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Issue No. 122 | July 7, 2008


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Feature Stories

  1. Editorial: Provincial Designation - Off on the Wrong Foot
  2. Good News about The Guild of All Arts
  3. History Repeats itself at Fort York
  4. Globe and Mail: Transfer of Victoria Memorial Square to City of Toronto
  5. Can You Help Rescue this Window?


July 4 - August 16, 2008
+ read

Wedded Bliss?
Tuesday July 22, 2008
+ read

The Art of Clairtone: The Making of a Design Icon, 1958-1971
May 9th  October 12th, 2008
+ read

Design Exchange Exhibit: Fringe Benefits
July 09 - September 23, 2008
+ read

Heritage Toronto Walks: The Queens Park Stroll
Jul 12 2008
+ read

Heritage Toronto Tours: The University of Toronto - Downtown Campus
July 13, 2008
+ read


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1. A thought from John Ruskin
forwarded by Scott James

Old buildings are not ours, they belong, partly to those  who built them, and partly to the generations of mankind who are to follow us. The dead still have their right to them: that which they laboured for...we have no right to obliterate.

What we ourselves have built, we are at liberty to throw down, but what other men gave their strength, and wealth, and life to accomplish, their right over it does not pass away with their death.

John Ruskin

2. Editorial: Provincial Designation - Off on the Wrong Foot
Catherine Nasmith

Alma College, before and after
Even though the Ontario Minister of Culture has had the power to designate property of provincial significance for 3 years the power has never been used. Instead of creating a process where Ontarians could celebrate properties of value to us all, hesitancy to pursue provincial designation has pitted the Ministry of Culture against heritage activists.

It is time for a switch in direction.

At the time of implementation of Bill 60 in 2005, (Amendments to the Ontario Heritage Act) there were round table discussions of several topics, among them how to decide what properties should go on the “Provincial List”. The heritage community fully expected that the Ministry of Culture would move forward with developing a list, and that communities from across the province would be involved in putting properties forward. The regulation sets out criteria for determining provincial significance. The process never got off the ground.

Interestingly, in a recent conversation with Stephen Otto, who was involved in the development of the Ontario Heritage Act in 1975, he noted that the first drafts of the Ontario Heritage Act had contemplated provincial designation. A committee that included Professor Douglas Richardson, Grant Head and others had sat down and drafted a list of the first 200 or so buildings. However, because the government of the day abandoned provincial designation the list languishes in a government file. Maybe It is time to dust it off.

The argument, then and now, against provincial designation is that if the province is too involved municipalities would shirk their responsibilities. Another more cynical reason is that provincial involvement might have to include additional provincial resources. So the process of dealing with protecting and preserving Ontario’s heritage falls to municipalities, the level of government with the least financial ability to deal with it.

It is not clear when the idea of developing a provincial list was dropped from the 2005 process, but somewhere along the line the Minister? Ministry abandoned the idea and adopted a policy that Ministerial designation would be used only as a reserve power, as a last resort after all else had failed. That has proved to be a spectacularly bad approach.

Instead of an orderly development of a list that clearly states what the Province is and isn’t interested in, and what responsibilities and benefits would be associated with provincial designation, the Minister of Culture gets drawn into situations that are practically impossible to resolve, usually when the building is in a state of serious dereliction. When the Minister chooses not to intervene or designate those arguing to save the building end lash back. The Minister is open to attacks in the Legislature from the Opposition. It is a no win for anyone, least of all for Ontario’s heritage properties.

Another downside of not having a provincial list is that one of the criteria for achieving World Heritage Site status is whether the property been recognized, locally, provincially, nationally. Those reviewing property for World Heritage status pay close attention to the levels of protection and funding in place for the properties in question. The lack of provincial designation or funding are two very big strikes against any Ontario property. Even if Ontario only looked at it from the point of view of tourism dollars generated by World Heritage sites we would be busy removing any and all obstacles.

The other aspect of the provincial designation process that needs to be reconsidered is the policy that advice to the Minister from the Ontario Heritage Trust on designations is confidential, and should be treated as “advice to government”.

Activists trying to understand why the Minister of Culture did not designate the Lister Block in Hamilton launched a Freedom of Information request for the OHT report. It was not until a judge overturned the refusal of access that the report became public. Once released, the secret “advice to government” turned out to be a pretty run of the mill designation report, giving reasons and recommending the property for designation. It makes no sense that provincial law demands municipal designation be a highly public process, yet provincial designation is cloaked in secrecy.

One would think that having the first refusal to grant access to the Ontario Heritage Trust report overturned would be sufficient to have the Ministry open up the process. But instead, applications for the same type of material from Donna Moore regarding the Moore farmhouse report, and from Dawn Doty for the report on Alma College have been refused, forcing citizens to appeal to gain access.

Designation of property is not a matter of national security, there is no reason for an evaluation of a property’s heritage value to be withheld from the public. Who or what is protected by the secrecy?

One thing is certain, while all these machinations are taking place we are losing important landmarks.

3. Good News about The Guild of All Arts
Donald Smith

At this point, I am optimistic that the Guild of All Arts is going to be revived. There is at least one good heritage bid for the redevelopment of the "hotel precinct" being brought forward and the community group, the Guild Advisory Committee, with representation from two local associations The Guildwood Village Community Association and the Guild Renaissance Group, will be hearing about this in the coming week. These citizens have heard a great deal about the heritage point of view and the role that the Guild could play in
the city and province as a significant cultural and natural heritage centre. And the Scarborough Preservation Panel has continuing contact with them.

Now they need the opportunity to consider bids themselves and sort out what kind of redevelopment plan is best for everyone. I believe that we can trust this group and Councillor Paul Ainslie to act as good stewards for this important resource, considering the needs of different groups both within and outside of the area surrounding the Guild.

Preservation Services has clarified that the heritage designations  still apply to buildings on the site with the exception of the 1965 hotel tower. I did make one pitch to a community group on its behalf, but it was evident there is virtually no support for saving it. And the Scarborough Preservation Panel has never proposed that it be designated. The City is planning to demolish the tower this fall.

On the other hand, there is interest in renovating the Bickford Residence, the core of the old Guild Inn building, a fine Arts and Crafts estate home built in 1914. Although it was a seven bedroom house with a full attic, H. Spencer Clark felt that it had to be expanded to create a country inn of reasonable size. Architecturally, the smaller home is clearly superior, and it is likely that there will be at least one bid which includes a plan to restore its abundant charm.

The councillor, Paul Ainslie has already indicated that the entire community will have the opportunity to hear the city's proposals for the "cultural precinct", the area of the gardens, forest, and buildings which surround the site of the country inn itself. Of course, decisions will have to be made about the "hotel precinct' first, and the Guild Advisory Committee will have input into that broader plan as it deals with the question of the old country inn.

If you think this all sounds complicated you are correct. This is a very complex and challenging site. But because much was learned about the possibilities and difficulties during the Westeinde/Soknacki round which led to the failure of the Windmill bid in 2006, and because a more knowledgeable, dedicated community has a greater role this time, through the Guild Advisory Committee,
the prospects of a successful and satisfying resolution to the Guild conundrum may be only a few months away.

Donald B Smith
416 438 5534

4. History Repeats itself at Fort York
Catherine Nasmith

View of Fort York from below, near the Bathurst Bridge
In 1905 the City planned to run a streetcar right through the middle of Fort York. It took 7 years for Toronto's citizens to achieve a partial victory over the plan. Even though several War of 1812 buildings would have been lost, the project advocates said more people would see the rest from the streetcar window.

 The streetcar was re-routed north of the fort, but not without cutting into the northern ramparts, which had been damaged by previous railway construction. The Gardiner Expressway skirting the south of the fort instead of going through it is another example of a partial citizen victory in the fights to preserve this National Historic Site.

Who would think that in 2008, just four year short of the bi-centennial of the War of 1812, this site with the largest collection of War of 1812 buildings in North America, would be threatened again by - not one, but two Toronto Transportation Commission projects. The first is a new streetcar line, the second is the proposed new Bathurst Street Bridge.

Ignoring serious objections from heritage staff at the City of Toronto and the Friends of Fort York, the preferred route for the new streetcar cuts across the National Historic Site. The alignment is under the Gardiner in a former railway cut, severing the site, interfering with the new access road to the fort and eliminating the only site appropriate for the proposed Fort York Visitor Centre.

No doubt the project will come with requisite fences and barriers to protect users of the parkland from the streetcars. Ironically, the staff report to the TTC board justified the project because of the precedent of other rail and streetcar routes that have already damaged the site.  In other words previous mistakes justify new ones?

When asked about the proposal at a recent press conference, Mayor David Miller said “there will be no street car across Fort York”. That message does not seem to have reached the TTC.

The second issue is the re-design of the Bathursts Bridge.

If the definition of a camel is a horse designed by a committee, then the Bathurst Street  bridge project is a camel with three or four humps. In spite of calls from the media to make this new civic intervention into the Fort Heritage Conservation District worthy of a great city and a National Historic Site, the project lumbers along with very little grace.

The TTC goal is to provide a separated right of way for the Bathurst streetcar that necessitates both widening the bridge to 100 feet and lowering the bridge to allow streetcars to turn onto Fort York Boulevard. The bridge will be both very wide and have minimal headroom underneath for anyone using the pedestrian and cycling paths that will connect the new park at the former mouth of Garrison Creek (east of Bathurst) to Fort York (west of Bathurst).

The park on the east side serves a new family oriented housing project and connects under the bridge to the rest of the Fort York site. The space below the bridge will be dark, with low headroom….a great place for trolls but not for children.

For years planning in the area has been trying to reconnect these two parts of the Fort York founding landscape. There is a terrific view of the fort from the east side, one of the few places where it is still possible to get a sense of the founding landscape of the fort.

The Bathurst Bridge project was before the City of Toronto Design Review Panel on June 26th. The panel members sent it back for further work.

As we move into the 21st century, and to celebrations of 200 years since the war of 1812, it is time to celebrate not compromise our historic places. 

Editor's Note:
I am on a consulting team with DTAH and Archeological Services Inc. involved in updating the Fort York Heritage Conservation District Plan. I was also one of the four founding members of the Friends of Fort York, along with Stephen Otto, Robert Allsopp, and Rollo Myers.

5. Lisa Rochon Wins RAIC Journalism Prize
Catherine Nasmith

Lisa Rochon, the architectural correspondent for the Globe and Mail and author of "Up North, Where Canada's Architecture Meets the Land", has won the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada's Journalism Prize.

Congratulations from Built Heritage News to Lisa!

6. Built Heritage News Editor Awarded Fellowship in Royal Architectural Institute of Canada
Catherine Nasmith

In a ceremony last week in Fredericton, I was made member of the College of Fellows of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. The citation mentioned volunteer work in advancing architectural culture, including her work as editor of Built Heritage News, as President of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, Chair of the Gardiner Lakeshore Task Force, and  the Main Streets Advocacy Group.

I am deeply grateful to the members of the College of Fellows for this honour and to colleagues in the Order who organized the nomination.

This was my first trip to Fredericton, but I'll be back.

7. Pierre Belanger Win Pix de Rome

Pierre Belanger has won the prestigious Priz de Rome. The $50,000.00 prize is awarded annually to a budding Canadian architect or firm. Belanger is a professor at U of T.

8. Hamilton Spectator: Whew Lister Deal back
Andrew Dreschel

Hamilton has a new way to spell relief

LIUNA blinked. Mayor Fred Eisenberger got the win he so desperately needed. The blighted corner at James North and King William is finally going to get a facelift. And Hamilton has a new way to spell relief: L-I-S-T-E-R. Now let's keep our fingers crossed that the terms and timelines of the last-minute deal are all met and that on March 31, 2012, the city will occupy the reborn Lister Block as planned.

Click here for Link

9. Hamilton Spectator: Determination revives Lister deal
Nicole Macintyre

The deal was dead. LIUNA told the city over and over that council had killed the deal to save the Lister Block. Vice-president Joe Mancinelli repeated the message to the mayor when he called last Thursday to ask if the project could be saved. Then Fred Eisenberger called again. And again. And again, until Mancinelli said his anger at council cooled and his business sense took over. By Monday morning, just in time to save a $7-million provincial grant, LIUNA and partner Hi-Rise did what they vowed they wouldn't do: They conceded to council's conditions and signed the $25-million deal that means a renovated Lister by 2012.

Click here for Link

10. Canadian Architect: At 50 Years Old, The Recently Restored And Renovated Beaver Lake Pavilion In Montreal's Mount Royal Park Has Found A New Lease On Life.


Without question an early Canadian masterpiece of modern architecture, this glass pavilion--with its distinctive silhouette and colourful murals, was designed by architects Hazen Sise and Guy Desbarats not long before they founded--with fiveothers--the architectural co-operative known as ARCOP. A preliminary sketch was featured in the very first issue of The Canadian Architect in December 1955, and the completed building was covered by the same magazine exactly three years later. In 1957, the RAIC Journal identified the pavilion as one of several park structures built by the City of Montreal in an era when "beauty for recreation" was the motto for the city's parks department and "leisure in the age of automation" was a priority for municipalities across North America.

Click here for Link

11. Canada's oldest tollkeeper cottage opens in T.O.

What's thought to be the country's oldest surviving tollkeeper cottage will open to the public as a museum in Toronto on Canada Day. The 175-year-old structure is a small three-room cottage that sits at the corner of Davenport Road and Bathurst Street. It was home to the tollkeeper and his family when Davenport was used as a toll road in the early 1800s, according to the Community History Project (CHP).

Click here for Link

12. Toronto Star: Gardiner Dismantling
Christopher Hume

Civic cowardice fuelling backward Gardiner plan

The car isn't about to disappear from Toronto, but that doesn't mean the Gardiner Expressway shouldn't.

Which is why plans released recently by Waterfront Toronto, which call for the elevated highway to be torn down between Jarvis St. and the Don Valley Parkway, disappoint.

No disagreement that removing any part of the Gardiner is entirely desirable, but focusing on the stretch east of Jarvis misses the point. The argument, of course, is that the expressway serves as an obstacle that separates the city from the waterfront. That's exactly why the critical stretch of the Gardiner, the length that must be demolished, runs from Spadina in the west to Jarvis and beyond. That's where most of the major north/south streets are located, including Yonge, Bay, York as well as Spadina and Jarvis. These are the arteries that carry most of us to the water's edge.

This is also the area where land values would increase most dramatically were the Gardiner to go. In other words, here's where the money would be made to pay the cost of the project.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:Interesting he picks Spadina as the starting about getting rid of the monster that looms over Fort York! Start at Dufferin, where it starts to rise. then there is the obstacle between Parkdale and the waterfront...and Etobicoke and the waterfront..... One of my past lives was co-chair of the Gardiner Lakeshore Task Force, for since 1985 we instigated schemes and reviewed schemes by others. To solve the problem Toronto simply has to commit to fewer cars downtown, all schemes that try to relocate or rearrange the same number are just moving the ugliness around.

13. Toronto Star: Firetrucks out of scale with urban streets
Christopher Hume

Super-sized fire trucks a poor fit for city streets

Who would have thought that fire trucks would turn out to be such a burning issue, especially among firefighters?

The fact is some worry they won't be able to do their job properly because their vehicles are too large to negotiate many city streets.

"I've been a Toronto firefighter for almost 20 years," says one professional, who asked that his name not be used. "I've responded to fires in the past where we had to leave the truck down the street and run to the fire by foot because we couldn't make the turn."

Former Toronto fire chief (1993-98) Peter Ferguson was so concerned about the situation he commissioned a Canadian manufacturer to make two smaller, European-style fire trucks more than a decade ago. Though he retired before they were delivered, he makes it clear one of the main opponents to downsizing was the union.

"They said the cab wasn't big enough," he recalls. He also says the union worried that smaller trucks meant smaller crews. That was not the case, Ferguson insists.

"The big issue was the union's position but that wasn't the only one. The majority of calls to the fire department today are medical. My idea was to put a paramedic on every truck. But that didn't go anywhere. To them I was a radical."

Yet to most of us, smaller trucks and paramedics sound like excellent ideas. When you look at how other fire departments around the globe work, both seem essential.

"Smaller trucks do exist!" argues the anonymous firefighter. "Toronto failed 10 years ago when they tried to make their own `European-style' pumpers. They weren't designed right and were very dangerous to drive and operate. They were sold cheap to some Caribbean fire department and were never put into service here in Toronto.

Click here for Link

Christopher Hume

Restraint left twisting in the wind

'When size no longer matters, what's left but motion?'

Architects have always wanted to move us with their work. Now they can, whether we like it or not.

The Dynamic Architecture Group, a design firm headed by Italian architect David Fisher, claims it has figured out how to design buildings that actually move. The company has done a building for Dubai – where else? – and says it's doing another in Moscow and, it hopes, New York.

Videos released last week show an 80-storey .....

Click here for Link

15. Globe and Mail: Death Notice

McCALLUM, Alistair James, Bachelor of Architecture 1974, University of Toronto

It is with heartbreaking sadness that we announce the death of Alistair James McCallum on Tuesday, July 1, 2008 after a courageous struggle with Ewing's sarcoma. 

Click here for Link

16. Globe and Mail: Transfer of Victoria Memorial Square to City of Toronto

Cabinet approval puts Toronto closer to ownership of military cemetery

from City of Toronto virtual exhibition on Victoria Square

OTTAWA -- It has taken more than 100 years, but one of the most unusual cabinet orders in Canada's history is set to put the inhabitants of a Toronto cemetery finally at peace.

The Harper cabinet recently approved an order-in-council that removed the final roadblock preventing the transfer of ownership for an 18th-century military cemetery in Victoria Memorial Park to the City of Toronto.

Cabinet agreed, in the words of the order passed May 29, that the property is "no longer necessary for the defence of Canada."

The remains of more than 400 people are buried under the park's grass, sidewalks and a memorial statue honouring British and Canadian military deaths during the War of 1812, according to local and federal histories....

Click here for Link

17. City of Toronto: Victoria Memorial Square

Virtual Exhibit

Statue by Walter Allward

Wealth of very interesting material on the history and who is buried at Victoria Memorial Square.

Click here for Link

18. Globe and Mail: Cosmopolitan adaptation of Toronto Public Spaces

Development needs to reflect new social fabric

Ethnic groups are coming up with unique uses for public spaces, says the curator of a new design exhibit

The poor suburbs!

For generations, Hollywood and the "snobocracy" have portrayed North American suburbia as so much mass-produced alienation and white-bread conformism. A newer fable, reinforced by lurid news reports in the media, has it that whole swatches of suburbia are infested by violent gangs. Though these visions are obviously at odds with one another, they have nevertheless combined to give rise to a popular notion of suburbia as toxic and inhuman.

Seen against this background of long-standing prejudice, the exhibition entitled "Fringe Benefits: Cosmopolitan Dynamics of a Multicultural City," opening at the Design Exchange next Wednesday, promises to be a myth-buster.

This show will use photography, video, maps and art to argue that the burgeoning towns and neighbourhoods around downtown Toronto are bustling with cultural and social vitality. Millions of new immigrants are reshaping suburbia to suit themselves, with results that are surprising and often inspiring.

Click here for Link

19. New 11 Division headquarters to proceed at Carleton Village site

The old Carleton Village Public School site will get some respect as a historically-significant building - but it won't be much more than acknowledgement, as Toronto Police Services replaces the derelict school with the new 11 Division headquarters. That was the decision out of Toronto Council Tuesday, June 24, which councillors arrived at after trying to balance the need to build a new community police station at the Davenport Road location against the historic significance of the Edwardian-era building itself. Planning staff had assessed the site at 2054 Davenport Road and determined it ought to be listed as a heritage property. Doing so would guarantee that a good portion of the building's features would be retained in any redevelopment. But it would also add about $7 million on to the $33 million capital cost of redeveloping the site and the costs could climb even higher. Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair told council that he would be reluctant to recommend going ahead with the new station on that basis.

Click here for Link

20. Innisfil Scope: Heritage subdivision being explored
Chris Simon

Innisfil could be getting a place to preserve its heritage. Town council has asked staff to investigate the feasibility of creating a heritage subdivision within the municipality. If approved, the subdivision would be used for the preservation and conservation of buildings that cannot be left on their original sites. "This is a motion put forward to look at the feasibility of establishing a heritage subdivision in the town,"said councillor Lynn Dollin. The request was made after two century homes were demolished in Innisfil over the last few months. In May, the Roderick McConkey homestead, a 150-year-old, 10-room stone house located near the Innisfil Beach Road and 20th Sideroad intersection was destroyed. One month earlier, the nearby Ness-Adair century farmhouse met the wrecking ball.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:A barely better than nothing approach to heritage. Innisfill is very foolish to be so fast and loose with its heritage building stock, Barrie and area is rapidly becoming a massive blandscape that could be anywhere. The communities that build on their heritage will be the winners in the long run. Rapid growth does not have to translate into vast acres of ugliness.

21. More bad news from St. Thomas: Registry Building at Risk
Jackie Gill

Registry pulling out

The current land registry office on Wellington Street, St. Thomas

Quitting historic site at courthouse for strip mall

Elgin County Courthouse landowner Shmuel Farhi is looking at another endangered heritage building after the Ontario Realty Corporation opted to move the Elgin County Land Registry Office from the courthouse square on Wellington Street to a strip mall on Talbot Street.

The office will move when its lease expires on Dec. 31, but Farhi says he was given little warning and no explanation why the move from the heritage property, where the office has stood since 1874, is necessary.

"I think it's a disgrace," said Farhi, who first heard about the move three days ago. "I have many questions I ask ... but I have no answers."

Farhi said he was never approached by the tenant to add or change any facilities on the site before receiving news of his vacating tenant.

"Nobody asks us to do nothing. Nobody asks us to modify, to add to any bathrooms, washrooms, whatever it is," he said. "Why nobody say to us,

'Mr. Farhi, can you do A, B and C?'"

The ORC, which manages leases for the Ontario government, reviewed options in the area and found the new location better suits the registry's needs in terms of accessibility, public access and storage, said ORC spokesman Bill Moore.

"Historically they've had walls and walls of maps and giant tables," he said. But because the registry office is putting more files into electronic form, it no longer requires so much space for storage and use.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:The Ontario government must adopt a heritage first policy for all government operations. One wonders what was the reason for selling off the courthouse and registry buildings in the first place. Hard to understand how there is any cost benefit in selling valuable public property to become tenants. If this was good economic planning no one would ever buy their own home. The other thing that springs to mind is the foolishness of getting rid of original documents. When microfiche was the latest technology many original architect's drawings were destroyed by the City of Toronto, a huge loss. While there is no doubt that electronic information is much easier to access the original documents need to be preserved for future generations.

22. St. Thomas: Sutherland Building gets Reprieve from Town Demolition Order
Jackie Gill

Terms set for repairs

Preliminary work is to begin today

The owner of the Sutherland Press building must pay a security deposit by July 2 and apply for a building permit within two weeks if he plans to keep the building standing, a Superior Court justice determined Monday.

David McGee, who owns the building, says he hired a drafting firm as soon as court was over and that work will begin today, after Justice Helen A. Rady, in the Superior Court of Justice in London, granted an adjournment until July 14.

"I'm glad the building's not going to be coming down, which is why I've been here all along," said McGee. "You can't do it any faster than that."

The decision came after lawyers were deadlocked for almost five hours over the conditions of the adjournment, such as its length, the deadline for permit paperwork and whether a refundable security deposit should be given to the city as insurance that repair work will be done on the building. Those matters went to Rady for a decision.

"There is competing information about relative safety," said Rady. "My granting an adjournment is not a criticism on the city."

The 20-day adjournment follows a court injunction obtained by McGee after he ordered a second engineering report on the building which found it could be repaired and is not a danger to traffic on Talbot Street.

And giving McGee time to complete remedial work would save money all around, said his lawyer, Peter Sengbusch.

"The demolition alone would cost the city," he said, adding that his client has a $100,000 mortgage on the property, and that demolition would mean losing the building forever.

Click here for Link

23. Help Wanted - Heritage Planner for Windsor Ontario
City of Windsor

Heritage Planner Position

After more than a year since the retirement of the previous Heritage Planner, and several black eyes, the City of Windsor has finally posted the opening for the vacant heritage planner position. The posting closes July 10th.

Click here for Link

24. The Hamilton Spectator: Battle for 'intensification' over heritage
Joan Little

"Intensification" versus heritage: The issue is playing out in Burlington again. Land use planning rules change constantly in response to current issues. Changes in 2005 to the Ontario Heritage Act enable municipalities to determine whether to pursue heritage designation on buildings listed as significant, and delay demolition permits while they do. (Burlington has a public list of such buildings.)

Click here for Link

25. London Free Press: Historic land office vacated for strip mall spot - Owner Shmuel Farhi is worried about building's fate

St. Thomas Registry Office

ST. THOMAS -- Shmuel Farhi says he's worried about the fate of another endangered heritage building after the Land Registry Office on Wellington Street was moved to to a strip mall on Talbot Street. "I think it's the beginning of an end to heritage preservation in St. Thomas and in Elgin County," said Farhi, London's biggest downtown landlord, who also owns the courthouse here. The office will move from the courthouse square when its lease expires on Dec. 31, but Farhi says he was given little warning and no explanation why the move from the heritage property, where the office has stood since 1874, is necessary.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:Where would you rather work, here or in a strip mall?

26. Edmonton Journal: Derelict barn may hold bits of original fort
Gordon Kent

Heritage group investigating claim made about former John Walter property

EDMONTON - Chance information has led heritage planners to an old barn, slated for demolition, that may have been built using long-lost timbers from the last Fort Edmonton. The hip-roofed barn near 41st Avenue and 94th Street SW is on farmland once owned by pioneer millionaire John Walter, whose business empire was wiped out by the big 1915 flood of the North Saskatchewan River. The property was bought by the city from Walter's descendants last summer for a future industrial park.

Click here for Link

27. Victoria Times Colonist: City backs away from declaring Janion a heritage property
Rob Shaw

The City of Victoria blinked first in its standoff against Janion property owner Clara Kramer late Thursday night, opting not to designate the ornate old building as a heritage property. Instead, city council voted to extend a protection order that will prevent demolition of the Janion building until Feb. 13, 2009, in the hopes Kramer might sell it to someone interested in restoration. Mayor Alan Lowe said the decision was based on a legal opinion that Kramer would undoubtedly take the city to court if it tried to designate the Janion as a heritage property against her will. A heritage designation would protect the former waterfront hotel, built in the late 1800s on Store Street near Pandora Avenue, from being destroyed. The old brick building remains a symbol of architecture and design from the city's earliest days, despite an outward appearance of decay.

Click here for Link

28. St. Catharines Standard: Heritage House to Stay Put
Marlene Bergsma

Heritage committee flip-flop sparks another Port Dalhousie controversy

A flip-flop by a St. Catharines heritage committee has a team of local developers fuming. At its May meeting, the Port Dalhousie Heritage District Advisory Committee agreed a heritage house on Main Street could be moved diagonally across the street to a vacant lot. Last week, the committee reversed its decision, and is now recommending the house stay.

Click here for Link

29. Thunder Bay Loss in Thunder Bay

Graham Livery Stable to be demolished

A familiar Thunder Bay landmark that provided an important service to a by-gone era, is slated for demolition. The Graham Livery Stable at 220 Cooke Street is expected to come down shortly and photographs will soon be the only record of the building that was erected in 1903. From the City Web Site the following Info. Constructed: 1903 Contractor: D.A. Pilla Address: 220 Cooke Street Grahams Livery StableThis building was made with rough cut stone said to have been blasted from the site, and was originally built as a livery stable for Joseph Graham. Mr Grahams motto was "first class speedy drivers for special turnouts and commercial driving." The stone forms a false front which, along with the parapet above, conceals a sloping roof. The building has been used as a stable, a dry cleaners and laundry, and as a warehouse.

Click here for Link

30. Halifax Chronicle Herald: Tall order for downtown Halifax - 22-storey tower one of two proposed office projects

The Toronto architectural firm Zeidler Partnership Architects designed the flatiron-inspired building

The Halifax streetscape could look very different in a few years if two significant office building projects announced this week come to fruition. ECL Developments, a subsidiary of Sobey-controlled Empire Co. Ltd., released plans Wednesday for a 22-storey office tower at the north end of the Granville Mall. The announcement came just hours after developer Louis Resnick said he will be unveiling plans for a 16-storey office building for his Barrington Street Roy Building early next week. Donald Clow, president of ECL, said the company has had the right to develop the "triangle property" for more than 20 years, but until recently the economics for development were not in place.

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31. Globe and Mail: Density Bonuses for Heritage in Vancouver

DEVELOPMENT - Paying the price for heritage - Vancouver's wildly successful restoration program raises questions about trade in 'density bonuses'

VANCOUVER -- Robert Fung is the most active player in Vancouver's hugely successful heritage restoration program, undertaking six of 25 buildings that have been saved in the past five years. He spearheaded multimillion-dollar projects on the promise of incentives from city hall intended to help pay extra costs associated with preserving the city's history. But Mr. Fung now suspects the city may have a memory problem, forgetting its commitments to those who took risks on heritage restoration.

Click here for Link

32. Globe and Mail: Philadelphia's Center City District
Dave LeBlanc

A feast for the feet

One of the earliest planned suburban streets was built in this Philadelphia neighbourhood — back in 1854

PHILADELPHIA — Walkability. Sometimes it's planned in cities but more often than not it's something that evolves organically over time. These days, it's always on the lips of urban planners and aficionados.

Most North American cities have walkable neighbourhoods in their cores; a few lucky ones have suburban areas fit for the flâneur. Architectural pundits may run me out of town on a rail for suggesting this, but I've always thought that our own Don Mills, planned by Macklin Hancock as a "new town" in the early 1950s, is as flâneur-friendly as the Annex or Cabbagetown.

Last month, I visited Philadelphia, a city whose Center City district is famous for its walkability. Having never been to the City of Brotherly Love before, I was pleasantly surprised (and am happy to report it rather appropriately on the Fourth of July) to find that Chestnut Hill — an affluent community hugging Philly's northern border — is also a feast for the feet.

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33. New York Times: Buckminster Fuller - Fixing Earth One Dome at a Time

Cold war culture has been back in style for a while now, at least in architecture circles. The clarity of its Manichaean worldview, in which everyone seemed to know who the bad guys were, is a comforting refuge from our current ideological confusion. And the era's brooding architectural monuments look pretty good compared with the Disney-inspired visual noise that has invaded so many American cities. So"Buckminster Fuller: Starting With the Universe," a timely new exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, is likely to stir waves of nostalgia.

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35. What Happened to Parkin's GM Administration Building, St. Catharines
Adam Sobolak

I Just noticed yesterday on a drive to Niagara--the administration building for General Motors' St. Catharines operations, which had been located in front of the Glendale Avenue GM plant E of the Welland Canal, was gone. Worth noting because it was by Parkin, contemporary to Bata and similar in 60s suburban-corporate-HQ idiom a la SOM/Saarinen (this time, a dark glass pavilion floating above a stone-faced berm); in fact, something of an unsung classic. If it were in a conspicuous Toronto location like Bata, rather than in the industrialized canal-zone periphery of St. Catharines, it might have been much better known--it's certainly noteworthy that by contrast with all the hoopla over Bata's demolition, the GM building vanished virtually without note from either architectural or heritage afficionados. I'd like to know when it was demolished, presumably in connection with GM's St. Catharines recent cutbacks and rationalizations.

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36. Can You Help Rescue this Window?
Catherine Nasmith

A small number of email correspondents  have been musing about whether or not it would be possible to save this window, which is at 719 Yonge Street.

The two storey steel window and stone surround are unusual and it is surprising that they are not being included in the design of the new condominium tower that will rise on the site at Yonge and Bloor.

A small group of people that includes a volunteer glazier, John Wilcox and stonemason Gus Butterfield have offered to assist in removing the window, but we need some funds to cover costs. We have permission to take the window, but must do it in the next two weeks.

Do any readers know who designed this rather interesting and very well built building?

Do any of you have suggestions on a location where it could be re-installed immediately, or stored for future use?

Please email Catherine Nasmith if you can help.