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Issue No. 134 | January 7, 2009


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Feature Stories

  1. Heritage Canada Call to Action Re: Federal Budget
  2. Ridgetown Erie Street United Church Demolished
  3. Letter Regarding Government Failure in Ridgetown
  4. Government investing in Traditional Afghani Artisans


Willowbank Spring Lecture Series
February 21, - May 30
+ read

SHA 2009 Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology
January 6-11, 2009
+ read

Conservation Review Board Hearing for The David Dunlap Observatory
January 15, 16, and Jaunuary 19 thru 23rd 2008
+ read

Heritage Resources Centre Lunch and Learn Series

+ read

Sign By-Law Consultations
January 20-22, 29
+ read


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1. Heritage Canada Call to Action Re: Federal Budget

December 15, 2008

The federal government is gearing up to present a budget that provides practical and immediate measures to stimulate the economy. This is the ideal moment to promote changes to the federal tax system designed to encourage investment in heritage buildings and older homes.

HCF is providing Key Facts and Messages to help you make the case for a 2009 Federal Budget that includes heritage rehabilitation tax incentives. This information and how to contact the pivotal federal ministers and your MPs with your message is available here.

To participate in the government’s online pre-Budget consultation go to:

For more information about removing disincentives and creating incentives for rehabilitation in Canada’s Tax System contact Natalie Bull at or tel. 613-237-1066 ext 222.

The Heritage Canada Foundation is a national, membership-based, non profit organization with a mandate to promote the preservation of Canada’s historic buildings and places. Visit

For further information:
Carolyn Quinn, Director of Communications,
Telephone: 613-237-1066 ext. 229; Cell: 613-797-7206

2. Joint Assessement of Ontario Heritage Conservation Districts
Kayla Jonas

Workers Cottages in Cabbagetown HCD

With funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, branches of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (ACO) and Historical Societies have partnered with the Heritage Resources Centre (HRC) at the University of Waterloo to undertake a province wide research program to answer the question: Have Heritage Conservation Districts (HCDs) in Ontario been successful heritage planning initiatives over a period of time?

Since it takes a period of time for the impacts of district designation to manifest, this study concentrates on districts that are well established; districts designated in or before 1992. Using this criterion the study is focusing on thirty-two HCDs in twenty-one different communities that include: Cobourg, Hamilton, Kingston, Ottawa, St. Catharines, Huron County, Brampton, Toronto, Ottawa, the Region of Waterloo and Thunder Bay.  

The study’s objectives will be met by asking residents if they are satisfied with the HCD process. Beyond surveying residents, the study includes collecting data about the districts through site visits and key stakeholder interviews, as well as looking at real estate values and timelines for applications for alterations.

To date residents in twenty-four Heritage Conservation Districts have been surveyed. This widespread surveying has been made possible with the help of over seventy-four volunteers from over eleven ACO Branches, heritage organizations and Municipal Heritage Committees.

Further progress has been made in the area of real estate values. Sales data for most of the districts has been collected. In addition, standardized site visits to over twenty-five of the district have been completed. Currently, the major focus is interviewing key stakeholders from each district.

If you would like more information check out the Heritage Resources Centre’s website at:

If you are interested in volunteering for this study please contact Kayla Jonas, Project Coordinator at

3. Ontario Trillium Foundation grant helps Railway Hall of Fame continue restoration
Press Release: M.P.P. Steve Peters

At the turn of the last century
partially restored waiting room/event space

For Immediate Release December 17, 2008

Ontario Trillium Foundation grant helps Railway Hall of Fame continue restoration

ST. THOMAS – The North American Railway Hall of Fame (NARHF) will be an even better place to visit soon with the help of the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF).

Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP Steve Peters made the announcement today at the Talbot Street home of NARF which received a $150,000 grant over 12 months to renovate spaces at the train station to improve its allure as a tourist attraction, rental facility and historic landmark in the downtown area. OTF representative Janet Golding was also on hand to congratulate the organization.

NARF has previously received form OTF a $50,000 grant toward a $120,000 project to replace its roof and a $70,000 grant toward an executive director to oversee the restoration of the train station.

“This grant will help the North American Hall of Fame continue their important work,” Peters said. “The end result of that work will preserve an important part of our local heritage and provide a venue that will only enhance the downtown’s economic potential. I am happy that the provincial government can continue to play a role in this important evolution.”

“I am proud of the support we have received from the Ontario Trillium Foundation,” NARHF President Paul Corriveau said. “They have provided our organization with the support and financial resources that help make our project a reality. With this additional support, the organization will be able to restore the waiting room and open it up for the public and truly become a tourist destination.”

Expected results from the work this grant will assist with include enhanced capacity to capitalize on opportunities (additional events hosted on site, for example) and increased public awareness and support (more people exposed to the building and an increase in revenues from rentals, for example).

The Ontario Trillium Foundation is an agency of the Government of Ontario. For over 25 years, the Foundation has supported the growth and vitality of communities across the province. It continues to strengthen the capacity of the volunteer sector through investments in community-based initiatives. For more information, please visit


For more information contact: Craig Bradford, Communications Assistant, (519) 631-0666.

Editor's Note:
The Railway Hall of Fame project recently received the Peter Stokes Restoration Award from the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario

4. Ridgetown Erie Street United Church Demolished
Catherine Nasmith, President Architectural Conservancy of Ontario

Photo by Marlee Robinson, taken in early December

Regrettably, efforts to save the Erie Street United Church Building by the newly formed Chatham-Kent branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (ACO) have failed.

Marlee Robinson, who led the charge to save the building has been doing her best to collect samples from the demolition stream and photograph the demoliton process for the record. That will assist the Ontario Heritage Trust in keeping a record of this significant Ontario Landmark. Just before Christmas the Trust sent staff to make a detailed exterior record of the building.

Ultimately, the church went down because the former congregation were hostile to offers to preserve it. Instead of co-operating they created obstacles. If the Minister of Culture had issued a stop order on the demolition it might have been possible to put together a deal to save the property but regrettably that did not happen.

No one could have worked harder or faster than the new ACO branch. They had raised $150,000.00 (enough to purchase), had obtained engineering advice, lined up a restoration contractor in hopes of being able to act. They had media coverage from both local and national media including the Globe and Mail. There was a Statement in the Legislature from the NDP Culture Critic Peter Tabuns. However, the congregation refused to stop the demolition while negotiations continued, rapidly making it senseless for the Chatham Kent branch to seek ownership. Rumours of legal action against the newly created branch executive didn't help either.

This was a senseless loss which could easily have been prevented. The silver lining is that it has galvanized the local community into acting to prevent future losses.Chatham-Kent has a wealth of important architecture sitting empty at the moment, including a William Thomas courthouse and jail building, The Pines Chapel by Joseph W. Storey and the local Armoury building. In Ridgetown there are several other smaller buildings by Malcolmson which need attention.

Having a local branch of the ACO will ensure earlier intervention to prevent future losses.



5. Letter Regarding Government Failure in Ridgetown
Adam Frazee

Honorable Minister Aileen Carroll,
Mayor Hope and members of Chatham-Kent Council,

I am writing to all of you concerning the impending Demolition of Erie
Street United Church.

I moved to Canada 8 years ago from the United States, on a temporary work
permit. My wife and I chose to live in Ridgetown, because it is a beautiful
town with older buildings and tree lined streets. The first thing you see
when you approach town is the United Church steeple and the town water tower
which looks like a giant push pin marking Ridgetown's place on the map of
the world. The Steeple adds a charm to Ridgetown that other towns in
Chatham-Kent lack. Some snowy nights, much like last night, Erie Street with
the United church reminds me of a Norman Rockwell Painting. It's the type of
town I wanted my hometown to strive to be. It's the type of town that I
wanted to raise my family in.

As you may have guessed, I am Appalled! I cannot believe that Local and
Provincial Government could totally fall off of the tracks to the extent
that it has, concerning the Fate of this church. It worries me to the core
the fate of my adopted hometown and what it may look like in the next ten
years. If this church is allowed to be removed, it sets a dangerous
precedent for other buildings in town. Do we want to live in a town with
interesting architecture, irreplaceable turn of the century buildings built
by truly skilled hands, and unique homes with tree lined streets? Or do we
want to live in cookie cutter catalog homes where the most important feature
is a large garage door. And down the street from inefficient cement block
eyesores that make up current commercial building fare.

I cannot believe that Chatham-Kent council could vote for and force through
a demolition order on a church despite their own words proclaiming "its
Significant Heritage Value". I cannot believe that Council can allow the
demolition of a designated Heritage building. I cannot believe that a
councillor could ask council to remove the statement, "Despite its
significant Heritage Value " from the report. Does this mean that the
councillor felt guilty? If so, why did he then vote to demolish? Three
months is sufficient enough time to find a buyer for the church??? If that's
the case, why has the Bloomfield Industrial Development sat almost empty for
the past three years?

How can a Chief Building Officer decide to knock a building down despite
three engineering reports which all stated that the building needed work but
none said that it was a safety hazard to the outside community. I especially
like the fact that the decision to demolish by the CBO was based on the
third report that magically appeared two years after it was issued. If the
church was in such dire straits two years ago, why hasn't the steeple fallen
down already on its own? The CBO's work order which only gave one month for
improvements to be made, is almost laughable.

Minister Carroll, why did you not issue an order to at least suspend the
demolition temporarily while local groups organized to fund the purchase and
restoration of the church? I thought the job of the Minister of Culture was
to protect Ontario's cultural heritage? To work with and encourage groups
that are working toward the aim of protecting and promoting Ontario's
cultural heritage. If the Erie Street United Church comes down, it will join
other prominent buildings that have fallen on the Liberal Parties watch, St.
Peter's Manse (London), Alma College (St. Thomas). By continually failing to
uphold the responsibilities of your office, I have to question the need for
taxpayers to fund a Ministry of Culture at all. What is the point of a
Heritage Designation if it is not worth the paper it is written on?

I understand the quandary that faces old churches in particular. I've worked
for almost every denomination of church for the past 12 years as a
specialist in Stained Glass Restoration.I've worked in Boston Massachusetts,
and Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. I've done work for church organizations from
Maine to St. Thomas and the Virgin Islands. From Windsor to Toronto, from
Pelee Island to North Bay. I fully understand the difficulty in finding an
alternate use for churches. Companies that I have worked for have been hired
in the past to remove windows from condemned and closed churches.

It is a very sad process that really has a lasting effect on communities.

That's why I don't understand why a viable possible use for this church was
offered and government has chosen not to investigate the possibility of
turning the church into the town's library. When you take into account the
amount of money that would be spent on building a new library facility, it's
not much less than what would be spent on renovating the United Church for
it to become the Library.

I don't believe that research into re-use and finding available funding for such a project was researched thoroughly enough. Public spaces like libraries and community centers will be things that people will rely on more and more in the not so distant future, especially with the current economic situation that faces North America.

Unlike other questionable expenditures of money by council, libraries can be
attended by anyone of any economic class. Rich or Poor. My one-month old son
can even afford a membership to the library. Good Luck to him if he wants to
buy a seat at the Capitol Theatre.

In closing I would like to state that in two years I will be eligible for Canadian Citizenship. Good Luck to all of you in your future political endeavours.

Best Regards,
K. Adam Frazee
Ridgetown, Ontario

6. ACO Chatham-Kent to put in final offer to Save Ridgetown Landmark
Marlee Robinson

After intense consultations all day Friday, the group attempting to save the Erie Street United Church in Ridgetown from demolition agreed to put in a final offer to purchase the building. They will meet the demand of the Trustees for $150,000 with all money coming from donations or no-interest loans from concerned local residents. Donations are still more than welcome.

Many citizens of Ridgetown and beyond expressed their support for the efforts being made to save this historic designated building. On Thursday, as the bell was being removed from the steeple, a group of youngsters expressed their feelings - "If the church comes down, they are taking away our heritage" said one girl.

The formal offer will be delivered today with the deadline for acceptance Sunday. The offer is conditional on ALL demolition stopping immediately. A highly regarded heritage restoration contractor is on standby to apply for permits so he can remove and repair the steeple (the main factor in concerns for public safety) and to begin work on restoring the roof. The steeple will be returned to its rightful place in due course.

Further details will be sent out as soon as they are available.

Many thanks for your support in this effort - the publicity has been a terrific help, not only raising the awareness of a large number of people to this issue, but also bringing in financial and moral support.


7. Fredericton Daily Gleaner: Train station renovation on track - commission

McAdam Railway Station, McAdam, New Brunswick

MCADAM - Ask Greg Davidson how things are going with the McAdam Railway Station, and he'll say with a smile, "You would have to say it is on track."
Davidson is the executive director of the McAdam Historical Restoration Commission. He said he's always pleased to report the community is behind the project. But that wasn't always the case. Some in the community once thought the century-old, castle-like train station would never get the refurbishment required to bring it into the 21st century. It was designated as a National Historic Site in 1976, a Heritage Railway Station in 1990 and a Provincial Historic Site in 2004. Nevertheless, the commission pushed forward with fundraisers and, by dividing the project into phases, it tackled the project one step at a time as funding became available.

 For more info on the station go to:

Click here for Link

8. Chatham Daily News: Erie Street Church Steeple Down
Bob Boughner

Demolition draws a crowd

from Chatham Daily News

Several dozen Ridgetown residents waited hours yesterday to see the Erie Street United Church steeple be pulled down. The spire held on for hours as the demolition crew snapped cables and pulled down two of the main supports before toppling the peak, which was visible from Highway 401.


A 40-metre steeple atop the 140-year-old Erie Street United Church is now a pile of rubble.

But it took several failed attempts and at least five broken cables to yank the steeple off its perch yesterday.

A crowd, estimated at close to 100, watched as the steeple was eventually pulled down by Jim Curran of Curran Demolition of Chatham.

Among the onlookers was Marlee Robinson of Morpeth, who fought back tears.

Robinson has spent the past several weeks attempting to save the church from the wrecking ball.

"This is a sad day for Ridgetown and Ontario,' she said. "The old church and its tall steeple were a symbol in Ridgetown.'

Robinson described the church as being "irreplaceable.'

"Hopefully other old buildings in Ontario will be spared this fate,' she said.

Curran said the steeple put up a good fight. He said the cable he used -- which snapped at least five times -- was brand new.

He said both the beams supporting the steeple were rotten and the bricks were crumbling.

Jack Underwood, a church member and retired engineer, said he was surprised at how long the steeple held on considering the wooden timbers were rotten.

Click here for Link

9. Chatham Daily News: Video of Erie Street United Church

Video of Marlee Robinson talking about efforts to save Erie Street United Church.

Click here for Link

10. Globe and Mail: Erie Street United Church
The Canadian Press

Church's demolition begins after rescue efforts fail

Last-ditch efforts to save the historic Erie Street United Church in Ridgetown have failed.

About 100 people gathered near the building to watch the demolition, including bringing down the landmark steeple.

A local group had been trying to buy the structure for an alternative use but the asking price was too high.

Crews expect it to take about one week to level the building, which was erected back in 1876.

Click here for Link

11. Guelph Mercury: Board rules on Alice Street property
Nicole O'Reilly

GUELPH - A property at 47-49 Alice St. should be designated heritage, the Conservation Review Board ruled this week. The recommendation for the contested property comes out of a board hearing held Dec. 3, although city council will have the final say in the new year. When Blair Cleveland purchased the property in the old St. Patrick's Ward in 2004, he was not made aware that it had heritage interest. On the property, there is a one-storey brick home built around 1924 by local builder Ralph Macri for the family of Vincent Valeriote. There is also an auxiliary building that was built as a shoe shop at the same time. Cleveland, who presented his objections during the hearing, purchased the property with the intention to turn the former shoe shop into a garage. But it is the secondary structure that is of the utmost heritage interest, because it depicts the story of an Italian immigrant family during the period. Councillor Leanne Piper, who also serves as a member of Heritage Guelph, said she was pleased the board, as an "independent body" made this decision.

Editor's Note: the Conservation Review Board's decision can be found at the following URL,

Click here for Link

12. Guelph Mercury: Former prison's future not locked in
Magda Konieczna

GUELPH - You would expect it to be eerie. And it is.
It's hard, but not impossible, to imagine it teeming with men, mostly. And cattle, and acres of potatoes and cherry and apple trees. On a blisteringly windy day, one of the last of 2008, the Guelph Correctional Centre lands are somehow sad. Abandoned. Despite the sweeping elegance of some of the buildings -- the central one was designed by John Lyle, one of Canada's best known architects of the day who also designed Union Station and the Royal Alexandra Theatre -- it's worn. Barred windows are rusting. The road is cleared right up to the front steps, which no one has bothered to shovel, because no one is expected to visit. There are about 20 empty residential and administrative buildings -- and behind them, a complex of abandoned industrial buildings.
It wasn't always this way.

Click here for Link

13. Owen Sound Sun Times: Citizens Complain about CBO's Actions
Mary Golem, forwarded by Henry Simpson

Two residents complain about building official

'Nothing to hide,' CBO says at meeting

Two Paisley residents want Arran-Elderslie council "to do something" about what they called "a lack of goodwill and performance of duties" by the municipality's chief building official, Craig Johnston.

Darlene Stark and Bill Tooke complained to council Monday about Johnston's attitude and performance, including what Tooke called a lack of proper inspections, inadequate completion and handling of paperwork and conflict of interest issues.

Coun. Mark Davis, who told council it should sit in closed session when discussing an identifiable individual, asked Johnston if he was comfortable with the discussion in open council.

"I have nothing to hide," Johnston said.

He did not respond to any of Tooke or Stark's questions during the meeting.

Johnston has his own architectural design business in Owen Sound and in his contract with the municipality is allowed to design buildings for clients in the municipality, but is not allowed to inspect those buildings. Tooke and Stark claimed at the council meeting that Johnston is inspecting some of the buildings he designed.

Later in the meeting, council gave Johnston a January 16 deadline to provide a detailed list of any buildings he designed that were built in Arran-Elderslie during 2006, 2007 and 2008, with inspection details.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:This is the same CBO who has been so adamant about the demolition of the Paisley Inn.

14. The One Radio: Paisley Inn back in Court in January

Arran-Elderslies three-year battle over the fate of the Paisley Inn goes back to court in January.The historic three storey building is barricaded, and off limits to work crews while the municipal building inspector and owner are locked in disagreement about whether to tear down or fix the Inn.

Deputy Mayor Mary Cumming hopes a January 8th court date will move the case closer to a settlement.

Two winters ago Arran-Elderslies building official declared the three-storey Paisley Inn unsafe and in danger of collapse.

Click here for Link

15. Owen Sound Sun Times: Things Looking Up for Owen Sound Heritage
Denis Langlois, forwarded by Henry Simpson

City urged to take steps to save heritage

Under growing public pressure, Owen Sound council has beefed up efforts to protect the city's heritage buildings.

Some critics say it's still not enough.

Community dissent after the Queen's Hotel was demolished in 2006 put heritage protection front and centre on the local political agenda, some councillors say.

"Usually it will take a crisis to bring something to the attention of people. The Queen's Hotel was a heritage crisis," Coun. Jim McManaman said recently. Several other downtown buildings have fallen since the Queens, such as apartment buildings on Primmer Property for a Shoppers Drug Mart parking lot and the 1848 former Earl Georgas Ski Shop.

Below are the properties, listed on the city's heritage register, that have been demolished.

1. The Corbet Foundry. Built in 1910, demolished in 2007. The first poured-in-place concrete building in Canada was destroyed by fire and demolished days later.

2. The F. N. D'Orr LePan Store. Built around 1848, demolished in 2006. The city's oldest downtown commercial building was demolished due to structural deterioration. Originally a general store, the building also housed Earl Georgas Ski Shop.

3. The Queen's Hotel. Built in 1887, demolished in 2006. The three-storey yellow- brick building was razed for a parking lot. A fine example of an old Canadian hotel, the death of the Queen's sparked community outrage and protests.

4. Willcock's Garage. Built date not listed, demolished in 2002. The two-storey building at 1138 3rd Ave. E. served as a leather tannery, salt warehouse and garage.

5. Carr & Monahan. Built date unknown, demolished in 1997. The historic, three-storey commercial building, at the corner of 8th Street and 3rd Avenue East, is now a vacant parking lot.

6. Central United Church. Built in 1877, demolished in 1995. The property where the Victorian-style church is now home to Central Place Retirement Community on 3rd Avenue East.

Continued After Advertisement Below


7. Park Apartments. Built in 1885, demolished in 1978. The three-storey building, with a mansard roof, was also known as the Pinedean Apartments. The property, at 10th Street and 2nd Avenue West, has been vacant since the building's demolition.

In the past year, however, city council has moved to protect two historically significant buildings; the 117-year-old wing of St. Mary's High School and the former Louis' Steakhouse.

Earlier this month council voted both to approve a 20 per cent tax break for owners of designated heritage properties and to continue a facade improvement program for downtown commercial buildings.

"Heritage preservation is definitely receiving the highest focus now," said veteran Coun. Peter Lemon.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:ACO presence is making a measurable difference in Owen Sound. Congratulations to local President, John Harrison.

16. Owen Sound Sun Times: Historic church's fate again before council
Denis Langlois

The historic church at Mennonite Corners remains in danger of collapse and Georgian Bluffs council might decide Wednesday to approve its demolition, the township's mayor said Sunday. Alan Barfoot said the township has provided John Harrison and his Heritage Georgian Bluffs group with ample time to stabilize the structure but no work has been completed. The township has not even been given a starting date for the project, he said. This is dragging on. We're now well into the winter season, Barfoot said in an interview. It's got council at its wit's end. The 120-year-old wooden structure has been declared unsafe by the township and access is restricted. There is a hole in the roof and an engineer's report says the roof and walls need to be stabilized. Heavy snow could collapse the roof. Harrison said Sunday the stabilization plan has been stalled while his group awaits an engineer's drawing, which is required by the township. He said he is unsure when the drawing will be ready, but the work will proceed as soon as all township approvals are in place. The group's contractor is ready to begin the work, he said.

Click here for Link

17. Toronto Star: Interpreting Toronto's Old Town
Patty Winsa

Shedding new light on Old Town

From Historical Atlas of Toronto, view of Front Street 1804, Elizabeth Hale

The story of Old Town – Toronto's own Plymouth Rock – is a hard one to tell.

The city's early history largely has been paved over or bricked up, and few early 19th-century buildings survived a devastating fire that swept through Toronto – originally called the Town of York – in 1849. It's difficult to imagine the city when boats in the harbour could unload at the Distillery, before the Lake Ontario shoreline was filled in and pushed south to where it is today.

When John Graves Simcoe, Upper Canada's first lieutenant-governor, came ashore and founded the provincial capital in 1793, he laid out York's original 10 blocks, spanning from King St. south to the lake, and Berkeley St. east to George St. Only a handful of the earliest buildings, including Toronto's first post office, the Bank of Upper Canada and the Daniel Brooke Building, still stand.

Citizens' groups have complained that Old Town's potential has been untapped, and that it is uninviting, "gloomy" and poorly lit at night.

But what if someone could find a way to tell that story? What if you could, at night, look through a lit window and see a three-dimensional scene straight out of the 1800s, or be inspired by the image of Upper Canada's first parliament buildings projected on a large screen where they once stood? Could a line of blue LED lights along the Esplanade help you imagine what was once the water's edge?

It's a question the city has put to two consultant groups that have been hired to conduct a lighting study and create a heritage interpretation master plan that will tell the story of Old Town, an area that has grown to include the whole area south of Queen St. from Yonge east to Bayview. The neighbourhood encompasses important mid-19th and early 20th-century buildings, such as the St. Lawrence Market, the Flatiron Building, St. James Cathedral and Union Station.

By summer, the group will have completed a study that will lay the groundwork for the next phase of the program, including a demonstration project.

Click here for Link

18. Spacing Toronto: Toronto's Distillery District: History by the Lake by Sally Gibson
Sally Gibson

Not just a history of the distillery ... but of Toronto's evolution

Click here for Link

19. St. Mary's Argus: School Re-Used
Andrea Macko

A new purpose for Central School?

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A new purpose for Central School?
Andrea Macko Now that the funding for the new elementary school at the Pyramid Centre has been secured, the future of the two existing elementary schools — Arthur Meighen and Central — are up for debate. But the Central school could have a new tenant — the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. At a recent board meeting, Ball Hall CEO Tom Valcke brought forward the idea of using the 96-year-old building as office and museum space — and, with some renovations, as a dormitory, which has long been part of the Ball Hall’s plan to maintain financial viability. Valcke notes the idea originally came from a discussion between himself, Perth Wellington MPP John Wilkinson, and Jamie Hahn. “It’s not a secret,” Valcke says of the plan. “I think it’s a terrific idea, but it’s just a challenge to make it work.” The first issue at hand is whether the Ball Hall can actually secure the building; the Avon Maitland District School Board, which owns the facility, has to offer it to other school boards first, and then to municipalities and other potential buyers. Secondly — the true market value of the building, which was estimated to be approximately $500,000 in the board’s prohibitive-to-repair applications in 2006, has not yet been determined. Valcke says that the Ball Hall has approximately “$2 million (in donations) to play with — and I think we can get in there for that.” He notes that a lot of renovating would have to take place to make the site work as an attractive museum and dormitory, but that this amount would likely be less than the estimated $10 million it would cost to build a dormitory and administrative facilities on the current ball hall site on Church Street South. While Valcke admits that the Central site is a bit of a distance from the existing Hall of Fame field, its proximity to the Pyramid Centre, downtown and DCVI make it attractive for other potential users. Valcke gives the example of a recent Ringette tournament in town, which saw 11 teams requiring overnight accommodations — only one team stayed in town.

Click here for Link

20. Vancouver Sun: Commercial Drive's York Theatre to be restored as live playhouse
John Mackie

The York Theatre on Commercial Drive, currently the Raja, will be restored

VANCOUVER - It looks like heritage and culture are back on the agenda at Vancouver City Hall. Vancouver's new Vision-dominated council voted this week to "support in principle" a proposal by developer Bruno Wall to restore the York Theatre on Commercial Drive. The entire $10-million to $12-million cost would be paid for by heritage density bonus transfers. This is a reversal of the policy of the former Non-Partisan Association council, which had suspended the heritage density-transfer program. The program granted increased density on other projects to developers who agreed to restore heritage properties. "I think it's one of the most important things to happen at the city in 20 years," said Jim Green, the former Vision councillor and mayoralty candidate who helped put the deal together.

Click here for Link

21. Vancouver Sun: Commercial Drive's York Theatre to be restored as live playhouse
John Mackie

The York Theatre on Commercial Drive, currently the Raja, will be restored

VANCOUVER - It looks like heritage and culture are back on the agenda at Vancouver City Hall. Vancouver's new Vision-dominated council voted this week to "support in principle" a proposal by developer Bruno Wall to restore the York Theatre on Commercial Drive. The entire $10-million to $12-million cost would be paid for by heritage density bonus transfers. This is a reversal of the policy of the former Non-Partisan Association council, which had suspended the heritage density-transfer program. The program granted increased density on other projects to developers who agreed to restore heritage properties. "I think it's one of the most important things to happen at the city in 20 years," said Jim Green, the former Vision councillor and mayoralty candidate who helped put the deal together.

Click here for Link

22. Moose Jaw Times Herald: Older buildings appeal to some
Moose Jaw Times Herald Editorial Staff

requests to remove these designations should be just as arduous as the applications for designation

Moose Jaws downtown buildings and properties along the avenues have been a selling point to denote Moose Jaw as a heritage and historic destination. Groups and individuals with impressive backgrounds in heritage properties have lauded Moose Jaw as having one of the most impressive collections of heritage properties anywhere in Western Canada.

Click here for Link

23. Saint John-Telegraph Journal: Adaptive Re-Use of Church
Peter Walsh, forwarded by Rob Hamilton

Gothic Arches could become condo heaven

SAINT JOHN - The neo-Gothic 126-year-old Centenary-Queen Square United Church may soon become a three-storey apartment building, with stained glass windows looking out over the city from every floor.

Phillip Huggard, the owner of the Gothic Arches, has put the storied building up for sale. A developer is thinking of transforming it into condos. Owner Phillip Huggard says it’s time for someone to step up to preserve the beautiful old church before entropy sets in.

The building's owner, Philip Huggard, has been trying to sell the beautiful old rambling former church for at least a year now and, just a few months ago, decided to list it with realtor Bob McVicar, who's also president of the city's heritage board.

McVicar has a client who's interested in transforming the building into luxury condominiums and should know in the next few months whether the developer's plan will come to fruition.

Huggard purchased the building in 1999 because he was afraid it would have a date with a wrecking ball if he didn't step in and has been using it as a concert hall, calling it the Gothic Arches. It has also served as a home to several community groups.

"It's a fabulous property," McVicar said as he surveyed the wood-stained vaulted ceilings of the 10,000-square-foot building that features at least 20 stained-glass windows dedicated to members of well-known families including the Troops, Allisons and the Whites. To build the windows today would cost $18,000 each, Huggard said he has been told.

Some windows are enormous at 20 feet wide by nine feet high, with the largest measuring about 30 by 15. One, featuring religious scenes that overlooks the entrance, is said to be the oldest stained glass work in the city, but neither Huggard nor McVicar could confirm that.

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Editor's Note:This is the kind of imagination that was sorely lacking on the part of the congregation of Erie Street United Church in Ridgetown.

24. Kunstler Forecast for 2009
James Howard Kunstler

There are two realities “out there” now competing for verification among those who think about national affairs and make things happen. The dominant one (let’s call it the Status Quo) is that our problems of finance and economy will self-correct and allow the project of a “consumer” economy to resume in “growth” mode. This view includes the idea that technology will rescue us from our fossil fuel predicament -- through “innovation,” through the discovery of new techno rescue remedy fuels, and via “drill, baby, drill” policy. This view assumes an orderly transition through the current “rough patch” into a vibrant re-energized era of “green” Happy Motoring and resumed Blue Light Special shopping.

The minority reality (let’s call it The Long Emergency) says that it is necessary to make radically new arrangements for daily life and rather soon. It says that a campaign to sustain the unsustainable will amount to a tragic squandering of our dwindling resources. It says that the “consumer” era of economics is over, that suburbia will lose its value, that the automobile will be a diminishing presence in daily life, that the major systems we’ve come to rely on will founder, and that the transition between where we are now and where we are going is apt to be tumultuous.

My own view is obviously the one called The Long Emergency.

Since the change it proposes is so severe, it naturally generates exactly the kind of cognitive dissonance that paradoxically reinforces the Status Quo view, especially the deep wishes associated with saving all the familiar, comfortable trappings of life as we have known it. The dialectic between the two realities can’t be sorted out between the stupid and the bright, or even the altruistic and the selfish. The various tech industries are full of MIT-certified, high-achiever Status Quo techno-triumphalists who are convinced that electric cars or diesel-flavored algae excreta will save suburbia, the three thousand mile Caesar salad, and the theme park vacation. The environmental movement, especially at the elite levels found in places like Aspen, is full of Harvard graduates who believe that all the drive-in espresso stations in America can be run on a combination of solar and wind power. I quarrel with these people incessantly. It seems especially tragic to me that some of the brightest people I meet are bent on mounting the tragic campaign to sustain the unsustainable in one way or another. But I have long maintained that life is essentially tragic in the sense that history won’t care if we succeed or fail at carrying on the project of civilization.

While the public supposedly voted for “change” this fall, I maintain that they underestimate the changes really at hand. I voted for “change” myself in pulling the lever for Barack Obama. I regard him as a figure of intelligence and sensibility, but I’m far from convinced that he really sees the kind of change we are in for, and I fret about the measures he’ll promote to rescue the Status Quo when he moves into the White House a few weeks from now.

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25. New York Times: Lost First Government Buildings
John Strausbaugh, forwarded by Penina Coopersmith

Home on the Corner of Boom and Bust

Stock Exchange Building
Map, lower Manhattan

THE skies above Wall Street were overcast, and the mood down below was equally stormy. From the steps of Federal Hall National Memorial at Wall and Nassau Streets, Ralph Nader, the independent presidential candidate, railed against the “casino capitalism” of the neighboring New York Stock Exchange. Protesters paraded a large inflated pig down Wall Street. Others stood outside the stock exchange chanting, “Jump! Jump!” Traders on their lunch breaks stood on the fringes with amused expressions, while news crews and tourist groups trained their cameras on the rowdy scene.

New York City’s history begins in the small space below Wall Street.

Standing on the corner of Wall and Broad that mid-October day, Steve Fraser, a historian and the author of the book “Wall Street: America’s Dream Palace,” said that in some ways the stock market meltdown of 2008 was nothing new.

“The stock market is by its very nature prone to periodic bouts of irrational ecstasies and depressive panics,” Mr. Fraser said. It has cycled through those booms and busts since it first got organized in the late 18th century.

Geographically and historically, New York City begins in the small space below Wall Street. And when disaster strikes the area, as it has often done, it can seem as if the city will end there too. But if the nearly four centuries of history there tell anything, it’s a story of survival. As it grew from the tiny Dutch outpost of New Amsterdam to today’s forest of skyscrapers, lowest Manhattan outlived military occupation, enormous fires, terrorist massacres and a long string of stock-market crises.

Bowling Green, the small park at the foot of Broadway’s roaring canyon, is where the seed of today’s metropolis was planted in the 1620s when the Dutch West India Company dropped off a few dozen families to establish a trading post. Those first settlers lived “in pits they dug in the ground and then covered over with wood,” explained Mark Caldwell, a Fordham University professor and the author of “New York Night: The Mystique and Its History.” “It was the quickest shelter for the winter.”

Bowling Green has been open public space all along, Mr. Caldwell said. The original Dutch fort, Fort Amsterdam, stood where the 1907 Alexander Hamilton United States Custom House is today. (It is now the New York branch of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.)

Bowling Green was then part of “a parade ground where soldiers practiced maneuvers,” he continued. “That very quickly turned into a market space where farmers in outlying districts brought their produce to sell. It became a famous place for prostitutes to haunt in the evening. And in the early 18th century it was where people played lawn bowling.”

From the start, Mr. Caldwell said, it was a party town, known for its many taverns, “the all-purpose repositories of night life. There were theatrical performances, dancing, gambling and concerts.”

In 1979 and 1980 archaeologists dug for the remains of two famous taverns that had stood on Pearl Street near Coenties Slip. Transparent panels in the plaza along Pearl Street display part of the stone foundation they found of the King’s House tavern (also known as Lovelace Tavern), built in 1670. Light-colored paving stones nearby outline the modest footprint of the City Tavern (Stadt Herbergh), built in 1641. In 1653 it also became the first City Hall, the Stadt Huys. And it contained a jail.

“So you could, in one day, go from sitting on a court case to a drunken debauch to jail, without ever leaving this little place where we’re standing,” Mr. Caldwell noted.

A few blocks north, at what was then the edge of the city, the Dutch built a defensive wall across the island in 1653. Like Fort Amsterdam, it proved of no use when the British seized New Amsterdam in 1664 and renamed it New York.

“It was essentially an earthwork with a wooden palisade on top,” explained Steve Laise, the National Parks Service’s chief of cultural resources for Federal Hall National Memorial, a Greek Revival landmark on Wall Street. Today’s Wall Street follows the dirt lane that was just inside this defense. “When you walk on Wall Street, you’re literally walking in the footsteps of the burghers of New Amsterdam,” Mr. Laise said.

The wall came down in 1699, and a new City Hall was built at Wall and Nassau Streets. In 1789, expanded and remodeled, it was renamed Federal Hall. George Washington was inaugurated president there on April 30 of that year, and the first Congress met there. Alexander Hamilton, the first secretary of the Treasury and the founding father most often associated with Wall Street, “was in and out of that building all the time,” Mr. Laise said.

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Editor's Note:Interesting parallel to Ontario's lost First Parliament Building

26. New York Times: Sit-in to Save Church Lasts Years
Nicole Bengiveno

In Quiet Rebellion, Parishioners Keep Faith

SCITUATE, Mass. — There are sleeping bags in the sacristy at St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church and reclining chairs in the vestibule, but no one here gets too relaxed. “Please be ever vigilant!” a sign by the door warns, and the parishioners who have occupied the church since it closed more than four years ago take it as seriously as a commandment.

Since the Boston Archdiocese closed St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church in 2004, women have assumed leadership roles, including distributing the Eucharist.
Readers' Comments

St. Frances was among dozens of churches that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston decided to close and sell in 2004, not least because of financial turmoil made worse by the abuse scandal in the clergy. But while most churches closed without a fight, parishioners at St. Frances, a brick A-frame on a wooded hill, and at four other churches rebelled.

For 1,533 days, the group at St. Frances has taken turns guarding the building around the clock so that the archdiocese cannot lock them out and put it up for sale. They call it a vigil, but by now it is more of a lifestyle.

“It’s much more of a living 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week faith,” said Margy O’Brien, 78, a parishioner since St. Frances opened in 1960. “My generation of Catholics have paid, prayed and obeyed, but you get to a point where you’ve had it.”

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27. Government investing in Traditional Afghani Artisans
forwarded by Margie Zeidler

Saving Afghanistan Culture

Saving Afghanistan Culture
Comments (20)

35-year-old Scottish writer and aid worker Rory Stewart has started a unique initiative in Kabul to help regenerate Afghanistan's traditional crafts and historic areas. Stewart hopes creating jobs and skills will bring about a renewed sense of national identity among the country's population. But can Afghans adapt their centuries-old traditions for the modern global marketplace?

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Editor's Note:Fantastic Project, A similar investment in traditional Canadian building skills would have similar results here.

28. Defining Heritage Protection for A Building Envelope
Phillip Pacey, Nova Scotia Heritage Trust

Is anyone aware of any legal cases where the extent of the heritage protection
of the envelope of a heritage building has been tested? In Nova Scotia our Act
provides that any alteration to the "exterior appearance" of a heritage building is
subject to review. We have taken this to mean all four walls and the roof. However, a developer is saying it only applies to the street facade.

Does anyone know if  this has been tried this elsewhere?

Best wishes for the New Year to Bob and to you from Betty and me.

Editor's Note:
If you have an answer to this question, can you please reply back to

29. Does MPAC Give Higher Assessments to "Century Home Design"
Sarah Andrews, Cobourg

I wonder if you could help me regarding a detail on my MPAC Property Assessment which I accessed from their web site. Our house is a Designated Cobourg Heritage Home circa. 1845. One of the items listed on the printout was "Century Home Design" with the appropriate added value. Could you please tell me what comprises a century home design? I have noticed that not all designated homes have this additional cost. I did contact MPAC and they were unable to answer the above question and advised me to contact the Cobourg Historical Society, which I am a member.

Editor's Note:
If you have an answer to this question, can you please reply back to