toronto-Danforth) Councillor Paula Fletcher and representatives from Toronto Heritage Preservation Services got together on Dec. 6. At the meeting they decided to proceed with a request to the city to move forward on designating Riverdale (Phase 1) a Heritage Conservation District under the Ontario Heritage Act 2005.

Click here for Link

8. Globe and Mail: Liebeskind Interviewed
Sarah Milroy

A 10-minute conversation with the starchitect

From ROM Website

Sarah Milroy chats to the creator of the ROM's Crystal and finds the discussion leaves many questions unanswered TORONTO -- On this snowy Saturday morning in Toronto, I'm moving with the big press pack, up the dramatic staircase inside the Royal Ontario Museum's Michael Lee-Chin Crystal. At the front, two men are carrying enormous sound booms, and they are leaning in to record the conversation between ROM director William Thorsell and the architect Daniel Libeskind, the maker of the museum's controversial new wing who is visiting for a media morning. Behind them are the rest of us: me, a TV crew from Israel, assorted bloggers, print journalists, the folks from Fashion Television, and a film crew under the direction of Kenton Vaughan, who is making a documentary film about the building. We scramble to keep pace, but once upstairs we stand and watch as Thorsell tours Libeskind through the soon-to-be-opened Sir Christopher Ondaatje South Asian Gallery. The pair confer with each other in front of the cameras as if engaged in intimate conversation. Pausing in front of an ornately carved wooden antique doorway, Thorsell describes something about its past and its provenance sotto voce. "These stories are fascinating," says Libeskind loudly, wheeling around to face the cameras, adding something like: "It's what museums are all about." Falling back, I get distracted by a display devoted to the rituals of the Himalayan Buddhists and almost lose the group. This morning, too, is a sort of ritual, enacted for the cameras, and I have to take my steps in the dance.

Click here for Link

9. Globe and Mail: Union Station Moving Forward
Jennifer Lewington and Jeff Gray

Council sets aside expenses spat to get Union Station on track

A proposed renewal of city-owned Union Station picked up steam yesterday, with Toronto council approval to court potential private and public investors for the $388-million project. The 39-5 vote came as Mayor David Miller and his supporters deflected an embarrassing squabble over how councillors spend their $53,100 office budgets. Instead of addressing the smouldering feud over who does or does not follow the rules, council backed the mayor's call for city clerk Ulli Watkiss to iron out the ambiguities and report back next April. Councillor Rob Ford (Ward 1, Etobicoke North), recently chastised by the auditor-general and the integrity commissioner for paying for certain office expenses himself and failing to submit receipts, accused the mayor and his supporters of ducking the controversial debate for now.

Click here for Link

10. Eye Weekly: Former Pierce Arrow Showroom
Shawn Micallef

Staples on Yonge

Staples on Yonge: At first glance, the Staples on Yonge Street at Marlborough is a big-box blight on our main avenue — but take note of the gargoyles on each archway that survived an unsympathetic renovation.

Click here for Link

11. Kitchener's Heritage Bylaw

City may fix heritage properties, bill owners

City officials may soon have a powerful new tool in their struggle to maintain the dwindling stock of heritage properties. Next month, councillors will be asked to support a new bylaw that would allow the city to repair heritage properties and stick the costs on the property owner's tax bill. "We think this is going to be an extremely important tool to make sure heritage properties don't deteriorate beyond repair," Leon Bensason, the city's heritage planner, said. In 2005, the provincial government amended the Ontario Heritage Act to give municipalities the power to get repairs and maintenance done to heritage properties and add the costs to the owners' taxes. "One of the first things we would be doing is establishing a priority list,' Bensason said.";This is going to result in an active effort by the city to inspect these properties." If the proposed bylaw passes, city officials will begin inspecting the 75 or so properties that are individually designated under the Ontario Heritage Act. These are properties that stand alone, apart from heritage conservation districts.

Click here for Link

12. Windsor Star: John Campbell school construction delayed
Monica Wolfson

Heritage rule protects lawn: School prevented from adding parking, wheelchair ramp

ACO photo

An $8.6-million renovation of historic John Campbell elementary school has hit a stumbling block after educators learned the building's heritage designation extends to its front lawn. Campbell students are moving during the Christmas holidays to a temporary location, but construction appears in limbo because the city and school board disagree over changes to the school property that would include installation of parking and a wheelchair ramp for handicapped access. The renovations were to begin this winter. Despite working with the city for two years on the school's historic designation, the Greater Essex County School Board notified the city last month that it was disputing the designation.

Click here for Link

13. Windsor Star: London Diocese applies to demolish St. Joachim Church, Essex County
Gary Rennie

Church Demolition Denied - London diocese makes last-minute bid opposing historic designation, seeks to raze St. Joachim

St. Joachim Church, photo from SOS Eglises web site

Council turned down a surprise, last-minute request Tuesday from the Roman Catholic diocese of London to not pass the bylaws for historical designation of its former churches in St. Joachim and Stoney Point. In a 7-1 vote, council also denied a new application from the diocese to demolish the St. Joachim Church. "The buildings have become outdated, inefficient, unsafe and in need of repairs" said Annette Ronde

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:If the London Diocese spent what it has spent on lawyers to demolish these churches on maintenance.....what an awful, bitter situation

14. London Free Press: Pioneer Gravestones Trashed
Randy Richmond, forwarded by Dr. Robert Burns

Pioneer Gravestones Dumped at Landfill

The dumping of 62 pioneer gravestones into a landfill rubble pile has "completely embarrassed" Thames Centre politicians, who had no idea they approved the plan, the deputy mayor said yesterday. Deputy Mayor Delia Reiche vowed to discover how the headstones, dating back to the 1840s, became a pile of concrete mixed with toilet parts and vowed to retrieve what remained.

Click here for Link

15. Hamilton Spectator: Architect Joseph Singer's 1967 board of education building
Rob Faulkner

A fight to save a landmark

Joseph Singer/Hamilton Board of Education Building

A retired high school teacher is leading a petition to save the Hamilton public school board's education centre from the wrecking ball.

Click here for Link

16. The Hamilton Spectator: Lister deal disintegrates - Council rejects exorbitant leasing costs, starts talks with school board
Nicole Macintyre

Terra Cotta Detail

The deal to save the Lister Block is dead. Council balked yesterday at paying $37 a square foot-- or $44 million over 20 years -- to lease space in the downtown building. "That's just not a rational deal for taxpayers," said Mayor Fred Eisenberger. "It's a non-starter." As the Lister deal crumbled, council voted to start talks with the public school board to lease space in a proposed development on the board headquarters site that would house a McMaster downtown family medical centre. The city is eyeing the space for its public health department, which it had previously pegged for the Lister Block. Council is also asking the province to let the city keep the $7 million it donated with great fanfare to the Lister project for other downtown initiatives.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:Looks like it is time for the Minister of Culture to follow through and designate the Lister Block. This looks like a case where expropriation of the property by either the city or the province and then looking for a developer willing to restore is what is needed to save it.

17. The Hamilton Spectator: Who killed the Lister deal? Following the trail of a political whodunit
Andrew Dreschel

Like any complicated whodunit, there's more than one suspect and more than one trail to follow. Some city councillors are convinced the developers themselves wanted to see the leasing deal with the city die because they have a sweeter option up their sleeve. According to that cloak-and-dagger scenario, that's why the developers, LIUNA and Hi-Rise, jacked the proposed leasing rates from $24 a square foot to an exorbitant $37 dollars a square foot: They knew it would be too rich for council to stomach, giving them the out they wanted. "That's ludicrous" says LIUNA vice-president Joe Mancinelli. "We don't have another Plan B. I've made that clear on a number of occasions. I wish we did. But it's ludicrous for them to be thinking that way." For his part, he believes it was the city that wanted to wiggle out of the deal that would have restored the decrepit 1924 building to its old glory. He says that's why council bailed rather than negotiate or give the green light to an independent review of the developers' construction costs as the agreed upon process called for.

Click here for Link

18. The Hamilton Spectator: The Need to Deal with Lister
Robert Howard

It's do or die for Lister Block

photo, Catherine Nasmith

How bad would it be for downtown -- and Hamilton as a whole -- if the long-awaited plans to redevelop the derelict Lister Block on James Street North fell through? It would leave a hulking fire trap in the heart of the core as momentum builds for economic and residential renewal in the areas around it. It would send a message, albeit not totally justified, to business and other would-be investors that Hamilton, and its council, are not able to get things done. Inertia would seem the winner over progress. It would leave in place a daily, street-level reminder to shoppers, visitors and downtown workers and residents of the dismal recent history of Hamilton's efforts at urban renewal.< It would leave Hamilton taxpayers exposed to a greater financial liability if and when council reaches the breaking point of having to do something with the building. Desperation will eventually breed a bad deal.
There had to be a sinking feeling in the pits of a great many Hamilton stomachs when The Spectator's Andrew Dreschel revealed yesterday that question marks are hanging over the project.

Click here for Link

19. Hamilton Spectator: Core historic landmark on its way back
Nicole Macintyre

Victoria Hall and the MacKay building are being restored for $1.8 million

A national heritage landmark, vacant for nearly 30 years, is halfway through its rebirth in the heart of Hamilton. For more than a year, Toronto engineer Tran Dieu has been busy trucking 129 dumpsters of debris and pigeon poo out of the Foster Building on King Street East. Its inside walls are now lined with fresh drywall as the project moves into its final stages.

Click here for Link

20. The Hamilton Spectator: Harry Stinson looking at Hamilton
Andrew Dreschel

Outspoken T.O. developer eyes Lister

photo, Catherine Nasmith

The man once dubbed the "Condo King" of Toronto is looking at getting involved in Hamilton's two most significant but stalled downtown redevelopment projects -- the Lister Block and the Royal Connaught Hotel.

High-profile developer Harry Stinson says he wants to buy the Lister and convert the vacant eyesore in the core into a retail and residential showcase.

"I'm interested in it certainly as a potential project, if it's available," said Stinson.

"My preference is ownership. My preference is to say, 'What's the number, guys?'"

Stinson says he's already had "informal" talks with Joe Mancinelli of Labourers' International Union of North America, which bought the decaying landmark at James and King William for $1.6 million in 1999.

"I would say they're cordial and he's open to discussion," said Stinson, "and I would say the conversations have been far more constructive than I expected."

Stinson toured the inside of the Lister yesterday.

But in an interview, Mancinelli insisted the building is not for sale.

Click here for Link

21. Hamilton Mountain News: Heritage Bylaw
Kevin Werner

Preventing heritage buildings from wrecking ball, McHattie's 2008 project

Hamilton councillor Brian McHattie is reviving a bylaw that would prevent heritage buildings from being demolished through neglect. "This is important legislation," said Mr. McHattie. "But we need to consult with the public on it." The bylaw seemed to have died in September after members of the economic development and planning committee voted 8-2 against it. Council approved the planning committee's recommendation at its next meeting.

Click here for Link

22. Daily Commercial News and Construction Record: Historic Preservation - Inzola Group spearheads restoration of Brampton

Builder motivated by "sense of responsibility to the community"

After an extensive, painstaking and costly renovation, a landmark downtown Brampton building has been given a new lease on life. The Dominion Building is being transformed into a mixed-use facility that will house a two-level 5,000-square-foot restaurant and two 3,000-square-foot floors of office space that have already been leased. Dominion

Click here for Link

23. Ottawa Citizen: Church proposing to develop Christ Church lands
Jennifer Green

Church wants to raise money by developing Bronson-area site

Photo from Wikipedia

Heritage buildings could be moved, razed with city's OK, but cathedral will be safe. Heritage buildings may be knocked down or moved -- with city permission -- as the Anglican diocese develops prime land around its historic Christ Church Cathedral between Sparks and Queen streets at Bronson Avenue.

Click here for Link

24. London Free Press: Courthouse fight gains steam

In a lifetime here, Bob de la Penotiere has never been involved in a campaign to save a building. He's not your typical heritage enthusiast, he admits. But suddenly, de la Penotiere has found himself leading the city's newest heritage fight, Save Our Courthouse. It's a battle to save the 155-year-old Elgin County courthouse, once owned by the province but now privately owned and rented to the province for court purposes. The fight is gaining steam. "This has been the seat of justice since 1853,"de la Penotiere said yesterday, standing in the rain outside the grand, yellow-brick building that is older than the country itself.

Click here for Link

25. London Free Press: Locust Mount future grim

Locust Mount, boarded up after fire

With a wrecking ball looming, even heritage activists admit there's likely no saving one of London's most historically significant buildings. A November fire badly damaged Locust Mount and now, with its owners asking the city for permission to demolish it, the fate of the 153-year-old Talbot Street mansion could be sealed. "We've pretty much acknowledged that the house can't be saved,"; said Joe O'Neil of the London Area Committee on Heritage.

Click here for Link

26. Windsor Star: John R. Park Homestead eyes restoration
Sharon Hill

Photo taken from Visit Windsor Website

The historic John R. Park Homestead is heading into 2008 with a heritage designation and a 30th birthday to celebrate. But it also needs $250,000 in repairs if it is to continue as a museum. The American Greek Revival home built in 1842 is in good condition for its age, said curator Janet Cobban.

Click here for Link

27. London Free Press: Shmuel Farhi is "speechless" - Developer responds to news about search for court site

The Ontario Realty Corp. is actively seeking parcels of land in downtown St. Thomas for a new court facility. But the agency insists it hasn"t ruled out the stately Elgin County Courthouse on Wellington Street as a potential site for a consolidated courts operation. In newspaper advertisements, a London law firm, on behalf of a "client," is seeking"lands . . . for commercial/institutional development purposes and must be approximately three tofive acres." . . . ORC spokesperson Bill Moore said today despite the ad, the Wellington Street courthouse is still being considered. . . . But Shmuel Farhi, the prominent London businessperson who has owned it since 1989 and offered it to the city so it can work with the province to expand and renovate it to house all local courts, said the notice is bad news. . . . "Heritage to them means nothing," he charged. Farhi has repeatedly warned that if courts are removed from the purpose-built structure, it may be doomed because it's suitable for no other use.

Click here for Link

28. St. Thomas Times: Council defeats Heritage Maintenance Bylaw
Kyle Rea, forwarded by Dr. Robert Burns

Heritage Bylaw goes Down

Minimum maintenance standards could be costly, says Campbell A bylaw prescribing minimum maintenance standards for heritage properties in St. Thomas met with defeat at the council table Monday. Council defeated the motion, which would have set minimum standards to repair and maintain designated heritage properties and offered protection of specific heritage attributes of designated properties. If a designated property owner failed to comply with the bylaw, the default position that the city could find itself in would be for the city to undertake the required work and apply the costs, like taxes against the property. The original minimum maintenance bylaw was quashed by Ontario Superior Court Justice Thomas A. Heeney in a hearing Feb. 21, 2007. He ruled that the bylaw enacted in October, 2006, went beyond the powers granted by the Ontario Heritage Act. The bylaw was challenged by the Zubick family of London, Ont., which owns Alma College. The bylaw met with strong opposition from Ald. Gord Campbell, who reminded that the previous bylaw, used to protect Alma College, was a total failure. He raised a concern that the city undertaking maintenance work, and billing the property owner, would be prohibitively expensive.

29. The Independent (Brighton): Clash over school
Erin Callan

The clash over the future of Brighton's 90-year-old public school building looks set to escalate after the municipal council took up the demands of residents for an architectural survey of the heritage site. Led by Mayor Chris Herrington, council set up a confrontation with the Kawartha Pine Ridge school board on Monday by demanding access to the site for a heritage assessment. The school board plans to demolish the historic building and replace it with a brand new one once funding is secured from the province. But the local branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario wants the schoolhouse preserved and converted for community use. The board has repeatedly dismissed appeals for a compromise and threatened to move the new school building to another town. It has declared the historic building "prohibitive to repair" and will meet with the ministry of education next week in an attempt to secure funding for the new facility. Sherry Summersides, associate director of education, said the board had rejected appeals from the Brighton ACO for an architectural assessment.

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30. Ottawa Sun: Somerset House demolished by City of Ottawa

Wrecking crew takes first swing at building

Photo from Ottawa Sun

The owner of a heritage building couldn't watch as it came tumbling down yesterday. ";I spent a half-hour this morning crying," said Tony Shahrasebi, owner of the building which housed the Duke of Somerset."I don't deserve this." Shahrasebi wasn't permitted on the site when the demolition began, although his business partner, Hugh Kennedy, and the building's architect were allowed to be in the vicinity of the building. Crews used a crane and giant steel grappling jaws to eat away at the fourth floor of the eastern portion of the building which fronts on Somerset St. Engineers said between one-third and one-half of the building had been removed by yesterday afternoon.

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31. Burnaby Now: Kingsway Branch Library at Risk
Brooke Larsen

Should old library be saved?

A Simon Fraser University instructor is fighting to save the city's oldest library from demolition. Bob Bandringa says the Kingsway branch of the Burnaby Public Library, built in 1962 at 7252 Kingsway, is a prime example of West Coast Modern architecture and needs to be preserved. The site has been zoned for residential development. A new library is scheduled to open across the street in 2009, and the old library is expected to be demolished afterwards.

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32. Times Colonist: Heritage concerns postpone upgrades at Rogers' downtown chocolate shop - City to look over chocolatier's plan
Jeff Bell

Rogers' Chocolates postponed the start of a two-month, $250,000 renovation at its landmark Government Street store yesterday over concerns the changes would ruin the heritage value of the early 1900s building. Conscious of the "significance of our wonderful building and its connection to the history of Victoria,"; the company said in a statement yesterday it has agreed to attend a Jan. 10 meeting of Victoria city council to explain its plans, which weren't subject to previous council scrutiny.

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33. Montreal Gazette: L.A. deco - The real stars of the city might be its architecture and the buildings that reflect its 1920s boom

Los Angeles has many widely recognized hallmarks, but, for most people, art deco architecture is not one of these. Yet the city contains one of the most extensive collections of art deco architecture in the world.

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34. Globe and Mail: Vancouver's threatened legacy

Recently, some of the region's most historic buildings have fallen victim to the wrecker, smashing to dust an irreplaceable part of a city's soul. Is there any way to save the remaining architectural masterpieces?

It was downtown Vancouver's last building that could remind us of the 1930s - a whirling wedding cake of streamline stucco that most of us knew as the Fido outlet at Georgia and Richards, first built as the Collier Auto Showroom. It got knocked down early one morning during the civic strike, leaving one more empty-tooth slot in the mug's face of downtown.

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35. CBC New Brunswick: No hurry to renovate York House, mayor says
CBC News

York House, Fredericton New Brunswick

Fredericton city council has saved the historic York House from the wrecking ball, but the mayor says there will be no rush to spend money on renovations. "Let there be no misunderstanding, or anticipation that we're going in there full throttle and spend a whole lot of money to do this. It is our plan to do this in a very thoughtful, but also a financially responsible manner," said Mayor Brad Woodside.

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36. Sherbrooke Record: Sale of St. Peter's Anglican Church

Despite rumours of its demise, St. Peter's Anglican Church congregation is still alive and kicking, says Church Warden Priscilla Simard. The aging flock, which has trickled down to some 30 souls, recently accepted a purchase offer on its building at the corner of Dufferin and Montreal in Sherbrooke.

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37. Northern Life: Letter to the Editor Re: Need for MHC in Sudbury
Vicki Gilhula

Last Friday associate editor Tracey Duguay wrote about the sorry state of heritage preservation in Greater Sudbury. Although there are some people talking about approaching the city to set up a heritage committee, there hasn't been any watchdog group for several decades. That means the city has lost many historical buildings, but there are some still standing. And yes, most are in the downtown Sudbury area because the city grew around the original centre near the CPR station.

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38. National Park Service: Heritage News
Online and email version

Subscribe to this terrific publication

If you are not already a subscriber to this terrific newsletter I would encourage you to do so, it is a great way to keep up with U.S. news, including financial programs available. 

The National Parks Service also publishes a very good magazine which you can also subscribe to at this web-site.

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39. Detroit Free Press: Major investment in Downtown Detroit
John Gallagher

$150-million complex planned for downtown

$150-million complex planned for downtown
Cadillac Centre to include residential, retail and entertainment space

Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and private developers are days away from announcing a blockbuster new residential, retail and entertainment center in the heart of Detroit, a project aimed at pumping up downtown's 24-hour buzz and international interest in the city.

The $150-million Cadillac Centre, plans for which were disclosed exclusively to the Free Press, would rise on a parcel known as the Monroe Block, a surface parking lot just east of Woodward Avenue and Campus Martius Park near the Compuware headquarters.

Financing is lined up, and the schedule calls for breaking ground in fall 2009, with tenants moving in late 2011.

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40. RIBA Journal: Editorial on St. Pancras
Hugh Pearman

Revitalizing St. Pancras

View of Train Shed at St. Pancras

If ever there was an argument against the expedient razing of fine old buildings, London’s St Pancras Station is it.

Back in the mid-1960s, when it was threatened with demolition, one thing was clear, even to those campaigning to save it: whatever the future of this great pair of conjoined buildings, that future was most unlikely to include rail travel.

So what happens? Miraculously, a new express railway line is built to connect London with the Channel Tunnel, and the woefully underused St Pancras has the capacity and the flexibility to transform into a 21st century international terminal and transport interchange. Not to mention a sizeable shopping centre.

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Editor's Note:St. Pancras is featured in the current issue of RIBA journal, including building sections. Alas the rest of the articles are not online, but check back in a month.

41. Globe and Mail: Uncovering Lost Artist Work in SoHo

Historic graffiti mural discovered in NYC

NEW YORK — It was the stuff of urban legend - rumours that a historic building had important graffiti hidden in its walls. Except, in this case, it was true.

A large mural that was created by some of graffiti's earliest pioneers was discovered recently in a 10-storey limestone building just as developers were converting it into luxury Manhattan condominiums.

The artwork contains a variety of images and writing executed in spray paint, grease pencil, magic marker and whatever else was at hand - in silver, gold, pink and red. There are cartoon-like pictures of a bomber airplane, images of a heart and a cake, and several references to Quaaludes, a popular seventies party drug.

The mural was found in the eighth-floor loft owned by art critic Edit deAk in the late seventies and eighties - a time when much of fringe art, including graffiti, was being validated. The wall is nearly intact, except for gaps where a dishwasher and plumbing were installed years later.

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42. Toronto Star: FLW Ennis House Saved


Frank Lloyd Wright's Ennis House has been setting for films from Blade Runner to horror

LOS ANGELES: Blade Runner flatfoot Rick Deckard wasn't the only notable to haunt the halls of Ennis House.

Many directors of movies, TV, music videos and commercials have employed the building's striking façade and interiors to made dramatic statements. Here's a selected list of the greatest hits of Ennis House:

The Big Sleep (1946), The House on Haunted Hill (1959), The Terminal Man (1974), Day of the Locust (1975), Blade Runner (1982), Black Rain (1989), Twin Peaks (1989 David Lynch TV series), Calvin Klein's Obsession (1990 David Lynch commercial), Rocketeer (1991), Grand Canyon (1991), Bugsy (1991 publicity stills), Ray Charles (1993 music video), Chanel (1995 commercial), The Replacement Killers (1998), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1998 TV series), Renault (1999 commercial), IBM (1999 still photography)

LOS ANGELES – Many Hollywood stars have had cosmetic surgery. Not so many have also endured an earthquake, a flood, a forest fire and years of neglect.

Ennis House, though, is not your average Tinseltown celebrity. Built in 1924 and sculpted out of concrete by visionary architect Frank Lloyd Wright, it's one of the most famous buildings in town, looming like a Mayan temple from a hilltop over downtown L.A.

It now rises with even greater grandeur after an emergency facelift and salvage job.

Formerly a private residence, Ennis House features in many films and other media, playing everything from a haunted house to a villain's lair. Movie cultists know it as Harrison Ford's abode in the 1982 sci-fi thriller Blade Runner, a new cut of which arrives Tuesday on DVD.

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43. Northern Life: The Need for an MHC in Greater Sudbury

City needs to get passionate about preserving past

There are close to 150 communities listed as having a municipal heritage committee, according to the Ontario Ministry of Culture website. Greater Sudbury isn't one of them. With the recent sale of the Northern Breweries building on Lorne St., the need for a local heritage committee is once again on the minds of those with a passion for preservation.

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44. Canadian Architect Award Winners

The 2007 Canadian Architect Awards of Excellence winners announced

Canadian Architect announces the winners of the 2007 Awards of Excellence, given each year to architects and architectural graduates for buildings in the design stage. One of only two national award programs devoted exclusively to architecture, the Awards of Excellence have recognized significant building projects in Canada on an annual basis since 1968. This year's winners have been selected by a jury consisting of Renée Daoust of Daoust Lestage architecture et design urbain in Montreal, Jonathan Kearns of Kearns Mancini Architects in Toronto, and Mark Ostry of Acton Ostry Architects in Vancouver.

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45. The Community History Project needs a new home!
Heritage Toronto

Jane Beecroft and the Community History Project are seeking new office space in the downtown area.

Since 1983, the Community Heritage Project has studied, acted and spoken out on behalf of heritage issues in midtown Toronto. It is currently restoring the only known remaining early Canadian tollhouse. The Project has been instrumental in advocating on behalf of a number of heritage issues and has also amassed a considerable collection of historical books, maps and data that requires a large space for research purposes. As a result, Jane Beecroft and the Project are often consulted in matters regarding Toronto's history. For many years, space has been generously provided to the Project in the Bloor/Yonge area.

Due to a condo development, the Project will be without space at the end of January. The Project is urgently seeking reasonable space in the Toronto area to house their collection and continue their important work in preserving our City's heritage. If you are able to help Jane and the Project, please contact 416.515.7546.

Editor's Note:
Jane has done so much for Toronto over the years, probably our most ardent activists. Please put your thinking caps on to find her a new spot.

46. Partners sought for Victorian Church
Pat Gagnon

A VICTORIAN CHURCH Built in 1889, half way between Barrie and Midland, at Highway 93, on Mill Street West, the former Hillsdale United Church was slated for the wrecking ball, when I stumbled upon it, twenty years ago. Having rescued it from this catastrophic fate, it became my sanctuary and my passion. To this day, so it remains. However, I forgot to anticipate the toll my own ageing process would have on my strength as well as the stability of my financial situation. Thus, I am now seeking a contingency plan for this gorgeous building. The three quarter acre property is home to lush gardens with 3 patios, 2 small ponds, and pathways meandering throughout the property. My website gives an idea of the property: The building comprises the upper floor sanctuary of 2000 square feet with a 30 ft. ceiling. Currently used in summer as an art studio/gallery/workshop. On the lower level is a bright renovated open area apartment of 1500 square feet. My thoughts: at the moment, include, some version of a shared ownership, or financial assistance or an innovative mortgage facilitator. I am open to suggestions or offers. My telephone number is: (705) 835-3484 My e-mail is: I will welcome any ideas you may wish to discuss with me.