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Issue No. 116 | April 15, 2008

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Feature Stories

  1. 30 Years of Failed Heritage Policy Come Home to Roost at Alma College
  2. Toronto Star: Georgetown Restoration is the New Green
  3. St. Catharines Standard: McLelland Testimony at Port Dalhousie Tower OMB hearing
  4. Niagara This Week: Spencer Higgins Testimony at Port Dalhousie
  5. Kitchener-Waterloo Record: City moves to protect heritage bank site
  6. Yorkregion.com:Remnant of Carrville at Risk
  7. WFAA8: National Trust President Richard Moe Argues for Recycling Buildings
  8. Subscribe to the Europa Nostra e Newsletter

Events

Toronto Preservation Board Meeting
April 18, 2008
+ read


2008 Heritage Poster Design Competition
Entry Deadline May 7
+ read


Ontario Heritage Conference Updates
May 30-June 1
+ read


Amazing Possibilities Conference
April 18, 2008
+ read


ICOMOS Toronto Symposium in Petrolia
Friday April 18,
+ read


Europa Nostra Heritage Tours

+ read


Heritage Toronto Walks
Various dates from April - October
+ read


Book Launch: For the Record
Tuesday May 6
+ read


Doors Open Hamilton 2008
Saturday May 3
+ read


Dr. Sally Gibson Lecture: Inside Toronto: Urban Interios 1880's-1920's
Sunday April 26
+ read


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1. 30 Years of Failed Heritage Policy Come Home to Roost at Alma College
Catherine Nasmith

Readers of Built Heritage News are aware of the ongoing attrition of Canada’s architectural heritage. Even with the vastly improved Ontario Heritage Act that gives municipalities the power to stop demolition, fires, development pressure, and weak municipal councils continue to chip away at the stock.

The case that most clearly illustrates the impact of 30 years of failed Ontario heritage policy is the impending demolition of Alma College in St. Thomas. Even with the will to save the building, which the municipality clearly had, without some kind of funding to assist with restoration costs, the project is not viable for the private owner.

Ontario and Canada have failed miserably in providing the kind of routine support for property owners that is normal in the United States, Britain and other parts of Europe. Ongoing property maintenance keeps heritage buildings from becoming casualties. Maintenance money is not very sexy, but simple things like making sure the windows are painted, the masonry is pointed, eavestroughs are in place and the roof doesn’t leak will keep 19th century buildings in use indefinitely. They were built to last.

Even in a state of relative dereliction Alma College is spectacularly beautiful, rivaling University College or the Connaught Laboratory building at the head of Spadina Avenue in Toronto. If Alma College was in a larger urban centre it would be getting front-page coverage in all the major media outlets, but in St. Thomas it is off the national media radar screen.

Designed in 1877 by Hamilton architect James Balfour and opened in 1881 the building has suffered demolition by neglect since it was sold by the College. St. Thomas Council stood by helpless pre-2005 unable to force the owner to keep the building in a good state of repair. If they had attempted to use their powers, the counter move by the property owner would have been to apply for a demolition permit and the building would have been lost after six months. One developer stripped the property of its interior, intending to redevelop for housing. The project didn’t go forward, but not before massive damage had occurred. The next owners, the Zubick family did not take even the most basic preventative measures. What was repairable has become very expensive to reverse. Yet this is not a building that can be lost.

For the last couple of years the Zubick family and St. Thomas Council have been fighting it out in court with the town trying to use new powers to force repairs, the owners overturning in court the local heritage maintenance bylaw. The province sent in members of the Ontario Heritage Trust to try to mediate, but put no money on the table. Finally, in a behind closed door decision on the eve of the final Ontario Municipal Board hearing, the Town and the owners agreed to demolish all but the front entrance, possibly including the tower. Without a party to offer any expert testimony in favour of saving the building, (The Alma College Foundation was denied party status by the OMB) the OMB had little option but to accept the agreement put forward by the parties before it, the Town of St. Thomas and the property owners.

Alma College IS front and centre for heritage preservation groups. It is on both Heritage Canada’s and the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario’s most endangered lists. Both organizations have written to the Minister of Culture to intervene to save it following the recent OMB decision that accepted the deal struck by the property owner and the municipality to permit demolition.

The last hope to save the building sits with the current Minister of Culture, Aileen Carroll. Because she has the power to intervene, if she fails to act the anger will be focused on the province. The Minister of Culture, Ailleen Carroll indicated that she would not comment or act until such time as the OMB appeal period has expired. It is discouraging that the standard response from the Minister of Culture to letters from the public pressing for action has been "I respect the Ontario Municipal Board's judicial process and the challenges faced in issuing a decision on Alma College" as well as " Staff from the Ministry of Culture and staff from the Ontario Heritage Trust worked with the owners, the City of St. Thomas, and other heritage stakeholders, including the Heritage Central Elgin committee to encourage dialogue to find solutions that would save Alma College and integrate the building into any new development".

Talk will not be enough to save this building.

The most important request to Minister Carroll came from Steve Peters, MPP following a meeting with resident Dawn Doty, Dr. Robert Burns and Lara Leitch of the Alma College Foundation. In his letter to the Minister, he said "As a result of this meeting, and the many email messages, letters and telephone calls my constituent office and other MPP offices across the province have received on this issue, I felt compelled to write this letter." He goes on to request the Minister to issue a 60 day stop order should a demolition permit be issued, and to request an evaluation by the Ontario Heritage Trust of "whether or not Alma College may be eligible for provincial designation".

The Mayor of St. Thomas, Cliff Berwick in a letter to constituent Bob Foster cuts to the heart of the matter. “In all my correspondence with the province and private individual, including the Zubicks no one has offered any money……municipalities can not afford to be the sole financial supporter to maintain heritage.”

Dawn Doty, the neighbour of Alma who has gathered 3000 signatures on a petition to save Alma can’t get a meeting with the Minister of Culture. She reports that in conversation with the Zubick family, the Zubicks would love to save the building but can’t afford to do so. She doesn’t understand why the province pledged 7M to save the Lister Block in Hamilton yet offers nothing for Alma, or why the province got involved in the Moore farmhouse in Sparta, but ignores pleas to intervene in Alma. Good questions.

The province's respect for municipal or OMB process looks more like abdication of responsibility. It is not realistic for the province to expect a small municipality like St. Thomas to be able to deal with such a legal and financial challenge. The building's value is clear to anyone, yet the province has hung back far beyond the 11th hour.

I am still dreaming of a press event on the lawn of Alma College, with the premier and the Minister of Culture declaring never again, Alma College will be saved, the time has come to end demolition by neglect--the 30 year period of mismanagement of our heritage resources is over. Instead we may get the nightmare of watching this fine building reduced to rubble.

Keep those cards and letters flowing.

Editor's Note:
I am also the President of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario. Correction: I have been advised by Ms. Dawn Doty that the property was in fact in good order before the Zubick family took it over, that the stripping of the building, removal of eavestroughs and other metals, loss of stained glass and general deterioration have occurred since the Zubick's took over the building in 1998. 6 months before the Zubick purchase a movie entitled Mr. Headmistress was shot in the building by Disney studios, in which Ms. Doty participated. "At that time the building was beautiful." The other correction is that Lara Leitch is the President of the Alma College Alumni Association.


2. Historic Seagrave Building in Windsor Demolished without 60 day notice
Andrew Foot - Windsor Heritage Committee

Seagrave Demolition

The former Seagrave Firetruck Factory in Windsor was hastily demolished earlier this week without the required 60 day notice afforded the property under the Ontario Heritage Act.

The two story red brick building at 961 Walker Rd. was built around 1905, and was extended sometime after the first world war. In this building the first motorized Fire Trucks in Canada were built. The building was listed on Windsor's Heritage Property Inventory, and was listed on the register, as it fell within the historic Walkerville District of Windsor.

Had the issue of a demolition permit come forward to the Heritage Committee, a recommendation to designate the structure would like have been moved.

Ironically this is the second time that an historic building in Windsor was issued a demolition permit without the required 60 day waiting period. Following the first offense in 2006 internal policies were clearly defined for the building department on how to deal with heritage properties. That system has been in place and working fine since November 2006.

The demolition occurred so quickly that the site was not even secured, despite the fact that the building is built up against the sidewalk and only feet from a major roadway, unbelievably the road and sidewalk were not even closed off to the public.

The news of the Seagrave demolition was broken by the Windsor Blogging Community, and concerned residents raised enough noise and protest about the issued that it was picked up in the traditional media. A candlelight vigil/protest was held at the site of the demolition that night, and was covered by the local media, and also drew out the two city councilors for the ward who have pledged to raise the issue of the demolition at an upcoming Council Meeting.

The Windsor Heritage Committee has also asked for an investigation and report into the reasons that the property policies were not followed.

http://www.canada.com/windsorstar/story.html?id=450e7985-0abb-4564-b29a-72f9c1743d68&k=50591

A gallery of the demolition can be seen here, that was taken by local author and historian Chris Edwards:

http://walkerville.com/seagraves/

Editor's Note:
Recent discussion of issuance of a demolition permit without the applicant first filing the required written notice 60 days in advance of the intention to apply for a demolition permit for a listed building has also been a subject of concern in Muskoka Lakes over the issuing of a demolition permit for Marygrove, a property on the municipal inventory. When the required notice period was brought to the attention of Council by the local ACO branch Council responded by removing the building from the municipal inventory. Chief Building Officials need some training in their obligations. Heritage Groups need to think about challenging these improperly issued demolition permits in Divisional Court.


3. Carrville's Last Stand
Daniel Sellen (formerly of Carrville, Ontario)

Carrville house, 1961
I grew up in the countryside outside of Maple in a big old house at 1076 Rutherford Road. It was built in the 1840s by Thomas Cook, and served as a post office and general store -- the hub of a now-forgotten place called Carrville. The village served a wide area including Thornhill, King, Richmond Hill, and beyond.

Along with the nearby church (where Cook and his neighbours are buried), the house is the last evidence that the busy village ever existed. In addition to the post office, there are remains of an 1826 sawmill about 200 meters to the north of the house. Apparently there was a gristmill somewhere nearby, but I never found it.

There is (was?) a ruined log cabin to the east, between the church and the house, on the south side of Carrville Road (now Rutherford), which was surrounded by asparagus and red currants, presumably planted by the long-gone residents. There were other farmhouses too as indicated on old maps, but these would be very hard to find today.

Behind the post office there is a old dump site in the ravine that drains the field. I had dug to the very bottom of it and found dishes, bottles, tools, clay pipes, and other artifacts that painted a picture of 19th century life in Carrville.

The post office closed in the 1920s, and the village of Carrville disappeared, being too close to Toronto and suburban centres to survive. The road was paved, widened, and the fields, mixed forest and wildlife have disappeared. Suburbs are now closing in on all sides.

I recall being upset when they changed the name of Carrville Road to Rutherford Road. Nobody asked the people living there if that was OK. That was to be a nail in Carrville's coffin.

Destruction of this house would have been the final nail, but I'm glad to say that it isn't going to happen. My mother (Ann Crichton-Harris) has led a campaign to preserve the house. Althought the property is now part of suburban development and zoned as commercial, Vaughan, to their great credit, has now listed the Cook house as one of the City's Inventory of Significant Heritage Buildings. They are now looking into the possibility of moving it, either away from the paved road, or perhaps somewhere else.

Question for Built Heritage News readers... What is the best use of a house like this? How can it be incorporated into the life of the new residents of Carrville?


4. Heritage Canada Foundation Calls for Passage of Lighthouse Protection Bill
Heritage Canada Foundation

Ottawa, ON – April 3, 2008 – Appearing yesterday before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans (FOPO) to comment on Bill S-215 An Act to protect heritage lighthouses, the Heritage Canada Foundation’s (HCF) executive director, Natalie Bull, called on committee members to support legislation that will protect the icons of Canada’s coastal and inland waterways. HCF and heritage advocates from across Canada have been working toward this legislation to preserve Canada’s lighthouses for a number of years.

Ms. Bull stressed that protection of lighthouses under current federal heritage buildings policy is inadequate and doesn’t incorporate public notice or consultation when a lighthouse is altered, transferred or demolished. This new heritage lighthouse protection act “would engage communities in the protection of their historic places by putting a clear process in place, and increase accountability by providing opportunities for pubic scrutiny,” stated Ms. Bull. The Act would establish a process to select and designate heritage lighthouses; prevent their unauthorized disposal; require their maintenance; and facilitate sales or transfers in order to ensure their continuing public purpose.

HCF is hopeful that with the strong presentations made to the committee and the number of committee members expressing support for the legislation, it will soon be passed into law. Ms. Bull thanked the many Senators and MPs who have supported the bill over the last number of years. Particularly the Senator Pat Carney and Senator Lowell Murray, and MPs Larry Miller (Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, Ont.), Peter Stoffer (Sackville-East Shore, N.S.) and Gerald Keddy (South Shore – St. Margaret’s, N.S.).

Also appearing before the committee were Barry Macdonald, president of the Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society, David Bradley, chair of the Association of Heritage Industries – Newfoundland and Labrador, and Peter Noreau, Vice-president of the Corporation des gestionnaires de phares de l’estuaire et du golfe du Saint-Laurent.

Debate on the bill will wrap up at the committee on Thursday, April 10th. The bill will then go back to the House of Commons for 3rd and final reading. HCF urges all supporters of built heritage to contact the chair and vice-chairs of the FOPO committee and MP Larry Miller to express their support for this bill.

MP Fabian Manning (Chair, FOPO) Manning.F@parl.gc.ca <mailto:Manning.F@parl.gc.ca>
MP Raynald Blais (Vice-Chair, FOPO) Blais.R@parl.gc.ca <mailto:Blais.R@parl.gc.ca>
MP Bill Matthews (Vice-Chair, FOPO) Matthews.B@parl.gc.ca <mailto:Matthews.B@parl.gc.ca>
MP Larry Miller (Sponsor of Bill S-215) Miller.L@parl.gc.ca <mailto:Miller.L@parl.gc.ca>

-30-
For more information:
Carolyn Quinn, Director of Communications, Heritage Canada Foundation
cquinn@heritagecanada.org <mailto:cquinn@heritagecanada.org> Tel: 613-237-1066, ext. 229, Cell: 613-797-7206



5. Documentation of Restoration of Little Trinity Anglican Church
forwarded by Adam Sobolak

The purpose of this web site is to document the restoration of historical buildings for future maintenance. The web site content is condensed; the complete documents are stored on external hard drives and stored with the building owners and my company. It is our intent to document all historical projects we complete in this manner. Addition documents are planned for Enoch Turner School House and the Felician Sisters Convent.

Stephen Pearson
Fine Restoration and Painting
416-566-5529

Click here for Link


6. Now Magazine: Corktown Toronto
Enzo Di Matteo

Popping CorktownThe last of T.O.s untouched historic hoods is under siege.

Abandoned as an industrial wasteland, the area where King meets Queen is all of a sudden hip, thanks to specialty shops and the souls who stayed and painstakingly reclaimed properties.

The city’s desire to connect people to the waterfront and the Distillery District has opened the long-forgotten stretch to runaway condo development, but the last thing residents want is to see this Victorian-era enclave overwhelmed by glass boxes.

Click here for Link


7. The Torontoist: Redesign of Jarvis Street

Degraded Jarvis Street To Be Mildly Upgraded

Jarvis Street, circa 1910. (City of Toronto Archives)

Torontonians should be ashamed at what happened to Jarvis Street. The city's first paved road was once the grandest tree-lined boulevard around, bracketed by the mansions of some of Toronto's wealthiest movers and shakers. Then, in the 1940s, the stately Jarvis boulevard was transformed: trees were pulled down and sidewalks ripped up to make way for the automobile. Jarvis Street was turned from a gorgeous historical thoroughfare into an urban highway, stretching from the waterfront up to Bloor. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

The lack of any effective and inspired city planning also obliterated some of the city's most important historical architecture, much of it along Jarvis. Classic brick homes came down and generic apartment blocks went up. The enormous McMaster manor (now the Keg Mansion) used to sit on the northeast corner of Jarvis and Wellesley, but is now marred by a grotesque gas station and hideous parking lot. Allan Gardens remains well-preserved, but no longer has any significant pedestrian presence along Jarvis—in fact, the street has become outright hostile to pedestrians, cyclists, and street-level businesses, particularly in the area between Queen Street and Bloor.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:I have always wanted to write a book called "Toronto's Lost Streets". The archives are full of photos of lovely streets before the trees and front lawns were removed in the 1960's to create new lanes for cars. For example Spadina Rd. used to look like Madison Avenue. Until the City makes a formal commitment to reducing the number of cars downtown, there isn't much chance to restore the beauty. The proposed Jarvis Street design is controversial because it doesn't accommodate bikes well. Perhaps it is time to think about re-storing the trees and cutting back to the original two car lanes. After allthe subway is just a short walk away.


8. Toronto Star: Georgetown Restoration is the New Green
Leslie Scrivener

Being energy-efficient is so, like, 19th-century

photo from Toronto Star

Farmhouse restoration combines newest green technology with our forebears' wisdom

For years Ann Lawlor wondered about the fate of the pretty, 19th century farmhouse on Trafalgar Rd. on the outskirts of Georgetown. With a little research she found it was owned by the town of Halton Hills, and that it was unsafe and slated for demolition.

"But I thought it looked like it had a great deal of promise."

An understatement. In 2005 she organized Friends of Devereaux House (named after the farm family who lived there for 140 years) to preserve the building, gut the inside, and rent the second floor to the Georgetown soccer club and the first floor for receptions.

But when heritage architects examined the house, they declared it a treasure since many of its original features were preserved, including wainscotting, plaster, fireplace, floors, the patterned red and yellow brick exterior, and the finial on the roof. One of them went weak in the knees seeing the traditional "milk" paint on the walls. "You never see this any more," he said. Don't renovate the house, they recommended. Restore it.

Click here for Link


9. Toronto Star: Ajax Mayor and Priest fight over St. Frances de Sales Church Windows
Carola Vyhnak

Pane-ful quarrel grips Ajax church

Church and state are at war in Ajax over a piece of history. Twenty pieces of history, to be exact.

They're stained-glass windows – some of which are shown at left – in a decaying 137-year-old church the town bought last fall. The parish that prayed there for decades wants to put the sacred works of art in its new house of worship. But the town refuses to relinquish what it calls an integral part of the building's history.

The feud has escalated to the point where Ajax Mayor Steve Parish is accusing the pastor at St. Francis de Sales of ringing church bells at all hours as a pressure tactic.

Rev. Roy Roberts – "Father Roy," as he's known – accuses the town of "trampling on the graves" of founding families whose names are inscribed on the windows.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:I wrote an ACO Preservation Works report on this church which led to its designation. At the time the Church wanted to tear the church down. the Town fought hard to preserve the church. The spire lends meaning to the street name, Church Street. It is not only the windows that reflect the work of the early congregants, the bricks were hauled by wagon from Toronto, and the church was built in all ways by them.


10. St. Catharines Standard: McLelland Testimony at Port Dalhousie Tower OMB hearing
Samantha Craggs

Port Mansion 'goofy,' architect testifies


Some call it a heritage building, but Port Mansion is a poorly built structure far from being the crown jewel of Port Dalhousie's commercial district, a witness in the Port Place Ontario Municipal Board hearing says.

The Port Mansion was rebuilt in the 1980s to look like an older building, but brings "a certain element of kitsch," Toronto heritage architect Michael McClelland said Thursday.

"There are some goofy aspects to lakeside communities and that building is part of that," McClelland said. "It is definitely a 1980s rebuild."

McClelland appeared this week as a witness for the Port Dalhousie Vitalization Corp., which hopes to build a 17-storey condominium tower with 80 units, a 70-room hotel, a 415-seat theatre and a commercial centre along the lakefront. The plan is being contested by some residents, including a group called PROUD (Port Realizing Our Unique Distinction).

Tower opponents consider the Port Mansion to be part of the integral character of the commercial core, while tower supporters say the building has little heritage value.

The Port Mansion is a "cement block" type of building that can't be repaired like an ordinary building, McClelland said.

"It's got some severe structural damage," he said. "I couldn't say what would be required to remediate the problem."

Testimony for the week wrapped up Thursday. The hearing continues Monday morning when traffic consultants will be called to testify.

Click here for Link


11. Niagara This Week: Spencer Higgins Testimony at Port Dalhousie
Mike Zettel

Port development will conserve significant heritage: expert

Even though the 17-storey condo tower proposed for Port Dalhousie's commercial core dwarfs the surrounding low-rise buildings, it doesn't mean it won't fit in, the developer's heritage expert told the Ontario Municipal Board.

Spencer Higgins, testifying for Port Dalhousie Vitalization Corp. (PDVC) for the OMB hearing that will determine whether the project can go ahead, said high-rise buildings are constructed in or beside smaller-scale heritage districts all the time.

To demonstrate the point, Higgins showed hearing chair Susan Campbell and participants photos of existing developments, such as in Brockville and Port Credit, buildings he called "stumpy" compared to the slender structure proposed for Port Dalhousie.

He also showed them an earlier development in Virginia outside Washington, D.C., which was built in the '70s and is similar to Port Place in that it is built in a heritage district by a lake.

As the photocopied image was being passed around, one participant, PROUD (Port Realizing Our Unique Distinction) member Ken Mackenzie, could be seen jotting down the word "ugly" in his notebook.

Click here for Link


12. Innisfil Journal: Heritage protection too late: advocate
Bruce Hain

With one Alcona heritage home falling victim to the wrecking ball last week and another in the path of demolition it's clear Innisfil formed its Heritage Committee too late, a former chairperson of Bradford West Gwillimbury's heritage committee says. "No heritage buildings in Innisfil have any protection. There should be some protection by now. Council will have to be persuaded to protect this house. They have to be proactive if they feel it is a heritage building," said Bond Head resident David Chambers.

Click here for Link


13. Peace Arch News: Charles Bell House destroyed by fire

Another heritage site in Surrey has been destroyed by fire. The Charles Bell House, on 16588 Old McLellan Rd. in Cloverdale, suffered extensive damage in a fire earlier this year. The fire department is classifying the blaze as suspicious, but said the abandoned home could have been set on fire accidentally by vagrants or squatters. It is the latest of several heritage homes destroyed by fire or accident in recent years.

Click here for Link


14. Bracebridge Examiner; Another Muskoka Lodge Hit by Fire
Jacqueline Lawrence

Weekend fire destroys lodge on Skeleton Lake

WHAT REMAINS. This was the scene at Wilson’s Lodge near Utterson Monday after fire broke out in the main house early Sunday morning. Fire department officials estimate the damage from the blaze to be around $365,000.
A weekend fire that caused approximately $365,000 in damage to an Utterson area housekeeping operation is still under investigation, say Muskoka Lakes fire department officials.

Approximately 25 firefighters were dispatched to Wilson’s Lodge on Skeleton Lake early Sunday morning after a neighbour reported seeing fire at the property.

According to township deputy fire chief Carl Prochilo, when firefighters arrived, flames had already engulfed the main house on the site. Firefighters gained control of the blaze around 5:30 a.m., but not before it destroyed the home and another cabin on the property.

Fire damage was also reported at the property’s main lodge, which according to its website, acted as a lounge area and tuck shop for patrons.

Prochilo said the fire is not suspicious, but investigators are still working to determine a cause.

Attempts to reach Don and Jan Bemrose, listed as the main contacts on the lodge’s website, were unsuccessful as of press time.

According to Lenore Young, author of the book Two Muskoka Surprises, which details the history of Wilson’s Lodge, the cottage rental operation was started in the mid-1920s by Robert and Louisa Wilson. Wilson later passed on the business to his son Bill.

According to Young, the lodge was often a hub of activity in its day.

“In the old days, it was operated as kind of a community centre,” said Young. “They had dances and other activities. It was definitely the centre of activity for that side of the lake.”

Click here for Link


15. Windsor Star: Heritage building demolished - Committee official says city made a mistake
Doug Williamson

The chairman of Windsor's heritage committee says the city's building department "dropped the ball" when it approved the demolition this week of a former fire engine factory on Walker Road. The building was on a heritage inventory list that was supposed to give it a 60-day grace period before a permit is issued, so the building can be evaluated for its historical significance and possibly protected. The demolition permit application for the brick structure at 933 Walker Rd. should have been forwarded to the heritage committee before being approved, as part of this system, said Greg Heil.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:How are CBO's doing in other Ontario communities with requiring the 60 day written notice the legislation demands? What systems are in place elsewhere to prevent such losses. The legislation is of little value if those who administer it are not aware it exists or what their responsibilities are.


16. Stoney Creek News: Diane Dent retires from Hamilton MHC
Kevin Werner

Former Heritage committee chair bids goodbye to colleagues

Councillor Brian McHattie and spouse, with Diane Dent at recent ACO fundraising dinner

05Diane Dent warned members of Hamilton's Heritage Committee to remain vigilant against the constant attempts to destroy the city's heritage and cultural institutions.

"I know you don't like confrontation," said Ms. Dent. "(But) the (city) councillors need to help out."

Ms. Dent was participating in her last Heritage Committee meeting last month. After 30 years of trying and at times succeeding in preserving Hamilton's historical buildings, Ms. Dent's term on the Heritage committee was not renewed.

Her term as chair ended two years ago, and last year she participated on the committee with a special exemption as past-chair. She was not selected by politicians to continue her work on the committee.

Ms. Dent had been chair of the committee from 1986 to 2006.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:Diane Dent has given an astounding amount of volunteer time to her community. Ontario's heritage depends on volunteers like Diane - more than we should. I understand Hamilton's Heritage Watch group will be the next to benefit from her energy and talents.


17. newsdurhamregion.com: HCD and other plans for Port Perry
Chris Hall

Looking ahead to Port Perry's future - Scugog approves of ambitious improvement plan for downtown core

PORT PERRY -- An ambitious improvement plan for Port Perry's downtown core that calls for the introduction of a heritage conservation district, as well as a myriad of ideas proposed by the public over the past year, was adopted by the municipality on Monday evening. After almost a year of public meetings and background work, Township staff brought forward their recommended 'Port Perry Downtown Development Strategy' report at the March 31 council session. The effort, as part of Scugog's official plan review, kicked off last spring with a design charette where the public was invited to share their dreams for Port Perry's urban core. A draft of the plan was presented last fall. Among the highlights of the hefty document, which basically breaks down the municipality's plans for Port Perry into three categories, is the implementation of a heritage conservation district. Creating such a designation, which would see the municipality impose some controls on certain areas of the downtown core in an effort to retain the town's historical character, "is the highest implementation priority" of the plan, wrote Gene Chartier in his report to council.

 

Click here for Link


18. Belleville Intelligencer: Demolition of Sound 200 Year Old Barn
Bruce Bell

Pioneer Consecon barn soon in splinters

One of Prince Edward County's oldest and largest barns got a bit of reprieve Friday, but only for a few days.

The barn, estimated to be at least 200 years old on Stinson Block Road near Consecon, was slated to be dropped to the ground Friday. But due to an equipment malfunction, will stand until Wednesday.

Ric Clarke, owner of Level & Square - a barn repair and demolition company - said the former livestock barn is being demolished to make way for more homes.

"It's kind of sad to see barn like this come down, but aside from the maintenance costs, you also have government regulations that say you can't build a new home within 1,000 feet of an existing barn," he said. "It would cost a lot of money to keep this barn in good repair and I know the owner has already spent a lot of money looking after it."

Owner McCrae Danford said while he still takes hay off the 165-acre farm, the structure which had three smaller barns attached to the larger barn, had not been used to house livestock since 1989.

"It's certainly sad to see it go, but I guess in the end, it depends what you are using it for because it costs a lot of money in repairs," he said. "Time marches on and the materials from this will be put to good use."

Clarke agreed and said while his company takes down three or four barns each year, he will use materials recovered from the site to repair other barns while some of the beams will go into new homes and furniture.

58

Click here for Link


19. Owen Sound Sun-Times.com: Barns vital part of heritage; Grey-Bruce full of historic barns
SCOTT DUNN

Grey-Bruce likely has more barns per square kilometre than anywhere else in Ontario, even though they are being lost here, as elsewhere, to disuse, development and acts of nature. They can't all be saved, but municipal councils should set up heritage preservation committees and start designating the most significant barns as heritage buildings, said John Carter, a Ministry of Culture advisor and lifelong barn appreciator. Such a designation prevents a building's destruction unless the municipal council votes to drop the heritage designation. From time to time the province also provides funding for heritage buildings, although no program exists now, he said.

Click here for Link


20. Peterborough Examiner.com: Another Queen West?
Andrew Elliott

The potential exists for a renaissance of George Street as an attractive arts and shopping district

George Street in downtown Peterborough has the potential to be much like Toronto's Queen Street West. Considered one of the most vibrant downtown districts in Canada, if not North America, Queen Street West started out as a place where artists could go to live cheaply. Rents were low because most of the buildings were very old. Gradually, the area became trendy, and more affluent people came to live here and take part in the bohemian lifestyle. Now the area thrives, appealing to those attracted to art galleries, independent cafes and businesses and lofts. In Peterborough, this type of streetscape will not happen overnight, and might even evolve differently. But look at what is already happening at the north end of downtown Peterborough. From approximately Brock Street to Charlotte Street, we have an area that has experienced a renewal of sorts, with vibrant little shops and restaurants housed inside old commercial buildings that have been painted in attractive colours and decked out with creative store fronts and signs. Pedestrians can be found everywhere on the sidewalks, and there is a spillover effect onto Water, Hunter, Simcoe, and Charlotte streets. Populated by students and artists, and a magnet for locals and tourists, the area already has a bohemian feeling to it.

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21. Burlington Post.com: Designation- Raise or Lower Property Values?
Kim Arnott

Heritage property owners seek compensation

In the city's directory of heritage properties, 1107 Dundas St. is described as Stoneacres - The Charles Tucker House. Dating back to 1854, the Georgian-style stone house is "a landmark property" on Dundas Street, according to Burlington's heritage and development planner Alana Mullaly. . . The city intends to put Stoneacres, as well as hundreds of other local buildings, onto a newly-created register of Culture Heritage Properties. Although not officially designated under the Ontario Heritage Act, the list identifies the properties as potential candidates for designation and provides the city with a 60-day window to consider designation if it receives an application for demolition. At a meeting last week, [Luther] Holton told city councillors that he thinks property owners should be compensated for having their buildings placed on the list, as it may have a negative effect on their property values.

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22. Kingston Whig-Standard: Future of Outer Station worries local railway buffs
Douglas R.G. Smith

In the wake of a report that CN Railways has entered into an agreement of sale for the site of the old Outer Station (at Montreal Street and Hickson Road), conditional upon getting approvals from the heritage trust at the federal and provincial levels, the Whig-Standard is to be commended for the story "Heritage buffs fear sale of abandoned train station"(March 19). This story reports on concern that the limestone station building, a significant historic civic landmark, might be demolished if that transaction goes through. At a subsequent meeting of the executive of the Kingston division of the Canadian Railroad Historical Association (CRHA), the issue was discussed. The original station was built to a standard design by architect Frank Thomson for the Grand Trunk Railway around 1855. It had two storeys and a "mansard"roof, and was an elaborate limestone structure.

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23. Kitchener-Waterloo Record: City moves to protect heritage bank site
Terry Pender

Over the continued objections of the owner, city councillors have voted unanimously to designate a former bank at King and Frederick streets under the Ontario Heritage Act. The former Toronto Dominion Bank branch at 70 King St. E. is touted as one of the best examples of Modern Movement Architecture in Waterloo Region. But the Cora Group, which owns the empty building, formally opposed protecting it, fearing a designation would complicate efforts to lease and renovate the structure.

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Editor's Note:I think Bruce Etherington, the architect who designed this bank is one of our overlooked geniuses. There is another of his banks at the corner of College and Spadina.....horribly covered in fast food restaurant signs yet retaining its brilliance. It has a stainless steel cornice, done 20 years before anyone was making post modern references.


24. Yorkregion.com: Burned heritage homes at heart of dispute
Caroline Grech

The buildings, both of which were vacant, were recently designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.

Richmond Hill - Two buildings that burned under suspicious circumstances early yesterday are at the heart of a dispute between a developer and Richmond Hill councillors. Investigators are probing the blazes at two properties near the intersection of Bathurst Street and King Road, which started at about 1:30 a.m. today.

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25. Yorkregion.com:Remnant of Carrville at Risk
David Fleischer

Down and derelict

Ann Crichton-Harris was aghast when she saw what happened to the home in which she raised her children and she thinks others should feel the same way.

Ms Crichton-Harris lived in the house at 1076 Rutherford Rd. with husband Stan Sellen and their three children from 1961 to 1978.

It now sits abandoned and boarded up, but she hopes something can be done to save one of the few remnants of the village of Carrville.

“All I’m saying is please don’t do away with all the history and all the heritage,” Ms Crichton-Harris said.

It has been 30 years since she lived there, but Ms Crichton-Harris has no trouble pointing out where pear trees once stood, and where her children played.

She had not seen the site in years, until a friend told her she should drive by and see what became of the house she and her husband purchased for $13,000.

“I didn’t want to see what it had become,” she said, placing her hand over her heart.

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26. Halifax ChronicleHerald: Appeal Supreme Court De-designation

Save Peter Martin building, group urges

The head of a heritage group is urging Halifax regional councillors to appeal a Nova Scotia Supreme Court decision handed down Tuesday that will strip a 160-year-old building of its heritage designation. Philip Pacey, president of the Nova Scotia Heritage Trust, said he believes the Peter Martin building at 1870 Upper Water St. must be saved from the wrecking ball in order to maintain the integrity of the buildings around it. The Armour Group, owner of the property, wants to demolish the wood-frame building as part of a $16-million redevelopment near Historic Properties that renovates and incorporates four other heritage buildings into an 80,000-square-foot office building.

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27. UBC Reports: Renewal of Chemistry Building

Oldest UBC Building Gets Extreme Makeover

As UBC toasted its first Centenary, the oldest building on its Vancouver campus reopened with new state-of-the-art research and learning facilities and its historic charms intact. The renewal of the Chemistry Building is the latest project of UBC Renew, a $120-million partnership between UBC and the provincial government designed to breathe new life into older buildings on B.C.'s oldest and largest university campus. Construction of the Chemistry Building began in 1914 but halted due to World War I and didn't resume until 1923, following the historic Great Trek of 1922 when 1,200 students marched from a temporary campus near 12th and Cambie to the Point Grey campus, urging the provincial government to continue building UBC.

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28. UBC Reports: Re-furbishing Historic UBC Library
Glenn Drexhage

Library Heritage Heart Beats Strong in New Barber Learning Centre

How do you take one of the oldest icons at UBC and transform it into a cutting-edge learning hub at the heart of the newest building on campus? With a lot of skill, patience, energy and improvisation. Those are some of the qualities that Dan Bock and a cadre of specialists employed while refurbishing the historic core of UBC"s Main Library, located at the heart of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. The standout feature of the Library core is the Chapman Learning Commons, a tech-savvy space that’s been painstakingly restored to match its previous incarnation as closely as possible.

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29. Canwest News Service: Massive fire devours a cornerstone of Canadian history
Marianne White

Members of the country's oldest French-Canadian infantry regiment vowed Saturday to rise from the ashes of the landmark Quebec City armoury overlooking the Plains of Abraham that was destroyed by a massive fire. The historic drill hall, built in 1887, has been burnt to the ground, with only the brick wall facade and two towers still standing and facing the Quebec National Assembly. Firefighters work at the Quebec City Armory, April 4, 2008. According to a local newspaper most of the building collapsed less than two hours after the fire started leaving only a brick wall and two towers and the main entrance.

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30. Globe and Mail Update and The Canadian Press: Blaze leaves landmark in ruins
RHÉAL SÉGUIN

An investigation was launched Saturday after flames tore through Quebec City's historic armoury, leaving the Canadian landmark in ruins. The fire broke out at the armoury, located just outside the walls of the Old City, at around 9:30 last night, witnesses said, followed by a major explosion. Mayor Regis Labeaume said he hopes the armoury can be rebuilt. "We're saddened by all that," Labeaume said in France, where he is on official business. "It's a disaster. But I'm looking for a solution. "I hope the federal government will make a quick decision. In a case like this I think the only decision to make is to rebuild. "We're talking about heritage. It's part of Quebec City's history."

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31. Halifax Chronicle Herald.ca:Dianne Marshall Shocking Story Missed
BILL SPURR

Acknowledge site

DIANNE Marshall's riveting story reveals a shocking chapter in Halifax's history, one that even Phil Pacey of the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia wasn't aware of previously. Pacey said the unpleasant history of the land where the Memorial Library now sits makes a compelling argument that something should be done to acknowledge the people who lived and died there. "A memorial, a plaque, maybe a monument," he suggested. "Of course, there's already a monument there to Winston Churchill, but one can imagine other monuments that could stand in that place as well. It certainly would be useful to have a memorial directly for that. The library itself is built, I believe, as a memorial to soldiers who died in wars."

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32. Saskatoon StarPhoenix:Renewing the Legislative Buildings
Angela Hall

Makeover magic for legislature: Or, how not to wear

REGINA -- The nearly 100-year-old Legislative Building is getting a facelift. Results from the work already underway on a portion of the building are expected to set the stage for future preservation of the entire exterior. The $3.5-million "investigative project" on the outside of part of the east wing will help determine the extent of upgrades needed and the projected overall cost, the provincial government said Monday.

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33. New York Times: Case tests resolve of New York Landmark Commission
NICOLAI OUROUSSOFF

Greenwich Village Proposal That Erases History

The passionate battles surrounding the birth of New York's preservation movement nearly a half-century ago seem like distant memories now. For some New Yorkers the main threat to architecture in the city is no longer the demolition of its great landmarks, but a trite nostalgia that disdains the new. Well, think again. Over the last few years the growing clout of developers has gradually chipped away at the city's resolve to protect its architectural legacy. The agency most responsible for defending that legacy, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, has sometimes been accused of putting developers' interests above the well-being of the city's inhabitants. A proposal before the commission to tear down several buildings in the Greenwich Village Historic District is shaping up as a crucial test of whether those critics are right.

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34. The New Yorker Magazine: What to Save
Burkhard Bilger

Mystery on Pearl Street - It was one of the oldest buildings left downtown. Why not try to save it?

This one begins, like a dime detective novel from the nineteen-thirties, in a dingy bar in lower Manhattan. And, like a lot of New York stories, though it may touch on history and backroom politics, sex and the supernatural, though it throws together billionaires and scrap-lumber salesmen, city councilmen and scholars of the occult, it's mostly about real estate's and the stubborn allure of old buildings and their secrets. . . New York demolishes more old buildings every month than most American cities have standing. In a single week last September, the list of scheduled demolitions ran to six pages; in an average year, about two thousand buildings are torn down. As you walk through neighborhoods like SoHo or Greenwich Village, it's easy to imagine Manhattan as one vast historic district, camera-ready for any period from the Civil War on. In fact, fewer than three per cent of the city's million or so buildings are protected as landmarks.

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35. The New York Times: Queen's St. Saviour's Church Saved
James Angelos, forwarded by Adam Sobolak

For a Church Bathed in History, a Last-Minute Miracle

FOR the past few weeks, a large excavator with tanklike wheels has stood a few ominous feet from St. Saviour’s, an old Gothic-style church atop a small hill in Maspeth, Queens. At 11 a.m. on March 24, the machine was just hours from turning the rickety structure, built in 1847 for the Episcopal Church, to rubble.

But St. Saviour’s got a stay of execution, thanks to a last-minute agreement between the developer of the property and Robert Holden, president of the Juniper Park Civic Association. The church was designed by Richard Upjohn, the architect who designed Trinity Church in Manhattan.

“Saint Saviour’s Church will be saved,” Mr. Holden announced last Monday at a news conference outside the church. Mr. Holden, whose group represents local residents, said the developer had given him about a month to move the church from the property. The plan is to restore the building and relocate it to All Faiths Cemetery in nearby Middle Village.

The church, in a neighborhood dotted with warehouses and aluminum-sided homes, has become a symbol of what many residents feel is Queens’s often-neglected history. But for a single lamppost, there are no designated landmarks in Maspeth, a sore subject for some residents. Those trying to preserve the church are dismayed that the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, which reviewed the church on three occasions, never took action toward designating the building. The church was damaged by fire in 1970, and Lisi de Bourbon, a spokeswoman for the commission, said the commission had determined that “the original fabric of the complex was too altered.”

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36. WFAA8: National Trust President Richard Moe Argues for Recycling Buildings
Scott Lindlaw, forwarded by Lloyd Alter

Preservation group: Before you tear down and rebuild, consider the environmental costs

BERKELEY, Calif. — Americans love tearing down buildings. We rip our homes up to the studs, scrape them down to their foundations, and are riveted by the ultimate demolitions: imploding skyscrapers. It's all part of a cultural need to make way for the new and improved.

But the construction and operation of buildings sends up twice as much greenhouse gas emissions as the entire U.S. transportation sector, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. (Analysts with the federal Energy Information Administration say it is probably closer to even, all factors considered.)

In this, preservationists have found a new calling for their old cause. They are preaching against the evils of teardowns — not to save the past, but the future.

"It makes no sense for us to recycle newsprint and bottles and aluminum cans while we're throwing away entire buildings or even entire neighborhoods," says Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Moe has become a leading evangelizer of this niche-market green gospel. He spoke on a recent evening from the pulpit at the First Church of Christ, Scientist, a national historic landmark on the fringe of the University of California, Berkeley campus. The Gothic-influenced church, with its interior concrete supporting columns and muscular timber roof supports, is considered the masterwork of prominent Bay Area architect Bernard Maybeck.

Moe's message: "Preservation is sustainability."

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37. The New York Times: Architecture Dean Invests in Downtown Syracuse
Leslie Kaufman

The Would-Be Revivalist

SEDGWICK, less than a mile from downtown Syracuse, is a neighborhood of tree-lined boulevards, where outsized 1920s Tudor homes with in-ground pools can be had for prices in the low six figures.

Mark Robbins doesn’t live there.

In 2004, when Mr. Robbins, an architect and curator who had been based full- or part-time in New York, Washington or Columbus, Ohio, for most of the previous 20 years, became dean of Syracuse University School of Architecture, he resolved to find a place in the city’s struggling downtown. His goal was not just to find a space to renovate as a showplace for his modernist leanings, or to demonstrate to visiting architects that Syracuse — not exactly a must-stop on the global circuit — might be an inexpensive place to test innovation. His ambition was to help revive, and even remake, the city.

“When I first looked at this job, some people said to me, you’ll only be here three days a week. You’ll go back and forth to New York,” he said. “But what’s the point of that?”

As dean, he has exhorted his students to make “aesthetically provocative buildings that can change the way a city functions.” And, he added in an interview in March: “The only way you can get that stuff to happen is if people believe you are invested. The only way to get people to believe you are invested is to live here.”

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38. The New York Times: Endangered Sites along the Appian Way
Elisabetta Povoledo, forwarded by Adam Sobolak

Past Catches Up With the Queen of Roads

ROME — In ancient times the Appian Way, which links Rome to the southern city of Brindisi, was known as the regina viarum, the queen of the roads. But these days its crown appears to be tarnished by chronic traffic congestion, vandalism and, some of its guardians grumble, illegal development

The abundance of monuments on the Appian Way, like the tomb of Cecilia Metella, above, has not deterred unregulated growth.

“Look at this!” bristled Rita Paris, the Italian state archaeological official responsible for the Appian Way, peering through a weathered bamboo screen lining the road while bumpily maneuvering her car through a patch of uneven ancient stones. “You can bet that it was once a canopy that was walled in and transformed into a home.”

A bit farther on she fumed about a plant nursery that had become a restaurant (without planning permission), a cistern that had morphed into a swimming pool, and the new villas tacked on to ancient monuments. Several are rented out for wedding receptions or society balls, which makes for a steady stream of traffic — and occasionally, “fireworks,” Ms. Paris said with a shudder.

Considered prime real estate in ancient times, when the Romans buried their dead along tomb-lined roads outside the city walls, the Appian Way underwent a contemporary renaissance in the 1960s when Rome was known as the Hollywood on the Tiber. Italian film stars moved in en masse, although today it is mostly home to the moneyed.

But these days some residents seem indifferent to the roadway’s archaeologically rich past, said Livia Giammichele, an archaeologist who, like Ms. Paris, has been waging a campaign against denizens whom she describes as “neo-barbarians.” They “don’t always realize that they’re living in special conditions,” she said.

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39. Subscribe to the Europa Nostra e Newsletter

Highly recommended by BHN

I received the fantastic newsletter of Europa Nostra today. It contains a huge range of news from all over Europe, including events, properties at risk, awards, social news. If you are interested in receiving it it is free. Go to the link below, go to the bottom of the page and a link will take you the subscribe page.

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