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Issue No. 144 | June 16, 2009

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Feature Stories

  1. How to Get Your Stories in Built Heritage News
  2. Built St. Louis: Illegal Heritage Brick Harvesting
  3. National Post: John Lyle Book Review
  4. Inhabitat.com: Converting an elevated rail line to a park
  5. Chicago Tribune: Landmark Law Controversy

Events

Heritage Toronto's Neighbourhood Walks

+ read


Renovate Your Neighbourhood
4 June - 26 July
+ read


architecture e+c work of elin + carmen corneil 1958 to 2008
04/30/2009 - 07/17/2009
+ read


Muskoka Heritage Foundation Summer Tour
Thursday, July 16, 2009
+ read


The Tower of Babel and Other Follies
June 3-20 2009
+ read


Workshop - Hands-on
Saturday, June 27, 2009
+ read


Workshop - Hands-on
Saturday, July 25, 2009
+ read


41º to 66º - Architecture in Canada: Region, Culture, Tectonics
Opening: Thursday June 18, 2009
+ read


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1. How to Get Your Stories in Built Heritage News
Catherine Nasmith

Catherine Nasmith, Editor

Because BHN arrives to you by email, you may never have visited the actual website where all the material that goes out can be found at    http://www.builtheritagenews.ca 

I invite you to go to the left of the page of the newsletter or the website and look at the POST KEYS, and click on them.

If you do that you will see that those links take you to the website and to online forms where you can post either your events, links, your own original news or action items.

Please take advantage of this free opportunity to share your stories and events with other subscribers. Once an item is posted it is hidden until yours truly, the editor goes in and checks to make sure it is all okay, and appropriate. This step ensures that spammers can't post junk.

You can also just go to http://www.builtheritagenews.ca  between issues to see what others have posted, or to submit an item.

As editor, I cannot guarantee that all items will be posted to the website or the bulletin, but I do promise to get as many as I can online.

I am very grateful for the time Rob Hamilton spends sourcing material from publications and websites across Canada. His submissions have enabled BHN to cover much more. 

And don't be shy!

Sometimes we don't know just how important our local stories are to others who may be facing similar challenges. I created BHN to help us keep in touch with each other. The more subscribers post, the more we will all know about what is going on across Ontario, and Canada. And the easier my job will be as editor.

 

 

 


2. Save St. Basil's School, Save Yorkville
Press Release: Friends of St. Basil's School

Elevation, St. Basil's School

SAVE ST. BASIL’S SCHOOL, SAVE YORKVILLE

In Mayor Miller’s 175th anniversary of Toronto message, he invited us all to celebrate Toronto’s heritage. But unless St. Basil’s School at 34-38 Hazelton Ave. is saved from its latest redevelopment proposal at the June 23, 2009 Toronto and East York Community Council (TEYCC), the Yorkville-Hazelton Conservation District (HCD) may be doomed: The demolition and alterations to St. Basil’s may set a precedent for the rest of the District and Yorkville, and even all heritage-listed buildings in HCDs throughout Ontario.

St. Basil’s School, built in 1928, was individually designated in 2002, months prior to the District designation. Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act Guidelines, “is concerned with the protection and enhancement of groups of properties that collectively give an area a special character…from individual properties…but also from the overall historic and esthetic values of buildings, streets, and open spaces seen together.” Designation is “a tool for protecting the character in the course of change and development within a municipality…(and)…enables the council of a municipality to manage change in the…built environment to enhance beneficial or to ameliorate adverse effects on the heritage value of the district.”

The current redevelopment proposal seeks to erect a “7-storey”, 26.72m./85.96 ft. high, 33-unit, 5,632 sq. m./ 60,628 sq. ft. luxury condominium building on the site. The result will be the demolition of approximately half of the north and south elevations, and all of the west façade of St. Basil’s, contrary to well-established heritage principles and the District Guidelines. The proposal will not only severely
diminish that heritage building, it will significantly and adversely alter the existing heritage streetscape. It would be an inappropriate neighbour to the mostly single-family homes in our 2-3 storey, predominantly Victorian district.

Residents, local businesses and heritage advocates are outraged: The Bloor-Yorkville B.I.A., the Greater Yorkville Residents’ Association (GYRA), ABC Residents’ Association, three condo boards, including both Hazelton Lanes, as well as Heliconian Club members and Heritage Toronto, opposed previous proposals at the Preservation Board and/ or at the TEYCC.

Friends of St. Basil’s School (a non-profit corporation about to be registered), requests that you make your opposition to the proposal known to Toronto City Council by 12 noon, June 22, prior to the June 23rd Community Council meeting.

For updates and more information on the proposal and its impacts on our heritage fabric, please contact the local planner, Louis Tinker, ltinker@toronto.ca,
416-392-0420, and go to the documents below.

BACKGROUNDANDDIAGRAMS/PLANS/PHOTOS:

 www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2009/te/bgrd/backgroundfile-21952.pdf    www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2009/te/bgrd/backgroundfile-21953.pdf
 

HOW YOU CAN HELP

 

 4th development proposal (May 26, 2009) for 34-38 Hazelton Avenue, St. Basil's School.   It's similar to the April 21 (#3) proposal, whose plans were submitted at that date's TEYCC, and which I received from the City Clerk's office, and compared with plans at Louis Tinker's office. 

See   http://www.toronto.legdocs/2009/agendas/te.htm   , pp.37-41 incl. for an update, and links.

The Application No.:  08 169177 STE 27 OZ

Letter-writing campaign:

Many thanks, again, to Sheila Hawks of the Heliconian Club, who presented, at the April 21 TEYCC, c. 146 signatures on a petition opposing the development, which, with the Wookey's tenants' form letters, countered the 5 "wow" form letters signed by c. 60 Yorkville commercial tenants. 

However, as the June meeting of the Toronto and East York Community Council (TEYCC) meeting is our last opportunity to influence the future of our HCD, kindly send your letter to TEYCC ASAP, definitely before noon, June 22, if you can't attend in person to give a 5-minute speech: 

                             June 23, 2009, 10 a.m.,

                             Committee Room 1, 2nd floor,

                             City Hall, 100 Queen St. W.

                             Toronto, On  M5H 2N2 

         
Please note that the "Notice of public meeting" of Toronto & East York Community Council for Tuesday, June 23 at 10 a.m., on its first line, indicates a "7-storey residential condominium building" is proposed, but the last line under "proposal" states "either a six or seven storey residential addition" is sought.

Consequently, to save time, customize the previous lawyer-vetted sample letter, attached, or simply update your own previous letter(s.)  

Regardless, it's critical your letter support the opinions of Richard Wookey, pre-eminent architect Bruce Kuwabara, GYRA, ABC, and most HCD residents, i.e. 1) no more than a four-to five-storey building, no higher than 50 ft./15.24m. above grade, including mechanicals; 2)  setbacks from the front (east) building and north property line be increased.  Kyle Rae stated at the April 21 TEYCC meeting he's willing to accept "six storeys," of unspecified height, density and setbacks.   

Unless Louis Tinker of planning, and Kyle Rae and the TEYCC councillors receive many more letters by noon, Monday, June 20, the councillors may vote to improve the City's tax coffers by allowing the over-dense and over-tall proposal at TEYCC, which almost guarantees a loss at City Council.   If the City and OMB accept the proposal, no heritage listed building, in any heritage district, is safe from destruction. 

Proposal Summary:
 

  • 7-storeys, 26.72m/ 85.96 ft. (i.e. equivalent to 8-9 average-ht. storeys)
  • 33 unit residential condominium building
  • Site area:  1,537.71sq. m./ 0.38 acres/16,552.31 ft.
  • Gross Floor Area  5,632 sq. m./ 60,628 sq.ft.
  • Density:  3.66 times the area of the lot (zoning allows 1 times lot area)
  • "alteration & partial demolition of the existing designated building, with the introduction of a new addition to the rear and partially above the remaining building facade"
  • Parking for 62 cars, in a 3-level underground garage.
  • Blocking "Victorian" era laneway running behind and between12 Hazelton and 100 Hazelton, shadowing its northern neighbours' west and south elevations.
  • Setbacks:  Statistics, below, from p. A0.01 are misleading:  currently, the below-grade parking is at three lot lines up to the facade.  The equivalent of 4 floors, i.e., the podium floor, c. 5 m./15 ft. above grade, 1 wraparound concrete terrace on the first and 1 wraparound balcony on the second floors, are all c .45 m/ 1.5 ft. from three property lines along c. half the length of the site.
  • Front (East):  4.455 m./14.6 ft. (existing)
  • Rear (West):   3.00 m./9.8 ft.
  • Side (North):    1.75 m./5.74 ft.
  • Side (South):   4.00 m./ 13.12 ft.


Making a presentation/ submitting e-mails:

To make a 5-minute presentation to Community Council, or to submit written comments, contact the City Clerk, attention:   Rosalind Dyers, Administrator, by "no later than June 22, 2009" by noon.  


Phone:   416392-7033              
Fax:       416397-0111
E-mail:   teycc@toronto.ca  .  However, last minute deputants are always invited to speak.

Rely on the clerk's dept. to distribute them to the councillors, as long as they're received  by noon, Mon., June 22, 2009.  Include a cc. to Louis Tinker, planner, at  ltinker@toronto.ca , phone 416392-0420, & fax 416392-1330, as he needs to know the extent of the opposition.

Ideally, cc. your e-mail individually to all TEYCC Councillors, email addresses can be found on the City of Toronto website, URL below:

 http://app.toronto.ca/im/council/councillors.jsp

Fax numbers of councillors are on page 18 of the blue pages of the phone book.


 

Editor's Note:
Feels like there is a war on HCD's at the moment. Built Heritage News is published in an old school building, Kensington Market Lofts. Lorretto Abby condo is another successful recycled school building. Both done retaining most of the original fabric.


3. Communiqué - HCF calls upon Minister of Transport to intervene to save Winnipeg Airport
Carolyn Quinn, Director of Communications, Heritage Canada Foundation

Ottawa, ON – June 11, 2009 - The Heritage Canada Foundation (HCF) has written to the Hon. John Baird, Minister of Transport, requesting his intervention on behalf of Winnipeg’s James Armstrong Richardson International Airport, which is at risk of demolition. A viable building and one of Canada’s finest examples of modern architecture, the airport terminal was included on HCF’s Top Ten Endangered Places List.
 
 
HCF is urging the Minister to comply with the federal government’s own policies for protecting historic places owned by the government, and submit this building for heritage evaluation. “This iconic structure deserves careful consideration. It does not make economic, environmental or cultural sense to turn this landmark into landfill,” said HCF executive director Natalie Bull.
  
Opened in 1964, the Winnipeg airport terminal “was hailed as one of those most remarkable buildings in the city . . . spacious, sophisticated, and modern,” wrote conservation architect Bernard Flaman in “The Winnipeg Airport,” his contribution to Winnipeg Modern: Architecture, 1945-1975 (University of Manitoba Press). “It was part of a network of major terminals built across the country between 1958 and 1968 by the Canadian Department of Transport.”
  
For further information:
 
Carolyn Quinn, Director of Communications
 
cquinn@heritagecanada.org; Telephone: (613) 237-1066 ext 229; Cell: (613) 797-7206

Editor's Note:
To read a copy of HCF's letter sent to the Minister, go to http://www.heritagecanada.org/eng/WinnipegAirport%20_Letter.pdf To read of Bernard Flaman's 18 page chapter The Winnipeg Airport, his contribution to Winnipeg Modern: Architecture, 1945-1975 (University of Manitoba Press), go to http://www.heritagecanada.org/eng/Winnipeg_Modern.pdf


4. Elmvale OMB hearing
David Chambers Bond Head

Elmvale lawyer and heritage activist Gary French along with Archeologist and museum curator Jamie Hunter both from Simcoe Co. have taken the Springwater council to the OMB in an attempt to hold them accountable for their negligence in failing to observe their own Official Plan, the County Official Plan., and the Provincial Policy Statement on Heritage preservation.

This action against a municipal council by preservation activists may be a precedent in Ontario. The Ontario Municipal Board decision is anticipated with great interest by all concerned.


5. Globe and Mail: Death of Elizabeth Ingolfsrud

Former Chair Etobicoke Historical Board

Elizabeth Louise Ingolfsrud

Elizabeth Louise Ingolfsrud
Elizabeth Louise (Thompson) Ingolfsrud on Sunday, May 24, 2009 in her 80th year. Beloved wife of the late Leif John Ingolfsrud (2004), and loving mother of daughters Dagny and Mary Beth. Predeceased by her parents Charles Murray and Lee (Elliott) Thompson. Survived by her brother Murray Thompson and his family. A graduate of University of Toronto, Elizabeth was a noted lecturer, and writer on early Ontario furniture and architectural history, and a former Chair of the Etobicoke Historical Board.

Click here for Link


6. The Toronto Star: PUG Awards

People's choice awards celebrate Toronto architecture

One St. Thomas and Transformation AGO/Art Gallery of Ontario were the big winners in the fifth annual Pug Awards.

The people's choice awards for architecture were recently announced at the McKinsey & Co. building on Charles St.

One St. Thomas won as the best new building in the residential category and Transformation AGO/Art Gallery of Ontario was honoured as best new building in the commercial/institutional category.

Honourable mentions went to Quantum 2 at MintoMidtown followed by Kilgour Estates in the residential category and Max Gluskin House, Department of Economics, U of T, followed by the Four Seasons Corporate Headquarters in the commercial/institutional category.

The Pug Awards invited Torontonians to vote from May 1 to May 31 at pugawards.com for 24 new residential developments and eight commercial/institutional developments. The eligible buildings must have been completed in 2008, be in the city of Toronto, have an area greater than 50,000 square feet, or be considered noteworthy by the Pug Awards Advisory Board.

The annual Pug Awards (formerly the Pugly Awards) were launched in 2004 and celebrate the best in Toronto architecture and planning. Founded by Anna Simone, principal of design firm Cecconi Simone, and Gary Berman, managing director of real estate financier Tricon Capital Group, the awards invite the public to vote on the best, mediocre and worst of Toronto's newest real estate developments.

Click here for Link


7. The Toronto Star: Sweeping protection sought for Dunlap Observatory
Noor Javed

Recommendation calls for heritage designation across 80 per cent of Richmond Hill facility

There's fresh hope for Richmond Hill nature lovers and astronomy buffs who fought the University of Toronto's sale of the David Dunlap Observatory and its grounds to a developer last year.

The provincial Conservation Review Board has recommended that much of the 77-hectare site be designated a cultural heritage site.

In a 61-page report released last week, the board offered a thorough, building-by-building rationale for its recommendations.

The overall message was clear.

The Observatory "precinct area, including the various viewscapes, topography and elements found in the recommended cultural heritage landscape, represents an exceptional example of Ontario's culture heritage," the board wrote.

The board recommended the designation for the Observatory building, a separate administration building, the historic home known as Elms Lea and land directly connecting the buildings. It also called for protecting Donalda Drive, a curved entrance road flanked by mature trees, a radio astronomy shack, a cluster of trees planted by U of T's forestry department, and almost all the connecting land.

 


8. Built St. Louis: Illegal Heritage Brick Harvesting
forwarded by Adam Sobolak, and Lloyd Alter

Crumbling Landmarks Brick theft, north City

Built St. Louis: Crumbling Landmarks
Brick theft, north City

In years of wandering about northern St. Louis, I've seen a sobering amount of devastation. Buildings rot, collapse, burn -- all hallmarks of neglect.

Not till recently did I realize that, in fact, many of those buildings are now under deliberate attack.

Brick harvesting is nothing new to St. Louis; pallets of brick are common on the site of decayed buildings undergoing demolition. They're shipped off to be used in new construction. But now, the practice has taken an ominous and illegal twist: the destruction of buildings soley for their brick.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:Terrifying website


9. Treehugger.com: Bridging the Design Gap in Toronto
Lloyd Alter

the winning entry, showcased on Urban Toronto's website

Bridges can be wonderful, iconic things that define a city; or, they can be banal, utilitarian and boring. Guess which Toronto is getting for its new pedestrian bridge over the railway tracks. The developer promised something sublime; the railways imposed conditions that make it ridiculous. As the always articulate Adam Vaughan noted: "GO Transit (the government owned commuter rail service) are being absolute f---ing a--holes." (read Peter Kuitenbrouwer in the National Post here for a play-by-play)

But that didn't stop Urban Toronto from running their own competition to "to design the most beautiful bridge possible within the given budget, to take full advantage of the highly visible location." And they came up with some real beauties. You can vote for your favorite.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:The decision has been made, but alas this was an ideas competition, not the real thing. Very exciting possibilities for sure. For more of the designs and information go to: http://www.urbantoronto.ca/forumdisplay.php?f=29 There are also images of the submissions at: http://torontoist.com/2009/06/thinking_outside_the_box_truss.php?gallery0Pic=14#gallery


10. Barrie Examiner: Building's demolition to resume
Bob Bruton

The old Steele's China and Gift Shop is coming all the way down

Barrie councillors gave initial approval last night to cease actions to designate 2 Collier St. as a heritage building, and allow its demolition to continue. Final approval will be considered June 1.

Demolition of the building's interior began shortly after the April 17 permit was issued, while portions of the roof's structure, its upper floor and west side of the building were demolished earlier this month.

Coun. Rod Jackson said council didn't have enough time to save 2 Collier St., and that Heritage Barrie, a volunteer committee responsible to council, must bear some responsibility.

"Why wasn't it designated? Why aren't other buildings designated?" he asked. "Twentyfour hours notice is not satisfactory."

"Council was put in an impossible position because we weren't alerted," Coun. Barry Ward said.

"But this doesn't mean it's open season on heritage buildings in Barrie, that we don't care."

Built at Bayfield and Collier streets, this building dates back to 1873 and was originally constructed for a company making wooden parts for carriages.

Steele's China and Gift Shop occupied this building for several decades, until Harris Steele died in December 2007.

 

Click here for Link


11. Daily Gleaner.com: Heritage legislation not protecting buildings - Gaps in act mean owners don't have to maintain train station
HEATHER MCLAUGHLIN

The executive director of the Canadian Heritage Foundation says Fredericton's York Street train station experience highlights the gaps in Canadian law that should protect historic structures. Natalie Bull said the point of the Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act should be to save railway buildings designated under the law, not permit them to crumble away. "The whole intent of the act was to keep buildings standing. From our perspective, what's really frustrating is that there's clearly a huge flaw in that legislation that by not requiring even minimal maintenance, you basically put a building on the list and then watch it fall apart," Bull said in an interview from Ottawa. "If, in this country, we had a substantial tax incentive for rehabilitation like they do in the United States, a developer or the current owner would have been interested in doing something with this building a long time ago.' http://dailygleaner.canadaeast.com/cityregion/article/699398

Click here for Link


12. Daily Gleaner.com: Mayor - Fix it up soon, or rip it down - Train station blues - City tired of waiting
Shawn Berry and Heather McLaughlin

Negotiations between J.D. Irving and the NB Liquor Corp. are percolating, but Mayor Brad Woodside says it's time to fish or cut bait.

Woodside, who suggested he'd be just as happy as any Frederictonian to see the shabby York Street property fixed up, said if no deal can be reached, he's ready to head to Ottawa to convince the federal government to allow the structure to be demolished.

The Daily Gleaner has learned that discussions with the liquor corporation - which the newspaper reported on in mid-March - have reached a critical juncture.

NB Liquor officials were coy about the talks last spring and there was no update from the agency late Tuesday.

Train station owner J.D. Irving was equally disinclined to talk publicly about negotiations.


 

Click here for Link


13. Gravenhurst Banner: Seniors' housing planned for old BMLSS
Matthew Sitler

Photo by Matthew Sitler -BIG PLANS. The old BMLSS building on McMurray Street is about to be sold for $850,000 to developer John Davies, who plans a mix of seniors condos and retirement suites for the property.

The former Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School on McMurray Street is about to be sold.

That’s the word from developer John Davies, who is currently working toward cementing his purchase of the school, for its listed price of $850,000.

The old school building and property, which has been owned by Trillium Lakelands District School Board until now, is to be transformed into a $17-million mix of retirement rental suite units and condos that will cater to the needs of senior citizens.

"It would be our intention that the vast majority of the building would remain intact, although completely gutted and renovated from within," said Davies Monday. "The building’s historic component and the existing façade will be retained."

Davies’ plans call for 120 senior retirement suites in the main building, 30 of which would be specifically for dementia care residents.

Click here for Link


14. Kingston Whig-Standard: History was a passion - OBITUARY: George Vosper
ANN LUKITS

Vosper also contributed to two volumes documenting buildings of historical significance in Kingston and he championed the protection of heritage buildings through the Ontario Heritage Act.

The flag over City Hall flew at half mast yesterday in honour of a former city alderman who was the unsung hero behind a number of well-known municipal treasures, including Confederation Park.

George Vosper, who died Sunday at the age of 85, was a passionate advocate for historical preservation and smart civic development during the five terms he served on city council as the elected representative for historic Sydenham Ward.

He was perhaps best known for forming an alliance with the late Valorie Swain, a former alderman and mayor, to buy an old convent on Johnson Street and save it from demolition. The building, known as the Bishop's House, was later incorporated into the new public library when it was built in 1978.

A founding member of the Frontenac Heritage Foundation, Vosper also fought to restore the historic front entrance portico at City Hall after it was taken down for repair in the 1960s.

Click here for Link


15. Milton Canadian Champion: Group seeks heritage designation for St. Pauls
Tim Foran

A portion of the congregation of St. Paul’s United Church is attempting to have the Town of Milton designate the historic 1890 red-brick sanctuary as a heritage building, thereby preventing demolition of the edifice.

The group, Save the Sanctuary, submitted a petition to the Town’s Heritage Milton subcommittee last week asking for the heritage designation. The group is concerned about the church’s decision, formally approved this week by the United Church’s Halton Presbytery, to sign a letter of intent with a local developer to spend the next three months examining the feasibility of demolishing most of the existing building and rebuilding a smaller church along with an 80-unit seniors condominium at least six storeys high.

Following presentation of the petition, the Heritage Milton committee voted to pass a motion by Ward 4 Councillor Paul Scherer, saying it "supports in principle the designation of all or part of the church" with a dialogue to continue over the summer. The resolution isn’t expected to come before Milton’s council until the fall, said Town staff.

Click here for Link


16. National Post: John Lyle Book Review
Robert Fulford

The original starchitect

Bank of Nova Scotia Banking Hall

 

Toronto's careless habit of forgetting its past has made John M. Lyle far more obscure than he deserves to be. Many of us know two prominent monuments to his career but few know that he was among the most influential builders of the city. Lyle played a major role in creating Union Station, which after 82 years remains a busy terminal as well as a landmark, and designed the Royal Alexandra Theatre, which for generations was Toronto's one professional stage and then became the keystone of the King Street entertainment district. For four decades, almost up to his death in 1945, Lyle was a star among architects, the profession's dapper, articulate and socially connected statesman and advocate.

While designing scores of local buildings (and quite a few elsewhere in Canada), he campaigned relentlessly for better architecture and planning. Eric Arthur, the legendary author of Toronto: No Mean City, called Lyle a preacher who fired audiences with enthusiasm for more beautiful architecture.

Click here for Link


17. Niagara Falls Review.ca: Company plans three high-rises on Loretto property
Corey Larocque

Former 148-year-old school building would be preserved, flanked by skyscrapers

This photograph shows a model, created by the Romzap company, of the proposed development of the Loretto property. Three high-rise towers would be built around the existing building on Stanley Avenue.

One of the most historic sites in Niagara Falls could become one of the biggest hotel developments the city has ever seen.

Owners of the old Loretto Christian Life Centre want city council’s approval to put three high-rise towers on the 7.6-acre property now occupied by the 148-year-old school and its park-like grounds. The next-door neighbours, an order of Roman Catholic priests, however, say they’re concerned about the "immensity" of the project and what it would do to their "oasis."

Romzap, a company co-owned by Tony Zappitelli, wants to build a 57-storey hotel and two other towers – one 42-storeys and a second at 32 storeys on land the Loretto Sisters, a Roman Catholic order of nuns, used to own. The site has a commanding view of the falls to the east, and the Niagara Convention and Civic Centre is being constructed on the other side of Stanley Avenue.

The two smaller buildings would either be additional hotels or a combination of hotel and condominiums, depending on economic and market conditions, Zappitelli said.

His company plans to preserve the stately grey stone building, which was home to a convent, religious school and finally a spiritual centre over its nearly 150-year history. They would build the 57-storey hotel between the building and Stanley Avenue.

"What you see now, you’ll see after," Zappitelli said. "It’s a great building. I love this building. I know it can work."

 

.


Click here for Link


18. Ottawa Citizen: Fire guts historic Aylmer church
Tony Spears

The stone walls of Aylmer's St. Paul's church are all that remain after Thursday morning's fire.Photograph by: Tony Spears, The Ottawa Citizen

AYLMER, Que. - An overnight fire that gutted the historic St. Paul’s church in Aylmer was still smouldering Thursday morning, attracting dozens of onlookers who gazed at the blackened stone walls of what was once a centerpiece of their community.

The 911 call came in at about 1:30 a.m., and its peak, 75 firefighters from Gatineau and Ottawa were working under a rain of embers to quell the blaze.

By morning, all that remained were the church’s stone walls. The steeple and church bell crashed to the ground at about 2 a.m.church

 

Click here for Link


19. Owen Sound Sun Times: City to designate buildings
DENIS LANGLOIS

City council served notice yesterday that it intends to designate and protect three Owen Sound buildings under provincial heritage legislation

City council served notice yesterday that it intends to designate and protect three Owen Sound buildings under provincial heritage legislation.

The city has kick-started the process to designate the Owen Sound library's Carnegie wing under the Ontario Heritage Act, along with the private Butchart Estate Bed and Breakfast and the Wilkinson House, now John Tamming's law office.

It is the first time the city has moved to designate three properties simultaneously.

"This is a very positive thing and hopefully more people will step up and ask that their homes be designated," Mayor Ruth Lovell Stanners said yesterday's city council meeting meeting.

The owners of both the Wilkinson House, at 903 2nd Ave. W., and the Butchart Estate, at 919 5th Ave. E., requested their properties be designated.

The Butchart Estate was built in 1891 and is "one of the best examples of the Queen Anne Revival style of architecture," according to the city's notice to designate.

The Wilkinson House was constructed in 1912 and is an Edwardian-period structure with many characteristic elements of late Queen Anne style on the exterior and both Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau styles in its interior decor.

The library's Carnegie wing was built in 1914 and has Neoclassical architecture features.

There is a 30-day period to object to the designations. If no objections are received, council is free to pass a bylaw to designate the structures.

Owners of designated buildings must seek council's consent before making any changes that alter the building's historical elements, but the building's get special recognition and are added to the city's heritage list.

Click here for Link


20. Owen Sound Sun Times: More from Paisley and Arran/Elderslie
Mary Golem, forwarded by Henry Simpson

Council to end CBOs contract / Work underway for a new deal

View of Central Paisley, Paisley Inn on far right

Arran-Elderslie council has voted unanimously to cancel its contract with chief building official Craig Johnston.

Mayor Ron Oswald confirmed after a meeting Monday that efforts are underway to negotiate a new contract with Johnston, who has been a contract employee with the municipality since 2003. He worked briefly as a municipal employee in the summer of 2005.

The most recent contract between Johnston and the municipality was signed in June 2007 and was meant to last until June 2016.

Johnston is on vacation.

Council voted “not to continue with the present contract” and will give Johnston the required six months notice that the municipality wants to end the contract.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:The same CBO who has been so determined to demolish the designated Paisley Inn


21. Owen Sound Sun Times: Neustadt beer wins gold medal
Scott Dunn

The building is actually a crowd-stopper

Neustadt Springs Brewery brought home gold at an international beer competition in Montreal last weekend for its already award-winning 10W30 English brown ale.

It was the first time an Ontario microbrewery entered the Mondail de la Biere contest in Quebec, let alone won a gold medal, said Val Stimpson, co-owner of the brewery with Paul, her husband and brewing expert.

The event included 300 beers from around the world. Seven Ontario microbreweries were invited to compete. Beers were tested by an international panel of blindfolded judges.

We brewed it as a one-off in the Christmas of 2003, Stimpson said of the 10W30 beer. And it was just a hit.

It won a silver medal in the World Beer Cup in 2004 and another at the Canadian Beer Awards that year.

Its just been a monster ever since, it just takes over all the tanks, Stimpson said.

Neustadt Springs operates from a stone building which has its 150th anniversary this year. The Stimpsons are in their 12th year brewing beer there.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:If you have never visited the charming village of Neustadt, now there is one more reason to go.


22. Perth Courier: St. Isidore removes rotten steeple - Rural Kanata parish vows to fight buildings heritage designation
Blair Edwards

St. Isidore took down its steeple on Tuesday, May 20, despite efforts underway to make the 19th century church a heritage building.

Its become a safety issue, said Des Adam, deacon of St. Isidore Roman Catholic Church.

Debris from the decaying steeple had already fallen to the ground twice over the past year, landing on the churchs front entrance.

We were concerned because of the condition of it; it was going to fall down (again), said Adam.

City of Ottawa heritage planning staff want to designate the 124-year-old church on March Road as a heritage building.

St. Isidore Roman Catholic Church is an historical treasure and must be protected from the wrecking ball, say staff.

The church, built in 1885, is a rare example of the work of notable priest-architect George Bouillon and a valuable reminder of the way of life in the former rural March township, states a staff report to the citys local architectural conservation advisory committee.

But the churchs parish has been waiting for three years to tear down the dilapidated building and build a new one for its rapidly expanding congregation.

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23. Saint John Telegraph-Journal: Deep, oversized ideas, for one and all
John Leroux

John Leroux explores Fred Ross's early days as a muralist in Saint John, where his work made Harbour View High School feel like our own Sistine Chapel

Fred Ross, Humanistic Education,1954, casein tempera on plaster

As Henry Ford is to Detroit, and Babe Ruth is to New York, our province boasts a number of great Canadians whose impact radiates so deeply that their character and reputation are inseparable from their locale. Try to imagine one without the other: Antonine Maillet and Bouctouche, Alexander "Boss" Gibson and Marysville, the McCains and Florenceville, and Fred Ross and Saint John.

Ross is one of the most accomplished living artists in Eastern Canada; a man of generosity and talent whose work regularly hangs in the National Gallery in Ottawa. Yet beyond the books, honours, accolades, and numerous public collections that feature his drawings and paintings, the catalyst that launched his career several generations ago is a heroic, but often overlooked, body of work that he began in his teens. It stands today as one of the most impressive and unique collections of visual art in Canada and the anchor of a Saint John architectural treasure: his 1940s and 1950s murals that adorn the lofty halls of Harbour View High School (a.k.a. the old Saint John Vocational School), deservedly hailed as "the most decorated high school in Canada."


 

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24. The Enterprise-Bulletin: Adaptive Reuse of Former Hotel
MORGAN IAN ADAMS

Tremont has new lease on life

historic photo

For the last four years, it has stood, squat and dilapidated, at the corner of Simcoe and St. Paul.

Its bricks are crumbling, its back covered in graffitti; the boarded up windows and doors give the impression that it's more ready for the wrecking ball than rehabilitation.

Four years after the town paid more than $1 million to buy the property and turn it into parking, the former Tremont Hotel will have a new lease on life, as it gets restored to its former glory. On Monday night, Collingwood council approved its side of a purchase and sale agreement with local developers Richard and Anke Lex.

The deal -- which still needs the 't's crossed and the 'i's dotted -- hands the property over to the Lexs for $100,000; the deal is scheduled to close at the end of June.

Richard Lex says the Tremont represents a great opportunity.

"We're thrilled with the opportunity to be able to do this," he said, noting four proposals came forward when the town put the property on the auction block; Lex says all four contemplated restoration of the building.

While he's shy with details at the moment as the deal with the town hasn't closed, Lex confirmed it will be a full restoration.

"The entire building will have to be gutted, right to the brick," he said. "It's a pretty big task."

He did say the outer layer of brick on the first storey facing St. Paul and Simcoe will be removed as it's not original, and the parapets and ironwork will be restored to the roofline.

"Our goal is to restore it to 1889," he said.

While every effort will be made to maintain the historical appearance of the building, Lex also intends a little modernization as well. The building will have solar panels -- hot water and photovoltaic -- a grey water recycling system, and a small addition to the building will boast a green roof.

"We want to make this a model of environmental sustainability," he said. "It won't be a LEEDs (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building, but we'll do everything as if it were a LEEDs building."

The top floor will be turned into a live/work space, and the ground floor and second storey will be "space for the creative sector," said Lex.

The town will retain about three-quarters of the property for parking, with a small parkette proposed between the Tremont and the new Collingwood Library property.

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Editor's Note:Way to go Rick Lex, many readers will recognize the President of Collingwood ACO, and the chair of last year's successful Ontario Heritage Conference in Collingwood


25. York Region Era Banner: Board decision on observatory a blow to developer
David Fleischer and Adam Mc Lean

In a Solomonic judgement, the province’s Conservation Review Board has ruled while the entire David Dunlap Observatory site may not be worthy of heritage designation, the vast majority of it is.

"It could be argued that few sites across the province warrant provincial involvement more than the DDO site," the ruling states.

"The board believes that the DDO precinct ...represents an exceptional example of Ontario’s cultural heritage," wrote board members Peter Zakarow and Karen Haslam in their 61-page decision issued late Thursday.

The report is not binding but rather offers advice to the town in drafting its bylaw describing what comprises the site’s cultural heritage landscape.

 BLOW TO DEVELOPER

The board’s decision can also be considered a blow to developer Metrus, the site’s owner, which has plans for extensive residential development.

However, the board disagreed with the Richmond Hill Naturalists and Observatory Hill Homeowners Association that the entire 190-acre site should be protected, but asked the town to go further than their stated position of protecting the site’s western half.

The board found no reason to support a proposal by Metrus to protect a small area, surrounding only the three main buildings: the observatory dome, the Administration Building and the Elm’s Lea farmhouse.

"Such a plan would lead to encroachment and thus a dilution of the integrity of the significant cultural heritage value or interest of the property," the ruling read.

 

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Editor's Note:The Town of Richmond Hill has developed a comprehensive web site concerning the David Dunlap Observatory, which includes links to numerous documents and images. The Conservation Review Board decision can be read in its entirety at this site. see, http://www.richmondhill.ca/subpage.asp?pageid=david_dunlap_observatory


26. Yourhome.ca: Talking about Change at a Heritage Conference
Tracy Hanes

Ontario Heritage Conference Peterborough 2009

Survival means radical change
Time to redefine our way of life in commerce, travel, how we occupy land and produce food, say two keynote speakers at conference

PETERBOROUGH–The suburban lifestyle is no longer sustainable and North America's big cities aren't in great shape, either.

It's time for radical changes in the way we live, according to two keynote speakers at the recent Ontario Heritage Conference. One was James Howard Kunstler, American author (The Geography of Nowhere and The Long Emergency) and social critic; the other, architect Avi Friedman, McGill University professor and housing "guru" of international renown.

Though they spoke separately on the future of cities and communities, their messages were eerily similar.

Suburbia is "the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of world," said Kunstler. "We squandered our national treasure on both sides of the border on constructing an infrastructure for daily life that has no future."

In a typical North American cul-de-sac, "all the homes look like car washes with all the garage doors," said Friedman, who also criticized monster homes as a wasteful use of natural resources, typically built far away from city centres.

Suburbia is in serious trouble due to a convergence of factors, they said, including the international economic crisis, the downturn of the housing market and the end of the cheap energy era.

Think the oil crisis is over? Think again, said Kunstler, who claimed the recession and the resulting falling oil prices simply delayed the inevitable: prices will rise steeply again and we're now past peak oil – the point when the maximum rate of global oil extraction was reached and the rate of production began to decline.

Rather than scrambling to continue a lifestyle built around the car and the trappings of suburbia, it's time to redefine our way of life, they said, not only in the way we travel, but in the way we occupy the land, do commerce and produce food. Both foresee a return to smaller-scale local-based economies and a need to produce food close to home, on the "agricultural hinterlands" that have been sacrificed for suburban development.

Kunstler said the biggest obstacle is what he called the psychology of previous investment and the unwillingness to let go of the status quo.

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Editor's Note:Kunstler and others see the connection between preserving our built heritage and the liveable neighbourhoods of the past and preserving our culture and the planet....but it took former Winnipeg Mayor Glen Murray on the second day to really tie all the strands together. As I like to put it, mankind knew how to build before oil based building products and transportation were developed. That knowledge is being preserved with our historic building stock, and could be absolutely critical to our future survival.


27. Toronto Star: Article on Ontario Heritage Conference
Tracy Hanes

Cities will wrestle with intensity, 'starchitecture'

Toronto councillor shares author's view that suburbia, highrises are unsustainable

Anyone anticipating a fiery clash at a panel discussion at the recent Ontario Heritage conference featuring James Howard Kunstler, outspoken critic of suburbia and megacities, might have been disappointed. In fact, Kunstler's ideas on how life will change as cheap energy comes to an end were largely echoed by fellow panel member Adam Vaughan, Toronto councillor for Trinity-Spadina.

For example, Kunstler said no new building should be allowed to exceed six or seven storeys, even in the centre of a city, since it will become too expensive to operate as energy prices climb. Vaughan, who has more highrises in his ward than any other in Canada, concurred.

"Hyper-intensification is as big a problem as sprawl," he said. "These buildings lack the capacity to change over time, unlike old Victorian buildings," which can go from single family to multi-unit residential and back again.

"The tall buildings are badly built, extraordinarily inefficient and are inflexible. You don't see them rebound after they start to fall apart."

Kunstler was also contemptuous of megaprojects and "starchitecture" buildings, claiming they are "just tragic. They are wrecking our cities."

"I don't disagree with him," said Vaughan. "Good architecture does not make for good planning, but great architecture does work on occasion."

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28. CBC News Winnipeg: Century-old Winnipeg home a step closer to demolition
CBC Staff

A 101-year-old house in Winnipeg's Osborne Village is another step closer to being removed from the city's list of historic buildings.

The executive policy committee, also known as the mayor's cabinet, voted on Wednesday to remove Dennistoun House, located on 166 Roslyn Rd., from the city's historic building list. The building is currently divided into rental suites, but the owner plans on tearing it down and replacing it with a condominium development.

'I certainly don't believe that one day, 150 years from now, that my home should be considered a historical building because I was the mayor and I lived there.'

—Mayor Sam KatzThe cabinet made its decision based on the recommendation of the city's property and development committee, which voted last week to strip the heritage status and forward that reasoning to cabinet.



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29. Winnipeg Free Press: Historic home closer to demolition
Bartley Kives

MIKE.DEAL@FREEPRESS.MB.CA The historic house at 166 Roslyn Rd. is set to be demolished to make way for a condominium project
condominium project that includes eight street-level townhouse units and a 12-storey tower, seen in illustration at right.

 CITY council's property and development committee has stripped a 101-year-old Roslyn Road home of its heritage status, paving the way for a 12-storey, 74-unit condominium complex to rise behind the Osborne Village Safeway.

Ignoring a recommendation from council's historical buildings committee, councillors Scott Fielding (St. James), Russ Wyatt (Transcona) and Justin Swandel (St. Norbert, standing in for absent members) voted unanimously to remove a Grade III historic designation -- the city's weakest form of heritage protection -- from Dennistown House, which was built for a prominent Manitoba judge and is considered a rare surviving example of an early suburban Winnipeg home.

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30. Montreal Gazette: Montreal's romance with Art Deco began with a tale of unrequited love and Gothic exile
Peggy Curran

Cinema V of Montreal by Colin Rose and Sandra Cohen-Rose, Montreal Gazette

Montreal's romance with Art Deco began with a tale of unrequited love and Gothic exile. It blossomed, in true local fashion, with a big nudge from the church and a rapscallion of a mayor named Camillien Houde.

When lovers of the eclectic style that dominated international design from 1925 to the early 1950s arrive in Montreal for the 10th World Congress on Art Deco, Deco-phile Sandra Cohen-Rose believes they'll find something just that bit different from the sophisticated chic of Parisian prints, New York's zigzag skyscrapers and the eye-popping cool that made Miami so much more than a beach.

"We do have a specific 'Northern Deco,' which is very, very, much Montreal," said Cohen-Rose, conference organizer and the tour de force behind the small but vibrant Art Deco Society of Montreal.

From Ernest Cormier's magnificent amphitheatre at Universite de Montreal and the smorgasbord of St. Joseph's Oratory to the classicism of the Botanical Gardens and the deli kitsch of dearly departed Ben's delicatessen, we did it our way, mixing such only-in-Canada motifs as beavers and maple leaves with the Italian-style towers of the Atwater Market and the decidedly French twists of a wrought-iron balustrade.

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31. Winnipeg Free Press: COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE A New York state of mind - Loft-style apartments up for grabs in Exchange
Murray McNeill

A Winnipeg developer bet more than $5 million that size doesn't matter, and he's about to find out if he's right.

That's how much Mark Hofer, president of Direct Focus Marketing Communications Inc., spent to convert a four-storey warehouse at 230 Princess St. into 43 New York-style apartments.

To make the project economically viable, Hofer had to make most of the loft-style apartments smaller than usual so he could fit more of them into the building and reduce the per-unit development costs.

That's why bachelor suites in The Edge on Princess are an average of 450 square feet, the one-bedroom units average 650 sq. ft. and the two-bedroom apartments are 900 to 1,200 sq. ft.

While that's smaller than average, Hofer has tried to make up for the reduced size by offering more amenities -- such as exposed timber frames and brick walls and stainless-steel appliances, including an in-suite washer, dryer and dishwasher.

Now he's about to find out if his gamble will pay off because he starts marketing the units next week, with a planned occupancy date of Aug. 1.

He said 10 of the units have already been leased without any advance marketing, "so I'm optimistic."

Hofer said the biggest challenge he faced in redeveloping the 104-year-old Frost and Wood Warehouse building was the high cost of stripping down the interior to the bare walls and installing new mechanical systems. That included new electrical systems, new plumbing, and new heating and air conditioning.

 


 

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32. NY Genealogy Examiner
Meri Rees

New York State's hidden treasure - town historians

New York State requires that every town have a town historian. This is great news for genealogists as town historians are responsible for preserving the past. Their preservation efforts may include town documents, buildings and artifacts. They may also be instrumental in helping the town store historical items so that they may be preserved for posterity.

Although, town historians exist, they are often hard to find. Due to budget constraints, they may not have an office or website- they may even be in a town that doesnt have a town website. If this is the case, then you will need to put on a detective hat and make a few phone calls. Start with the town hall and ask for the name and number of the town historian. You can also look online for a list of historians in New York State through the Association of Public Historians site. Just click on your county for a list of historians by town in that county.

Once found, a town historian can assist you in discovering little known facts about seemingly lost cemetery records, family histories and town histories that have been collected and researched. They may have the names of other researchers that can be of help to your quest.

It is important to remember that town historians are not archivists or genealogists. They are not responsible for researching genealogies on demand, but may be of value to the individual who is researching on their own. Town historians may also be able to view their towns closely guarded records that may not be accessible to everyone.

For more information, contact the Association of Public Historians of New York State:

90 State Street, Suite 1009
Albany, New York 12207-1710
Phone: (518) 694-5002
Fax: (518) 463-8656

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33. Inhabitat.com: Converting an elevated rail line to a park

New Yorks High Line Park in the Sky Opens Today!

An elevated park in the sky built on top of the skeleton of an old rail system? It may have sounded impossible only five years ago, but today, the eagerly awaited High Line elevated urban park officially opens for thousands of New Yorkers looking to escape the hubbub of the city below!

Here at Inhabitat, we have been following the journey of the High Line for the past several years and were super excited to get a sneak peek yesterday of the new park, which was renovated / designed by starchitects Diller & Scofidio and James Corner of Field Operations. We were thrilled to get a chance to scope out the High Line yesterday as we’ve been waiting for this for ages!), so check out our pics below!

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Editor's Note:Perhaps those who cycled the Gardiner last weekend might have mused about what a great park it would make?


34. Chicago Tribune: Landmark Law Controversy
Blair Kamin, forwarded by Adam Sobolak

Turmoil over landmark law making waves in and ouside Chicago

Turmoil over landmark law making waves in and ouside Chicago

MARINA Skyscrapers and sparkling waters—the view overlooking the Chicago River is splendid from Dick’s Last Resort restaurant in Marina City, home of the famous corncob-shaped towers.

But the vista from the Dearborn Street Bridge is hardly so fetching. The restaurant’s outdoor dining area (left) interrupts the sweep of windows that is supposed to make Marina City’s plaza resemble a wafer of concrete floating above the river. And the roll-up doors at Dick’s look like they belong in a fire station.

Warts like these prompted Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) to urge protected status last year for the iconic riverfront complex designed by architect Bertrand Goldberg. “When you look at any snow globe they sell at O’Hare or Midway, there’s Mr. Goldberg’s beautiful towers,” Reilly said.

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35. Apollo Magazine: Tent for a prince
Gavin Stamp

18th-century and Regency buildings inspired by Turkish military tents were mostly temporary. Amazingly, one survives in south London, but its future is uncertain.

Woolwich Rotunda

Placed over the balconies that flank the high altar in the Peterskirche in Vienna, that masterpiece by Lukas von Hildebrandt, are exotic onion-shaped semi-domes.

These are reminders of the distinctive military tents that the Viennese could see outside the city walls when the Habsburg capital was besieged by the Turks in 1683 – the high-water mark of the Ottoman Empire. Fortunately, this final assault on Christendom was defeated and the Turks retreated, leaving behind them a taste for coffee and a memory of exotic architectural forms.

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Editor's Note:For more on this amazing survivor, see IFA Buildings Archaeology Group | Newsletter 28 Autumn 2006,"The Woolwich Rotunda: no equal but the dome of St. Pauls Cathedral" by Jonathan Clarke. http://www.archaeologists.net/modules/icontent/inPages/docs/groups/IFA_BAG_28.pdf