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Issue No. 139 | March 17, 2009


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Feature Stories

  1. What Happened to The Grange?
  2. Blog for Discussion on Port Dalhousie
  3. Niagara This Week: Do heritage designations mean anything in Ontario?
  4. St. Catharine's Standard: No Appeal of Port Dalhousie Decision
  5. Two Ontario Towns Pass Resolutions Supporting HCF's Landmarks, Not Landfill Campaign
  6. New York Times: Landmarking and Good Neighbourhoods


Port Dalhousie OMB Decision
April 25th, 2009
+ read

Cultural Landscapes
April 20-25, 2009
+ read

Cabbagetown-Regent Park Museum Fundraiser
Saturday, March 28, 2009
+ read


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Built Heritage News Sponsors


1. What Happened to The Grange?
Catherine Nasmith

Current view of AGO, with The Grange on south face, from AGO website
Early view of the Grange, painted by Henry Bowyer Lane, from AGO website

In all the well deserved praise for the Frank Gehry alterations to the Art Gallery of Ontario one area has been overlooked by all the critics -- the small but highly significant Grange. The Grange is designated, and also a National Historic Site.

The treatment of the Grange is confused, inappropriate and a not so funny comedy of tragic errors. Luckily the changes are reversible. But lets go back to the beginning.

D’Arcy Boulton Sr planned The Grange, one of Toronto’s oldest buildings, in 1808 while he was Attorney General of Upper Canada. It was not built until 1817- 18, after the War of 1812. There is no record of its architect or builder. It was altered in 1843, with an addition and re-organization of the plan for more elaborate entertaining. At that time the all of the interior was updated to the fashionable Greek revival style, plaster, woodwork and fireplaces. The house passed through the family to Henry Boulton. When he died his widow married Goldwin Smith, who is described in Toronto Observed as “Toronto’s leading intellectual and the most acerbic political commentator of the later Victorian era.” Smith undertook further alterations, including a heavy Victorian staircase, replaced the wooden portico with the stone porch that is there today.

The Grange predates Campbell House, the other similar surviving Georgian residence from the post War of 1812 period. Campbell house was relocated to it’s present site, the Grange enjoys its original view down John Street towards Lake Ontario over the former front lawn and circular drive.

Goldwin Smith donated the house after his death in 1910, to become the Art Museum of Toronto, which evolved into the Art Gallery of Ontario. As the gallery expanded the Grange was used for offices. As a centennial project, the Grange was restored under the direction of Mary Alice Stewart with assistance from Peter Stokes. The Victorian staircase was replaced with the current elegant circular stair.

Since 1971 it has operated as a house museum, complete with docents in period costume, housing a collection of furniture and paintings collected to show what the house might have been like during the mid nineteenth century. Much of that furniture is extremely valuable, but only a few pieces can actually be traced to the house. In spite of the place of affection the Grange has in the hearts of many who enjoy it as a change of pace from the rest of the Gallery, its visitor numbers have been dwindling in recent years. The tormented route to it through the basement of the AGO didn’t help things.

When the Gehry renovations began, the understanding was that the project would not include any work in the Grange, which planned to continue to operate as usual-- managed by the AGO with advice from The Grange Council. ERA architects were retained as advisors to Mr. Gehry on heritage matters such as the treatment of Walker Court.

Michael McLelland, a partner in E.R.A. is also a past chair of The Grange Council. The current chair is Rob Brough of Goldsmith Borgal and Partners.
Even though it was not contemplated in the renovation plans for the Gallery, Transformation AGO has ended up changing the house museum into the members lounge, and in the process treated the nationally significant artifact like exploitable real estate. Gone are the carefully collected wallpaper, chandeliers, furnishings, and paintings, replaced by a bizarre combination of beige painted walls, bleach blond flooring, and modern black leather and chrome furniture. It looks as if the same brush that went over the rest of the Gallery was thoughtlessly applied to the Grange.

Interviews with Jennifer Rieger, The Grange curator, Michael McLelland, and Rob Brough have yielded the following sequence of events.

While the Grange was closed for the construction of the rest of the gallery, Grange Council had begun to think about what might be a better future for the building. A few years ago contemporary artists did installation pieces in the house attracting quite a different audience, pointing to a new way of dealing with the property. A number of issues emerged from their discussions. The existing presentation dealt only with one period and did not tell the story of other occupants or the role of the house as part of the history of the Art Gallery of Ontario. The Grange, donated to the Gallery in 1911, has now been a part of the building’s story for nearly as long as it was a residence. It was isolated from the rest of the AGO, and the AGO was not comfortable with operating a traditional house museum.

Grange Council was well advanced in their plans to re-present the Grange history when AGO management delivered the shocking news that plans had changed and that the Grange was to become the new member’s lounge. The space that had been allocated for the lounge in the main gallery was needed for another purpose. Furniture for the lounge had already been donated by the Danish embassy, and returning it was not an option. The idea of combining a lounge on the second floor with other interpretive displays on the ground floor was considered but there were building code issues that could not be resolved in the time available.

When the use for members lounge was announced Rob Brough considered his options. “I felt that the proposal put the Grange as a historical artifact in great jeopardy. I debated going public with my concern but decided instead to work through Grange Council to ensure that whatever happened to the building would be reversible.” Working closely with Jennifer Rieger, the Grange Curator, Rob Brough and Edwin Rouse of E.R.A. ensured that the features noted in the national Commemorative Integrity Statement were respected. When the carpet was removed the shape of the Smith stair was still visible in the flooring. Instead of removing the old flooring, the new floor floats over the old without damage to the original. The paint was selected from a Farrow and Ball line and is a colour that might have been used. Ms. Rieger has been gradually adding back in some of the historic artifacts to the rooms. The furnishings have been evaluated and are in storage until their future can be decided.

While researching this article I had an opportunity to ask Mathew Teitlebaum, the AGO’s Executive Director, “What had happened to the Grange.” It was a relief to hear him say “I’m not that happy with it either.” He noted the floors as being wrong, and indicated that what we see there now is temporary until such time as the AGO can take a breath and think carefully about how to move forward. “I would like to see the house restored to its former prominent position as a centre of Toronto society.”

The role as the member’s lounge is here to stay, but how that is done and how the building’s nearly two hundred year history is presented is being explored. Mr. Teitlebaum invited written suggestions.

Perhaps a reasonable goal would be to complete the re-think in time for the 2011 centennial of the Gallery’s founding.

The AGO's July 8, 2008 announcement of the new member's lounge is at the link below

2. Lessons (not precedents) from Port Dalhousie
J. Michael Kirkland, Architect

Rendering, Michael Kirkland Architect
View from Harbour, Michael Kirkland Architect

Lessons (not precedents) from Port Dalhousie

As architect for the Port Dalhousie Port Place project, a project which has caused an unfortunate polarizing of positions on heritage matters, I wish to write to the many readers of Built Heritage News to address the implications of the recent OMB decision.

For me this is a hard cases make bad law case. One should be hesitant in extrapolating the decision as a general threat against heritage precincts and districts. It is no such thing. I fear that presenting the outcome as simply economic interest versus heritage interest is incorrect, jaded, and could produce a destructive self-fulfilling precedent.

The amount of time and the emphasis placed by Madam Susan Campbell on the various matters before her were largely a product of Jane Pepino’s (PROUD’s lawyer) attempt to characterize the case as a “design can’t trump heritage” case.

In fact the case and decision were balanced presentations of a wide array of considerations including heritage and the economic revitalization of the site as a regional tourist site, as required by the City’s Official Plan. Not incidentally, the Board found that the current state of the site, unimproved, would over time result in the disintegration of heritage assets.

The Project
The project is fundamentally an infill project which preserves 10 of 13 of the buildings on the block. Of the buildings deemed to have heritage value, it preserves 10 of 10, and provides 3 new infill buildings.

The controversial element is a 17 storey residential building which is setback 120 – 200 feet from each of the two legitimate heritage streets. Angular planes assure the integrity of the streetscape on each of these streets, where streetwall buildings mask the taller element.

The residential building itself:

1. Is singular in Port Dalhousie marking the point of original settlement; Port Dalhousie’s cardo decumanus, at the lake and Welland Canal intersection.

2. Is designed to provide both an architectural and volumetric transition from the heritage streets.

3. Is constructed on a site where no building has ever existed; and therefore requires no demolition.

PROUD took the position that every building, beer terrace, storage area, volleyball playing space and service yard was of equal heritage import and therefore deserved blanket protection. The areas where new buildings were proposed were proven by an archaeological investigation to have been, historically, outdoor urinals, garbage dumps and awkward additions on the unkempt backsides of buildings facing on heritage streets. The consequence and, I would say, intention of PROUD’s designation of every square inch as heritage landscape was transparently, to foil any new construction.

Legal Consequence for Heritage
The single result of the decision, which deserves attention from a heritage perspective, is the status of the heritage conservation district enacted prior to the 2005 Heritage Act. The Board maintained that the status of the existing district plan remained intact but the provisions of the new Heritage Act did not apply. If St. Catharines wished to have the powers and provisions of the new Heritage Act apply to Port Dalhousie, it would have to conduct the prescribed processes outlined under the new Act which differ from the pre-2005 regime. This is hardly a crushing defeat for heritage but is rather a victory for due process.

Planning Consequences for Heritage
This case reveals the importance of establishing a less dogmatic posture in defending heritage interests. The position taken by opponents of the project reflects the position heritage defenders too often take.

1. Understanding Contemporary Proposals
It is important to recognize initiatives which constitute heritage in the making. This is harder work than wholesale preservation. It requires separating sheep from goats and actually looking at the virtues (or not) of a proposed change.

2. Prioritizing Assets
It is imperative that groups defending heritage assets be willing and able to prioritize what is fundamental and important historically and what is not. Attempts to freeze all action by wholesale defence of every object and landscape destroys the credibility of heritage proponents and makes it appear, sometimes correctly, that homeostasis and not heritage is the object.

3. Amateur Argumentation
It is clear that attempts to swamp the Board with redundant single aspect testimony will usually not succeed. We live in a complex world in which competing interests and ideas must be reconciled and testimony which reveals an understanding of this is more persuasive than testimony that does not. Pretending that the Board is a political meeting where earnestness and numbers trump expertise and reason is a disservice to the efforts and morale of citizens genuinely concerned about protecting heritage assets. This may work at City Council but will fail at an objective hearing.

4. Understanding History and Artistic Achievements
Some things more than 50 years old are not very interesting and important. Preserve it, and they will come, is hopeful but not reliable. We must recognize that while the Welland Canal is very interesting and important, many buildings in Ontario are not Bath or Quebec City. This is a new country with its material history (mostly) ahead of it. We should be moderate about claims of significance and meaning and see things in terms of their place in the grand historical chronology.

5. Confrontation on all Issues
When mounting a defence, prioritize and edit your list of conceivable lines of attack. Some lines of attack should be dismissed as trivial or ill-fated or even peripheral to the fundamental heritage issues at stake. A concentrated attack on a point of principal and at proponent weakness is far more effective than simply having more issues.

As an architect very interested in history, cultural evolution, and public discourse, I must confess a concern about how Port Place opponents have presented the authority of their position. Ideas such as…

“To a casual observer the misfit is a no brainer…”

…is a problem. Surely these serious matters require more attention than that offered by casual observers. The keen observers at the hearing, including the Jurist Susan Campbell, did not regard this as a “no brainer”, and were not surprised by the outcome. For example, on the third day of the 21 week hearing, on seeing the accurate perspective drawings we produced Ms. Campbell asked me “has the public seen these drawings?” The implication should have been clear.

In her decision, on virtually every matter of substance, the opinions of the project’s witnesses were preferred to those of the opponents. I believe the keen observers in and outside the hearing room will read this decision in detail. It is, I think, very illuminating and I recommend it to your thoughtful readers.

Editor's Note:
For discussion of this landmark OMB decision and the articles that have been written on it go to the Port Dalhousie blog link featured in this issue.

3. Letter to the Editor: Re Bill 149
Gail Sussman

Re: Bill 149 as described in Built Heritage News # 138.

While I salute the intention of the private members' Bill to protect older inactive cemeteries, I wish to point out that the human remains in these inactive cemeteries are not adequately protected in this Bill.

There is a growing phenomena, in Europe especially, to excavate cemeteries, without actually moving or "closing" them, to study the human remains on the premise that the dead "owe" the living samples of their DNA for research purposes. The human remains are treated as archaeological finds and confiscated by the government. Governments use the same rationale as Bill 149 that these human remains are part of the "collective heritage" and "historical record" and therefore must be studied.

The Bill also begs the questions, "who represents the deceased?" and "what are the traditions of the deceased?"

I recommend that there be clauses to prevent/control the excavation of these inactive cemeteries for "scientific" testing on the human remains so that the deceased truly rest in peace. Therefore, rather than everyone running to the local MLA to support this Bill, I suggest it be withdrawn at this time to expand the protection of human remains more fully. There are cross references to other legislation (Ontario Heritage Act, Planning Act) that need to be examined more closely. For example, just because the Ontario government issues a license to archaeologists, there is no reason to assume that human remains will be either protected or respected according to their traditions. There are also complicated issues regarding "rescue" archaeology and land use planning to be negotiated.

Currently, I am directly involved with the protection of "inactive" cemeteries in Western Europe and I would be pleased to discuss these issues further with you.

Gail Sussman
Rimmonim Preservation Consultants

Editor's Note:
I trust that those promoting Bill 149 will contact Ms. Sussman

4. Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia-Threat to Heritage Stock in Halifax
The Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia

The Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia is concerned that HRMbyDesign would put at risk the fragile safeguards that protect downtown Halifax's remaining built heritage.

HRMbyDesign recommends increases in the height limits on heritage properties in downtown Halifax. "This would provide an incentive for developers to demolish
existing heritage buildings", said Heritage Trust president Phil Pacey.

Prior to amalgamation, the city of Halifax established as-of-right height limits in
downtown Halifax to protect heritage assets and to gain control over the design of larger developments. At that time an as-of-right height limit of 25 feet was
established east of Hollis Street, similar to the heights of some heritage buildings. In the Central Business District west of Hollis Street, the height limits were set at 40 feet. In 1981 an absolute height limit of 45 feet was placed on some properties in the south end of the city. "For three decades these height limits have protected heritage buildings and owners knew that", said Mr. Pacey.

"Owners knew if they demolished their buildings they would have difficulty getting
approvals for taller ones. They looked at their options, and decided that maintaining the existing buildings was the most cost effective and profitable option. They have followed the rules, and as a result some very fine buildings have been refurbished.

However, developers insist on an even playing field," said Dr. Pacey. He said owners agreed to have their buildings registered under the Heritage Property Act, when it was introduced in 1980. Only three registered heritage buildings have been demolished in the study area, which is a loss of 0.08 per cent a year.

"Existing height limits are working well."

He said HRMbyDesign would greatly increase as-of-right height limits to between 72 and 160 feet, which would create a financial incentive for speculators to buy
buildings, apply to demolish, wait for a year, demolish and then build larger buildings.

"If HRMbyDesign were adopted, about 100 historic buildings would be at greater risk of demolition. This would make it difficult to establish a heritage conservation district in the future, as developers would resist any attempt to bring the height restrictions back down to the historic norms," he said.

Mr. Pacey said it could also lead to "planning blight", as speculators would not wish to make repairs, expecting to demolish the buildings and build larger ones in a few years.

Currently, he said, Halifax's 17 city-wide heritage policies, adopted over the past 30 years to protect heritage assets, compared favourably "with the best international standards" today. The Utility and Review Board and the Courts have also interpreted and upheld them. HRMbyDesign would state that these policies would no longer apply downtown. HRMbyDesign would rescind policies that have protected views of Halifax harbour from Citadel Hill between view planes. Heights would be set so high, "it would not be possible to see the harbour over the buildings."

In summary, Mr. Pacey said HRMbyDesign "would weaken heritage protection in
downtown Halifax by increasing height limits and deleting or ruling out good policies that generations of Haligonians and their elected representatives have worked on together. I understand the aim of HRMbyDesign is to increase density in downtown Halifax. The Trust believes, however, that moderate increases in density can be achieved by building on the 1,050,000 square feet of vacant land in downtown Halifax. It's neither necessary nor desirable to put our heritage at risk."

Contact: Phil Pacey 494 3334, 237 1375, 422 8814

- 30 -

Editor's Note:
Height in heritage areas is an issue all across Canada

5. Blog for Discussion on Port Dalhousie

Architectural Rendering of the Project, Michael Kirkland Architect

Please follow this link to post your comments on this decision and read those posted by others.

Click here for Link

6. Niagara This Week: Do heritage designations mean anything in Ontario?
Doug Draper, Reporter's View

Does this project belong in Port Dalhousie HCD?

"Our government is committed to conserving our heritage for the benefit of present and future generations." - A statement made in June 2006 by Ontario's then minister of municipal affairs, John Gerretsen, on the government's passage of amendments to the Ontario Heritage Act it claimed would "strengthen" the legislation.

A few weeks back, the Welland Historical Museum opened an exhibit in honour of the Capital Theatre, another one of that city's and this region's long-lost gems

The Capital, once a pillar of Welland's downtown, may have looked fairly ordinary on the outside. But on the inside, a person found themselves walking into one of those grand old movie palaces from the first half of the last century, with finely carved paneling, a chandelier sparkling above the balcony and no end of other classic fixtures that could probably not be replicated at a cost any builder of a theatre could afford to pay today.

Around the opening of the museum's exhibit on the Capital, where my father worked as an usher when blockbuster films like The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind lit up the marquee, words like "grand," "magnificent" and "opulent" were used to describe what people remembered of the theatre.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:So far no coverage of this significant story in the national press.

7. St. Catharine's Standard: No Appeal of Port Dalhousie Decision
Marlene Bergsma, forwarded by Rob Hamilton

Anti-tower group gives up fight

PROUD is confident it could make a good legal case against the Ontario Municipal Board decision to approve the Port tower, but it’s giving up the fight.

“If we appeal to the courts and win, the result will be another lengthy OMB hearing, which will likely be, once again brutally expensive for all,” said Carlos Garcia, executive vice-president of citizens’ group PROUD (Port Realizing Our Unique Distinction).

Speaking at Monday night’s city council meeting, Garcia said PROUD’s lawyers advised it could appeal the decision, based on errors in law, but the group’s leaders decided they did not want to put PROUD’s members “through the stress and financial burden” of another hearing. The group has spent more than $500,000 on its fight, he said. (The city spent $50,000.)

The executive’s decision must be ratified at PROUD’s annual general meeting Thursday night, Garcia said.

PROUD is “very disappointed” in OMB hearing chair Susan Campbell’s decision, he said, especially because she ruled the city’s heritage guidelines for Port Dalhousie do not have much value because they weren’t updated after the province made changes in 2005 to the Ontario Heritage Act.

Garcia said Campbell’s decision puts many other of the province’s heritage districts at risk, “vulnerable to towers and inappropriate development. Most of the 91 districts (in Ontario) were also designated before 2005, and are in the same situation as Port Dalhousie and the Queen and Yates districts.”

Meanwhile, the question of whether the lakeside community has been divided by the dispute over the tower was raised again Monday night, with Garcia saying it hasn’t and pro-tower magazine editor David Serafino saying it has.

“Much has been made of neighbours fighting neighbours in Port,” Garcia said. “This has been wildly exaggerated. We get along with everyone, including the developer.”

Click here for Link

8. Two Ontario Towns Pass Resolutions Supporting HCF's Landmarks, Not Landfill Campaign
Heritage Canada Foundation Communique

Has Your Community Passed such a Resolution

Ottawa, ON - March 12, 2009 -This past February, the towns of Collingwood and Markham, Ontario joined the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and over a dozen other cities and towns in passing resolutions endorsing the Heritage Canada Foundation's Landmarks, Not Landfill campaign which calls upon the federal government to establish financial incentives to encourage private sector investment in the rehabilitation of historic properties.

"HCF was encouraged to hear about Collingwood and Markham's actions," said Natalie Bull, HCF's executive director. "We commend the federal government for earmarking $20 million for the National Historic Sites of Canada Cost-Sharing Program as part of the economic stimulus package announced in February's Federal Budget. The next step, however, should be to introduce tax measures to stimulate private sector investment in locally and provincially recognized historic properties."

Studies in Canada, the U.S. and elsewhere demonstrate that the rehabilitation of heritage buildings stimulates the economy, revitalizes communities, and creates jobs. In the U.S., the 30-year-old Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives Program has helped the private sector rehabilitate over 34,000 properties, leveraged $45 billion in private investment (with a 5 to 1 ratio of private investment to federal tax credits), and created an average of 45 new jobs with each project.

"If ever there was a time to create this practical federal measure to help to further stimulate the economy and protect the environment, it is now," stated Ms. Bull.

HCF encourages other municipalities to take action to support the call for federal financial incentives for historic places. To see a sample letter to council and a sample resolution, click the following link:

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.

For further information:
Carolyn Quinn, Director of Communications,
Telephone: 613-237-1066 ext. 4; Cell: 613-797-7206

Editor's Note:If your community has not already passed such a resolution, why not call your local councillor and your Mayor and suggest that they do so. It is a simple, no cost thing they can do to help get our heritage buildings restored.

9. Barrie Examiner: New uses for school buildings

The Orillia Central School is one of four local public school buildings that could be up for grabs, and councillors are weighing in on possible uses for the historic building.

The Coldwater Street school, which houses the Orillia Alternative School for Independent Studies (OASIS) and a preschool operation, has been recommended for disposition by the Simcoe County District School Board.

The City of Orillia is on the list of those that have 90 days to express an interest in the site before it can be put on the market.

Built in 1882, Orillia Central School would make a wonderful artisans centre, said Coun. Ralph Cipolla. The property also would provide additional parking near the farmers' market, where spaces will be lost to the new library.

The old school could provide studio and workshop space as well as meeting rooms for community groups, said Cipolla.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:Recently ACO/CHO held a workshop to explore what is happening to Ontario's historic schools which are being lost all over the province. An article on that will be coming in the next issue.

10. Brantford Expositor: Man's home really is castle - Yates Castle, a piece of local history, is for sale

Just two families have owned the remarkable house called Wynarden in the past 145 years.

But now there's a chance for a third person to own the stuff of dreams: a "castle."

The remarkable Wynarden property up for sale -- commonly known as Yates Castle -- is one of the most unusual homes in the city, but also a bit of a mystery.

The Talos family, owners for the last 80 years, avoided publicity to some degree.

They declined home and garden tours because of the number of tenants who live on the property and, except for a massive renovation that took place in the 1980s, the home has rarely been brought to the public's attention.

Painters and photographers have found the allure of the house and it has been written about in architectural books. But the best way of discovering Yates Castle has been serendipitously -- getting lost behind Terrace Hill Street on Usher Street and gasping at the startling sight of the mansion sitting across from the train tracks.

Henry Rushton Yates was the railway magnate who built the house and spared no expense.

His legacy was raved about in The Expositor of 1865: "It has splendid suites of rooms for all

Yours for $1,855,000

Wynarden or Yates Castle is being sold by Royal LePage Realty for $1,855,000.

The home was built in 1864 by architect John Turner for Henry Yates, who helped develop the Great Western Railway company (which later became CN). It was the epitome of opulence for its day, boasting two towers, a wine cellar, dumbwaiter, underground tunnel to the separate schoolhouse, speaking trumpets and hot and cold running water.

Click here for Link

11. Kingston Whig-Standard: New try to save station

There is a fresh push underway to rehabilitate the old train station on Montreal Street.

Five years after the city rejected an offer from CN Rail to acquire the historic outer station and the five hectares of land on which it sits for a dollar, the Frontenac Heritage Foundation is taking a new run at the idea.

It is suggesting that the city start negotiating with CN, which owns the land and the building but is eager to unload it, either to take the land as a gift or have CN lease it for 99 years.

Ron Smith of the foundation says then, if the city will commit to spending $200,000 a year for four years - primarily to put a new roof on the building and to restore the inside - his group will lobby Ottawa for grants to turn the newer part of the station into a Sir John A. Macdonald museum in time for the 200th anniversary of his birth in 2015.

"If the city commits to fixing and maintaining the old stone station, that's the important part," said Smith, referring to the 1850s-era station.

The white-walled part of the station dates to 1895.

Smith said the city could use the older part of the station as a satellite visitors' information office, saying it would be an ideal location as a number of new roads are being eyed for the area, including the Wellington Street extension and the proposed third crossing of the Cataraqui River.

"The tourism information office downtown is fine, but not everyone goes downtown," he said.

"This would be a perfect site."

The city rejected the land in 2004 after a staff report estimated it would cost $1.6 million to rehabilitate the buildings, and at least $2 million to clean up the polluted site.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:Go Frontenac Foundation! Over the years the Foundation has developed expertise in taking over and managing property. We all could learn a lot from them.

12. Daily Commercial News and Construction Record: Colonial Building Restoration restores the lady by the lake - Intricate craft required on Royal York job

Entrance to Fairmont Royal York Hotel

These days, Toronto's Fairmont Royal York is dwarfed by shimmering glass condo towers shooting skyward around the waterfront, but the 79-year-old landmark is still the stately lady by the lake. And Colonial Building Restoration is helping to make sure it maintains its status.

The big Toronto restoration/preservation contractor has started work on the second phase and half of the third phase of an ambitious restoration project that involves extensive masonry repairs and restorative work to the building's limestone façade.

The contractor hopes to assemble scaffolding this month over a two-week period (depending on weather) and complete its contract commitments by December, says Andrew Lough, president of Colonial. The work continues where phase one (also awarded to Colonial) left off: restoring the rest of the main entrance and the two high towers to its east and west. The work will require a crew of about 20 during peak periods.

The job includes full-depth backpointing, then replacing existing mortar with a soft lime-based mortar between the limestone panels. The existing Portland-cement based mortar, installed about 15 years ago, was too hard and caused damage to the limestone, says Lough.

Colonial uses a historic soft mortar recipe that is compatible with the limestone. With any historic masonry structure, a soft mortar ensures that the masonry wont be damaged when the building moves during weather changes.

Wed rather have the joint break then the stone break.

Major jobs like this one require a historical consultant, who provides the mortar recipe and other direction on the work.

In this case, the mortar is made up of one part lime, two parts Portland-cement and eight parts sand - the lime mortar mix for historic commercial buildings like the hotel, says Lough, noting that it is good for the industry to require historic consultants because it helps to ensure that the work is done properly.

Click here for Link

13. Orillia Packet & Times - Orillia: Re: Kehoe Digs into Past
Patrick Kehoe

Orillia Opera House and Market from Orillia Public Library Online

I wanted to take this opportunity, for those who may not fully understand my motivation, to set the record straight.

First I, as do many others, want a new library, not just any library but a first class facility located downtown. But more importantly, we want it without destroying a near century and a half cultural and social tradition; The Farmer's Market.

I speak for those who value our traditions and who respect our history. I speak for those who came before but have a voice no longer. I speak for those who, many years ago, sacrificed everything in an effort to build a great community and those same who would be ashamed that we now act with such careless disregard for all they had accomplished.

On the 30th day of March in 1872, the people of the Town of Orillia voted for this location for their new marketplace. This marketplace would ultimately fuel the town's growth as is evidenced by the date of construction of every heritage building that surrounds it. The Market was the centre of activity and everything emanated outwardly from this location.

In 1889, 120 years ago this very year, our market was first threatened, much as it is again today. That year, council wanted to locate a post office on the Square instead of purchasing property. The people rose up, a vote was held, council was defeated, and the post office, now known as the Sir Samuel Steele Building, was constructed on Peter St.

There has never been an occasion from its original formation in 1872 where the public did not have a direct vote on all matters relating to their Market Square. Why should today be any different?

Click here for Link

14. Orillia Packet & Times: Councillors ponder uses for central school
Nathan Taylor and Colin McKim

The Orillia Central School is one of four local public school buildings that could be up for grabs, and councillors are weighing in on possible uses for the historic building.

The Coldwater Street school, which houses the Orillia Alternative School for Independent Studies (OASIS) and a preschool operation, has been recommended for disposition by the Simcoe County District School Board.

The City of Orillia is on the list of those that have 90 days to express an interest in the site before it can be put on the market.

Built in 1882, Orillia Central School would make a wonderful artisans centre, said Coun. Ralph Cipolla. The property also would provide additional parking near the farmers market, where spaces will be lost to the new library.

The old school could provide studio and workshop space as well as meeting rooms for community groups, said Cipolla.

The building could provide a headquarters for organizations such as the Orillia District Arts Council, he said.

Coun. Maurice McMillan thinks affordable housing is a reasonable option for the surplus school properties.

Weve got a housing crisis in this city, said McMillan.

But no decisions should be made without full public consultation with neighbours and the community as a whole, he said: We need to investigate, totally, the feasibility in an open manner.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:So many schools going down, no answers from the Minister of Education

15. Ottawa Citizen: Developer sells church on green - Project touted as an earth embassy
Jennifer Green

Christ Church Cathedral photos from Sandy and Sparky's photo albums
Not the only interesting building on the site

OTTAWA - Christ Church Anglican Cathedral is on the brink of a green-themed development deal on its prized site between Queen and Sparks streets.

If approved, the project will be an earth embassy, says Jonathan Westeinde of Ottawa's Windmill Development Group.

Stores that exemplify green living would open onto the street level. Key facts, like global warming rates, could flash from large electronic displays, like an earth-friendly take on New York's Times Square. Inside, offices would accommodate environmental agencies such as the Sierra Club in a working hub so they'll be co-operating together with less division, says Westeinde. The development will likely include other offices, conference areas and some living space.

Windmill would build the structures with state-of-the-art environmental methods, as it has in other projects, such as The Currents on Wellington Street, where condos share space with the first-floor Great Canadian Theatre Company.

Both Westeinde and Shane Parker, the dean of the cathedral, caution that the deal is far from final, meaning the cost, square footage, start date, layout and number of units are all still fuzzy.

Both sides hope further meetings this month will result in a final deal by June.

It's been a long process and we're not there yet, says Westeinde. But we're at the handshake point, so the prospect is good.

City planners will still have to approve the complex project. The site is lovely but tricky with several heritage buildings, an overall heritage designation, and, of course, the gracious stone cathedral built in 1896.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:The GREENEST project would involve the rehabilitation of all of the existing buildings on the site, and incorporating new facilities around them, a project the environmental organizations could feel completely proud to be part of.

16. Owen Sound Sun Times: Culture a new economic driver
Don Crosby

Cultural planning and a creative rural economy are resources for new economic development

Cultural planning and a creative rural economy are resources for new economic development, says the head of a new group that represents a broad range of arts, culture and heritage in Meaford.

But Jon Kerr, the head of CultureCore and the administrator of the Georgian Bay Association of Creative Artists website, indicated the effort has to be broad-based and co-ordinated.

I look around and see the municipality . . . is spending a huge amount of money in one way or another on culture, but that expenditure is not being guided in any way . . . The only plan is to keep Meaford Hall running in the style to which it has somehow become accustomed, which was certainly not the original plan for the hall, he said.

Theres an awful lot of culture that goes without much in the way of facilities, said Kerr, who was chairman of the Meaford Hall board that guided the hall reconstruction project before being replaced by a municipal advisory board.

A growing number of rural communities in Ontario are turning to municipal cultural planning for economic revitalization, replacing traditional dependence on agriculture and industry which have declined in recent years. The search is on for new ways to pay for the escalating costs of running a municipality in the face of a dwindling tax base.

Kerr said culture is being seen to add to the wealth of a community in many ways, such as attracting tourists, creating jobs, revitalizing neighbourhoods and attracting new businesses.

Culture is increasingly being recognized as essential to prosperous, livable and sustainable communities in the 21st century. The province recognizes the tremendous fiscal opportunity for rural municipalities to leverage their cultural assets for prosperity, said Kerr, who gave the example of Prince Edward County and its map of all of the regions cultural resources.

Our cultural resources are often overlooked, under-appreciated and under-utilized for the purpose of economic development, he said.

The provincial government, through the Ministry of Culture, is encouraging communities to incorporate culture when planning for other municipal priorities such as land use, tourism, economic development, transportation projects and downtown revitalization plans.

Some of the cultural assets that can be included in the planning process include the performing arts, visual arts and media arts, libraries, historic districts, museums, archives, festivals, architecture and natural assets such as waterfalls and ancient trees.

Kerr said the new group has told Meafords chief administrative officer, Frank Miele, about its plans to promote cultural planning in the municipality. And its encouraging council to show leadership in collaborating with local cultural groups to develop a cultural development policy.

Anna Bradford, Hamiltons director of culture, was the guest speaker at the Meaford Chamber of Commerce annual general meeting last week and spoke on the importance of cultural planning.

She praised Meaford Hall, but said culture is more than such things.

I think the Meaford Hall is stunning. Its one of the best examples of the readaptive use of a heritage building that I have ever seen, she said.

Meaford has several valuable assets that could play a vital role in the rebirth of the local economy such as the waterfront, the downtown and manner in which the chamber of commerce is promoting the town, she said.

Youre halfway there, you have so many things going for you. Youve certainly got enough here that you could move forward, said Bradford, who defined culture as more than music, art and heritage events.

Its about us, our language, our traditions. Its how we express ourselves, its the tangibles and the intangibles. Each community is unique and the way these assets come together and express themselves, thats culture . . . culture is the life of the people, she said.

Its a very European thing. I think North America has somewhere along the line lost touch with what is really important in life. . . Outside of work our life is anything to do with culture and recreation. Its a big part of our life, said Gunter Neumann.

Neumann said the challenge to develop cultural planning in Meaford will be getting agreement or consensus.

Weve got so many individuals and interest groups and a lot of them cant agree. They think thats their job but it isnt. I have no idea of how you develop something like that. Thats why Im a committee of one, Neumann said.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:How does this T up with the church demolition?

17. Owen Sound Sun Times: Old church torn down quickly

Within an hour Thursday, an excavator reduced the 125-year-old board and batten former church at Mennonite corners to a pile of splintered wood, shredded insulation and plaster dust

Within an hour Thursday, an excavator reduced the 125-year-old board and batten former church at Mennonite corners to a pile of splintered wood, shredded insulation and plaster dust.

The building, under threat of demolition for at least four years, was ripped down, less than 12 hours after Georgian Bluffs council ordered its destruction in a 6-1 vote Wednesday night.

John Harrison, whose Heritage Georgian Bluffs group tried to save and restore the aged church, is fuming mad.

"Today is a very sad day, but its also a shameful day," he said Thursday morning.

Township Mayor Alan Barfoot said the building was beyond repair and its .22-acre lot too small to support a septic tank, well or parking spaces. The lot will be turned into a parkette instead, with an historic plaque, he said.

Harrison put the blame for the structure's deterioration squarely on Georgian Bluff's shoulders, saying municipal officials failed to ensure the building was properly maintained, since the former Derby Township took ownership in 1992.

"They are slum landlords in the worst sense," Harrison said. "The property standards that they would enforce on anybody else, they have failed to keep themselves."

But Deputy-mayor Dwight Burley, who introduced the motion for demolition, said Heritage Georgian Bluffs had plenty of time to stabilize and save the building, but failed to do so.

"Council had to sooner or later make a decision," he said. "John Harrison and his group never really came back to give council the information that's been requested for many, many months."

Built around 1884, the building served as a church for the Evangelical United Mennonite Society. The Salem Women's Institute received the building in 1950--a gift from the Derby Co-operative-- for use as a hall.

The building was almost demolished in 2004 to allow Grey County to widen the intersection at Grey roads 18 and 5.

A group, led by the late Bob Greenberg, formed to save the building, which the county later said would not need to be removed under a more modest intersection improvement plan.

For most of 2008, Heritage Georgian Bluffs worked to save the structure, despite threats of demolition from the township, who deemed it unsafe and banned access.

The township set numerous deadlines for stabilization work to proceed, but Heritage Georgian Bluffs failed to overcome roadblocks to complete the repairs. An adequate site plan was also never produced, Burley said.

Harrison said his group has financed engineering work, which concluded the building was savable, repaired a hole in the roof and began the process of applying for senior government grants.

"We are volunteers. All of us in our groups are senior citizens. A couple of us that have been leaders in this have had serious health problems over the last couple of years. There is a tremendous amount of work involved in doing this. We worked as much as we could," he said.

Coun. Judy Gay, the lone council member to vote against the building's demolition, said the township should be more proactive with saving historic buildings and should have worked "more aggressively" to aid in the former church's restoration.

"We keep destroying our old things, but there were problems with getting this project moving along," she said.

The township issued itself a demolition permit early Thursday morning, said Georgian Bluffs CAO Bill White. It was council's wish to demolish the building right away, he said.

But Harrison said the township acted as quickly as it did because his group told council Wednesday that it planned to seek historic designation protection from the Ontario Ministry of Culture.

"Their wish to get it done so quickly bespeaks a guilty conscience," Harrison said.

Click here for Link

18. Renfrew Mercury:Heritage Renfrew sets out to protect more heritage properties - Heritage advisory committees proposed
John Carter

Heritage Renfrew has taken a major step in becoming more proactive on protecting heritage properties in the town.

At the organization's annual meeting Feb. 19, the board was authorized to look into forming a Heritage Renfrew property review committee (HRPRC).

One of its main roles would be to petition Renfrew council to appoint a Renfrew municipal heritage committee with lay members to replace its local architectural conservation advisory committee (LACAC), which only has council members. The Heritage Renfrew sub-committee would also resume a heritage properties review that tailed off in the 1980s and look into creating a heritage conservation district in the downtown.

While the membership didn't go as far as endorsing a resolution to set up the committee at the AGM, it did agree the board should consider the matter at its next meeting March 3.

The resolution stemmed from a Nov. 26 meeting hosted by Heritage Renfrew in which Carleton University Professor Herb Stovel and Andrew Jeanes of the provincial Ministry of Culture gave talks on the relevance of heritage in revitalizing downtown cores. Both endorsed the important of communities having heritage advisory committees with ratepayer representation.

In his presidents report, Dean Black pointed out Ontario Heritage Act changes encouraging municipalities to form municipal heritage committees is an opportunity for Heritage Renfrew to act.

Some of you might agree that the LACAC model has failed the citizens of Renfrew, especially those with an appreciation for heritage and history, he said. If so, support an effort that would see Heritage Renfrew members appointed to a new municipal heritage committee, he urged.

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19. The Bulletin Downtown Toronto: Landmark Flatiron Building is free at last!
Bruce Bell

Flat Iron Building, Toronto

For the past two years the iconic Gooderham (aka Flatiron) Building at the apex of Church, Wellington and Front has been shrouded in renovation scaffolding completely masking what is arguably the most photographed structure in Toronto.

But now at long last the scaffolding was removed and the commanding image of the Flatiron framed between the towering modern skyscrapers of the financial district behind it was once again revealed.

By its very existence here is a building that tells the story of how Toronto, once a lonely windswept British colony, became the economic powerhouse of Canada in a mere 100 years. Here is a building that has survived two world wars, several stock market crashes, the devastation of Urban Renewal, numerous takeover bids, its own destruction twice, and yet looking as it did the day it was completed back in 1891; a feat shared by only a handful of structures in Toronto today. In addition to all that, the site the Flatiron dominates is just as historic as the building itself.

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20. Waterloo Record: Keeping a roof over their heads

Flying Air Canada jumbo jets might be easier than the unpaid job Scott Thomson has on his plate for the most of the next decade.

The slate roof of the landmark Central Presbyterian Church is crumbling. Thomson is on the church's building committee. He's been blessed with the job of overseeing the $1.4 million project.

"I drew the short straw," the pilot says, breaking into laughter.

There's a calm confidence in his voice as he talks about the massive project, one which will be mostly financed by the congregation. It's easy to tell he's warm to the challenge of giving the massive stone building another century of life.

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21. An art deco wonder soars above Vancouver
John Mackie

Lobby, photo from Execusuites webpage
Historic view, photo from Execusuites webpage

When it was built in 1930, the Marine Building in Vancouver was the tallest building in the British Empire. To show off its dazzling waterfront view, an observation deck was built on the top floor, with a huge wraparound terrace.

The cost of taking in the view was a mere 25 cents. But that proved too much for the masses during the Great Depression, and the observation deck was soon closed. By 1933, the builders were in such dire financial straits they sold the art-deco masterpiece for $900,000, a fraction of the $2.3 million it cost to build it.

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Editor's Note:Take a look next time you are in the neighbourhood.

22. Historic Moose Jaw hotel another step closer to demolition

The Brunswick Hotel is beyond being salvaged based on engineers' reports, says Moose Jaw Mayor Dale McBain. (Niall McKenna/CBC)There's debate brewing in Moose Jaw about an old hotel on a historic street that could soon be meeting a wrecking ball.

City council voted Monday to strip the Brunswick Hotel of the "historic" designation which had protected it from demolition. According to a city official, the celebration of the incorporation of the City of Moose Jaw took place at the River Street hotel in 1903.

Former councillor Glenda James is among those fighting to save the downtown property and says other buildings could be at risk because the city may decide to take away their historic designations, too.

"What's happening is, we're just picking away at that and destroying the very thing that made us unique," she said. "After a while, we're going to be like anybody else with just a few nice buildings on the odd street, or even on Main Street. That's not that unusual at all."

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Editor's Note:Perhaps a visit to Toronto's Gladstone Hotel might yield some ideas for the revival of this splendid building. Old hotels have fantastic potential as sites for new ideas.

23. Comox Valley Echo: Future of heritage church up in the air
Elaine Mitropoulos

Comox councillors expect to decide the fate of a more than century-old, heritage-designated church tomorrow.

Last week, the tourism ministry's heritage branch talked to the council about what the community could do to save St. John the Baptist Church from falling into disrepair.

"(The church), I understand, is a fixture in the community... and one of two designated heritage sites in the community," said Pam Copley of the tourism ministry.

With the construction of Christ the King on Ryan Road, St. John the Baptist Church - a municipal heritage site built in 1885 and touted as the first Catholic church north of Nanaimo - is no longer used for worship.

Last year, the church's parish council asked the town council to remove the heritage designation so it could sell the property.

The parish said it had entered into talks with another denomination for the sale of the property, but closing was dependant on the removal of the building.

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24. Halifax Chronicle-Herald / Charlottetown Guardian: Leaving their mark - P.E.I. congregation revitalizes by going back to the beginning

MILTON, P.E.I.  At a time when many Prince Edward Island churches are closing their doors for good, the people of St. John's Anglican Church in Milton have gone in an entirely different direction.

This small congregation has revitalized its historic structure, which was designed by renowned P.E.I. architect William Critchlow Harris more than a century ago, and in the process has earned a heritage activity award from the P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation for maintaining the church's architectural integrity and splendour.

Just as an artist would sign his or her work upon completion, the people have left their mark.

"When we were getting close to the top of the steeple we wanted to do something that would involve the whole parish," says George Piercey, a member of the property committee of St. John's Anglican Church.

"So we left shingles at the back of the church and said if you want your name on a shingle, they're going to put them well up to the top of the spire and in 50, 60 or 70 years when the church is stripped again, when it's all done over, our names will be there."

Many of the names on those shingles stretch back to the very beginnings of this Anglican parish.

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Editor's Note:This reminds me of the fantastic story of the restoration of St. Patrick's Church, Kinkora, in Ontario. As in many things in life, determination and commitment to the community makes the difference.

25. Halifax Chronicle-Herald: Coady Institute gets $17m facelift
Cathy Von Kintzel: Truro Bureau

ANTIGONISH Old blends with new amid sawdust, saws and hammers on the St. Francis Xavier University campus, where a historic renovation is taking shape at the new home of Coady International Institute.

Unlike the current Coady perched atop a hill on the outer edge of campus, the new institute is tucked into the centre of university life, in a selection of elegant old buildings undergoing extensive transformations.

"I believe that with the Coady moving into the heart of the campus, St. F.X. students will take advantage of the great opportunities that the Coady Institute has to offer and also make the effort to share with the Coady what they have to offer as well," says director Mary Coyle.

The $17-million facility is expected to open by summer with an official gala opening ceremony in the fall. It's appropriate timing because the Coady, which trains international students to be leaders in their own communities, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

It's a work in progress for roughly 90 people who are building new structures and renovating old ones, including the university's chapel, built in 1911. Arched windows and arched steel ceiling beams are being preserved, as well as a balcony overlooking it all.

"Beautiful historic buildings are rare assets in the 21st century and the creation of the new Coady International Centre has presented us with an opportunity to maintain and enhance these historic buildings in the heart of campus," Ms. Coyle says.

Click here for Link

26. Heritage Canada Foundation's Annual Conference - Call for Abstracts and Proposals
Heritage Canada Foundation Communique

The Heritage Imperative: Old Buildings in an Age of Environmental Crisis

Heritage Canada Foundation in collaboration with the Ontario Heritage Trust
and in cooperation with the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals

September 24 - 26, 2009
Toronto, Ontario
Fairmont Royal York Hotel

Climate change. Green building. Economic renewal. Older buildings have answers for the biggest questions of our generation.
The 2009 Heritage Canada Foundation conference will bring together delegates and speakers from the fields of heritage preservation, environmental conservation and green building to explore these themes. This is an essential event for advocates, municipal planners, developers, public policy makers, elected officials and property owners. Delegates will learn how the rehabilitation and re-use of older buildings and existing neighbourhoods can help save the planet - and how the green movement and architectural conservation will become more integrated in the process.

The conference is designed to foster exchange and collaboration through expert panels consisting of a session leader and presenters from the heritage, environmental and green communities - each of them bringing the perspective of their respective field. Each 15-20 minute presentation will use research results, examples and case studies as stepping stones to broadly applicable principles and/or concrete recommendations for practice.

Proposals for presentations and field sessions are invited on the following themes:

* Environmental Stewardship and the Built Environment: sustainable districts and neighbourhoods; innovative and challenging adaptive re-use projects; brownfield redevelopment; integrated community sustainability planning.

* Making the Case for Existing Buildings: embodied energy; lifecycle analysis; "true cost" economics; green qualities of older buildings and traditional materials; durability and maintainability.

* Greening Older Buildings: efficient energy retrofits; applying green rating systems to existing buildings; new green technologies for old buildings.

* Values, Principles and Hard Decisions: when heritage buildings can't go green; rehab projects that push the envelope; knowing when "enough is enough" - from a green and a heritage perspective.

Submissions should include the following:

* Title and type of presentation or session proposed and 250-word summary.
* Author's name, contact information and brief biographical statement.

Deadline for submissions: March 15, 2009

To submit your proposal, or for more information:<>

Tel: 613-237-1066; Fax 613-237-5987

Chosen presenters and session leaders will receive complimentary registration for the day they present.


Click here for Link

27. Kitimat Sentinel: National heritage site tag could boost tourism

work of acclaimed town planner Clarence Stein

Aerial View of Kitimat, from District of Kitimat webpages

Kitimat may only be 55 years old, but those who know its history best are seeking a national historic site designation for the town plus an historic event designation.

Working with the Kitimat Heritage Group, Louise Avery, curator of Kitimat Museum and Archives, will be sending away an application that would see Kitimat recognized at the national level for its historic qualities.

Avery said she has spoken with the commemoration officer with Parks Canada, the department responsible for historic designations, and the idea came forward to stress the innovation that went into creating this town.

A major part of that innovation was the work of acclaimed town planner Clarence Stein, who Avery said was believed to have been lured out of retirement by the Aluminum Company of Canada for this final project.

He's a giant in American planning, said Avery, noting he helped establish the American Planning Association.

Kitimat was his eighth and final planned community, and came 10 years after his last American town.

Kitimat was his only Canadian project.

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Editor's Note:Time for a competing, or companion nomination for Kapuskasing, and perhaps Don Mills too.

28. Montreal Gazette: Historic building threatened
Linda Gyulai

The New City Gas Co. building was built in 1847 by architect John Ostell, whose work included the Redpath Sugar Refinery, McGill Universitys Arts Building and the citys first Customs House.

New City Gas Building, from Images Montreal

The red brick and greystone building with the sloped roof at Ottawa and Dalhousie Sts. was built long before the advent of buses and electricity in Montreal.

But now, more than 160 years after the New City Gas Co. plant was erected, those two inventions are threatening to bring it down if municipal authorities allow a high-traffic bus corridor to be built next to it, heritage experts and Griffintown residents say.

A key component of a proposal to level the Bonaventure Expressway calls for construction of a corridor along Dalhousie St. for 1,400 public transit buses that cross the Champlain Bridge between the South Shore and downtown Montreal each weekday.

The Société du havre de Montréal, the agency overseeing the Bonaventure project, is proposing a bus corridor to keep the vehicles off Duke and Nazareth Sts., which are to be widened to replace the portion of the expressway thats to be levelled between Brennan and Notre Dame Sts.

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29. Saint John Telegraph-Journal: DeBury House has been a historic landmark in Saint John for more than 130 years
Jo Anne Claus

photo from Saint John Telegraph

Old houses have histories as part of their allure. When you own an old house its stories are one of the bonuses. The elegant DeBury House, high on the hill above the road where Main Street meets Douglas Avenue, has been a landmark for more than 130 years. In spite of its ornamented Second Empire style, made popular in Paris by the many public buildings of Emperor Napoleon III, the house is discreetly situated, even now partially masked by a few remaining ancient elms on the steep rocky corner.

Once you take time to look at the DeBury House you will forever associate it with that corner of Main Street. Its distinctive architectural features catch your eye as you turn down Douglas Avenue or wait for the light before moving onto Chesley Drive or the Harbour Bridge. You will wonder about its stories.

The house is spectacular: its red brick body, two and a half stories high, contrasts with the elaborate white mouldings around its many tall narrow windows and its glass panelled front door.

The tower at the front of the house rises an additional half-storey. The tower's four levels of windows each have a different frame shape with embellishments of white on white layered designs in the wood trim of the windows' headers. Similar rich detailing continues on the layers of dental ornamentation on the cornice beneath the roof edge, and on the white columns flanking the doors and windows.

The final white decoration are the stone blocks known as quoins, used as an edging on every corner of the building, cutting like straight sharp teeth into the cheery red brick. The mansard roofs on the house and tower add again to the building's impressive height, as does the steep flight of steps to the front door.

A Home for Nobility.

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30. Telegraph-Journal - Saint John: Many significant changes to Peel Plaza after city's dialogue with community

SAINT JOHN - The colourful facades of the so-called jelly-bean buildings and the historic Jewish synagogue on Wellington Row have been spared the wrecking ball.

Enlarge Photo Peter Walsh/Telegraph-JournalThe historic edifice that used to house the Shaarei Zedek synagogue is one of the buildings spared from demolition. The new police station has been relocated inside the Peel Plaza footprint between Hazen Avenue and Wellington Row to allow the Saint John Arts Centre to be the development's focal point and to expand,

All because the citizens spoke.

The redesigned Peel Plaza proposal for the complex comes after a number of residents voiced concerns about a previous plan, which would have seen the development span two city blocks, many more buildings demolished and the police headquarters located behind the arts centre, stifling future growth.

The city did not adequately consult the public on its plans for the development, a number of residents and business owners complained, which led city staff to hold consultations and redesign the project.

In August, after the redesign, the city held public consultations with most residents expressing support.

"The size of the buildings and the programming did not change," deputy city manager Pat Woods said.

The 6,410-square-metre (69,000-square-foot) two-storey police station that the city will build for between $23 million and $25 million will be located in an area south of the Arts Centre, which is housed in the historic Carnegie building.

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31. Telegraph-Journal (Saint John, New Brunswick): Province won't order cleanup - for now - Pollution Department of Environment waits to see if owner and town can resolve their differences

Dexter House, photo from

ROTHESAY - The New Brunswick Department of the Environment has yet to wade into the debate over a home on 37 Gondola Point Rd., but isn't ruling it out.

The Dexter home on Gondola Point Road has sunk in the middle and is polluted with furnace oil. Heritage preservationists want the building saved, but the owner says it's too far gone. The ornate stone house - commonly referred to as the Dexter home - sits vacant near the Rothesay Common in the town's heritage district. A furnace oil leak that seeped into the soil as well as a water main break on the third floor that flooded the home and caused the central portion of the house to sink almost 13 centimetres have left the place uninhabitable.

The homeowner, Dennis Murphy, wants to tear down the historic building and clean up the oil in the ground. However, the property is in Rothesay's heritage area, and the town's Heritage and Preservation Review Board said Murphy has not followed the necessary steps for demolition.

In order to tear it down, the owners have to first advertise the home for sale at fair market value. Murphy has advertised the home with a stunning water view at an asking price of $1.5 million. However, the province assessed the polluted property at $141,300 in 2007.


Editor's Note Another earlier story at the link below contains six photos.

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32. Winnipeg Free Press: Historic Exchange house to become heritage HQ
Joe Paraskevas

Kelly House, CTV Winnipeg

A house from Winnipeg's past stands to influence the way this city treats heritage properties in the future.

Kelly House, which has stood in the Exchange District since the early 1880s, will remain at 88 Adelaide St. after its owners struck a deal with the city's downtown business development agency.

Adelaide Investments Ltd., owned by Winnipeg's Rich family, announced the 14-year agreement with CentreVenture Development Corp. that would see $450,000 in renovations done on Kelly House and the building become the new headquarters of Heritage Winnipeg, an agency that promotes the restoration of the city's heritage housing stock.

"We're very pleased with it," said CentreVenture president and chief executive Ross McGowan.

And yet, in reaching the agreement, CentreVenture and Adelaide warned city councillors Tuesday that there should be a review of the historical and derelict buildings bylaws.

The two pieces of legislation, they said, nearly led to Kelly House's destruction and they could do the same to many other aging but significant properties.

"Things don't work in sync together to maximize our kind of building," said Cindy Tugwell, Heritage Winnipeg's executive director.

The vacant and derelict buildings bylaw was introduced in 2004 in response to a rash of arson cases and meant to limit the number of rundown buildings that could be targeted by vandals.

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33. Winnipeg Free Press: Houses of the holyTravelling photo exhibit features Prairie churches
Brenda Suderman

For a self-described non-believer, Winnipeg photographer Tyrrell Mendis has deep faith in the power of photography.

He also believes that his collection of 724 photographs of Manitoba's houses of worship is a witness to the province's spiritual as well as architectural history.

"It's nothing to do with religion," the Wolseley-area resident says of his nearly three-decade-long weekend hobby of travelling Manitoba's back roads to photograph more than 700 houses of worship.

"It's a question of preserving and sharing what is going to be lost."

Four-dozen of those photographs of Prairie churches are now on display until March 29 at the Pavilion Gallery Museum in Assiniboine Park, the last scheduled stop for this three-year-old travelling exhibit.

Mendis, 74, and his wife Doreen, a faithful attender at Winnipeg's Holy Trinity Anglican, have spent hundreds of weekends racking up the kilometres on their 1999 Chevy Venture van in order to capture the images of far-flung churches.

Shooting with colour slide film in his 35 mm Minolta camera, the retired provincial civil servant has created a visual record of both humble and huge churches, choosing to photograph buildings constructed before 1930, with a few exceptions.

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34. Winnipeg Sun: Deal spares heritage - Kelly House to be preserved, restored

Kelly House, CTV Winnipeg

Kelly House -- the crumbling core-area home whose owners wanted it stripped of its heritage status so it could be demolished -- has been spared thanks to a last-minute deal between its owners, the city and CentreVenture.

For months, the now-dilapidated Victorian building at 88 Adelaide St. has been at the centre of a controversy that's expected to be resolved today, when the city's property and development committee decides on its fate.

Up until recently, the house's owners -- local garment manufacturers Richlu Sportswear Ltd. -- have been at odds with the city, whose historical buildings committee recommended the home keep its historical designation, even if the necessary repairs would have cost the owners an estimated $400,000.

But yesterday, historical buildings chair Jenny Gerbasi confirmed the two parties have reached an agreement with help from downtown development agency CentreVenture.

"It will remain a Grade Three heritage building," Gerbasi said yesterday. "It will remain heritage, and it will be restored."

Under the terms of the new agreement -- details of which will be spelled out today -- the building will be leased out by either the city or CentreVenture for the next 13 to 15 years, Gerbasi said.

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35. Associated Press: Yosemite's Ahwahnee Hotel unsafe in major quake

Ahwahnee Hotel, photo from Yosimite National Park reservations

Fresno, Calif. (AP) -- The grand Ahwahnee Hotel, a long-cherished refuge in the heart of Yosemite National Park, does not meet modern seismic safety standards and risks partial collapse in a major earthquake, according to a study released Thursday by park officials.

Presidents, movie stars and vacationers from around the world have slept, supped and celebrated in the stately Ahwahnee since the Art Deco lodge was finished in 1927.

But its 80-year old reinforced-concrete walls and steel frame is so vulnerable that lives could be lost during a big tremor, engineering consultants hired by the park found in a study submitted to the National Park Service in 2002, and finally released Thursday.

"Because of the localized structural failures, there is the potential for the loss of human lives," said the study by URS Corp., an engineering and construction company. "The extensive damage that is expected will likely cause the building to be evacuated after such an earthquake."

The retrofit options the consultants proposed would cost between $17.9 and $22.3 million, and would require the hotel to be left empty for two years.

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Editor's Note:To have a look, go to the following web address:

36. Buffalo News - (Frank Lloyd Wright) Martin House in focus - Reception pavilion praised at unveiling
Tom Buckham

Interior Darwin Martin House, Buffalo

Guests entering the new Eleanor and Wilson Greatbatch Pavilion for Thursday's unveiling were treated to a sweeping side view of the Darwin Martin House Complex designed by Frank Lloyd Wright more than a century ago.

Seeing the entire layout through the pavilion's floor-to-ceiling glass wall was breathtaking "worth every penny of the $2.5 million the family contributed to the $5 million visitors center", said Ami Greatbatch, daughter-in-law of the inventor and his wife.

This is the first time anyone has been able to see the Martin House from this angle, she added.

The night before, relatives and friends attending a sneak preview felt as if they were standing outside on a summer night gazing at the moonlit complex, from the main house on Jewett Parkway to the pergola, conservatory, carriage house and Barton House in the rear, she recalled.

You were drawn toward the Martin House. You wanted to see more, Ami Greatbatch recounted during the formal dedication of the pavilion, a spare, low-profile building that sits just to the west of the Tshaped complex.

That's precisely the sensation architect Toshiko Mori hopes the first paying visitors will feel when the center -the final piece of the $50 million Martin House restoration and expansion-opens to the public Wednesday.

The unobstructed panoramic view of the complex, across a paved courtyard ringed by newly planted locusts, is enhanced by the pavilion's climate-control system. The 5,600-square-foot main floor is heated and cooled by convection from systems located below ground. No vents or pipes interfere with sight lines.

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Editor's Note:For more information on the house, go to

37. Heritage Conservation Network Newsletter

Sign up for it for Heritage Workshop Vacations in Interesting Places

Recently we covered this American organization, which matches heritage volunteers with conservation projects in need of volunteers. They may be interested in partnering with Canadian projects to give their volunteers a taste of our beautiful summers, and can provide interesting winter escapes for Canadian artisans looking for productive ways to spend their down time.

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38. New York Times: Landmarking and Good Neighbourhoods
Ozier Muhammad

Are New Yorkers Satisfied? That Depends

What makes a neighborhood happy?

Last year, the city surveyed some 25,000 households about life in their neighborhoods, and how well the city tends to their needs.

Not surprisingly, in many cases those who were least happy were those who lived in less affluent areas. But over all, from a wide range of neighborhoods, the city received high marks: 51 percent of those who responded rated their quality of life as excellent or good.

The New York Times visited two places that, according to the city’s findings, were among the most and least happy. The visits offer a window into the frustrations and pleasures of neighborhood life, and how attentive or distant City Hall can seem to different pockets of the city.

Expecting a Lot From City Hall, and Usually Getting It

There are more street fairs in the square bordered by the Hudson River and the Bowery, from Canal Street to West 14th Street, than in any other place in the city. The area has the highest concentration of civic organizations in the five boroughs, and among the highest number of sidewalk cafes. Sixty percent of the buildings here have landmark status, according to Bob Gormley, district manager at the local community board.

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Editor's Note:Most of the "happy" areas are protected as historic districts, those well established districts now enjoy a very high quality sense of place, and accompanying high real estate values.

39. The New Yorker: Daniel Burnham Plan for Chicago
Paul Goldberger

Toddlin Town Daniel Burnhams great Chicago Plan turns one hundred.

Burnham illustration from New Yorker

Burnham was famous for the dictum “Make no little plans,” and Jules Guerin’s alluring watercolor renderings in the published “Plan of Chicago” gave this vision an ethereal cast.

Burnham was famous for the dictum “Make no little plans,” and Jules Guerin’s alluring watercolor renderings in the published “Plan of Chicago” gave this vision an ethereal cast.

In the mid-eighteen-nineties, Daniel Burnham, then the most prominent architect in Chicago, met with a young architect named Frank Lloyd Wright. Burnham had been impressed by Wright’s talent but felt that he could use some seasoning. He offered to pay Wright’s tuition at the École des Beaux-Arts, in Paris, to support his family, and to give him a job when he returned. Wright turned him down. It was one of the few times that Burnham, who was probably the most successful power broker the American architectural profession has ever produced, didn’t get his way, and he told Wright that he was making a mistake: the Beaux-Arts style, of which Burnham was a leading exponent, was taking over the country, and Wright was deluded if he thought that his modern approach, with its open spaces and horizontal lines, would ever amount to much.

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