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Issue No. 155 | January 28, 2010

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Feature Stories

  1. Toronto Council Votes to Accept Damage to Queen's Park Views
  2. Toronto Star: Opinion Queen's Park Views
  3. Toronto Star: Queen's Park Views

Events

Building Storeys 2010
Thursday, February 4th Saturday, February 27th
+ read


The Furniture of Eero Saarinen: Designs for Everyday Living
Lecture Jan 19
+ read


Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada Annual Conference
May 26 - 29, 2010
+ read


Heritage Resources Centre's Annual General Meeting
Monday January 18th, 2010
+ read


Heritage Resources Centre Witner 2010 Lunch and Learn Series

+ read


Workshop - Keeping Out The Draft, Keeping in the Heat
March 6, 2010
+ read


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1. Toronto Council Votes to Accept Damage to Queen's Park Views
Catherine Nasmith

Current View from between College and Dundas
The current post card view

Led by local Councillor Kyle Rae, Toronto Council yesterday rejected planning staff advice and voted 20-12 to support the revised scheme for 21 Avenue Road. The revised scheme is for two towers, the southern one 133m tall, the northern one is 127m tall. City planning staff indicated that anything above 118m would damage even the "post card" views of Queen's Park from north of College Street.

The new proposal, which has not had the benefit of any public meetings, is approximately 30% taller than the existing single 97 m Four Seasons Hotel tower on the site, but significantly reduced in height from earlier schemes. At the moment, the existing Four Season's Hotel tower appears as tall as the centre block of the Legislative Assembly when viewed from Queen Street. The new condo towers will be much higher and will dominate the view from the ceremonial approach to the Legislature from University Avenue.

The project falls just one side of the boundary between Councillor Rae and Councillor Adam Vaughan's ward. Councillor Vaughan wanted to support the planning staff position, reject the proposal and appeal to the OMB.

Recent past development approvals make it impossible for the City to try to defend views from further south, even though that is what was recommended in the Heritage Impact Assessment prepared by Herb Stovel and Archaeological Services Inc. for the City of Toronto and the province.

The Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (ACO)  supports protection for the views from further south, but that can only happen if the province steps up to the plate on this issue. The Speaker for the Legislature, Stephen Peters did write to Council, but there has been no indication that the new Ministers of Culture (Michael Chan) or Municipal Affairs and Housing (Jim Bradley) will declare a provincial interest in the matter.

As past-president, I have been following this matter closely for the ACO, and ACO wrote to City Council to ask Council to work with the province to reverse damage of the past and put into place protection for these views going forward. ACO has also written to the Minister of Culture and Municipal Affairs and Housing to intervene in the matter at the OMB.

With the City and the developer in agreement it is not clear whether there will be an OMB hearing. The only other party is the area residents' group, who may decide that the improvements in floor plate sizes, separations, and setbacks of the new scheme satisfy their principal concerns. ACO and the Speaker of the Legislature obtained participant status at the pre-hearing on December 1.

I am in Victoria at a course so was unable to attend yesterday's debate in person, but a witness who was there reported that Councillor Rae argued that if province was concerned about view shed then they should step up and declare an interest.

It is hard to argue with Councillor Rae's position, so far the province has not only failed to intervene, but the previous Minister of Culture declared (contrary to Ministry and Ontario Heritage Trust staff advice) that she did not feel the towers would damage these views and that the matter should be left to the City to decide.

Calls to the Deputy Minister of Culture to determine if the two new ministers are planning to intervene have not been returned.

Editor's Note:
The ACO's opinion is recorded in the Opinion piece published in the Toronto Star.


2. Toronto Star: Opinion Queen's Park Views
Catherine Nasmith, Lloyd Alter

Protect Ontario's political heritage

View from North of College Street

It's not just the views of the Legislature building at Queen's Park that are under threat

The Legislative Assembly Building must dominate the view from University Ave. from Queen St. and all points north.

To have the silhouette of our most important civic building – the prime symbol of provincial democracy – overwhelmed by taller commercial buildings will say more than we care to admit about the relative importance of public and private interests in Ontario.

A comparable urban situation is The Mall in Washington. Try to picture President Barack Obama's inaugural speech with a commercial building rising behind the U.S. Capitol. Those Washington views have been carefully protected for generations, as have views in Ottawa.

Our national symbols, the Parliament Buildings on the plateau above the Ottawa River, are carefully protected by a system of height controls developed collaboratively by the City of Ottawa and the National Capital Commission. These controls prevent any building rising above the silhouette as seen from several key vantage points along the Ceremonial Route. The views of our Legislative Assembly Building from University Ave. deserve similar protection.

Queen's Park and University Ave. have a shared history. University Ave. was originally called College Ave. because it was purchased and laid out as the ceremonial approach to King's College, the first building of what later became the University of Toronto. As William Dendy wrote in Lost Toronto, "it was laid out for the grandest possible effect ... as a processional approach." It was not until 1859, when the City of Toronto obtained a 999-year lease for both the avenue and Queen's Park, that any streets were permitted to cross this ceremonial approach.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:The City of Toronto has been working to avoid encroachment into the view from College north, and may succeed in reducing the project enough to avoid damage from this vantage point. Unless the province steps in, all views from further south on University Avenue will become more and more cluttered.


3. Toronto Star: Queen's Park Views
John Spears

What's that in the sky behind Queen's Park?

Toronto Star, courtesy of Architect's Alliance, From College St., the top of Menkes' proposed 143-metre tower would be visible between the Ontario Legislature's centre and eastern blocks.

City staff trying to save the Park's postcard view

One of Toronto's grander vistas is the Ontario Legislature as seen from the broad boulevards of University Ave. City councillors want to protect that picture-postcard view, but aren't sure how much power they have to force the issue.

A proposal led by Menkes Developments Ltd. would tear down the existing Four Seasons Hotel, which lies a few blocks to the north of Queen's Park, and replace it with two residential towers.

The problem: The existing hotel, at 95 metres tall, isn't visible behind Queen's Park when viewed from College St. But the proposed towers would show through the gap between the Legislature's centre and eastern blocks.

Architect Peter Clewes told a meeting of the Toronto-East York Community Council this week that the design has been reworked significantly from an earlier proposal that included towers of 143 metres and 97.5 metres.

The design now features towers of 133 metres and 127 metres – heights that would still loom slightly above the Legislature's roofline when viewed from College.

City staff have recommended maximum heights of 116 metres and 99 metres, which would keep them tucked out of sight from that vantage point – though buildings do appear above the Legislature's silhouette when viewed from farther south.

"The dignity of our democratic symbols must be protected," said Catherine Nasmith, of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario. She said she believes the existing Four Seasons should not have been allowed, either.


4. Toronto Star: 7 Ava Crescent Designated
Paul Moloney

Architectural gem could be saved

Although its century-old sash window frames have already been ripped out, the John B. Maclean house will be added to Toronto’s inventory of heritage properties, city council decided Tuesday.

The unanimous vote is a move to force talks with the developer, who wants to tear down the 1910 Georgian Revival home and build eight townhouses and a rental building.

Designed by architect John Lyle, who was also behind Union Station and the Royal Alexandra Theatre, the building was already on a list of potential heritage properties when it was bought for $2.3 million in October 2008. Two permit applications by owner 1626829 Ontario Ltd. to demolish it and rebuild were turned down.

Last December, contractors tore out the windows and the portal above the front door at 7 Austin Terrace, in what the residents’ association believes was a calculated move to circumvent the designation process.

Click here for Link


5. Toronto Star: Dickinson Book Launch
Christopher Hume

Peter Dickinson - a towering figure

Photos, Toronto Star

During his lifetime, architect Peter Dickinson was merely a legend, now he has ascended to myth.

The arrival of John Martins-Manteiga's lavishly illustrated biography, titled simply Peter Dickinson (Dominion Modern, 304 pages, $50), proves it.

Though his name may not be as celebrated as some, during his tragically brief career in the 1950s and early '60s, he remade the Toronto skyline.

Martins-Manteiga, the indefatigable documenter and defender of things modern, has produced a work that despite its frankly hagiographic tone makes for interesting reading. In case you've forgotten, Dickinson was the English architect who came to Toronto in 1950 and died just 11 years later, aged 35.

Click here for Link


6. Toronto Star: MIchael Chan, New Minister of Culture

McGuinty reveals revamped cabinet

New Ontario Cabinet:

Leona Dombrowsky (Prince Edward-Hastings) Minister of Education

Brad Duguid (Scarborough Centre) Minister of Energy and Infrastructure

Chris Bentley (London West) remains Attorney General and becomes Minister of Aboriginal Affairs

Monique Smith (Nipissing) Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and she remains government house leader

Jim Bradley (St. Catharines) Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing

Sophia Aggelonitis (Hamilton Mountain) Minister of Consumer Services

Michael Chan (Markham-Unionville) Minister of Culture

Carol Mitchell (Huron Bruce) Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Linda Jeffrey (Brampton Springdale) Minister of Natural Resources

Eric Hoskins (St. Paul’s) Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Kathleen Wynne (Don Valley West) Minister of Transportation

John Milloy (Kitchener Centre) Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities

Rick Bartolucci (Sudbury) Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services

Margarett Best (Scarborough-Guildwood) Minister of Health Promotion

Laurel Broten (Etobicoke-Lakeshore) Minister of Children and Youth Services

Sandra Pupatello (Windsor West) Minister of Economic Development and Trade

Harinder Takhar (Mississauga-Erindale) Minister of Government Services

John Gerretsen (Kingston and the Islands) Minister of the Environment

Dwight Duncan (Windsor) Minister of Finance

Peter Fonseca (Mississauga East-Cooksville) Minister of Labour

Deb Matthews (London North Centre) Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

Michael Gravelle (Thunder Bay-Superior North) Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry

Madeleine Meilleur (Ottawa-Vanier) Minister of Community and Social Services, Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs

John Wilkinson (Perth-Wellington) Minister of Revenue

Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt) Minister without portfolio and Minister Responsible for Seniors

Gone from cabinet:

Donna Cansfield (Etobicoke Centre)

Ted McMeekin (Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale)

Aileen Carroll (Barrie)

Scrambling to slap a fresh new face on an administration daunted by a record deficit and potentially unpopular tax reforms, Premier Dalton McGuinty is radically revamping his cabinet.

McGuinty promoted former aboriginal affairs minister Brad Duguid to the powerful post of energy and infrastructure on Monday to replace interim minister Gerry Phillips, who had stepped up for the departed George Smitherman, now the front-running candidate for the Toronto mayoralty.

Phillips will remain chair of cabinet and a minister without portfolio responsible for seniors.

Attorney General Chris Bentley will add aboriginal affairs to his duties.

Former education minister Kathleen Wynne is being moved to transportation. Wynne, seen as a future leadership hopeful, will be succeeded at education by Leona Dombrowsky, who had been agriculture minister. Replacing Dombrowsky at agriculture is backbencher Carol Mitchell (Huron-Bruce.)

Click here for Link


7. blogto: Canary Restaurant "renewal"

The Gutting of the Canary Reveals Its Past, but Can it Survive the Wrath of the Pan Am Games?

from blogto

It's been almost three years since the Canary served its last open-faced turkey sandwich. Sadly, the much-photographed sign is gone, but rumours that there was something going on behind the closed blinds at the Cherry Street landmark have revealed a fascinating moment in the history of the building.

As layers of history have been peeled back, the survival of the building itself has become dubious.

I arrived before noon to find Ken - he wouldn't give his last name - working amidst the dust and chaos of the greasy spoon's dining room, which has been gutted to the walls, with only the short order kitchen still intact, and divots on the floor where the stools and the lunch counter once stood. Ken's been living in the building for two years, but has had friends and family here for over twenty - a revolving community of artists, many of them employed in the film industry that gave the Canary its last gust of business after the industries that once surrounded the building evaporated in the '70s and '80s.

Click here for Link


8. blogTO: photography of an abandonment
Jonathan Castellino

Remembering an abandoned Tronto convent

Click here for Link


9. Alliston Herald: Service groups join forces to rebuild historic octagonal shed
Maija Hoggett

Rotary and Lions create historic partnership to rebuild historic building

Sandy Poitras Photo Gallery - The octagonal drive shed at the Sir Frederick Banting Homestead as photographed in the summer of 2009.

ALLISTON - Two local service clubs are banding together to help preserve a piece of the history at the Banting Homestead.

The Alliston Lions Club and the Rotary Club of Alliston are rebuilding the octagonal drive shed at the homestead, the birthplace of Sir Frederick Banting, co-discoverer of insulin. Work on the project is expected to start in March.

This is the first time the Alliston Lions Club and the Rotary Club of Alliston have joined forces for a project.

Rotary co-chair Jack Vant Spyker said because it will not be an inexpensive project, the clubs are now able to share the financial burden.

The octagonal shed was ranked the highest in a work priority list for the buildings on the property in the Banting Homestead Master Plan that was released in June. The town-commissioned plan included a lengthy list of work that needs to be done on the octagonal shed, which was originally built in 1917.

There are few octagonal sheds left in Ontario, and the Lions and Rotary steering committed has found a way to maintain the look of the shed while updating it to meet today's building standards. The owner of another local octagonal shed built around the same time has promised materials to the Banting Homestead project.

Click here for Link


10. Brantford - Expositor / www.brantfordexpositor.ca: Group needs cash to rescue historic hall
RICHARD BEALES

A new committee is hard at work trying to raise the cash to buy Paris's Old Town Hall from owner John Runnquist.

"We've got a lot of determined people on this committee," publicity liaison Marilyn McCulloch said Monday. "We're all feeling very positive and our goal is set on saving it."

McCulloch said the 12-person group, tentatively named the Old Town Hall steering committee, began in November but hasn't really started to find its feet until now.
 

Click here for Link


11. Daily Commercial News: Newfoundland's historic Colonial Building to undergo restoration
PATRICIA WILLIAMS

HISTORIC PLASTER CONSERVATION SERVICES - Ceilings in both of the Colonial Buildings former legislative chambers have been restored.

Newfoundland’s Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation is spearheading restoration of the historic Colonial Building, the first permanent home of the legislature.

The building opened in 1850.

The restoration will reflect significant stages in the evolution of the building, a designated provincial historic site.

The front façade and lobby will reflect the 1850s period, while the legislative chambers will be restored to the 1880s era.

To date, the ceilings in the two legislative chambers have been stabilized and two highly-decorated murals restored. Future plans include roof replacement, restoration of several interior and exterior design features and installation of a wrought-iron fence which once surrounded the property.

Click here for Link


12. Hamilton Spectator: A crumbling heritage
Dana Brown

Critics say city must be more proactive in saving old buildings

The historic Century Theatre has been on a Hamilton heritage committee watch list for two years because of concerns around inaction on the project.

And downtown councillor Bob Bratina wants the city to conduct a blitz on all suspect buildings in the core to bring a clear picture back to council about their current condition.

As well, he'll be asking city staff why buildings such as the Century are not being inspected.

The Century could come down as early as today after the city deemed the building unsafe last Thursday.

The front section of the roof on the Mary Street structure and inside floors have collapsed.

Officials are waiting for an engineer's report the city ordered the building's owner, Zoran Cocov, to have conducted. That report is expected today.

Art French, chairperson of the Hamilton Municipal Heritage Committee, said the Century was not put on the watchlist due to structural concerns, but because of concerns that nothing was being done on the project.

But Matt Jelly, a local artist who started a Facebook group on the Century after hearing it would come down, says the ball was dropped when it came to saving the theatre.

"I think more so the issue for me is what led to a situation where the building can't be restored," he said.

"And it's a fundamental breakdown of our bylaw enforcement in Hamilton."

http://www.thespec.com/News/Local/article/70265

Click here for Link


13. Hamilton Spectator: Roof brought the curtain down - Razing delayed until next week
Nicole O'Reilly

It appears the fate of the soon to be demolished Century Theatre hinged on its crumbling roof.

It began to collapse around 2000, according to past and present owners. In the years since, the roof has further deteriorated, exposing the floors below.

Yet the city was not officially notified until last Thursday, the city's chief building official John Spolnik said last week.

This, despite the fact the building's facade was designated heritage and the developer was in line to receive more than $1.8 million from the Hamilton Downtown Residential Loan Program.

Staff visit properties for the downtown incentive programs, which only pays out at 60 per cent building completion, said city spokesperson Debbie Spence. Property standards data is also obtained for zoning verification.

However, last week Councillor Bob Bratina said the property standards bylaw for proactive inspections seems to have holes when it comes to roof inspections.

The city learned of the crumbling roof and floors in an independent engineer's report submitted to the city last week, Spolnik said. This led to the demolition order.

Click here for Link


14. KINGSTON WHIG-STANDARD: Inglis 'was devoted to the cause of heritage preservation'
MIKE NORRIS

Lily Inglis, a Kingston architect and staunch supporter of social causes, died on Monday due to complications from cancer. Photo by Ian MacAlpine Whig-Standard

Where most people saw an old, rundown building, Lily Inglis saw an opportunity to preserve a piece of Kingston's heritage.

The architect, who was also a staunch supporter of social causes, died on Monday of complications due to cancer.

She was 83.

"She was devoted to the cause of heritage preservation," said Jennifer McKendry, a Kingston architectural historian.

"In Kingston she saw the potential in buildings that were neglected. To others without a feeling for architecture, they would see decay and deterioration. Lily saw ... not only the fabric of buildings, but the general spirit that was caught up in the building.

"She made them lifelike."

Inglis won many awards and honours for her work, which included the renovations of the Chez Piggy restaurant and courtyard, Market Square, the Kingston Public Library main branch, the Wolfe Island ferry terminal, the Prince George Hotel and the Newlands Pavilion in Macdonald Park.

Inglis, who was born in Milan, Italy, and studied architecture in London, was honoured by the city in 2001 with a Livable City Design Award for her work on the ferry terminal and Chez Piggy courtyard.

"That was an example of a very neglected area and building that had become a place where people chose not to go into," said McKendry of the latter. "Now it's an attractive, clean area. She saw the quality that was potentially there."

In 2002, Inglis received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Frontenac Historic Foundation as well as a Golden Jubilee Medal from the city. In 2005, she was granted an honorary diploma from St. Lawrence College and received an Ontario Heritage Foundation achievement award.

Click here for Link


15. KINGSTON WHIG-STANDARD: Owner to fight city plan to have house designated heritage site
PAUL SCHLIESMANN

The home at 2312 Princess Street was built between 1865 and 1869 by Lewis Johnson Day using material from Day's own brickyard.

The city is pushing ahead with the heritage designation on a brick house at 2312 Princess St. -- against the wishes of the property's new owner.

The former Pleasant View Nurseries business, the house and surrounding property were purchased on Nov. 19, 2008 by local developer Virgil Marques for $1.6 million.

Marques was unaware that the Kingston Municipal Heritage Committee had been eyeing the building for heritage status under the Ontario Heritage Act.

Marques is fighting the designation.

A letter to the city from his lawyer, Timothy Wilkin of the firm Cunningham Swan, indicates that Marques asked about the heritage designation in a letter dated Nov. 6, 2008, nearly two weeks before the purchase.

The developer claims the city's response, written eight days later, did not indicate the process had begun.

"This silence constituted an implied representation that the city had no intention to designate the property," wrote Wilkin. "Our client relied on this implied representation and completed the purchase of the property."

Wilkin goes on to say that Marques would not have bought the property had he known about the designation, or "would have paid considerably less" if he had been notified.

Heritage planner Marcus Letourneau confirmed this week the city's plan to designate Pleasant View because of its architecture and its historical significance.

"It's one of the landmarks along Princess Street," he said. "It's one of the surviving farmsteads from out that way."

Letourneau said the city has had its eye on Pleasant View since 1991 and that all the proper procedures have been followed.

"Under the act we're not obligated to notify the owner until notice of intent is served," he said.

Click here for Link


16. Northumberland Today: Centre Pier buildings demolition not done deal
ROD STEWART Guest Editorial

The demolition of the Centre Pier Buildings in Port Hope is not a done deal, contrary to recent media coverage. The Harbour Commission and Cameco both thought they had all their ducks lined up for permission to demolish these buildings until The Pier Group pointed out at the recent Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) hearings that they had failed to include the Pier Buildings in their years of previous environmental assessment work.

With its recent public announcement, Cameco now has undertaken to incorporate the pier buildings into its Vision 2010 plan, the company's priority r-development plan for the future. By doing this, the pier buildings will become part of an open and transparent public consultation process for the first time. If this is done properly, The Pier Group will have a very public opportunity at the hearings to make the case for taking demolition off the table until the full potential of the heritage buildings on the pier has been explored. That, by the way, is all we are, and have been asking for.

In the media report, Port Hope Mayor Linda Thompson presented as "facts" her very political spin on the need for the demolition of the buildings. We are here to say she's wrong. Her comments included:

1) "The Centre Pier buildings have no heritage status". These are weasel words indeed. This doesn't mean they have no heritage value. The buildings technically have no status as yet under the Ontario Heritage Act, but the Port Hope Official Plan legally obligates council to protect cultural heritage resources, whether such resources are formally designated or not. Besides, it is council that confers or designates this status and this council seems not to want to consider the merits of the case. The Pier Group is here to change that.
 

Click here for Link


17. Stratford Beacon Herald: Should Cooper buildings be saved?
DONAL O'CONNOR

Heritage activist Thor Dingman is asking the city to commission a thorough evaluation by "qualified heritage professionals" of the cultural and architectural value of the former CNR shops on the Cooper site.

In an address to the finance subcommittee Tuesday, Mr. Dingman said he fully supports a proposed opportunity for the public to review and comment on the city's plans for the site.

But proposing a master plan for development of the site without an assessment of the heritage resources is contrary to the Ontario Planning Act, he added.

Mr. Dingman suggested it would also be contrary to the city's official plan.

In addition to the evaluation, he said, a heritage impact assessment should be undertaken to evaluate all construction and demolition plans.

A development concept plan for the site prepared by Spriet Associates shows the entire footprint of the massive buildings as parking.

Mr. Dingman reminded the city officials that in 2004 the municipal heritage committee recommended council work towards heritage designation of the former CNR buildings with the property owner. Action was deferred, however, "reportedly to avoid adding to existing legal entanglements with the owner."

He also said he was informed by city staff Jan. 14 that the question of the CNR shops' heritage value had been dealt with by the heritage committee and that the building was "of no interest."

"This is an unacceptably expedited conclusion to the question of demolition," said Mr. Dingman.

In an interview, he said there may be a feeling among heritage committee members that they don't want to hold up plans for the University of Waterloo campus planned for the site.

A heritage design consultant and a past member of Stratford's heritage committee, Mr. Dingman has been active in restoration work at Fryfogel Inn.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:For more on this site see Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada report done on the Station adjacent to the shops, see http://cnr-in-ontario.com/Reports/index.html?http://cnr-in-ontario.com/Reports/RSR-200.html


18. Stratford Gazette: Creative adaptive re-use for Stratford's CNR Centre
Michael Wilson

The University of Waterloo’s Robert Shipley, director of UW’s Heritage Resources Centre, recently sent a memo to Ian Wilson, director of the Digital Media Institute, expressing not only the local, but provincial and national importance, of the Cooper site and buildings. He also outlined some of the significant “economic advantages of adaptive reuse, energy conservation issues, cultural heritage landscape design potential, and creative community and cultural heritage planning opportunities.”

To further support this sensible thinking, I thought it timely to mention some of the attributes and information about the existing building(s) that should be made available to the public.

For those interested in the detailed history of the CNR Centre, please see Dean Robinson’s book, Railway Stratford, published in 1989 by The Boston Mills Press; “For three times as long as it has been called the Festival City, Stratford was known as a Railway Centre.”

Imagine the expanse, the steel superstructure painted white, sunlight streaming through vast skylights illuminating interior public, academic and assembly floor spaces, a new, polished layer of heated concrete covering the once busy locomotive repair shop floor. New buildings, floor levels and spaces inserted in dramatic, but ordained hierarchy.

The principal bay, fondly known as the Erecting Shop is 70’ wide; 50’ tall and 790’ uninterrupted in length. Columns on 22’ centers sporting structural capacity of the former 200 tonne crane – operable until the mid-1990s – is flanked by the annex to the west, some 50’ wide by 585’ in length, and to the east by two floor areas of 65’ by 790’, and 40’ x 585’.

Simply put – not including the Tender Shop recently destroyed by fire, nor the wooded, structurally failed ‘smith shop’ – there lies 159,000 square feet on the grade, plus another 23,000 square feet second floor or mezzanine.

Within these vast ceilings, providing floor systems with flexible and generous floor-to-floor heights, this number can grow to as much as 500,000 square feet under the same roof. As for adding new buildings on site, the potential is far greater and begs thorough examination and lots of imagination.

Click here for Link


19. Windsor Star: Grant Saves Assumption Church
Doug Schmidt

Assumption grant approved

Windsor Star Photo

The city will contribute $250,000 over the next five years toward the restoration of Assumption Church.

The city will contribute $250,000 over the next five years toward the restoration of Assumption Church.
Photograph by: Dan Janisse, Windsor, Files, The Windsor Star

City council on Monday approved a record $250,000 contribution from Windsor's Community Heritage Fund toward the nearly $10-million restoration of historic Assumption Church.

The grant -- to be paid in $50,000 annual increments over five years -- will consume about 50 per cent more than the $36,800 the city currently contributes annually to the fund. But city heritage planner John Calhoun said the total grant would not "severely diminish" the fund's total balance, which was about $953,000 as of September.

The 19th-century structure is "a national, provincial and local treasure" that deserves exceptional municipal support, said Pat Malicki of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario.

John Laframboise, president of the Assumption Heritage Trust, described the church as "a social and cultural landmark of national significance."

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:The similarity to the lost Erie Street Church in Ridgetown is striking. Congratulations to Windsor Council, Toronto's heritage grant program is much more modest per capita.


20. YorkRegion.com: Richmond Hill councillors hope Chan is their 'white knight' in DDO dispute
David Fleischer

Richmond Hill’s councillors have repeatedly watched the horizon for a “white knight” to ride in and save the Dunlap Observatory. Maybe he’s arrived.

A provincial cabinet shuffle handed Markham-Unionville MP Michael Chan the Culture and Tourism portfolio Monday.

It is the Ministry of Culture to whom the town and residents have repeatedly appealed for help in their efforts to keep the site development free.

Mr. Chan had only been on the job for a day, so it is not surprising the DDO is just one of many issues to come up in the broad overview he was given of his new responsibilities.

But the issue is sure to reach his desk.

Click here for Link


21. YorkRegion.com: Richmond Hill heading off Dunlap planning problems
David Fleischer

Atoning for past planning mistakes provided the inspiration for Richmond Hill's latest measures to control development on the Dunlap Observatory lands.

The town took the first steps Monday to approving guiding principles for the conservation of the 190-acre site, despite objections from environmentalists demanding protection for the land and developers hoping to build on it.

The town's 40-page planning and conservation management report boils down to 25 principles that include linking natural heritage areas, creating a trail system, limiting building heights to four storeys and ensuring the site's heritage structures don't become "backyard features of a new development."

Those will be incorporated into the town's official plan, set for completion this spring.

During the 1990s the town was assailed by development applications and lost cases at the Ontario Municipal Board because its official plan was out of date, Mayor Dave Barrow said.

These principles, and the new plan, give the town a chance to get out in front of an inevitable application and mount a viable defence if it is appealed to the OMB, the mayor added.

But many residents agree with the DDO Defenders outright rejection of the town's plan, said Defenders chairperson Karen Cilevitz.

Click here for Link


22. yorkregion.com: Shift - A provincial hearing could be needed to determine the fate of a unique sculpture in a King Township farm field
David Fleischer

Now that Hickory Hills has objected, the issue will be turned over to the Conservation Review Board.

Hickory Hills Investments, a subsidiary of Great Gulf Homes, disagrees with a King council decision that granted heritage protection to the sculpture called Shift and its site near Dufferin Street and King Road.

The developers lawyer called council's decision unnecessary, in a letter dated Jan. 6, adding the company will respect the sculpture.

A two-year negotiation resulted in an agreement between the town and developer in which Great Gulf promised not to harm, alter or destroy the sculpture, but also denied any responsibility for repairing or maintaining it.

Shift is a zig-zagging concrete wall built on farmland for the site's former owner by Richard Serra in the 1970s.

Mr. Serra is an internationally known artist whose monumental sculptures can be seen at Terminal 1 at Pearson airport and New York's Museum of Modern Art. He considers Shift an important early work.
 

Click here for Link


23. Journal of Commerce: FOCUS - Infrastructure - Red River college restores historic bank tower in Winnipeg
PETER CAULFIELD

Red River College is renovating the historic Union Bank Tower in Winnipeg to allow for more teaching space. The new facility will include ground floor restaurants.

Red River College (RRC) in Winnipeg is bringing the old Union Bank Tower back to life as the new home of the college’s hospitality and tourism program, as well as the college’s first student residence.

The tower is located downtown at Main Street and William Avenue, a block from the college’s Princess Street campus and just a few blocks north of the Manitoba capital’s famously frozen corner of Portage and Main.

It will also include three street-level restaurants.

The building is slated to reopen in the spring of 2011, which is 107 years after it first opened its doors.

When it re-opens, the National Historic Site will be known as the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute.

The first phase of construction, which began in fall 2009, focused on heritage restoration.

The second phase will begin early in the new year.

It will concentrate on renovating the building’s interior and on developing the residence on the upper floors.

The Union Bank Tower, which is 100,000 square feet in area, is Western Canada’s oldest skyscraper and once claimed to have the highest flagpole in the British Empire.

The transformation of the 11-storey retro skyscraper will cost around $27 million.

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24. Victoria Times Colonist: B.C. legislature would likely collapse into rubble during an earthquake
R.F. Shaw

Photograph by: Adrian Lam, Victoria Times Colonist - Most of the legislative buildings were built more than a century ago.

British Columbia’s legislative buildings, one of the most important historic sites in the province and the seat of political power, would likely collapse into rubble during an earthquake, two studies say.

Despite the warnings of a high risk of serious structural damage to the buildings, neither the NDP nor Liberal governments has spent significant money on quake-proofing in at least 40 years. With last week’s 7.0-magnitude earthquake in Haiti, which killed tens of thousands of people and flattened entire neighbourhoods, including the country’s presidential palace, there is increased interest in preparing for the big one.

Seismologists have long said a significant earthquake is inevitable for Vancouver Island — there is a 30 per cent chance a damaging quake will strike the west coast of B.C. in the next 50 years.

The 100-year-old legislative buildings are acknowledged hazards during an earthquake, said

Carlos Ventura, director of the University of B.C.’s earthquake engineering research facility.

“It is known that it’s a risky building … but nothing has been done,” said Ventura, who conducted an in-depth earthquake-risk analysis of Victoria in 2005.

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Editor's Note:There is a URL link at this story where you can download a PDF of the 2005 RFP, which included a copy of the 1998 seismic evaluation report for legislative buildings. Check pages 25 to 29.