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Issue No. 149 | October 15, 2009


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Feature Stories

  1. Stephen Otto: More to Celebrate
  2. OMB Unbowed: Standing Committee Review
  3. Coalition Opposes Next Stage of Convention Centre Proposal
  4. Google News: Gord Miller speaks out against SLAPP suits
  5. Toronto Star: Dunlap Observatory
  6. Toronto Star: John A. Macdonald's birthplace endangered


Architectural Conservancy of Ontario Awards Dinner
November 6
+ read

U of T Lecture
October 27, 2009
+ read

Windows Conservation for Historic Places
Wednesday November 25th
+ read

City of Waterloo 'Museum' finds new home in Urban Mall expansion !

+ read

Community Consultation about the Canada Malting Silos
Wednesday October 21
+ read

Ghosts of the Garrison Tour
Friday and Saturday, October 16, 17, 23, 24
+ read

Torontos Design Pioneers
October 1- October 31, 2009
+ read

North York Modernish Architecture Forum
Tuesday October 27, 7- 9.30pm.
+ read

Rally in Shakespeare
October 17
+ read


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1. Vaughan's First Heritage Easement
Frank Greco

"The City of Vaughan has its first ever Heritage Easement"

The City of Vaughan and developer, 10360 Islington Avenue Inc. have agreed on Vaughan's first Heritage Easement for the long-term maintenance and conservation/ restoration plan for the Martin Smith House, a heritage dwelling under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act.

The Martin Smith House is the jewel of Kleinburg built in 1852 by Catherine and Martin Smith for their family. Catherine Smith's family owned a 200 acre farm around the house in the early 1800's. It is also known as "Redcroft" or the "Dawson House", named after Eleanor and Syd Dawson who were the last family to live in the house over the past 43 years.

The property at 10384 islington Ave., across from the McMicahel Canadian Art Gallery, was purchased in 2007 by the developers. The site was added to their adjoining property and totals about 2.75 acres. The developers can now proceed with plans to develop a 2 to 3 storey, 52 suite condominium project on 10360 and 10384 Islington Ave.

Some residents who opposed the plans for the condo can now rest assured by the settlement plans: "The new building's site plan, urban design, elevations, size, scale, massing and height have all been firmly entrenched in the site specific zoning by-law for the property, in order to meet the Heritage District Plan guidelines and to respect the heritage dwelling", says Frank Greco, spokeperson for the developer. "We are especially proud to have executed Vaughan's first ever Heritage Easement for this marvellous piece of Kleinburg's heritage. We hope this document will serve for future Heritage Easements across the City of Vaughan".

The application for the condo was ready to go before the Ontario Municipal Board with a significantly larger project, but the developer, City of Vaughan and the TRCA commenced mediation and settlement discussions throughout most of September to reach a settlement. The TRCA is to be dedicated about 40% of the entire property in order to protect the Humber Valley and river, some 200 feet away.

The parties attended the OMB hearing on consent of the settlement plans. The OMB hearing lasted just one day. Mr. Granger, OMB Chair, rendered his oral decision later on the same day. The efforts to reach a settlement by all parties was acknowledged by the OMB member. The settlement is considered a win for all parties, the community and for heritage preservation.

The condo project is expected to commence sales next year and be completed in about 2 1/2 years.

Editor's Note:
This was submitted by Mr. Greco, who is named as the developer of the property in the piece. The property has been hotly contested for some time, and was subject to an important OMB decision in February that ruled that the property was subject to the HCD guidelines even though the HCD plan was passed pre-2005. BHN would be interested in a piece written by area residents, has the HCD plan done its job here? What is the community reaction to the settlement?

2. Community Effort Puts Cabbagetown's Victorian Plan to Better Use
Press Release: Douglas McTaggart

Cabbagetown's famous Wellesley Cottages, on a back "street"

Coinciding with the 175th anniversary of Torontos incorporation of 1834, The Cabbagetown Preservation Association's Laneway Naming and Signing Initiative of 2006, in collaboration with elected officials and staff of the City of Toronto, are in the process of signing 52 previously unnamed laneways in today's Cabbagetown neighborhood (bounded at the north by Bloor Street East, at the south by Shuter Street, at the west by Sherbourne Street and at the east by Bayview Avenue).

Drawing from a variety of venerable public sources, all names submitted for consideration conformed to the City of Toronto's Street Naming Policy (approved by City Council in 2000). Chosen names honor the rich and diverse natural, cultural, social, economic and technological history of Cabbagetown from First Nation settlement through the pre-built environment, the Victorian and post-war eras and to the present day.

With the initiative recommended by the City Surveyor to Councillor Pam McConnell of Ward 28, the Toronto and East York Community Council, Toronto Police Services, Toronto Fire Services and Emergency Medical Services, all have accepted the lane names in support. Integrating a traditional approach of naming and signing with the use of GPS technologies allows an undervalued portion of the Victorian plan to be put to better contemporary use by best protecting life and property with the timeliest, most efficient and safest emergency responses possible.

Other potential public benefits of naming and signing laneways include the facilitation of such deliverables as neighborhood watch/child-safe programs, animal welfare services, greening initiatives such as municipal tree and volunteer wildflower planting projects, community garage sales, public art installations, heritage resource identification, historic walking tours, bylaw enforcement, geothermal energy alternatives, utility management and infrastructure maintenance.

Individuals and/or groups interested in volunteering to a variety of laneway improvement initiatives are invited to visit The Cabbagetown Laneway Association, a cooperative and cross-functional space, online at

For general information, contact:

Douglas McTaggart, Founder and Chair
Cabbagetown Preservation Association Laneway Naming and Signing Initiative

3. Stephen Otto: More to Celebrate
Catherine Nasmith

Stephen Otto, taken 2008 by Rollo Myers

On Tuesday night there were two standing ovations and lots of other applause and best wishes for Stephen Otto as he received a Special Achievement Award from Heritage Toronto. Speaker after speaker spoke to all the reasons, his extraordinary knowlege, his perseverance, discreet effectiveness and generosity.

The ceremony was emotionally charged as friends applauded both his accomplishments and his presence there after a long illness. At the Heritage Canada event two weeks earlier where he received the Lieutenant Governor's award Mr. Otto acknowleged that he had nearly "bought the farm" in February. HIs recovery shows a perseverance of a very different kind.

For the many, many fans of Stephen Otto I have some very good news.

Steve Otto's doctors have given him a clean bill of health following his treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma for the last seven months, so now he can concentrate on rebuilding his strength and stamina.



Editor's Note:
I am a very lucky woman. In the past year three of the most important people in my life, my husband Robert Allsopp, and our friends Stephen Otto and John Sewell have all recovered from cancer. A hat trick of a different sort performed by the excellent doctors at the University Health Network. I have just signed up once more for the Ride to Conquer Cancer on June 12 and 13 as a way of paying back.

4. OMB Unbowed: Standing Committee Review
Catherine Nasmith

Readers will recall a special notice that went out in August advising of a review of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) by the Standing Committee on Agencies Boards and Commissions on September 8, 2009. The Hansard transcript makes for interesting reading if you are trying to understand OMB decisions on heritage matters.

First the good news. Even though no heritage organizations were invited to speak to the committee, heritage was definitely on the agenda for committee members.

Member Michael Prue referred to many letters received questioning OMB decision making on planning matters that involved heritage, and questioned the Board on why the Conservation Review Board (CRB) had not been asked to participate more often. “Grimsby, Alma College, the Bronte triangle, Port Dalhousie: Those are the ones that come up over and over again. Is there enough expertise on the board at this time dealing with heritage matters?”

Mrs. Hubbard, the OMB chair’s response suggests a real contempt for the CRB. “There is. And the Conservation Review Board is an interesting board all by itself. It's another group of advocates. We have on our board Marc Denhez, who is known across Canada and the United States. He's a heritage buff. He knows the business; he knows the act. Our members understand heritage. They do. We have a good team of people who are quite capable of going out and looking after heritage conservation areas. We get it. The provincial policy statements require that we do that. We of course have the jurisdiction to deal with demolitions. Any alteration would go to the Conservation Review Board. But once again, I think a good deal of the conflict, if you will, or the upset of these groups is unfounded-absolutely unfounded.”

Would Mrs. Hubbard describe any of the lawyers who appear before her as “legal buffs”?

Prue went on to question why the Conservation Review Board had not been asked to participate more often, even though the OHA offers the OMB the opportunity to include a CRB member. Mrs. Hubbard responds as follows: “The Conservation Review Board is a part-time board. The Conservation Review Board are advocates; they're not adjudicators. My experience in assigning them to a hearing at the OMB-it becomes very complex. Alma College is one of the examples where we put a Conservation Review Board member sitting with an OMB member, and there were a series of rather unpleasant events that occurred there. As far as I'm concerned, I will be very discreet and careful during my chairmanship, which will end soon-and I'm sure some people will be happy to see the end of me at the CRB-but at any rate, I'm very careful about what I do in terms of assigning a Conservation Review Board member."

Later in the hearing, Mr. Leo Longo who was representing the Ontario Bar Association was asked “Are you satisfied that the board has the kind of heritage knowledge that's necessary?”

He responded “I believe the board has the ability to weigh evidence on a number of matters of expertise. As a lawyer, I don't have expertise in hydrology or engineering, but I'm able to call evidence about that, and the board every day is weighing expert testimony and judging it: Later he continued, “If I may say, if there is a failure in the heritage aspect of matters, I don't think it's in the board's appreciation of heritage matters. I believe it's in perhaps some inherent weaknesses in the Ontario Heritage Act that perhaps don't put heritage matters on the plane that some of these individuals would like to have them. I think the board is working properly within the milieu of what the Ontario Heritage Act says. I think those complaining may want that act actually toughened.”

Mr. Longo also offered some insight into why the clear position of Oakville and the St. Catharine’s Council were able to be set aside by the OMB in the decisions on Bronte Quad and Port Dalhousie. The OMB is required to have regard for municipal decisions. “The judges have said the range of "have regard to" goes the spectrum from to "recite ... then ignore" to "slavishly and rigidly adhere." Do you give it extra weight? Do you simply consider that it's there and move on? There is a whole grey area. What the courts have said, and it's in our materials, is that you aren't bound by it but you're supposed to look at the policy in light of all the circumstances and make a determination as to whether in this case that policy comes into play or does not come into play. So it's one of being respectful of the policy but recognizing the independence of the decision-maker to decide whether, under all the facts of the case, that policy should trump something else. There has been clear guidance. I don't think the board misunderstands the test. I think a lot of people misunderstand what the Legislature has asked the board to do.”

None of this bodes well for a change in practices at the OMB on heritage in the near future.

The Committee normally makes a report on findings to the Legislature which should be coming forward this fall or winter, but the Clerk of the Committee was not able to say when to expect it. As for Mrs. Hubbard’s retirement, it is possible a new chair may be persuaded that the OMB needs to rely more on the CRB, but until the CRB is in a position to provide members who can devote the time needed that may be a moot point. At the time of writing the Public Appointments Secretariat did not have a name to announce for the new OMB chair.

In the meantime we can only hope that OMB members will at least rely more heavily on the “heritage buff” within their midst.

The full transcript can be found at:

5. Letter to the Editor: Disastrous State of the Alma College Property
Dawn Doty

Alma College, June 2008

The Alma property still proudly displays a plaque from the Ontario Heritage Foundation unveiled October 28, 1976. The Plaque is poised in front of the rubble.

There has been no clean up at the Alma site since the fire, the chapel is open to the elements with gapping holes in the roof from the fire.

The OMB decision allowed for the demolition of the original structure and recommended replication of the front facade.

The OMB decision is still unregistered.

No sign of a “Minimum Property Standards” bylaw from St. Thomas City Council.

In a letter to the editor Lara Masur Leitch, Vice-principal and former President of the Alma College International Alumnae Association stated, the blame for the destruction of this fine building should also be laid at the feet of others. Leitch added, who will step forward to save what remains? Who will rise to the challenge to rebuild on the ashes of history? How long will the horror that occurred lay abandoned at the end of Moore Street?

I live at the gates of the Alma property. Tourists visit the property everyday, some walk around the property; some take pictures all shake their heads in disbelief.

I have been asked “How could this have happened”?

I say, “Under the watchful eyes of many”.

Editor's Note:
Following the sentencing of two youth for arson in the disastrous fire of 2008.

6. Carlos Garcia Confirmed as Regional Councillor for St. Catharines
David Bergen

On Thursday, October 1st, the Council of the Region of Niagara confirmed the appointment of Carlos to fill the vacancy left by the sad passing of Councillor Michael Collins. In Carlos' words: "It is an honour to have been recommended by St. Catharines City Council to represent our City at Regional Council and to have that recommendation ratified by this Regional Council." As you know, he has worked hard for years as a volunteer on behalf of our citizens and I know will continue to work at the Region with the same commitment and dedication to further the goals of our City and Region. Please join me in congratulating him.

Carlos will be extremely busy over the next while as he tries to quickly get up to speed on the issues and operation of Regional Council so that he can make a contribution. 

7. Coalition Opposes Next Stage of Convention Centre Proposal
Coalition to Save the View Press Release

Press Release
For Immediate Release-October 1, 2009

Coalition Opposes Next Stage of Convention Centre Proposal

Halifax, NS- The Coalition to Save the View is dismayed to learn today that the provincial government has joined HRM in moving forward with the convention centre proposal.

The province is signalling its willingness to spend public money on a private project by asking Rank Group to prepare a detailed proposal for the new centre. Rank has suggested building two towers of 14- and 18- storeys on the site.

"The towers Rank has proposed would block out a substantial sweep of the view from Citadel Hill," said Peggy Cameron of the Coalition. "Most of the world-renowned view of George's Island would be lost to the 800,000 residents and tourists who take in the view from Citadel Hill each year and who patronize downtown hotels, restaurants and bars."

Supporters of the Rank Group proposal state that the towers would not impinge on protected viewplanes.

"People don't go to Citadel Hill to see the viewplanes, they go to see the view," said Ms. Cameron. "We would hope that the government considers the value of the view to the public and the economy and does not use public money to sacrifice the view to a private developer."

Recently the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal ruled that current HRM policies protect more than just viewplanes.

A public survey held on May 31 showed that 91% of those polled oppose the construction of the towers.

The Coalition challenges the independent consultant hired by the provincial government and HRM to do proper analyses of the ecological and financial costs of the towers and to consider the value of the world-renowned view to the local economy.

Without special exemptions from HRMbyDesign as well as government financial aid these towers would be limited to 7- and 9- storeys.

The Coalition to Save the View is made up of individuals and groups.

For information on Save the View visit:

For high resolution images for downloading visit:

Facebook site is: Help Save the View From Citadel Hill

For more information contact:

Beverly Miller: 429-9540
Peter Delefes: 826-2087


8. Waterloo Architecture Students in Energy Solar Decathelon
Rick Haldenby

The US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon on the Mall in Washington is entering the home stretch. The UW lead Team North is in fourth place at this moment. It has never been below sixth and was in first place in the early going.

Track the full results, updated every 15 minutes on:



Rick Haldenby FRAIC
O'Donovan Director
Waterloo Architecture Cambridge
7 Melville St. S.
Cambridge, Ontario
N1H 2S4

t: 519-888-4544
f: 519-622-3525

Si duri puer ingeni videtur
Praeconem vel architectam facias

Editor's Note:
Rick keeps a twitter like stream of announcements about student success coming. Proud Director!

9. Alliston Herald: Editorial - Don't forget the heritage
D. Chambers, Bond Head

I see our friend Wayne Hutchinson is encouraging all of us to take a concerned and responsible look at the Alliston downtown core. I applaud him and suggest we should all do the same.

Many of his good suggestions are also recommended in the latest study done by Meridian.

However there is one glaring omission in his plan. He never once mentions the word "heritage".

Click here for Link

10. blogTO: Visiting The School Of Restoration Arts At Willowbank
Jonathan Castellino

For those of you who've experienced an uneasy feeling when witnessing massive machinery clawing down a derelict or historic building and thought, "gee, I wish someone could have saved that," allow me to introduce you to the amazing work at the Willowbank School of Restoration Arts.

Having just graduated the first class in their 3-year program, the school - despite the age of the main estate - is still very young. With only a small handful of students at the institution (of varying ages), low tuition, and a general philosophy that hands-on work is as important as theory, Willowbank is truly one of the most beautiful and unique (if somewhat esoteric) post-secondary institutions I've ever visited. The school itself is one of their major projects!

The building itself has such a great many layers, it's hard to know where to begin. The current facade (pictured above) is actually the original rear, with the pillared visage being the original front (1930s and 1830s respectively). On an interesting aside, the pillars you see in the title picture are single pieces of wood! A National historic site itself, the entire building is a living, breathing, work in progress.

Click here for Link

11. Bracebridge Examiner: Heritage Victory in Muskoka at last
Allyson Snelling

Southwood Church spared

Passionate arguments to keep Southwood Church away from a bulldozer’s path have been triumphant in changing the minds of Gravenhurst town councillors, who, one month ago, slated the more than 70-year-old church for demolition.

Council rescinded a previous resolution to demolish the church at their Oct. 6 meeting. The move followed presentations by Southwood residents Debbie Brady, Catherine King and Tammy Neilson, as well as municipal heritage committee chair Hank Smith, each of whom rallied to save the log church.

“The community … is willing to do whatever (we) can,” said Brady, who explained that $25,000 has been pledged so far to fix and maintain the church. “We plan to form a registered non-profit or charitable organization named The Friends of Our Lady of Southwood and propose to pay for the repairs to the structure and the maintenance through donations and fundraising.”

She said a Facebook group created two weeks ago now includes 185 members who oppose the demolition of the church.

“I know it’s been said that very few people care about the church, but I believe that many people do not know the church’s fate,” King added. “…I believe that many people would be shocked and saddened to drive by and see this family landmark gone.”

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:This is a real breakthrough in Muskoka, congrats to Peter Sutherland and colleagues. Heritage organizing is in its infancy here, but starting to be effective.

12. Georgetown Independent & Free Press: Devereaux House a finalist for Great Grant Award
Cynthia Gamble

Lots of things have been happening for Devereaux House in the last week and half.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation announced last week that the Friends of Devereaux House and their tenants, Georgetown Soccer Club, are finalists for one of its prestigious 2009 Great Grants Awards

On Monday, Wellington-Halton Hills MP Michael Chong announced a $34,000 Green Municipal Grant for the farmhouse.

Tomorrow night (Thursday), Mayor Rick Bonnette will officially open Devereaux House, and then on Saturday, an open house will be held between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. for the public to see the renovated building.

Devereaux House (DH), located at 11494 Trafalgar Rd. beside the Trafalgar Sports Park, is a renovated 1860s Town-owned farmhouse. Originally slated for demolition, a group of volunteers formed the non-profit group, Friends of the Devereaux House (FoDH), raised funds from a variety of sources, coaxed the services of professional trades and restored the building, demonstrating that a 19th century home can be made useful again by utilizing 21st century technology.


Click here for Link

13. St. Catharines Standard: Thorold still looking for use for former city hall

Photo courtesy of the John Burtniak Collection - Erected in 1914, the former L.G. LORRIMAN / CENTRAL SCHOOL was adaptively re-used and served as Thorold's Town Hall from 1982 to 2006.



The future of Thorold’s former city hall remains shrouded in mystery.

This after a proposal to turn the heritage building into affordable housing for seniors didn’t make the short list of projects regional officials submitted to the Canada-Ontario Affordable Housing Program in the hope of scoring a share of $1.2 billion in joint government funding for housing projects.

Now Thorold council will look at other options for 8 Carleton St., which has cost more than $81,000 to maintain since the city vacated it in 2006.

Mayor Henry D’Angela said interim chief administrative officer John Nicol is drafting a list of suggested uses for the building in time for council’s Oct. 20 meeting.

"There will be information coming forward so council can deal with the property," D’Angela said. "As a council, we understand its importance."

But D’Angela, at one time a proponent of turning the 96-year-old building into a civic centre, refused to divulge what some of those suggested uses will be.

Click here for Link

14. Globe and Mail: Joe Storey House in Oakville
Dave LeBlanc

Modernism on shores of Oakville

photo, Globe and Mail
architect Joe Storey

This is about relationships.

First and foremost, it's about the one between Stewart Daymond, now 80, and his friend, internationally renowned architect Joseph W. Storey, who died suddenly in 1975 at the age of 52.

The two men had been neighbours in Chatham, Ont., where Mr. Storey began a successful modernist architecture practice in 1947. When Mr. Daymond's aluminum and plastics business whisked him away from his colonial-style home on Victoria Avenue - which had a rear addition designed by Mr. Storey - to an Oakville rental in the late 1960s, he began looking for a lot with the idea of hiring Mr. Storey to design a home.

It wasn't a completely untested idea. Mr. Storey had already done a house for Mr. Daymond's parents and the results were impressive; also, you might say Mr. Daymond's relationship to modern architecture was a direct result of knowing Mr. Storey, who designed hundreds of buildings in Southwestern Ontario: "I didn't see anything that he'd ever done that I wasn't fond of," says Mr. Daymond.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:There are several other gorgeous shots on the Globe website. Joe Storey projects will be on tour in Chatham at the ACO conference in June....don't miss this rare opportunity to see the work of Ontario's best mid century architects.

15. Globe and Mail: Phillip Goldsmith at the Guild Inn

Restoration dramas

Restoration dramas

SUSAN KRASHINSKYFrom Saturday's Globe and Mail
Last updated on Wednesday, Oct. 07, 2009 03:05AM EDT

Philip Goldsmith is standing in a faux Greek amphitheatre in suburban Toronto and he's feeling mournful.

What surrounds him could best be described as an architectural graveyard. Fragments of the city litter the grounds. Here, an Ionic column from the demolished Toronto registry office; there, a bas-relief of Canada's provinces from what was once the Bank of Montreal building; a little farther on, some art-deco blocks from the old Toronto Star building.

"It's inspiring and saddening at the same time," the heritage architect says. "It's like walking around in a field of cadavers."

The amphitheatre itself is a cement Frankenstein, built by Mr. Goldsmith in 1976 out of old stones from the Bank of Toronto headquarters. The building at King and Bay was torn down "so they could build that black modernist thing that's there now," as Mr. Goldsmith describes the TD Centre, designed by celebrated architect Mies van der Rohe.

Making old buildings new again is Mr. Goldsmith's specialty. He has been the principal behind many of Toronto's high-profile (and award-winning) revitalization projects, including the National Ballet School, North Toronto Station (which now houses the Summerhill LCBO) and the Wychwood Barns. Armed with his drafting board, his pen and signature beret, he's fighting to maintain a sense of the city's age and character.

"We've lost a lot of buildings," he sighs, looking around. "A lot of beautiful buildings."

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:In a recent note Phillip Goldsmith points out the reporter's error, he is not the architect, or heritage architect for the Wychwood Barns (Joe Lobko of du Toit Allsopp Hillier, architect and ERA heritage architect. Mr. Goldsmith was involved in an early feasibility study for the project.

16. Globe and Mail: Toronto Urban Design Awards
John Bentley Mays

Tough love for Toronto architects

The coveted Toronto Urban Design Awards, dispensed by the city every two years, are usually all about celebrating what Hogtown has got in the way of metropolitan beauty and imagination. But when the 2009 prizes were handed out recently, the jury decided to take the opportunity to give us a mild scolding along with a pat on the back.

We deserve both. (The awards jury, by the way, was especially impressive this year: architect, urban designer and editor of Canadian Architect Ian Chodikoff; prominent Toronto architect A. J. Diamond, and landscape architects Eha Naylor and Michael Van Valkenburgh.)

The jury didn't see fit to name a winner, for example, in the important category of large public spaces, and it didn't like much of what it saw in the student category. (The latter verdict is ominous: If the kids in architecture schools aren't learning how to do effective urban design, then what good can we expect from the next generation of architects?)

While acknowledging that “significant progress” has been made over the past few years in the quality of Toronto's public realm, the jury added that “many projects contained an unevenness in their approach to urban design, especially as it pertained to … landscape architecture and the buildings' treatment at the ground or street level.”

Despite these and other criticisms, jurors saw a number of Toronto projects they thought strong enough to merit Awards of Excellence, the top prizes. Here are some of the winners, with jury comments.

Laneway House, 40R Shaftesbury Ave.

Margaret Graham and Andre D'Elia architects, superkül inc.

This little residence “debunks the myth that you cannot provide a single-family home in a dense urban space. … Clad with rusted metal panels, the exterior of the building was clearly designed to exude a rough aesthetic befitting a laneway residence of this kind.”

When I reviewed the handsome, 900-square-foot structure in this column last year, the architects were calling their work “the making of living space in zero-tolerance conditions.” And, indeed, the property lines and the footprint of the Victorian blacksmith's shed at the heart of the project are almost identical.

Superkül's solution to the squeeze was to build upward, and carefully fit the interior elements together into a tight, unified whole. Natural light, falling from high skylights at the top of light wells, illuminates almost every cranny of the interior. Though densely composed, superkül's building is a delightfully porous fabric of light and shadow, openings and closings, that works beautifully in its laneway setting.

Spire, 33 Lombard St.

Peter Clewes architect, architectsAlliance

This tall, modernist condominium building, clad entirely in glass, “simply understands where it is located and its purpose in the city.”

It also met the jury's rigorous expectations about how a tower is supposed to behave at street level. “The north-facing grasses are healthy – except in the areas of the deepest shade – and appropriate for a reduced-light landscape design. Perhaps the designers initially wanted a single species of very hardy grass. Nonetheless, the final material palette used for the plantings remains restrained and is growing better than any other landscape the jury had visited.”

But the jury did have one criticism that interestingly expressed its concerns: “There could have been some form of canopy incorporated into the project's design – the ground-floor retailers must pull down their blinds throughout most of the day to protect themselves and their goods from extreme sun, glare and solar gain.”

Designers of the buildings that line our streets should take this caveat to heart, and make sure that architectural modernism works for the well-being of residents and commercial tenants alike.


The Spire condominiums at 33 Lombard St., designed by architectsAlliance. TIBOR KOLLEY/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Mayor's Tower Renewal Opportunities Book: 1,000 sites throughout the City of Toronto

E.R.A. Architects and the University of Toronto John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design

This Award of Excellence, in the Vision and Masterplan category, went to a scheme that has evolved from a master's thesis by former U of T student Graeme Stewart into a powerful plan for reviving the residential towers put up in Toronto some 50 years ago. Here, as elsewhere in its deliberations, the jury paid special attention to what happens at grade. Mr. Stewart and his team at E.R.A. have envisioned public markets and agricultural plots, among other uses, on the currently bleak expanses around and between buildings.

“To produce a document that makes better use of the ground plane in Toronto's inner suburbs represents a timely, responsible and strategic response to many challenges associated with the public realm,” the jury said.

“Potential scenarios that include urban agriculture or public markets may not be entirely feasible as illustrated. However, to envision such positive changes for the lives of so many Torontonians is certainly deserving of an award.”

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17. Google News: Gord Miller speaks out against SLAPP suits
Maria Babbage, forwarded by Lloyd Alter

Ont. should stop huge lawsuits to silence opposition to development: report

TORONTO — Ontario must shield residents from huge lawsuits aimed at silencing opposition to local projects if it wants to fix a land use planning system that's "hugely weighted" in favour of big developers, the province's environmental commissioner said Tuesday.

The government should introduce legislation that would protect citizen groups fighting to protect natural areas from intimidating legal tactics used by developers, such as so-called SLAPP lawsuits, Commissioner Gord Miller said in his annual report.

SLAPP - or Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation - are stopping local residents from participating in the planning approval process out of fear they'll be saddled with huge legal costs, he said.

"They go home and sit down at the kitchen table and talk with their spouse and say, 'You know, this is what we're going to do.' And the spouse says, 'It's not worth losing our house over. Why would we put ourselves at that financial risk?"' Miller said.

"So the validity of their complaint or their concern is not heard because they are silenced by the fear of economic intimidation."

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:Such tactics have also been used against heritage advocates. Even without such tactics, the costs of defending heritage is a real challenge for community groups.

18. Haliburton County Echo: Historic Village Barn saved - Fire damages stores, but exterior intact
Martha Perkins

With much to be thankful for, Haliburton is rejoicing that firefighters have probably saved the life of one of the village’s few historic buildings.

But it’s with heavy hearts that the owners of the businesses that made their home in the Village Barn sift through the fire-, smoke- and water-damaged building.

Although the structural integrity of the building remains intact, damage from the early morning fire is estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Village Barn, built some time between 1896 and 1912 behind the former Grand Central Hotel, is owned by Anthony and Julie vanLieshout. In 2004 they undertook a massive renovation project to add to the front of the barn and remodel the interior.

It’s in the addition that the fire started, in the part occupied by Franka’s Café.

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19. Journal of Commerce: Dominion Fairmile Construction earns accolades for high school seismic upgrades

Vancouver Regional Construction Association Silver Award winner

Like a very fine wine, Vancouver Technical School just keeps getting better. Since 1928 it has stood on East Broadway looking part castle, part prison and part school. A second wing was added in 1953. The fact is Van Tech began life as a technical school and was the early forerunner of todays B.C. Institute of Technology. Starting in 1916, Van Tech actually had two other locations before settling on Broadway. Over the years as BCIT took over the role as it morphed into another secondary school operated by the Vancouver School Board. Van Tech, has however, retained a heavy emphasis on technical training. By the time 2006 rolled around, the 1928 building along with the 1953 building and an attached auditorium had fallen woefully short of modern seismic standards. The school board faced a decision  tear it down or upgrade it. The decision was made to upgrade. Dominion Fairmile Construction, working with Sandwell Engineering won the tender to handle the job.

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20. National Post: Cabbagetown Lane Signs
Laura Blenkinsop

Sign, sign everywhere a sign

Some of the New Cabbagetown Lane Names:

SCHAWLOW LANE named after Arthur (Bud) Schawlow, a jazz musician and physicist from Cabbagetown who won the Nobel Prize in 1981 for creating the laser with his brother-in-law.

EDENSMITH LANE name after Eden Smith, Salisbury Street resident and architect who designed many of the churches in the area.

YEN LANE named after J.L. (Allen) Yen, a professor of Electrical Engineering who studied digital signals communication and made significant contributions to the field.

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21. National Post: Cabbagetown Lane Signs
Laura Blenkinsop, forwarded by Laura Blenkinsop

Cabbagetown cultivates lanes

Lane-naming a tribute to 'hidden gems', noteworthy Torontonians

City works crews arrived last week amid the Victorian row houses and cottages of Cabbagetown, halting their trucks at eight narrow laneways. Residents watched as they erected street signs with names like Woodward Evans Lane, after the two Torontonians who first invented the light bulb and then sold the patent to Thomas Edison; Drovers Lane, after the occupation of some early City of Toronto residents who drove herds of livestock to market; and Hagan Lane after award-winning artist Frederick Hagan, known for setting up his easel to paint in Cabbagetown's laneways.

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22. Globe and Mail: Dissing the Save St. Nick Campaign
Marcus Gee

The NIMBY crusade against a Toronto condo

What, me NIMBY? Neighbourhood groups that oppose development in their backyard always deny that selfish motives play any part in their campaign against that new building, widened street or bigger power station.

The Save St. Nick group is a classic example. The St. Nickers have been waging a crusade against the construction of a condo tower in their little corner of downtown Toronto. The 244-unit building would rise on quiet St. Nicholas Street, near Bloor and Yonge.

Located in the heart of the city, in an area thick with new condos and apartment blocks, the development fits perfectly with the city's official plan. The plan aims to “intensify" the downtown by getting more and more people living and working in the heart of the city, making optimum use of transit and getting people out of their cars.

Excellent idea in theory, say the St. Nickers. Just not in our backyard. At a committee hearing this week, they came forward to rage against the plan.

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23. National Post: Save St. Nick's Group Loses
Allison Hanes

City councillors approve condo tower for historic downtown street

National Post Photo

St. Nicholas Street, according to residents, is a beloved pedestrian corridor of Victorian row-houses, historic brick cottages and blooming front gardens – a cobbled oasis nestled between the hulking skyscrapers of Bay Street and the bustle of Yonge Street in Toronto’s core.

About three dozen people came to city hall today to plead for one of downtown’s last remaining low-rise streets to be spared from a high-rise development.

But Toronto and East York community council approved a 29-storey tower for the corner of St. Nicholas and St. Mary streets, reasoning the project had already been reduced from an original proposed height of 44 storeys.

Councillor Kyle Rae (Toronto Centre Rosedale) sported a “Save St. Nick” button even as he overruled local objections in an area slated for greater density.

“I think that this application has come a long way and is worthy of support today,” Mr. Rae said.

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24. Save Saint Nick Website

The Community Website

For the community view, and photos of the proposed development

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25. North Bay Nugget: Mattawa residents launch effort to save old hospital

Greg's Northern Gallery. Former Mattawa hospital run by the Sisters of Charity.

MATTAWA -  Town council has ensured that this community's former hospital won't be demolished overnight, deciding Tuesday to consider the building a possible heritage site.

It didn't take much convincing from area residents to get municipal politicians onside trying to keep the old red brick hospital building on Third Street standing.

But council didn't offer any guarantees the hospital won't be levelled later on, saying a motion adopted Tuesday simply opens the door for discussions with Conseil Scolaire Catholique Franco-Nord, which now owns the building.

This council wants to do what's right,"Mayor Dean Backer told a crowd of about 50 people, most of whom showed up at the regular meeting to lobby for support to prevent the demolition of the hospital and preserve the Mattawa skyline.

Council unanimously adopted a motion declaring the town's intent to investigate the former hospital as a possible heritage site, essentially putting the brakes on the French-Catholic school board's plans to demolish the building and construct a new $9.1-million high school in its place.

The board, which purchased the hospital from the Sisters of Charity for $100,000, said earlier this month the building would eventually be levelled. Tuesday marked the deadline for submissions to a call for tenders for the demolition of the building.


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26. Renfrew Mercury: New home for stained glass business - Post office gets new tenant
BY Lucy Hass

Kathryn Bossy's stained glass business has a new home in Renfrew's historic post office building. Lucy Hass

Kathryn Bossy’s stained glass studio has found a new home on the second floor of Renfrew’s historic post office building.

The building has been owned by the ratepayers of Renfrew since 2005, in the wake of a federal government move to dispose of surplus properties.

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27. Toronto Star: Dunlap Observatory
Noor Javed

Heritage observatory battle shifts to senior governments

Toronto Star Photo, Dunlap Observatory

More protection needed as Richmond Hill bylaw won't stop development.

Round one down. Round two to go.

Richmond Hill council recently passed a bylaw designating a large part of the David Dunlap Observatory lands as a cultural heritage site.

While that may seem to be a victory for those who have tirelessly campaigned to protect the historic observatory and the green oasis that surrounds it since the University of Toronto sold it to a developer last year, there's growing consensus that the fight is far from over.

But it's a battle the town says no longer involves the municipality.

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Editor's Note:This seems a pretty clear cut case for involvement of senior levels of government. Aileen Carroll, the Minister of Culture has been very hesitant to act to date, will this be the first occasion where she uses her powers?

28. Toronto Star: Hume on Laneway development
Christopher Hume

Toronto's 2,400 laneways offer great potential for development / They may be a solution for a City seeking a denser, more efficient future

Toronto Star Photo

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but what about a laneway?

In Toronto, where they remain largely unnamed, alleys and lanes have never been fully integrated into the city. They hover forever just beyond the collective consciousness, not quite a part of things. We see them as dark, dirty and maybe even a little scary.

In fact, Toronto has a huge number of lanes where people live and work. And except for the fact that city planning policies are designed to keep residents away, the back roads of Toronto could be home to thousands.

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29. Toronto Star: John A. Macdonald's birthplace endangered

John A. Macdonald's home facing wrecker's bal

GRAHAM EVAN MACDONELL, TORSTAR - This derelict building in Glasgow, slated for demolition, was the early home of John A. Macdonald, Canada's first prime minister. The site is owned by Selfridges, which in turn is owned by Toronto billionaire Galen Weston.

Glasgow building where Macdonald grew up to be demolished – and it's owned by Canadians

GLASGOW–In a grimy lane in central Glasgow stand an abandoned brothel and a boarded-up saloon. Partners in hopelessness, they face the dismal thoroughfare. The building that houses them, like all its neighbours, is slated for demolition, and standing there you think: the sooner the better.

Yet from this doomed street in 1820, a failed businessman began a journey that ended in the creation of a country. He left his place of work in Brunswick Lane for the last time. A ship was waiting in the River Clyde, and he boarded with his family. Among them was his eldest surviving son, a 5-year-old.

The boy was John A. Macdonald.

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30. Vaughan March 5, Development around Martin Smith House
Corey Lewis

Kleinburg condo fight heats up

A Kleinburg condo fight just got a whole lot messier.

An external city solicitor has asked the Ontario Municipal Board to review its decision on a three-storey condo proposal surrounding the historic Martin Smith House and has requested the divisional court appeal the decision.

A Feb. 18 OMB decision disagrees with the city’s argument that the provincial tribunal doesn’t have jurisdiction over development matters on the property surrounding the Martin Smith House due to its heritage status. The city is also seeking to adjourn an April 6 OMB meeting on the matter.

The city’s attempt to eliminate the OMB from the process would grant city council jurisdiction over development on the lands, developer Frank Greco says.

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Editor's Note:A bit of the back storey on the Martin Smith House

31. Waterloo Record: Heritage conservation districts are working, UW study says
Terry Pender

Heritage conservation districts are good for property values, do not bury owners in red tape for renovations, preserve the character of old neighbourhoods and are populated with people happy to be there, says a University of Waterloo study.

Robert Shipley, a professor of urban planning who specializes in heritage issues, oversaw the study of 27 conservation districts around the province in an effort to debunk what he calls persistent myths associated with the areas.

"I think it’s really clear that as a planning mechanism conservation districts really work. They achieve their goals," Shipley said.

In a conservation district, the streetscape and exteriors of buildings are protected under the Ontario Heritage Act. Any changes visible from the street must be approved by a municipality’s heritage committee.

Nearly every time a city moves to establish a new heritage conservation district there is opposition from some property owners within the proposed boundaries.

Opposition is almost always based on fears that property values will drop, and that the rules will not protect the area’s unique attributes anyway. Homeowners also worry they will be swamped with paper work when applying for permission for renovations.

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32. Windsor Star: $250K grant request for Assumption project deferred
Dave Battagello

Fundraisers heading a $10-million campaign to renovate historic Assumption Church hoped to convince the city’s heritage committee Wednesday to contribute $250,000 to the effort.

But the committee deferred a decision after several board members expressed uneasiness over the impact such a large grant would have on its signature Community Heritage Fund. It has a $900,000 balance, with several other requests for funds outstanding.

"We need to know the list of all the people coming to the table asking for the community funds before we make a decision," said board member Paul DeMarco.

Board chairman Robin Easterbrook added that he wants to ensure applications to the Heritage Fund are treated consistently before any funding for Assumption is approved.

City heritage planner John Calhoun was asked by the committee for a report on all outstanding requests to the fund and the potential impact of the Assumption decision.

Any committee decision will require approval from city council.

Assumption Church is the oldest parish in Canada west of Montreal. It has been recognized under the Ontario Heritage Act since 1975 and is also on the Canadian Register of Historic Places.

The Assumption Heritage Trust, unveiled in September, will lead a campaign to raise $10 million for the crumbling church.


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33. Globe and Mail: Loss of China's Heritage
Carolynne Wheeler

Architectural gold rush washing away heritage


BEIJING — Special to The Globe and Mail Published on Tuesday, Oct. 06, 2009 12:00AM EDT Last updated on Thursday, Oct. 08, 2009 2:48AM EDT

It was the party to which China was inviting the world, and it spared no effort in ensuring its facilities were up to the task.

Last year's Olympics in Beijing left the city with some striking - some would say strikingly awful - buildings as mementos. The National Stadium, popularly known as the Bird's Nest, designed by Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron with assistance from famed Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, now sits largely empty, though it remains a pilgrimage site for Chinese tourists. The grounds of the graceful National Centre for the Performing Arts, also known as the Egg - or the Turtle's Egg to the derogatory - designed by French architect Paul Andreu, is now a popular place for a stroll on a warm evening.

The design fever that gripped the city before the Olympics also brought unique architectural monuments such as the Rem Koolhaas-designed CCTV tower - nicknamed "The Pants" for its two asymmetrical towers linked at the top by a walkway - and boutique hotel the Opposite House, adjoining an embassy district in Sanlitun. The hotel's Japanese architect, Kengo Kuma, gave it a stunning exterior of multi-hued emerald glass and an interior that includes sweeping ceilings and gallery space.

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