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Issue No. 157 | March 8, 2010

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Feature Stories

  1. Good News for a Change: Rick and Anke Lex Invest in Tremont Hotel in Collingwood
  2. Queen's Park Views Update:
  3. Globe and Mail: Downsview Hangars to go Down

Events

Demonstration to Save Brantford Main Street
Monday, March 8th
+ read


Willowbank Lecture Series
March 20th
+ read


Willowbank Canova Field School in Northern Italy
June 13- July 4
+ read


Ron Williamson Lecture: Graves at Don Jail
Saturday, April 17th
+ read


Adrian Blackwell: Model for a Public Space [Knot]
March 1-31 2010
+ read


Erratics: Claude Cormier retrospective exhibition
March 22-May 12 2010
+ read


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1. Good News for a Change: Rick and Anke Lex Invest in Tremont Hotel in Collingwood
Catherine Nasmith

Before
After repointing, cleaning, new windows, note restoration of chimneys

I don’t know what Rick and Anke Lex paid for the Tremont hotel, but I am hoping that it was little enough to yield them the profits they deserve for investing in Collingwood’s history.

I had occasion to be in Collingwood last month, (for Valentine’s and Rick was kind enough to take me through the construction site.

BHN readers may recall a building at risk alert about 18 months ago looking for purchasers for the sad, looking, boarded up Tremont hotel. Collingwood had bought it to save it from demolition, but then couldn’t find a use for it.

Rick Lex is the current president of the Collingwood Branch of the ACO. After spending a lot of time looking for an investor to save the building, he decided to step up to the plate himself.


It takes a lot to do that. But it looks like the Tremont is going to be the Gladstone Hotel of Collingwood. It isn’t so big that a relatively small investor couldn’t tackle it, but still it takes a lot to actually start writing cheques to save buildings. Rick has now had the masonry cleaned and repointed, installed new windows and is repairing the timber framing. The interior was gutted to install all new services.

Anke is a ceramic artist. With their connections to the local arts community they are finding the tenants they need. The plan is to have an art school on the ground floor along with a café, artists studios on the second floor, and apartments on the third.


Congrats to Rick and Anke, and to Collingwood. Just imagine what might happen if Brantford Council were to invite other Rick and Anke’s to invest in Colborne Street's history.

For more information on the future, leasing go to: www.thetremont.ca



 


2. Tremont Hotel Collingwood, More Photos

The Future
Historic Photo

A few more photos of the before and after of the Tremont. 


3. Queen's Park Views Update:
Lloyd Alter, ACO e-Acorn

After much consideration and a lot of advice, the ACO withdrew its motion for party status at the OMB, on the basis that the Ontario Legislative Assembly (OLA) had stepped up to the plate to protect the iconic view of Queens Park.

Past President Cathy Nasmith writes: "The lawyer for the OLA is excellent, and brought a much needed sense of gravitas to the arguments being put in front of the OMB. Much of what he said was similar to what Lloyd and I had in our opinion piece in the Toronto Star. I have to say hearing the words from someone else brought tears to my eyes....

ACO owes lawyers Marc Kemerer and Michael Vaughan a huge vote of thanks. Marc for putting together the motion for party status, and Michael Vaughan for appearing to argue the motion, and also giving the sage advice that he felt the OLA had their case well in hand, and that ACO could safely pass the baton to them to make the arguments. "


4. Government of Canada receives award for Halifax heritage project
Heritage Canada Foundation Release

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, February 15, 2010 – The Government of Canada today received the Built Heritage Award from the Nova Scotia Heritage Trust for the Repair Project on the seven-storey tower of the Dominion Public Building in downtown Halifax. The building, with its domed roof topped with the Canadian flag, is a prominent part of the city skyline.

“The Dominion Public Building has dutifully served Canadians, public servants and the Government of Canada for over 70 years,” said the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada. “This repair and conservation project ensures it will continue to do so for many years to come.”

The two-year, $8 million project was completed in the summer of 2009 by Masontech, the primary contractor for the repair project. Masontech had to number, remove and then replace all 2,693 sandstone blocks from the tower, which encompasses the eighth to the fourteenth floors of the building. Some of the stones weighed as much as 900 kg. Included were eight six-foot-high seahorse sculptures that adorn the tower near the roofline. The domed tower also received a new copper roof in keeping with the original finish.

“It was never our intention to ‘preserve’ the Dominion Public Building in a time capsule, but to restore the building’s structural integrity while retaining its essential heritage value so that it could continue to function as an efficient and attractive asset in Halifax’s downtown core long into the future,” said Minister Ambrose.

The award will be presented in a ceremony at Halifax Hall, located in Halifax City Hall, at 3:00 p.m. on Heritage Day, February 15, 2010.

- 30 -

Ce texte est également disponible en français.
For information contact:
Nan Taylor, Communications Advisor
Public Works and Government Services Canada
Atlantic Region
902-496-5044
PWGSC news releases are also available on our Internet site at http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/medias-media/index-eng.html


5. Celebrating Heritage Week in Chatham
Marlee Robinson

Get ready for the Chatham Kent Ontario Heritage Conference

Ontario Heritage Week, hosted by the Ontario Heritage Trust (OHT), was launched Friday at The Armoury in Chatham with the rousing drum of the Red Tail Hawk Chippewa singers and Victor Lauriston Public School youthful voices singing “O Canada”. Steven Cook, site manager of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Beth Hanna, Director of Heritage Programmes and Operations for the OHT were joint emcees.

"Ontario Heritage Week is a time to raise awareness about our history and to celebrate its importance in our lives," said The Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander, Chairman of the OHT. "As we look ahead to the next decade, we must strive to continue conserving our heritage for future generations." The OHT expects this year’s theme “Our Changing Landscape” to encourage communities across the province to consider the extent of past transformations, discuss their impacts and look to the future for ways to improve coming changes.

"Ontario's heritage is a precious resource," said Michael Chan, newly-appointed Minister of Tourism and Culture. "I am delighted to celebrate Heritage Week and to see Ontarians taking the time to recognise how conserving our heritage contributes to building vibrant and diverse communities."

MMP Pat Hoy and Mayor Randy Hope listened to keynote speaker Dr Jonathan Vance who asserted “Heritage activists are critical for successful preservation of our historic buildings and places of beauty”. Answering the question “What’s the Point of the Past?”, the University of Western Ontario history professor outlined ways we all can fulfill the mandate of conservation of our history: erect monuments to pivotal leaders and events; designate days of annual observance of important anniversaries; build on “social memory” through reenactments, historic walks, labeling and correct filing of photos and historic documents; official designation and listing of appropriate buildings; creative teaching of history in schools.

Everyone has a role to play in fighting “historical amnesia”. Vance described the role of the Rememberancer – an official job in the UK government which is now an honorary posting – someone whose task is to remind people what needs to be remembered.

Ontario Heritage Trust Board member, Ruth Dudley acted as Ontario’s Rememberancer at The Armoury with a short survey of 150 years of changes in our built environment. She gave examples of well-preserved Main Streets such as Seaforth – and we can point to Ridgetown in Chatham-Kent as well. She talked of the interrelationship of animals, crops and buildings in rural landscapes and the importance of learning to use existing resources wisely.

Dudley stressed that “Investment in our heritage is vital to economic development” and applauded the rejuvenation of The Armoury as an enviable example of adaptive re-use.

For the kick-off twenty local organisations installed information displays in The Armoury including eight museums, six historical societies, Doors Open, Highgate Church Re-Use Committee, Tecumseh Monument Redevelopment Committee, Kent Regiment Chapter IODE, Heritage Chatham-Kent and the Chatham-Kent branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (ACO). The local ACO branch will be hosting the Ontario Heritage Conference in Chatham-Kent on 11th, 12th and 13th June.

This week a number of Ontario Heritage Trust sites are hosting special events to celebrate Heritage Week: free guided tours are being offered at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre in Toronto and a series of free lectures and guided tours are happening at Fulford Place in Brockville. In addition, on Friday, February 19, in partnership with the Trust, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario will present the annual Lieutenant Governor's Ontario Heritage Awards at Queen's Park. Communities across the province are hosting dozens of activities and events for Heritage Week.

Chatham-Kent had an early celebration with the awarding of the Mayor’s Heritage Awards at last Monday’s Council meeting.
-30-


For further information please contact Marlee Robinson
519 674 2753 email: marleelrobinson@gmail.com
 


6. Brantford Expositor: Province Intervenes in Brantford-Requests Assessment of Heritage Resources
Michael-Allan Marion

City seeks clarification on surprise letter from province

City seeks clarification on surprise letter from province SOUTH SIDE OF COLBORNE Posted By MICHAEL-ALLAN MARION Posted 1 hour ago City officials are trying to get to the bottom of a surprise letter from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, hoping it won't present another unexpected "bump" in plans to demolish 40 buildings on the south side of downtown Colborne Street. The letter, from Chris Schiller, manager of culture of the ministry's culture services unit, informed the city that the ministry has taken an interest in the city's demolition plans and requests that it conduct a full assessment under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act of the stretch of properties slated for imminent demolition. According to the letter, obtained by The Expositor, the assessment is to include a "thorough heritage evaluation ... prior to any demolition of the properties noted to satisfy that there is no provincial interest in these properties." The letter also requests that the city carry out an archaeological assessment "required" under the province's regulations for determining archaeological potential -"prior to any ground disturbances and/or site alterations." The licensed archaeologist must carry out the assessment, it insists. The letter also refers to the activism of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario and the Heritage Canada Foundation in delaying demolition. "We are aware that these two groups, along with local community groups, have expressed their willingness to work with the city to explore alternative solutions, including the rehabilitation and preservation of built heritage resources and their integration into future site redevelopment," the letter states. The letter is a surprise, because it seems to be a duplication of what the city had to do quickly to be eligible for a federal $1.38-million stimulus grant toward the cost of a demolition tender issued to AIM Waste Management Inc. worth $1.24 million. That requirement was overlooked during the application and discovered while the grant agreement was being written. UEM Consulting is finishing a report that contains required heritage, cultural and archeological studies of the properties, which the city hopes will overcome the problem. The problem is that while about half of the buildings were built before Confederation, none has been designated heritage -a fact the city keeps pointing out. Advertisement Click here to find out more! Mayor Mike Hancock and other city officials have been on the phone to the provincial ministry attempting to clarify the statements in its letter. "We're hoping there is just some misunderstanding somewhere that we can sort out," said Hancock. But Coun. Dan McCreary was quick to say Monday the city should take the matter seriously because he believes officials will find they have to take the time to carry out the requested assessments, and not just the more cursory report needed for the federal grant. "This is bigger than city council now," McCreary said Monday. "If there is a delay of the demolition is that not partly due to the six (on council) who are intent on pushing everything ahead. We really need to get on with this and do the right thing." Meanwhile, city solicitor Larry Tansley has been trying to clarify precisely what is wanted, and the identities of those who are supposed to have approached the ministry about ideas that would avoid having some buildings demolished. "I would therefore appear that you have received formal submissions from one or more such groups on the subject," Tansley wrote in a letter to the ministry, also obtained by The Expositor. The pointed request notes that the information was not passed along in an informal request. "(City manager) John Brown has already made a quite appropriate request for disclosure of the information your ministry has received from these groups, and that request for transparency was summarily refused on the basis that he was seeking protected ministerial communications." Tansley said the city believes its request should be granted as a "simple matter of procedural fairness" as it works to clarify the requests in the ministry letter. City officials said no further correspondence or verbal information was received from the ministry as of Monday afternoon.

Click here for Link


7. Brantford Expositor: Reaction to Letter from Ministry seeking Heritage Evaluation
Michael-Allan Marion

City still seeking answers on provincial letter

City officials are still working to get to the bottom of a letter from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture requesting a thorough heritage and archeological evaluation of a controversial stretch of 40 expropriated buildings on the south side of downtown Colborne Street before they are demolished.

They have been trying to speak with senior ministry people to get clarification on the intent of a letter from a mid-level official last Thursday that calls on the city to conduct the two-pronged evaluation of the buildings, many of which were erected before Confederation.

They believe the official may have been acting out of turn.

Coun. Mark Littell, chairman of the South Side of Colborne Task Force that has been overseeing the expropriation and demolition, said the city is sticking to the position that, since none of the buildings has a heritage designation, the municipality only had to complete a level of assessment required as a condition in an agreement for a $1.38-million federal grant toward the demolition.

"The city has met all the conditions required under the environmental assessment and I am confident that we will be receiving the $1.38 million from the federal government," Littell said this week.

"I am also confident that we will sort out this letter from the ministry."

Click here for Link


8. Globe and Mail: Brantford heritage buildings to be demolished
Sarah Boesveld

Heritage to some, eyesore to others

Last updated on Friday, Mar. 05, 2010, 5:18 a.m. EST.

They're not cute and they're not being used.

Even Lloyd Alter admits the strip of 41 old buildings in Brantford, Ont. that his organization - the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario - and others have pledged to save is a bit of an eyesore.

But even uglier, activists say, is the fact that federal stimulus cash is earmarked to demolish the buildings, some of which predate Confederation.

"We're in the middle of a [game of] political football," said Mr. Alter, president of the ACO, which opened a branch in the Southern Ontario city last weekend to protect the buildings.

The City of Brantford is to get $1.38-million of stimulus money through the Southern Ontario Development Program, which is meant to drive local economies in that part of the province.

The city doesn't have the funds just yet, says Mark Littell, the Brantford city councillor heading the demolition. Officials had to rush to complete an environmental assessment that considers archeological, environmental and heritage impacts.

That process is now complete, says Sandra Lawson, general manager of engineering and operational services, and will be submitted to the government. If the report is approved, she says, the city will get the cash and swing the wrecking ball as soon as next week.

The $1.38-million more than covers the demolition, to be completed by local contractor AIM Environmental, which bid $1.254-million for the project, says Mr. Littell.

But despite the assessment, activists say heritage aspects are being ignored. The case also highlights how stimulus money can be used in negative ways, says Natalie Bull, executive director of the Heritage Canada Foundation.

"Brantford is a big wakeup call about the downside of stimulus money," she said. "If we are not vigilant, it can fund crimes against heritage and the environment - like sending landmarks to the landfill."

The Ontario Ministry of Culture and Tourism has tried to intervene, asking for a full heritage evaluation under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, and that the evaluation be reviewed by the ministry before demolition.

The city answered, wondering whether it was in the province's jurisdiction to ask for a review.

Even federal parties have expressed concern. NDP Heritage and Culture critic Charlie Angus wrote to Minister of the Environment Jim Prentice last Friday saying it is "questionable as to whether this mandate is being met if federal tax dollars are being used to send a historically significant neighbourhood to the landfill site."

But the site is only historically significant to some. The buildings, built before 1870, are not designated heritage sites. Last October, the city's heritage committee asked for a designation, but the request was declined, says Mr. Littell. Around the same time, council unanimously decided to apply for the federal funds.

Mr. Littell wonders why interest in the buildings' heritage has come "at the 11th hour and 59th minute."

They have sat derelict for three decades and have become a fire hazard. Crews are removing asbestos and old paint to prepare for demolition, he says. "We had 30 years for anybody to come forward with that aspect."

Click here for Link


9. Spacing Wire: Brantford
Nigel Terpstra

Brantfords downtown destruction

Recently, the city of Brantford, Ontario announced its plans to demolish and remove forty-one structures from the south side of Colborne Street, in the heart of its historic downtown. The structures themselves date from 1850 to 1915 with the section stretching from 115 to 139 Colborne comprising one of the longest surviving collections of pre-confederation buildings in Canada. They represent a wide variety of architectural styles from the Beaux Arts of The Right House (1870), to the Georgian of The Shannon Building (1867), to the Edwardian of the Dominion House Furnishings Company (1915). Within that range are also included a number of Renaissance Revival, Second Empire and even Art Deco structures, all of which were created at different times, for different clients with different needs. They could very soon all be reduced to rubble. Urbanites and heritage buffs recoil in horror at this prospect – surely in 2010 we don’t do these sorts of things - but the unfortunate reality is that we do and we are. It does not take a great knowledge of history to understand that it was exactly this sort of ‘bulldoze and rebuild’ attitude which claimed the downtowns of countless North American cities in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Instead of the glassy, modern towers which were supposed to replace the heavy, masonry structures of the past, economies changed, money went elsewhere, and cities were left with gaping holes, both physical and psychological, from which many have yet to recover.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:Comments below are interesting, the writer clearly understands the value of the small property in reinvigorating community and business creation. The key is when property values drop to a level to allow investment by new entrepreneurs.


10. Waterloo Record: Brantford's heritage buildings at centre of debate
Terry Pender

Brantford mayor says school sees recreation facility on land now with pre-Confederation architecture

BRANTFORD — Wilfrid Laurier University plans to redevelop part of the south side of Colborne Street after this city demolishes what is touted as one of the largest collections of pre-Confederation architecture in Canada.

That word from Brantford Mayor Mike Hancock, who sits on the board of governors for Wilfrid Laurier University.

The 41 old buildings along Colborne Street, half of which were built before 1870, have become a national cause célèbre among heritage preservationists and urbanists.

The City of Brantford has expropriated the properties and intends to demolish every one.

The Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, the Heritage Canada Foundation and the head of the University of Waterloo school of architecture have all called for a halt to the bulldozers.

“With the south side of Colborne we've got the YMCA and Laurier both talking about a major recreation facility,” Hancock said.

The Y and Laurier were not successful in obtaining government funds for the project, but Hancock said they are actively seeking other money and plan to go ahead.

“I met with them just to the other day,” he said, “and I asked them directly where they were standing and they said: ‘We need this for our growing student population.'”

When asked if the university and the Y have said they want to build on the site after the buildings are demolished, Hancock said: “Yes sir. They have already done a preliminary design, which they have taken to council to show the visioning of what will go there, yes. I think it's about 100,000 square-feet. It will take about one third of that street.”

The university is trying to distance itself from the controversial move by the City of Brantford.

Leslie Cooper, the vice-president/principal at Laurier Brantford, said the university has “no firm plans.”

“We are not out there pushing the council to demolish south Colborne Street,” Cooper said.

The university is taking no position in the increasingly heated debate.

“They have political processes that they go through in terms of the acquisition of buildings, demolition of buildings, consultation around buildings. They have a democratic process,” Cooper said. “Laurier Brantford respects that process.”

The City of Brantford received a $1.38- million grant from the federal government to help pay for the demolition, but must first complete an environmental assessment.

Click here for Link


11. Waterloo Record: Brantford's move to tear down historic structures is pitiful
Martin DeGroot

At first glance, the prospect seems almost unimaginable: Harkening back to the long discredited urban renewal practices of the 1960s and ’70s, the City of Brantford is poised to demolish more than 40 historic structures almost four entire city blocks, including what is reputed to be the largest remaining concentration of pre-confederation commercial buildings in the province.

It could all be over and done with very soon, perhaps as early as next month.

There is no big, bad developer behind the plan. The city itself has been the prime mover from the outset. Almost $10 million of public money has been spent on buying up all the buildings that remained in private hands, in some cases by expropriation, just to be able to tear them down.

Ironically, the city is counting on a $1.38-million grant from the Southern Ontario Development Program, a federal initiative charged with revitalizing communities by building on their assets and strengths, to pay for bulldozing the structures and carrying the rubble to the landfill.

There is no plan for what to do with the expanse once it is cleared.

The primary justification is getting rid of what is generally perceived as an eyesore, a safety hazard and an embarrassment, along with some high hopes that developers of one kind or another will rush in to take advantage of the opportunity to build on the empty lots — a kind of bulldoze-it-and-they-will-come mentality.

There has been no effort to determine whether or not the buildings are structurally sound.

The powers that be have shown little interest in what value these structures may have as part of the collective heritage of the city.

Click here for Link


12. blogTO
Jonathan Castellino

The Last Days of the Downsview Hangars

Click here for Link


13. Globe and Mail: Heritage to some, eyesore to others
SARAH BOESVELD

Activists say federal stimulus money being used to destroy Confederation-era buildings

They're not cute and they're not being used.

Even Lloyd Alter admits the strip of 41 old buildings in Brantford, Ont. that his organization - the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario - and others have pledged to save is a bit of an eyesore.

But even uglier, activists say, is the fact that federal stimulus cash is earmarked to demolish the buildings, some of which predate Confederation.

"We're in the middle of a [game of] political football," said Mr. Alter, president of the ACO, which opened a branch in the Southern Ontario city last weekend to protect the buildings.

The City of Brantford is to get $1.38-million of stimulus money through the Southern Ontario Development Program, which is meant to drive local economies in that part of the province.

The city doesn't have the funds just yet, says Mark Littell, the Brantford city councillor heading the demolition. Officials had to rush to complete an environmental assessment that considers archeological, environmental and heritage impacts.

That process is now complete, says Sandra Lawson, general manager of engineering and operational services, and will be submitted to the government. If the report is approved, she says, the city will get the cash and swing the wrecking ball as soon as next week.

Click here for Link


14. Globe and Mail: Downsview Hangars to go Down

Preservationists fail to save historic hangars

It's the end of the line for a pair of heritage-worthy hangars: The two structures, built in 1943 as part of Toronto's Second World War effort, are being demolished by the Department of National Defence after a last-ditch attempt to save them was kyboshed this week.

Major James DeBruin, the site's base commander, says National Defence did its best to work with those trying to save the 67-year-old structures, which are high-windowed and cavernous, but the proposals brought forward just didn't suit the military's security and financial priorities.

Meanwhile, heritage proponents are pointing to the hangars' doomed fate as yet another sign that Canada needs to re-evaluate its priorities when it comes to preserving the country's vanishing and deteriorating architectural history.

A 2007 auditor-general's report said Canada's policies surrounding heritage structures mean they risk being lost to future generations.

"The protection afforded to federally owned heritage buildings ... is not robust enough," said Natalie Bell, with Heritage Canada. "These are viable buildings with a potential use and a developer interested in recycling them."

National Defence put out a notice in 2007 announcing its intention to raze the site and asking for proposals to cart the two de Havilland hangars off the property entirely. The federal government had identified both as having historical significance in 1992.

Click here for Link


15. CKNX 101.7: Palmerston Landmark Protection

Palmerston Railroad Walking Bridge and Old 81

Minto councillor Wayne Martin wants to make sure two historical landmarks in Palmerston are protected for future generations.


Martin has been working to gain a heritage designation for the Palmerston Railroad Walking Bridge and Old 81, the steam locomotive which is on display in the downtown.


Old 81 will be 100 years old this year and is a feature in the Lions park.
Martin says the walking bridge is so unusual that it may qualify to be designated in the national registry as historically significant.
But he wants to start by gaining the local designation.

Click here for Link


16. Globe and Mail: Maple Leaf Gardens-The Future
Elizabeth Church

Massive reno holding on to bits of Gardens' glory

When the puck drops at Maple Leaf Gardens' new centre ice, fans will find plenty to remind them of the rink's past glories, say the two men chosen to refurbish part of the landmark arena. The huge lights that lit the Leafs' way to 11 Stanley Cups will be back in place, fitted with energy-saving technology. The rafters they hang from will be the same. Even the colours of the seats will likely hearken back to the time when they could fetch double their ticket-price from the scalpers who lingered at Yonge and Carleton streets on Saturday nights. There will be lots of subtle hints, says Chris O'Reilly, a partner at Toronto-based BBB Architects, the firm chosen by Ryerson University to design its new $60-million athletic centre and rink that will fit into the upper levels of the famous building.

The firm's selection will be announced by the university today and follows a space-sharing deal reached in December between Ryerson and Loblaw Co. Ltd., owner of the property. The reconfigured Gardens will include underground parking, a 70,000-square-foot supermarket at street level and a Joe Fresh clothing store, as well as gym facilities for Ryerson students. The unique deal will give the landlocked downtown campus badly needed new facilities and provides Loblaw with a partner for the massive redevelopment of the site that has sat mostly unused since it was bought in 2004.

Click here for Link


17. Globe and Mail: Queen's Park Viewshed
John Lorinc

New MPP joins fight to preserve view of Queen's Park

Post Card View--even this won't be spared
from further south even the reduced tower will be far higher than the centre block of Q.P.

Toronto's newest MPP Glen Murray is vowing to wade into a contentious battle over a proposed condominium development on Avenue Road that could undermine what he calls the "postcard" vista of the Ontario Legislature and cast lengthy shadows over residential streets in Yorkville.

At issue is a 143-metre-high point tower, one of two planned for the current Four Seasons Hotel site. It will appear to protrude from the roofline of the 117-year-old assembly building as you look north along University Avenue from south of College Street.

Local heritage advocates, former lieutenant-governor Lincoln Alexander and even Speaker of the Ontario Legislature Steve Peters have all criticized the project because of its potential impact on one of the city's most historic view corridors.

Mr. Murray, elected for the provincial Liberals this month in Toronto Centre Rosedale, said in an interview that he intends to meet with area councillor Kyle Rae and the builder, Menkes Developments, with an eye to working out a "reasonable compromise" to protect Queen's Park.

Menkes' lawyer Adam Brown did not reply to a request for an interview.

At this stage, the fight has come down to a matter of metres.

Last month, city planners proposed a revision to the development that would cap the south tower at 118 metres - a height that conceals it entirely behind the legislature when seen from College Street.

Click here for Link


18. Hamilton Spectator: Old train station stokes arguments
Ken Peters

Finally has a home, but as a washroom

1906 Freeman Station / Burlington West Station. Barry Gray, the Hamilton Spectator

BURLINGTON - City politicians are on track with a $1-million plan to turn a historic train station into a Spencer Smith Park public washroom.

The relocation of the city-owned 1906 Freeman Station to the Lakeshore Road park is already controversial, admits Mayor Cam Jackson.

An earlier plan to lug the 20-metre by nine-metre train station from its temporary home beside the Fairview Street fire station to the west end of the park was scuttled over residents' concerns the building would block views of the lake.

So a Burlington subcommittee will consider a proposal Monday to lug the substantial station and set it up near the park's current gazebo in the east end.

Click here for Link


19. Inside Toronto: Congrats to Geoff and Edith Geduld

Couple's commitment to heritage honoured

 Lifetime achievement award presented to Edith and Geoff Geduld Couple's commitment to heritage honoured. Ontario Heritage Trust chair, the Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander, left, and Lt.-Gov. of Ontario David C. Onley, right, present Edith and Geoff Geduld with the Lieutenant Governor's Ontario Heritage Award for Lifetime Achievement during a ceremony held Friday at Queen's Park.

Edith Geduld was "somewhat embarrassed and overwhelmed" when it was announced she and husband Geoff were two of 19 recipients of the Lieutenant Governor's Ontario Heritage Award for Lifetime Achievement for 2009. The annual awards recognize volunteers and communities for outstanding contributions to the preservation, protection and promotion of Ontario's heritage. "I think my husband felt that way, too," Edith said with a laugh. "We have written up nominations over the years for other people so it's quite something to receive one for yourself."

Click here for Link


20. insideTORONTO.com:Children's hospice to reclaim Governor's House - New site to serve kids with life-limiting illnesses
JOANNA LAVOIE

Children's hospice to reclaim Governor's House. A rendering of The Children's Hospice, which will repurpose the circa 1888 Governor's House near Gerrard St. E. and Broadview Ave. The disused building once housed the head of the Old Don Jail and his family

A disused and derelict heritage building near Gerrard Street East and Broadview Avenue will soon be repurposed into an innovative facility for children with life-limiting illnesses.

The circa 1888 Governor's House, which once housed the head of the Old Don Jail and his family, has sat vacant for more than six months as Bridgepoint Health embarks on a major redevelopment of its south Riverdale site.

The large two-and-a-half storey building at 558 Gerrard St. E. was used until recently as a clubhouse for guards from the neighbouring Don Jail.

The Philip Aziz Centre, an 80-volunteer strong organization that provides in-home practical, emotional and spiritual support to Toronto residents of all ages living with HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening illnesses, has big plans to completely gut the 5,000-square-foot building and double its size with a rear addition to meet standards set out by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

The organization shared its $6.5 million plan with community members at a Feb. 18 open house at the Riverdale Library.

"There's nothing like this in Toronto. This is an expansion of what we've been doing in the community already, serving people with life-limiting illnesses," said Rauni Salminen, Philip Aziz Centre's executive director, at the recent open house.

She also noted the site's proximity to the Hospital for Sick Children is an additional bonus as many patients would likely also be patients of the University Avenue hospital.

"This is another alternative to end-of-life hospital care or being in the home."

Gretchen Van Riesen, chair of the board at the Philip Aziz Centre, said the site is ideal because it's already zoned to be used for health-care purposes, not to mention the access to the neighbouring library as well as park land.

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21. Alma Fire on Google Maps!
forwarded by Suzanne Van Bommel

Check out Google Earth or Google Maps (Satellite) for 96 Moore Street, St. Thomas. They happened to take their aerial photographs when Alma was in full flame. Amazing and bizarre.

Suzanne Van Bommel

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Editor's Note:Unbelievable...but there it is in full flame, which only lasted an hour or so.


22. London Free Press: Restoration projects give city"s built heritage brighter future
Joe Belanger

There were dozens of smiling faces, lots of glad-handing, pats on the back, words and more words of encouragement, congratulations and optimism.

Yes, Wednesday was a good day for London’s built heritage enthusiasts. And there’s good reason to expect those smiles to become permanent, a prospect no one could have forecast a decade ago.

The 2010 Heritage Awards sponsored by the Heritage London Foundation and the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario’s London branch were held Wednesday at the Elsie Perrin Williams Estate on Windermere Rd. The awards are given to people who make a difference in education and advocacy of built heritage, as well as restoration projects.

In the people category, activist Maggie Whalley, who long battled to save the city’s heritage buildings and is now working on a doctoral degree, and John Lutman, historian, author, librarian and archivist, were given awards for their tireless work. The London Free Press was also honoured for its ongoing efforts to inform and educate the public about the city’s built heritage and related issues.

But the real stories, the ones that give heritage enthusiasts hope, lie in the awards in the projects category.

The largest landowner in downtown London, Shmuel Farhi of Farhi Holdings Corp., and city planners received an award for the stunning restoration of the Capitol Theatre and Bowles buildings on Dundas St., which now house the city’s planning department; Manuel and Dani Cardoso were feted for the impressive restoration of the former Wallace Block, now reverted to its original name, the Burridge Building, at Talbot and King streets; and accolades were heaped on Gene Lamont, long-time owner of the Westland Bros. building in Wortley Village, restored in partnership with gallery owner Al Stewart.

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23. Owen Sound Sun Times: city's desire to adequately commemorate the original wing of St. Mary's High School
Denis Langlois

Board awaits city

The Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board doesn't have the money to play a guessing game with Owen Sound council, the board's top administrator says.

Education director Bruce MacPherson said the board wants clear direction from council on a compromise that would meet the city's desire to adequately commemorate the original wing of St. Mary's High School and allow the board to demolish the 1891 annex.


"It just doesn't make any financial sense for us to keep saying: what about this and what about that? Because each time, with architects, etc., it's costing us money. So now we're just waiting to hear from city council on what it is that they would like to see," MacPherson said in an interview.

The original St. Mary's schoolhouse, now part of a much larger Catholic high school, was boarded up last November.

Sixteen months earlier council voted to block the school board's plan to demolish the structure by moving to protect it under Ontario Heritage Act legislation.

The school board objected, saying the building is cost prohibitive to repair. The Ministry of Education paid for a $3.7-million addition at the opposite end of the school, but provided no money to fix the original annex.

The objection sent the matter to Ontario's Conservation Review Board, which makes non-binding recommendations on heritage preservation.

But before proceeding to a full-blown hearing, the city agreed to give the school board a chance to entice council to withdraw its intention to designate with a plan to commemorate its historical significance.

The board failed to impress council last October with its proposal to preserve bricks and a stone name plate from the annex for use in a replica entranceway.

Board officials were sent away with the direction to improve the plan.

MacPherson said the school board has not been working on another plan. They have been waiting the last four months for clear direction from council.

"We were making presentations on things we were saying we would do and finally we said, 'You tell us what you're looking for.' So that's what we're waiting for," he said.

City manager Jim Harrold said both sides are "still talking." A second Conservation Review Board pre-hearing is scheduled for March 29.

"We don't have a problem with a hearing, but I think we'd all rather resolve the problem amongst ourselves without the need for a third party," he said.

Coun. Jim McManaman, an outspoken critic of the demolition plan, said the board's last proposal was "unacceptable."

"In my mind, just speaking for myself, I'd like to see them come up with a plan to save the old 1891 portion of the school," he said.

While the school's expansion is great news, he said the city must work to preserve its heritage.

He said public buildings should be held to a "higher standard" than private properties.

Ideally, McManaman said the board and city should partner together to "make a case" to save the school. The two sides could search for funding opportunities and possible uses, he said.

He questioned whether the board tried to secure Ministry of Education funding to repair the original wing.

Ministry spokeswoman Patricia MacNeil said the Catholic board applied for "prohibitive to repair" funding to build an addition. It did not apply for renovation funding.

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24. Owen Sound Sun Times: Board awaits city's ideas
Denis Langlois

The Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board doesn't have the money to play a guessing game with Owen Sound council, the board's top administrator says.

Education director Bruce MacPherson said the board wants clear direction from council on a compromise that would meet the city's desire to adequately commemorate the original wing of St. Mary's High School and allow the board to demolish the 1891 annex.

"It just doesn't make any financial sense for us to keep saying: what about this and what about that? Because each time, with architects, etc., it's costing us money. So now we're just waiting to hear from city council on what it is that they would like to see," MacPherson said in an interview.

The original St. Mary's schoolhouse, now part of a much larger Catholic high school, was boarded up last November.

Sixteen months earlier council voted to block the school board's plan to demolish the structure by moving to protect it under Ontario Heritage Act legislation.

The school board objected, saying the building is cost prohibitive to repair. The Ministry of Education paid for a $3.7-million addition at the opposite end of the school, but provided no money to fix the original annex.

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25. Owen Sound Sun Times: City must protect heritage: Niall
Denis Langlois

Province recognizes woman's work to research, preserve and celebrate local history

Local history researcher Paula Niall says Owen Sound must quickly identify and protect the city's architectural "gems" before they fall into disrepair and risk being lost.

"And before the developers come in and decide they want the land under the house. Then it becomes a fight between money and the love of heritage," she said in an interview Thursday afternoon.

The call for better heritage protection comes from a woman who has dedicated much of the last 30 years to researching, writing, preserving and celebrating Owen Sound and area history.

Today Niall will be formally recognized for her contributions to heritage preservation, protection and promotion at a ceremony at Queen's Park. Lt.-Gov. David Onley will present her with a lieutenant-governor's Ontario heritage award for lifetime achievement.

Nineteen Ontario residents will receive the award, which recognizes people with more than 25 years of community heritage conservation work, as part of Heritage Week.

Niall said Owen Sound has a storied history that remains alive, in part, through the historical homes and buildings that line the city's streets. She said it is essential for that history to be protected and celebrated.

"People make history interesting. That's what makes houses interesting . . . the people who lived in those houses," she said.

The Queen's Hotel was demolished in 2006. Since then, more historic buildings have been lost. The original wing of St. Mary's High School is now threatened with demolition, along with historic Branningham Grove on the city's eastern edge.

Owen Sound has moved to designate Harrison Park, the Owen Sound library and the Butchart Estate under heritage protection rules, but Niall said more must be done.

The city should help the owners of heritage buildings to preserve them, for example through property tax breaks or other monetary incentives, she said.

Niall was nominated for the provincial lifetime achievement award by the city.

"She has worked tirelessly and with a passion to celebrate the history of Owen Sound and to bring it forward so we can all learn more," Mayor Ruth Lovell Stanners said Thursday.

Niall and her husband moved to Owen Sound in 1971. A short time later, the childhood home of First World War flying ace Billy Bishop caught her attention.

In 1979, during her 20-year career in real estate, Niall learned the historic home was about to be put up for sale by Bishop's nephew.

Along with Dorothy Vick, Niall, in her first term as president of the Owen Sound Historical Society, enlisted the help of ex-air force members to secure donations to purchase the home for use as a museum.

Niall served as the founding chairwoman of the Billy Bishop Heritage committee and convinced retired air attaché to London, England, Capt. A.J. Bauer, to serve as the museum's first president to keep it linked to the Canadian Air Force.

The museum has since been recognized as Grey-Bruce's first national historic site.

Niall has also helped create a permanent display at Grey Roots about black history of Owen Sound and Grey County. She has researched and recorded the history of local black settlers for more than 17 years.

Niall has been a member of Grey-Bruce Writers for nearly two decades. She was secretary of the Grey County Heritage Alliance, co-ordinated tours of historic homes in Owen Sound and initiated a plaque program to recognize Owen Sound's significant heritage properties.

She has collected filing cabinets full of historical documents, photographs and newspaper clippings, which will be donated to Grey Roots.

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26. Owen Sound Sun Times: Province recognizes woman's work to research, preserve and celebrate local history - City must protect heritage: Niall
DENIS LANGLOIS

Paula Niall will recieve the lieutenant govenors award for heritage achievement for her volunteer work with the Billy Bishop Home and Museum in Owen Sound.-The Sun Times--JAMES MASTERS

Local history researcher Paula Niall says Owen Sound must quickly identify and protect the city's architectural "gems" before they fall into disrepair and risk being lost.

"And before the developers come in and decide they want the land under the house. Then it becomes a fight between money and the love of heritage," she said in an interview Thursday afternoon.


The call for better heritage protection comes from a woman who has dedicated much of the last 30 years to researching, writing, preserving and celebrating Owen Sound and area history.

Today Niall will be formally recognized for her contributions to heritage preservation, protection and promotion at a ceremony at Queen's Park. Lt.-Gov. David Onley will present her with a lieutenant-governor's Ontario heritage award for lifetime achievement.

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27. The Kitchener/Waterloo Record: Failing Grade for Heritage Protection
John Arndt

An attack on heritage?

 In the last few weeks there have been several comments in the press concerning the issue of property rights. This criticism and the recent decision of Kitchener city council to exclude properties from the Municipal Heritage Register appear to undermine the efforts of Heritage Kitchener, and the citys heritage planning staff. Whether a property has heritage value is something that is neither optional nor dependent on the whims of the owner. A property either has heritage value or it doesnt, depending on the criteria outlined by the Ontario Heritage Act, which municipal councils apply on the advice of their heritage committees. Property may be sold and change ownership, but its value remains.

Recent case law in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Tremblay vs. Lakeshore) clearly states that municipal councils have the responsibility to protect heritage property even without consent of the owner. Although the issue of the infringement of property rights is complex, a property owner does not have complete control over what he can and cannot do with his property. There are many controls, such as zoning and building codes, property standards and the like, which are in place to protect the stability of neighbourhoods. The protection of built heritage for the good of all is another component.

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28. thelondoner.ca: Adding shine to the downtown smile - The city's move into the former Capitol Theatre could lead to great opportunities for heritage buildings
Sean Meyer

 


 

If you think of downtown London like a smile, then two of its teeth are shining particularly bright these days.

The teeth in question are the former Capitol Theatre and Bowles Lunch buildings at 204 and 206 Dundas St. that have been combined and reopened as the new home of the city's planning division.

The renovation of the buildings was done by the owner, Farhi Holdings Corporation, at a cost of $4 million after the city agreed to a 20-year lease of the space.

John Fleming, director of land use planning, says the new space not only gives city planners a great place to work, but it also shows the city's commitment to making sure the downtown has a healthy smile.

"We're not the owners of the building; we have signed a lease. But we feel like we have adopted the building. In the sense I think we have had a major influence on the way it was restored on the pieces that were retained. We have worked with Farhi; it has been a real collaborative effort," Mr. Fleming says. "We knew certainly preserving a heritage building gives it a chance to revitalize whereas demolishing a heritage building is the end of the story. There is a finite supply of great heritage buildings and we can't afford to lose them, particularly when they are on our downtown's main street. We also know a continuous commercial streetscape is a very important thing. A lot like a smile, when you are missing a tooth, a gap in your streetscape in favour of parking really does hurt a commercial streetscape."

Charles Howard Crane – who designed 250 theatres across North America such as the Fox Theatre in Detroit – was the architect of the building that began its life as the Allen Theatre in 1920. It was renamed the Capital theatre in 1924 and remained open until finally closing in 2002.

The planning division's move to downtown could almost be seen as destiny as it was city staff who first approached council about doing what it could to stave off the proposed demolition of the location.

"This building was – at one point – slated to be demolished. We as a planning group did present a presentation and a report to council saying we shouldn't be demolishing the building. We had no recommendation, at the time, for the city acquiring or leasing the building. We were there standing up for the preservation of the building. The owner at the time wanted to demolish it in favour of parking and we knew that was not the proper thing," Mr. Fleming says. "We played a role in the preservation of the building and now we are playing a more tangible role in occupying it and breathing economic life into the building by locating our offices here. The collaboration has brought out the best elements of the building, both the exterior and the interior. I give council a lot of credit for not just requiring the building be maintained, but being actively involved in breathing economic life back into the building."

The cost of the city's lease for the space amounts to about $5.8 million over 20 years, including things such as improvements and operations, with the base rent being approximately $190,000 a year.

The decision to move the planning division is one Mr. Fleming says shows the city's commitment to preserving its heritage buildings.

 

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29. Canadian Architect: Bing Thom 2010 Architectural Firm Award

RAIC announces Bing Thom Architects Inc. as 2010 Architectural Firm Award recipient

Founded in 1982 in Vancouver, BC, Bing Thom Architects (BTA) has executed a wide spectrum of projects in North America and overseas, from single-family residences to the design of entire cities.

Principals Bing Thom, FRAIC, and Michael Heeney, MRAIC, share a fundamental belief in the transformative power of architecture to improve, not only the physical, but also the economic and social conditions of a community.

 

The firm’s belief in this power, and with it the social responsibility of architecture, has become the grounding philosophy for the office, and has resulted in architecture that consistently taps into something beyond aesthetics. BTA’s buildings are not just beautiful, they also add to the health of the communities in which they reside.

 

The firm is a collective of people from 18 countries, who speak 15 different languages and whose energy and cultural diversity adds richness to the firm’s work. Most staff have areas of expertise and interest that extend well beyond architecture and many have worked for the firm for over a decade.

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30. Canadian Architect: George Baird Wins RAIC Gold Medal

George Baird announced as recipient of the 2010 RAIC Gold Medal

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) has announced George Baird, FRAIC, as the recipient of the 2010 RAIC Gold Medal. Baird is the former Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design and Professor of Architecture at the University of Toronto, and partner in the Toronto-based architecture and urban design firm Baird Sampson Neuert Architects.

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31. Edmonton Journal: City sues Gem Theatre owner
Gordon Kent

Countersuit claims theatre's true condition not disclosed before sale

As seen on Feb. 23, the historic Gem Theatre on Jasper Avenue was demolished just east of 97th Street in Jasper East.Photograph by: Ryan Jackson, edmontonjournal.com

EDMONTON — The city filed a lawsuit against the owner of the Gem Theatre a year after selling him the historic building, claiming he wasn't doing the repairs he had promised.

 

The empty Jasper Avenue landmark was demolished last weekend after a building inspector ruled holes in the roof and mould made Edmonton's oldest surviving movie house a public hazard. But court documents suggest the city had feared neglect would put the future of the protected municipal historic site in jeopardy.

When it sold the theatre to Oliver O'Connor Realty Inc. for $77,500 in 1999, the company agreed to fix the roof, restore the facade and the ornate plaster relief in the lobby by June 2002, the documents indicate.

The contract also allegedly required him to provide an engineer's assessment of the roof condition and a $75,000 letter of credit to ensure the work was completed.

But a 2001-02 statement of claim contends the letter of credit hadn't been provided and the repairs either weren't done or weren't expected to be finished in time.

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32. Heritage Canada: Career Opportunity: Heritage Specialist

Salary Range: $75,000-$80,000

SNC-Lavalin O&M is recognized as one of Canada’s leading outsourced operations and maintenance solutions experts, a division of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., the largest engineering and construction firm in Canada, and one of the five largest in the world we continue to grow our business globally. Our team members across the country and the globe deliver superior service to every one of our clients. Our people are vital to our success, and we build teams that are second to none. Our team embraces challenges and is engaged in working together to contribute to our business objectives.

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33. Moncton Times and Transcript: Aberdeen centre will need more money
Alan Cochrane

Future still unclear for Moncton High School, Notre-Dame de l'Assomption Cathedral and plan for downtown events centre

 The hardwood floors and stairs at the Aberdeen Cultural Centre are splintered and worn from many years of foot traffic, the furnace is shot, the plaster on the walls is chipping away and the wiring is outdated to the point of being dangerous.

And even though the historic building is about to get a $2.3-million facelift, it will still need a lot of work.

"This project is all about security and safety," centre director René Légerè said in an interview following yesterday's announcement of $1 million in federal funding, $750,000 from the province, $170,000 from the city and $375,000 from the centre itself for much-needed renovations. The work will include new wiring, a new natural gas furnace, sprinklers and security system, an elevator and improvements to the artist studios and upstairs theatre. But Légerè said the centre will still need another $500,000 to fix up the exterior and entrances.

"In the winter, if somebody plugs in a heater it will blow the system. It's at that point. It's really dangerous," Légerè said. "The heating system alone will cost $600,000. The furnace downstairs is in such bad shape that last winter it stopped working 13 times and every time that happens it is dangerous for the people using this building. Energy wise, it will be much more efficient. We will use natural gas and solar panels so we will save a lot of money on the operation. Also, we are re-doing a lot of space. The ceilings and floors are in bad shape. But this is only the first part, we still need $500,000 to do the outside masonry and the entrances. So there is a lot of work there and we are not going to be able to do it with this part of the money and we will have another proposal for government to get the rest done. This will take care of 80 to 90 per cent of what we need done. Every day we have more than 140 kids coming into this building. It's like a school and we need security."

The Aberdeen Cultural Centre is home to working artists, a day care, three art galleries, a theatre and a cafe.
 

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34. Moncton Times and Transcript: Historic buildings get $6M for renos
Alan Cochrane

Central United Church to become Moncton Peace Centre; Aberdeen Cultural Centre gets good start on much-needed upgrades

Revenue Minister Keith Ashfield called it a "two for one deal" and Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc called it a "double-double," but it all adds up to funding of more than $6 million in taxpayer dollars to bring new purpose to a couple of historic downtown buildings.

Enlarge Photo GREG AGNEW/TIMES & TRANSCRIPTKeith Ashfield, minister of National Revenue and for ACOA, is stunned by the beauty of the Central United Church sanctuary as Rev. Jim MacDonald shows him around yesterday. Hundreds of politicians, artists and community activists crowded into the Aberdeen Cultural Centre yesterday for the announcement that the Moncton Peace Centre Project would go ahead with combined funding of more than $4.4 million from three levels of government. The second part of the announcement is that the Aberdeen Cultural Centre would will receive about $2.3 million for much-needed renovations.

The Peace Centre project has been in the works for seven years. It will bring six non-profit organizations -- Family Service Moncton, Early Childhood Stimulation, the Multicultural Association of the Greater Moncton Area (MAGMA), the United Way and the Volunteer Centre and Central United Church -- together under one roof. The church is already undergoing renovations but the funding of $4.4 million will allow construction of a large addition onto the historic church to create office space. The church itself will be converted into a multi-use theatre with space for 750 people. It was used earlier this week for a benefit concert for Haitian earthquake relief. The basement of the church is already used by agencies who aid Moncton's homeless and needy.

The federal and provincial governments are each contributing $2.2 million to the project while the city is giving up land next to the church to allow construction, and LeBlanc said more funding from the city will be coming later.

Peace Centre spokesman Maurice LeBlanc said the funding will allow the project to move ahead quickly with an eye on completion about a year from now. The building is being designed as a model of energy efficiency.

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35. Montreal Gazette: Minaret collapse highlights decay of Moroccan medinas
Tom Pfeiffer, Reuters

Record property investment has overlooked ancient cities

Moroccan rescue and residents remove rubble after the Lalla Khenata mosque minaret collapsed in the old Bab el Bardiyine neighbourhood of Meknes February 19, 2010. The four centuries-old mosque minaret collapsed in Morocco on Friday, killing at least 38 p

MEKNES, Morocco - People living near the Lalla Khenata mosque in Morocco's old imperial city of Meknes say they warned for years that its minaret was in danger of collapse.

The centuries-old tower finally gave way when its muezzin called the faithful to Friday prayers on Feb. 19, crushing or smothering over 40 worshippers to death under sand and clay.

"As the search went on we realized that nearly all those trapped in the debris were dead," said 29-year-old Red Crescent volunteer Hicham Dahhou. "Most suffocated in the sand."

Mosques are usually well tended in Morocco but the neglect and collapse of the minaret in Meknes — which the authorities blamed on damage from heavy rains — reflects the long decline of its medinas, or historic cities.

Swathes of the kingdom's ancient walled towns — symbols of the ephemeral might and wealth of past empires — are crumbling.

The medinas of Meknes and Fez, founded in the 11th and 9th centuries, have deteriorated as the wealthy middle class abandoned sumptuous town houses for less cramped and better organized new neighbourhoods.

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36. Northern News Services: Heritage plaque crowns post office
Tim Edwards

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - The first federal building built in Yellowknife's "new town" back in 1956 was finally given the heritage plaque that many Yellowknifers feel it deserves on Feb. 12.

"It's great that it's finally designated as a heritage site. It's the first one in the new town," said former city councillor Kevin O'Reilly.

The heritage designation flags the property for development requests to ensure the building is preserved.

"The heritage committee assesses the development and the request comes through council," said Coun. Mark Heyck.

"On the flip side, there are incentives for people who are doing sympathetic renovations to heritage buildings. If they do it in such a way that it doesn't (take away) from the heritage value, those improvements are not taxed," said Heyck, adding that there are also city grants available to restore official heritage buildings.

City council designated the building as a heritage site in 2007, but Public Works Canada, the former owner, steadfastly denied them the pleasure of having a plaque put on the building.

A Public Works letter sent to city council in 2007 stated: "Because it's a federal facility, a third-party plaque should not be affixed to the building."

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37. Ottawa Citizen: Rewarding acts of citizenry
Phil Jenkins

So, there I was at the Architectural Conservation Awards and Heritage Recognition Ceremony, in the council chamber at City Hall. I don't remember seeing you there, except if you were getting an award or were related or good buddies with someone who was. I expect you had a previous engagement. Maybe next year.

Truth to tell, as award ceremonies go, it was a paint-by-numbers affair; no-one grabbed their crotch upon acceptance, thanked their God, or stole the microphone and complained that their current squeeze should have won. In fact there were no speeches from the award recipients at all. Likewise, there was no thunderous music, or an opening song and dance number with a title like Heritage Is What It Used To Be. Aaron Copland's Quiet City, would have been suitable, but we moved down the order of events at a speed that precluded anything but the basics; come on down, photo opportunity with award, gradually diminishing applause, next.

The mayor, who lives in a concrete keep that sits on the site of a demolished heritage building, was slated to be the M.C. but was a no-show.

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38. Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal: Serious Materials to retrofit Empire State Building windows
Mary Duan

Serious Materials CEO Kevin Surace has won a tall order: to retrofit the Empire State Building's windows.

Serious Materials Inc. has been chosen to super-insulate more than 6,500 windows for the Empire State Building’s energy efficiency retrofit project.

The Sunnyvale company will provide its SeriousGlass technology through a sustainable production process that will directly reduce energy costs by more than $400,000 per year.

In a first-of-its-kind process, Serious Materials will reuse all existing glass and create super-insulating glass units (IGUs) in a dedicated processing space located in the Empire State Building.

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39. Yahoo.com: Cuba struggles to preserve past
Jeff Franks

HAVANA - Every winter, tourists from frozen homelands in the north fill the sunny streets of Old Havana admiring its picturesque colonial buildings and centuries-old squares.

They sip mojitos in the Bodeguita del Medio where Ernest Hemingway supposedly hung out, eat in atmospheric restaurants along Calle Obispo and stay in lovely old hotels restored to their former glory as part of a massive remake of Havana's historic centre by the Cuban government.

But if they walk a few blocks on, they leave the manicured surroundings and emerge into a different Old Havana, where broken, unpainted buildings line pothole-filled streets and history is not recreated, but lived in a continuum of decay.

There, people live in rundown apartments, get their monthly food ration at spartan government stores and buy their drink at state-run shops where wine and rum are served in old water bottles.

With its two very different faces, Old Havana is both the centrepiece of Cuban tourism and a symbol of the city's larger problems.

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