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Issue No. 133 | December 14, 2008


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Feature Stories

  1. Culture Minister Refuses to Intervene to Stop Demolition in Ridgetown
  2. Statement in the Legislature Regarding Erie Street United Church
  3. Heritage Conservation Network
  4. New York Times: Calling for Reform in Landmark Commission


Urban Intensification and Heritage Planning
Thursday January 15, 2009
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Relaunched Venice Course on Stone Conservation

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1. Culture Minister Refuses to Intervene to Stop Demolition in Ridgetown
Catherine Namith

Marlee Robinson got some pretty bad news this week. Marlee has been trying to find ways to head off the imminent demolition of the Erie Street United Church in Ridgetown.

On Tuesday she learned that the Minister of Culture, Aileen Carroll had decided not to issue a stop order to countermand the demolition permit for Erie Street United Church in Ridgetown that has been issued by the Chief Building Official in Chatham Kent. It's not a very Christmassy story.

Marlee spent the night writing to every journalist in her area, hoping desperately that her efforts to find an alternative use for the structure and investors to make it happen would be given time to come to fruition before the building comes down.
Ministry of Culture and Ontario Heritage Trust staff have also been scrambling to put together the case for the Minister that she should intervene here, and it is quite a case.

It turns out that not only was the building designed by Langley Langley and Burke, with the drawings penned by none other than Henry Langley himself, but the Clerk of Works for the project was W.G. Malcolmson, who also built several other structures in Ridgetown before leaving to found became a very important Detroit firm, Malcolmson and Higginbotham. Several of their buildings are on the U. S. National Register of Historic structures. The Ridgetown church, along with several others in the community represent the key early work of an important American architect, who also was a Fellow of the AIA, and President in 1916-17.

Much of what you just read was put together in the last week coming from several different directions. A building important to both U.S. and Canada….but not considered important enough to warrant the intervention of our current Ontario Minister of Culture.

The note from Ministry staff was painful in its brevity. “I am writing to say that efforts to secure a voluntary pause in demolition have not been successful. Concerning the ACO's request to the Minister to issue a stop order, I am authorized to inform you that a stop order will not be issued.” The explanation may follow in a promised letter, but we will never know what was discussed in confidential negotiations between Ministry staff, the CBO and the congregation.

So how does such an important building end up with a demolition order on it. Read on.

The building was designated by the former town of Ridgetown, now amalgamated into larger municipality of Chatham-Kent. Post 2005, the designation was updated to conform with the new Heritage Act. The municipality was clearly serious about saving this church.

However, the local congregation, faced with restoration costs of the order of 1 million, opted to build a new church and put this one on the market. Their requests to de-designate the church so they could apply for demolition were declined by Council until an engineering report done by local engineers Todgeham and Case became the kiss of death. The two most pressing concerns were weakness in the spire, and roof connections. Because of these concerns the CBO issued an unsafe building order and a demolition permit, actions endorsed last week by Chatham-Kent Council.

In the panic that ensued, ACO President wrote to the Minister of Culture to issue a stop order in order to find time to locate another purchaser. A million dollars may seem like a lot, but it would not replace the modern addition on the back, let alone the majestic main building. There is a need for a new local library in Ridgetown. Other groups are looking for gallery space, exhibition space and other community space. But alas, before any discussion can take place on how to reuse the building it will be gone.

To support their request, ACO was asked by Ministry staff to find counter evidence to the church’s engineering reports. Michael McLelland of ERA had already written an ACO Preservation Works report to the effect that the building was not in any immediate danger and in fact was in relatively good condition for its age. In just over one business day, two other highly experienced engineers, Steve Adema of Tacoma Engineering in Guelph, and Pieter Chung, P. Eng, and principal in Roof Tile Management, peer reviewed all the reports and both agreed the building was  repairable and demolition was not warranted by the building's condition. But by the time those opinions were offered the Minister had declined to intervene.

On Friday Ontario Heritage Trust consultants recorded the exterior, but were prevented by the CBO from going inside. The hoardings are up, the pews are being removed as well as the stained glass windows.

Marlee Robinson and other local supporters have been working to put in an offer to purchase on the building, conditional on stopping the demolition. Preliminary discussions with local representatives of Ontario MInistry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs suggest that if the property were rehabilitated for cultural purposes that the Ministry might be able to provide matching funding up to 1 million. There are people in the community prepared to invest. Brown and Storey Architects have offered preliminary design services on a pro bono basis to get things started. There are lots of ideas, and lots of potential resources. What is needed is time to put it all together. That is running out.

By declining to intervene here, the Minister has all but swung the wrecking ball herself.

The only hope now is that the congregation and the CBO may be persuaded to postpone demolition to give time to put together a counter offer. Robinson has been working all avenues to find a purchaser willing to keep the building. Maybe there will be a Christmas miracle after all.

What gets lost in discussions about restoration costs is that even when the total sum seems daunting, repairs can occur a little at a time as donations are received and funds are raised. And while that goes on the building can continue to serve its community for far longer than any modern building.

If you can help, contact Marlee Robinson <>. 519 631 1595


Editor's Note:
I have been closely involved in this file as ACO President. I am hoping that the local community will pull the rabbit out of the hat.

2. Statement in the Legislature Regarding Erie Street United Church
Peter Tabuns, NDP Culture Critic

Marlee Robinson

From Hansard, Wednesday, December 10, 2009


Mr. Peter Tabuns: Today I was contacted by the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario and told that another piece of Ontario's heritage, the Erie Street United Church, dating from 1876, located in Ridgetown, Ontario, is going to be demolished. Once again, the Minister of Culture has failed in her responsibility to protect Ontario's heritage.

The Architectural Conservancy of Ontario requested that she issue a stop order to save this Henry Langley church, designated by the municipality. Ministry staff were in contact with the chief building officer and the local congregation and managed to negotiate a two-day pause but couldn't get a voluntary agreement to stop.

The congregation can't afford to maintain the building; it needs about $1 million in repairs. But as one of the engineer's reports said, the building would last another 300 years if it had been maintained. The chief building officer was persuaded to issue a demolition order. The minister had the power-and a request-to issue a stop on that. She didn't.

We lost Alma College in St. Thomas-lost to fire-after the minister refused to act. At the rate the minister is going, we'll see an awful lot more buildings lost in this province.

3. Heritage Canada Foundation Announces Theme for Heritage Day 2009: Heritage and the Environment: Saving Places Built to Last
Heritage Canada Press Release

Ottawa, ON, December 3, 2008 – Reduce, reuse, recycle – Heritage Day 2009 is an opportunity for Canadian communities to celebrate the numerous environmental benefits achieved from the rehabilitation of heritage properties. HCF promotes the third Monday in February each year as Heritage Day and has long advocated adopting this date as a national holiday.

This year, HCF is celebrating Heritage and the Environment: Saving Places Built to Last. A number of useful resources are now available online to assist communities to develop a program around this theme—whether it is to celebrate the inherently green credentials of historic buildings, highlight how they have been upgraded to more environmentally friendly standards, or to offer information on how to “green” heritage buildings.

Visit HCF’s website to access these heritage resources.

HCF will continue to celebrate the Heritage 2009 theme when we host our annual conference, The Heritage Imperative: Old Buildings in an Age of Environmental Crisis, in Toronto this coming September. Join us in finding out how old buildings have answers for the biggest questions of our generation.

4. Chatham Daily News: Community Fights to save Ridgetown Church
Trevor Terfloth

Group hopes to save church

courtesy Chatham Daily News


A provincial organization with an interest in at-risk buildings hopes to save Ridgetown's Erie Street United Church.

The Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (ACO) has listed the 132-year-old structure on its website, discussing its architectural and historical significance.

Chatham-Kent council approved a demolition order last week.

Church representatives have maintained the building's structural flaws are too costly to repair, with estimates totaling more than $1 million.

ACO manager Rollo Myers believes it would be a disappointment to lose the church, saying there are other potential uses, such as a library.

"It would be a real shame if someone couldn't see the merits of keeping the building," he said. "It needs some work just like any old building -- but if you just keep tearing down buildings . . . pretty soon you won't have much left.

"Then why would anyone come and visit your town?"

The organization lobbies the provincial government to step in to save buildings with an architectural significance.

Rollo admitted congregations may find themselves in a tough spot with smaller numbers and older buildings.

However, he said if communities pull together, they can save notable structures.

"It's a tough problem and it's a problem across the country," he said.

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Marlee Robinson, of Morpeth, has joined with several other citizens concerned with the church's future.

She said with just a little more time, investors could probably save it.

"The potential is there for cultural tourism to come to Ridgetown," she said.

Robinson said the issue is an emotional one for her and others in the community.

"They already have people inside taking things down," she said. "They're talking about taking the steeple off (today) or Saturday."

A congregation spokesman couldn't be reached for comment yesterday.

East Kent Coun. Jim Brown said he hasn't heard much from constituents on the issue.

While he said no one wants to see the building demolished, he said the congregation has done everything in its power to preserve it.

"Do we want to see it come down? Absolutely not," he said. "But nobody stepped forward."

Brown said all options were exhausted and stressed it's not as if the issue is new.

However, with many other aging buildings in the municipality, he believes the debate will continue.

"Even in Ridgetown alone, this is not going to be the end of this," he said. "This is far from being the only item that we're going to be dealing with in the next few years, especially with churches."

Click here for Link

5. Chatham Daily News: Henry Langley Church, Ridgetown
Bob Boughner

New hope to save Ridgetown church

RIDGETOWN - An 11th hour offer that could save a 140-year-old landmark from the wrecking ball could come as early as Monday.

Marlee Robinson, a Morpeth-area resident leading the charge to save Erie Street United Church, said a local real estate agent was drawing up an offer to purchase Sunday.

The agent, Sheila Young, told The Daily News Sunday afternoon she was awaiting a signature on the offer.

“It’s all pretty preliminary at this point,’’ she said. “There is no offer until there is a signature.’’

According to Robinson, there is growing support in the community to preserve the church.

“Three people at a party I attended Saturday night offered to assist financially in buying the church,’’ she said.

Robinson said phone lines were “burning up’’ in the Ridgetown area throughout the weekend by people trying to raise cash.

She said that although demolition of the church hasn’t started, the church pews have been removed along with some stained glass windows.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:I have been closely involved in this over the past two weeks as ACO President. It is very discouraging to have the Minister decline to help.

6. Owen Sound Sun Times: St. George's Tower
Denis Langlois

Church seeks help with tower repairs

Landmark at St. George's needs work

The landmark tower of St. George's Anglican Church could collapse if it isn't repaired within a year.

Nancy King, chairwoman of a committee raising funds for the tower restoration, said the work will cost about $150,000. The limestone tower holds up the church's showpiece green steeple.

"The tower is integral to the building. If the tower falls down . . . the whole church could be lost," King said.

John Hull, a member of the capital campaign committee, said Mississauga's Roof Tile Management has been hired to do the repairs. The company has worked on the Canadian Parliament buildings and several Toronto landmarks.

Hull said the mortar that bonds the tower's limestone blocks is crumbling and the tower is in desperate need of repointing. Key joints in the tower also need to be repaired.

King said Roof Tile Management will begin work in April, although fundraising will not be complete.

The project is too expensive for the congregation to finance on its own. Just
erecting the scaffolding to the top of the tower will cost about $30,000 and take several days, Hull said.

Some fundraisers are planned, but the church is appealing to the community for help.

Built in 1881, the church at Owen Sound's Salvation Corners was fashioned after the famous St. Mary's of Bristol, England. From the air, the church looks like a crucifix, a typical early Victorian Gothic Revival style.

After a structural inspection in 2006, King said church officials learned the tower could only survive another two years, maximum.

"If it's not done this year (2009), we have no guarantee it won't collapse," she said. "It's a really critical situation."

King said she hopes the church's historical significance and its importance to local residents will encourage the public to support
the restoration fundraiser.

"It's a beautiful, beautiful building and it's definitely an important building to preserve," she said.

The tower work is the first part of a larger restoration project for the church. The steeple will also require work and the entire church roof needs to be replaced.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:Wow, that is quite a spire!

7. Globe and Mail: New Book on Dufferin/St. Clair Neighbourhood
Dave LeBlanc

New awareness of local history stirs pride

Since publishing St. Clair West in Pictures, author notes residents who walk a little taller.

Despite the silly headphones with animal faces painted on them, the little girl's gaze is steely, serious. As she stares at the library computer screen, her tiny hand gripping the mouse, Little Red Riding Hood confronts the Big Bad Wolf in the mural above her.

In another part of the Dufferin/St. Clair library — the newly minted Earlscourt Room — a man at least eight decades the girl's senior conducts studies of his own. Alan Shaw steadies a magnifying glass over a book on local history, even though he's lived in the same neighbourhood his entire life and probably knows more than the author.

The main room is buzzing as well. There are at least as many people reading or surfing the 'net as there are populating its colourful murals, perhaps more. In the month since extensive renovations by Makrimichalos Cugini Architects were unveiled, this is, once again, the living room of the community.


Click here for Link

8. Globe and Mail: Archaeology at the Grange
Sarah Milroy


The Grange circa 1908, Ontario Archives I0021929

Strangeness at the Grange

A ruling-class family. An obsessive maidservant. A butler who, it seems, missed nothing. Sarah Milroy ponders an eerie unearthing currently under way at the 19th-century mansion affixed to the Art Gallery of Ontario

You need to know that this story is designed to confound you. It's a story that may or may not be true. Believe me. Or don't believe me. It's up to you.

It's the kind of tale that must be told just so: as a candlelit bedtime story by Borges, a thriller penned by Nabokov, a mysterious narrative with a hole at the core, stuffed with a deer bone and a braid of human hair.

There. Do I have your full attention? Now, you must do as I tell you. You must go to the Grange.

Yes, the Grange: that fusty, ivy-clad, colonial genuflection of a house appended to the southern flank of the Art Gallery of Ontario, that architectural full curtsey, in bricks and mortar, to the dream of British gentility transplanted to the swampy fens and gorse thickets of Tkaronto (which translates, from Mohawk, as "the place where there are trees standing in the water," named for its fishing weirs), that house impregnated with the DNA of one of Ontario's crustiest founding families (the Boultons and their kin), that tiny acorn from which has fluoresced the Dundas and McCaul nexus of the new Toronto art scene. It is a place hovered over (at least principally) by Toronto's fine ladies of a certain age, some of them no doubt descended from those ladies of 19th-century Ontario's elite, ladies who ordered up murderous raccoon pies for dinner and sent away to England for their linens. Go to that place.

And when you do, you will find some strangeness there. Tours are being offered throughout the day, and that is a bit surprising - odd even, when you think of it - given that the Grange is, well, a bit deranged of late. Yes. The Grange has been deranged, excavated, its plaster and lathe rudely stripped (here and there), its foundations breached, its secrets despoiled, by visitors from Anthropological Services Ontario.

They are searching, it seems, for the hidden handiwork of one Irish servant girl from Kilkenny by the name of Mary O'Shea, who came to Canada, settling at the Grange in 1828 and staying until 1857, her family lost to the famine across the sea. A tour guide told me this story and I had no reason to disbelieve it.

Click here for Link

9. Hamilton Spectator: Call off City Hall renovation, Bratina says
Nicole Macintyre

Downtown Councillor Bob Bratina wants to reopen the City Hall renovation debate -- again. With the economic crisis growing, Bratina believes council could save taxpayers millions if it cancelled the $74-million renovation of City Hall and sold the property.

By his own calculation, Bratina estimates the renovation will cost the city nearly $150 million to finance over the next 20 years. Staying at the City Centre in a lease-to-own deal would only cost upwards of $60 million, he said.

Click here for Link

10. Hamilton Spectator: Who wants the beast of John North?
Paul Wilson

1878-79 Treble Hall

It used to be the beauty of John Street North. Now it's the beast. Treble Hall was born beautiful, 130 years ago. Bold Renaissance Revival features, it commanded the stretch of John between King and King William. It still looms large. But now it's dark, empty, forbidding.
It needn't have been this way. A Toronto man named Abe Wertman has owned Treble Hall some 50 years. He's put little into it. Wishes he'd never bought it.

Editor's Note: This stunning 1878-79 building designed by the prominent Hamilton based architect James Balfour (remember the late Alma College) ought to have been designated years ago. Because the City of Hamilton elected not to grandfather the existing Inventory into the new Register of Buildings of Architectural and/or Historical Interest required by the amended Ontario Heritage Act, this building has no protection whatsoever! Let us hope that there is not another repeat like the loss of the pre-Confederation building demolished by St. Joseph's Healthcare at 225 James Street South last year.

see also:


Click here for Link

11. Burlington Post: Freeman station needs permanent home NOW
Jason Misner

The historic Freeman train station desperately needs a permanent home as it faces the ravages of another winter season without heat, says the past chair of Heritage Burlington. Les Armstrong urged politicians at a recent committee meeting to select a final location for the 800-sq.-ft. building- originally located near Fairview and Brant streets - that provided the platform for soldiers departing for service in the First World War. It has been three years since the building was removed from its original location along the CN Rail line. It has found temporary digs at the back of the Burlington Fire Department's headquarters on Fairview Street, but it isn't hooked up to any heating source; instead it sits atop blocks and beams. Council has directed staff to investigate six sites for the old station.

Click here for Link

12. Guelph Mercury: The Value of Heritage to Community
Susan Ratcliffe, forwarded by Brian Dietrich

Placing the common good over our own rights and wishes

On Nov. 26, a large group of happy people came together for an evening's celebration of Sister Christine Leyser and her work for Guelph's neediest citizens, which has been honoured with her appointment to the Order of Canada.

During the celebration, various audience members and performers described the evening as a real Guelph moment -- a time of joy, music, cohesiveness and caring -- a time of community.

According to a Wikipedia definition: "In biological terms, a community is a group of interacting organisms sharing an environment." In Guelph, we are more than just a group of interacting organisms sharing an environment or "a group of people living in a common location. We are citizens who care about that environment, who love and respect our common location, who work to preserve the values and resources that make our community a special place.

Guelph's heritage resources and cultural landscapes are a significant factor in making Guelph a special place -- a unique community of limestone mansions and humble cottages, of magnificent churches and coherent, stable neighbourhoods.

Recently, Heritage Guelph and Community Design and Development Services have been working to establish a municipal register of cultural heritage resources in accordance with the Ontario Heritage Act 2005.

The proposed heritage register will be an additional tool to help the city preserve its character in the face of pressures of growth and intensification.

In our neighbourhoods, we shudder to see the replacement of a modest house with a monster home eyesore, and we lament the loss of a favourite building for the sake of more parking spaces.

Click here for Link

13. Brampton Guardian: City investigating demolished building considered for heritage status
Peter Criscione

City officials are investigating how a near-century old building being considered for heritage status was suddenly torn down. Residents in the area of Queen Street and McMurchy Avenue were surprised on Thursday to find Gummed Papers, built in 1913, reduced to a pile of rubble.

A portion of the Henderson Avenue complex was brought down two weeks ago, but what remained was on course to being designated a historical site. Securing a heritage designation would have ensured the building's longevity.

I am outraged to hear that this heritage property has been completely destroyed. It is one of the most rare industrial heritage sites we have, charged Brampton Mayor Susan Fennell. Gummed Papers was close to reaching its 100th birthday when suddenly shutting its doors in early 2007. A report filed with the city in October explains the property was purchased recently for eventual rezoning and residential development.

The current landowner submitted a demolition permit application to demolish all standing structures. However, the document states the city's heritage coordinator requested that a heritage impact assessment be done on the building.To delay the issuance of a demolition permit, heritage officials used a new provision in the Ontario Heritage Act that helps protect heritage properties. The heritage portion of the building was subject to a 60-day hold on demolition. After 60 days, the report noted the city could not refuse to issue a demolition permit at the end of that 60-day hold period. The landowner is legally unencumbered, the document stated.Whether the two-month hold period was over was still not clear as of press time.

Click here for Link

14. St. Catharines RESTORATION - NIAGARA CLOSEUP: A school where students bring history back to life

Photo of Willowbank from the School website

Nearly 200 years of history lives in this Greek revival mansion, perched atop a hill in Queenston. The opulent verandas of the two-storey limestone building look out on the Niagara Escarpment. Eight massive columns flank the entrance, adding an air of prestige.

Inside the 174-year-old Willowbank Estate, however, it is a construction zone. Peeling wallpaper. Holes punched in the walls. Scuffed floors. Unfinished staircases. Marks left behind by a previous owner.

It is perfect. Perfect to teach a crop of architecture conservation students how to carefully restore the national historic site and other heritage buildings. For 2 1 /2 years, the Willowbank School of Restoration Arts has taught students the trade of bringing old structures back to life with the tools of yesterday and today. Next April, the first crop of full-time students will graduate from the private institution's three-year diploma program in conservation and restoration arts.

Click here for Link

15. Caledon Enterprise: Sneath Road Bridge is still a community asset

A recent Town of Caledon report concluding that the Sneath Road Bridge is to be removed has to be questioned for its comprehensiveness. While anyone viewing the bridge would conclude that the bridge has outlived its usefulness as a safe part of a motor vehicle road, its value and usefulness as a community asset can be asserted from several points of view. To begin with, this bridge is a designated historical structure.

Click here for Link

16. The Australian: Drawn into life - Book Review
Philip Drew

How Michelangelo Discovered his Manner: Michelangelo, Drawing and the Invention of Architecture

How Michelangelo Discovered his Manner: Michelangelo, Drawing and theInvention of Architecture

Yale University Press, 259pp, $120

FOR Renaissance artists and theorists, drawing supplied a direct connection between painting, sculpture and architecture. Michelangelo, for example, made serial preliminary sketches and multiple overlays of them to identify and explore ideas for his paintings and sculptures.Cammy Brothers is a young associate professor at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, a campus famous for its Roman rotunda and colonnade by Thomas Jefferson. Her special interest is drawing, notably the way it is interrelated with creativity and invention in Michelangelo's work. His drawings reveal the process by which he became an architect. Previous studies focused narrowly on his architectural drawings in relation to the eventual buildings; Brothers shows how they emerged from the artist's earlier figurative drawings. Michelangelo came late to architecture. He is best known for his revision of the Sangallo design for the Basilica of St Peter and its dome, but there are other examples, including the Medici tomb and Laurentian Library in Florence, and the Capitoline Hill and the Palazzo Nuovo in Rome.,,24704819-5003900,00.html


Click here for Link

17. The One: Radio Report on Ripley Rejuvenation
forwarded by Henry Simpson

Plans to transform downtown Ripley into a 19th century village has drawn widespread support from town residents.

More than 100 people filled the township council chambers last night to listen to developer Dave Brown talk about his concept.
Brown has been buying up downtown Ripley buildings for five years and now wants to do something with them.

He would like to see the restoration of the buildings all centred around a square which could be used for markets, entertainment and dining.

The proposal would make available 150 apartments and 36 000 square feet of commercial space. Brown, who grew up in Kincardine and still has a
cottage there, believes the proposal could take flight.

He also thinks the blueprints for it could be used by small towns across Canada suffering financial problems.

Brown told the crowd that he believes he has been entrusted with the future of Ripley and that it's a big responsibility but that he takes it seriously.

Click here for Link

18. Waterloo Record: Architect has big plans for old tannery
Terry Pender

KITCHENER - Decades before Roland Rom Colthoff started to bring new life to one of this city's most historic buildings -- the Lang Tannery -- he wanted to become an architect who blended new elements into old urban fabrics . . .The buildings once housed the largest tannery in the British Empire. It supplied the leather for boot soles and saddles during the First World War and leather linings for aircraft fuel tanks during the Second World War. "It's incredible to bring that back into the public eye and bring people into it and have them experience those spaces," Colthoff says. Cadan plans to spend $30 million on renovations to attract tenants. Colthoff is almost finished the design and is working on a site plan agreement with the City of Kitchener . . .

Click here for Link

19. Waterloo Record: Hydrostone Neighbourhood Halifax
Michael MacDonald

Historic neighbourhood was built amid the ashes of 1917 Halifax Explosion

It is one of Canada's most historic and unusual neighbourhoods, but few outside of Nova Scotia have heard of it.

Spread over 10 city blocks in the north end of Halifax, not far from the narrowest part of the city's massive harbour, the Hydrostone beckons to travellers who appreciate history, architecture and fine food.

"It's a very vibrant part of the city,' says Peter Henry, an architect who lives a few blocks from the neighbourhood. "When you look around, it has stood up pretty well.'

Designated a national historic district, the Hydrostone remains the most tangible legacy of the single worst disaster in Canadian history -- the Halifax Explosion of Dec. 6, 1917.

Click here for Link

20. Waterloo Record: RAW Architects Working in Waterloo
Terry Pender, forwarded by Brian Dietrich

Architect has big plans for old tannery

Decades before Roland Rom Colthoff started to bring new life to one of this city's most historic buildings -- the Lang Tannery -- he wanted to become an architect who blended new elements into old urban fabrics.

After moving to Canada from Holland as a young boy, Colthoff grew up in Peterborough. He regularly walked past an abandoned warehouse near the railway that bisects Peterborough's downtown.

One day a guitar maker moved into the empty space, installed new windows and opened shop.

"I remember taking a photo of it and sending it along with my resumé to the school of architecture at the University of Waterloo," recalls Colthoff.

"I said I would like to be part of that, to rejuvenate the city. When you are young you are full of ideals you are going to save the world through architecture."

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:Bravo Roland

21. Your Community: Dunlap lands focus to be on people: Metrus
David Fleischer

The future of the 190-acre David Dunlap Observatory site is taking shape. But it doesn't look bright for stargazers.

The site where the first black hole was observed 37 years ago, will give way to a medley of high-rise condominiums, homes and retail. Developer Metrus is refining its plans for the 190-acre site ahead of a January conservation review board hearing." We're trying to create a precinct . . . that would become a people place, the company."

's vice-president Fraser Nelson said. The Elm's Lea farmhouse has already been leased-to-own to a new resident. The castle-like administration building lies empty, but Mr. Nelson believes it could be a perfect library or public facility. As for the telescope, its role in research is likely over, Mr. Nelson said." I'm less worried about that than the use of dome, the administration building and the precinct around it," he said.

Metrus hired an operator to exercise the telescope, but researcher and DDO Defenders member Dr. Ian Shelton said all that can be done is to take Metrus'word enough is being done. "My concern, first and foremost, is that, at the very least, the telescope is being maintained," he said. Mr. Shelton hoped to use the telescope for outreach activities over the holidays but was aghast when Metrus officials asked him and fellow Defender Karen Cilevitz to sign non-disclosure agreements about anything they might see inside. "They put up official roadblocks right from the get go," he said. "It was tantamount to a muzzle", Ms Cilevitz said.

Mr. Nelson said he has full confidence in the operator they hired to keep the telescope in shape. Since he has not been inside, Mr. Shelton wondered if the Commonwealth's biggest optical telescope is being treated like a rusting car in the driveway, judged to be operational so long as the engine turns over.


Click here for Link

Editor's Note:Heritage advocates have reason to be diligent regarding the redevelopment of the Dunlap site. Metrus Properties Limited, through its subsidiary 810322 Ontario Inc, had acquired the Lister Block in Hamilton in 1989. Began evictions of its tenant in 1994, and fought the City's Designation of the building all the way through the Conservation Review Board in 1995. Subsequently selling the property to LIUNA in 1998.

22. Heritage Conservation Network
Judith Broeker,

Take an interesting Vacation and Work on a Heritage Project

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:I came across this site recently, they offer opportunities to combine your vacation time and volunteer to work on a heritage building. A bit like Habitat for Humanity, Perhaps "Heritage for Humanity"


This report explains the process of undertaking a citywide historic resource survey and provides information and research to guide the process.

Access this publication online.


Click here for Link

24. New York Times: Calling for Reform in Landmark Commission

Improving the Landmarks Process

Judge Marilyn Shafer of the New York State Supreme Court ruled last month that the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission habitually acted in a manner that was “arbitrary and capricious” and ordered the commission to conduct its business in a more timely manner. Her conclusions are welcome and frustratingly familiar to New Yorkers.

The city plans to appeal. Instead, it should reform the commission, which is all that stands between the enormous pressures for development in this city and its priceless architectural heritage.

In a recent series, The Times’s Robin Pogrebin detailed many of the commission’s dysfunctional ways, including inadequate record-keeping, protracted delays and a lack of transparency. The commission’s notable successes — creating historic districts and protecting significant buildings — have been diminished by its notable failures, including its decision to let 2 Columbus Circle be substantially rebuilt without a public hearing.

Part of the trouble is that the commission enjoys little political independence. The chairman serves at the mayor’s pleasure; the 11 unpaid commissioners see only the cases the chairman recommends. These are attributes that a pro-development mayor is not likely to want to change.

We urge Mayor Michael Bloomberg to give preservation more weight in city planning. The next landmarks chairman should come from preservation circles. The commissioners need more independence and authority. There needs to be better communication with the Buildings Department to prevent the confusion that has sometimes resulted in the destruction of a building slated for landmark consideration.


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Editor's Note:New York is the kind of place where failure on the preservation front could cost the Mayor his job. New York's preservation record is the envy of North America, and is a very important component of the City's economic vitality and quality of life.

25. New York Times: Landmark Commission Criticized for Failing to Protect Churches
Robin Pogrebin, forwarded by Penina Coopersmith

Houses of Worship Choosing to Avoid Landmark Status


For more than 100 years the Bay Ridge United Methodist Church, with its serpentine stone and clock tower, lent a bucolic yet dignified air to the corner of Fourth and Ovington Avenues in Brooklyn.

Then, on Oct. 21, a bulldozer laid waste to the structure, known as the Green Church.

Daunted by the cost of repairing and maintaining the 1899 building, the congregation had sold it to a developer for $9.75 million. He plans to build a 70-unit apartment building, and the congregation will erect a smaller church on the site.

The destruction went forward even though preservationists and the area’s City Council representative had repeatedly implored the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to schedule a hearing on potential landmark status for the church, which was on the National and State Register of Historic Places.

Feelings on the issue ran so high that at a City Council hearing last year on the reappointment of Robert B. Tierney as chairman of the landmarks commission, the city councilman, Vincent J. Gentile, publicly berated the agency for declining to act. “It was a part of our history in this community being torn away from us,” Mr. Gentile said in an interview. “The sad part is, it didn’t have to be.”

Houses of worship are among the most sensitive issues facing the landmarks commission. Mandating that a church be preserved can not only impose a heavy financial burden on a congregation, it also raises the specter of state interference with religious freedom. So the commission has been especially loath to take on churches or synagogues that don’t want to be designated.

“Nobody wants to be in a fight with a religious institution,” said Peg Breen, president of the New York Landmarks Conservancy, a preservation group.

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26. Apollo Magazine: Lost Lululaund
Gavin Stamp

Henry Hobson Richardson's one building outside of America was a house in England, for the celebrated Victorian painter Hubert von Herkomer.

Just as some pets and their owners come to resemble one another, so some architects have the physical characteristics of their buildings.

Of none was this more true than the great American Victorian architect Henry Hobson Richardson, who was as massive, as heavy, as wide and as striking as such masterpieces as Trinity Church, Boston.

A portrait by the fashionable Anglo-German painter Hubert Herkomer depicts the bearded architect squeezed into a chair, his colossal stomach threatening to burst out of a double-breasted waistcoat. And it was owing to the encounter with Herkomer that Richardson was commissioned to design his only building in Britain, indeed his only work outside the United States: the painter's own house at Bushey in Hertfordshire.

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