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Issue No. 160 | April 6, 2010


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Feature Stories

  1. The Historic Moore House, Sparta, ON
  2. Brantford Expositor: Heritage district won't include buildings pegged for demolition
  3. Globe and Mail: Historic Buildings and LEED -
  4. Call for Content: Ontario Heritage Act-5 Years Later


Toronto's Architectural Legacy: William Thomas and John M. Lyle
Tuesday, May 4
+ read

Continuing Education Course: Toronto -- Patterns of Development
Saturdays, April 10 - May15, 2010 (6 weeks)
+ read

EXHIBIT | Philipe Rahm: Domestic Astronomy
25 February - 10 April
+ read

EXHIBIT | In Study Model Wonderland from Halifax to Vancouver
LAST CHANCE: 13 March - 18 April
+ read

Designing the City of Tomorrow -- Are We Thinking Boldly Enough?
15 April
+ read

Old Home Expo
May 1, 2010
+ read


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1. The Historic Moore House, Sparta, ON
Dr. Robert Burns

after--find the house

A Panel Discussion Hosted by The St. Thomas-Elgin Chapter of the ACO

On March 9th 2010 the St. Thomas-Elgin Chapter of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario hosted a panel discussion on the process which led to the historic Moore House being refused heritage designation status and ending up as the garage for a new residence.

The panel included Mrs. Jane Zavitz-Bond, Sparta resident and archivist of the Society of Friends Archives in Newmarket, ON, Dr. Robert J. Burns, historian and chair of Heritage Central Elgin, and Councillor Sally Martyn of the Municipality of Central Elgin. Panel moderator was Mr. Paul Baldwin, former mayor of Alymer, ON and president of the ACO chapter.

Jane Zavitz-Bond began the discussion with an overview of the evolution of the cultural and social values of the Quakers, including their self-sufficiency and emphasis on family ties, and outlined their migration first to the American colonies and, after the War of 1812, to Upper Canada. She emphasized the important role played by the Society of Friends in shaping Upper Canada’s society and values, and showed how these were exemplified in the physical structure of the stone and brick farm house built by John Moore in 1824. Constructed almost entirely of local materials – stone and timber from the farm, and bricks baked in a kiln just feet from the house – the Moore House was a unique architectural form and a direct connection with the region’s distant past. Mrs. Zavitz-Bond stressed the extent of the loss to our built and cultural heritage resulting from the failure to designate and protect the Moore House.

Dr. Burns outlined the efforts at the municipal level first to reach a satisfactory accommodation with the owners who were initially asking for a demolition permit and then to convince Council that the property merited designation and protection despite the objections of the owners. Academic historians, members of the Moore family and many concerned citizens wrote Central Elgin Council in support of designation.

The ACO became active in these latter efforts and provided the services of a heritage architect, Peter Stewart, to prepare a heritage impact assessment for Council’s consideration.

The Ontario Heritage Trust also became interested in the issue and OHT board chair, Lincoln Alexander, asked Council to abide by the Provincial Policy Statement on heritage and designate the house.

In a close vote Council decided against designation, leaving the way open for the demolition permit to be issued. In their deliberations the Council majority chose to focus on the rights of private property owners rather than the larger interests of the community and the region.

Councillor Martyn, in whose ward the Moore House is located and who strongly advocated designation of the property, stressed in Council that the Moore House met not just one but all three of the three criteria for local designation. The majority of Council members were not swayed. She also recounted how the Ministry of Culture intervened, putting a stop work order on the demolition process. However, rather than designating the property as being of provincial heritage value, as it was later found out was the recommendation of the Ontario Heritage Trust to the Minister, the province chose to assign a mediator to hammer out a compromise. The result, unfortunately, was that the Moore House, while retained, became an ancillary garage to the new residence.

In the ensuing discussion a number of issues were explored. The consensus, not surprisingly, was that the legislation and policy necessary to protect our built and cultural heritage is largely in place, but that this mattered little without the understanding and active support of public officials. In this case the advisors did their jobs, both at the municipal and provincial levels. The politicians, however, chose to ignore both the spirit and the intent of available legislation and, in the end, failed to do what was clearly in the interest of the community at large and the province.

It was felt by some that more must be done to educate and sensitize public officials to the importance of heritage preservation. Others felt it would be more efficient to work in the future to elect officials already possessing such an awareness. Perhaps the most important result of the panel discussion was the realization that owners of heritage properties must be encouraged to protect them under the law before selling to others who may evince, but not hold, such heritage values.

It was also pointed out that the alterations made to the Moore House and the subsequent loss to fire of Alma College in nearby St. Thomas did have at least one positive effect.It galvanized a portion of the population to take positive steps for the future, one of which was the creation of the St. Thomas-Elgin Branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario.

Editor's Note:
The bold text is the editor's. We fought and won the battle for better legislation, only to have failure after failure at the political level.

2. Plaques Marking Torontos Kensington Market as a National Historic Site Have Now Been Installed
Marcia Cuthbert

Now that spring is here and summer is just around the corner, why not take a stroll over to Kensington, perhaps during one of the PS Kensington pedestrian Sundays, and have a look at the Kensington Market area National Historic Site and its newly erected plaques.

The Kensington Market National Historic Site Designation Committee was gratified to learn that as of March 2010 the two plaques marking the designation of the Kensington Market area of Toronto as a national historic site have finally been installed. Located on the north side of Bellevue Square park, the plaques are situated in a small plaza close to the centre of the designated district which encompasses the market as well as a portion of the surrounding residential area.

One of the plaques contains a map of the designated area and drawings of some of the buildings of the area including the Kiever Synagogue on Denison Square, designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act, and the Anshei Minsk Synagogue on St. Andrew Street, included on the City's Inventory of Heritage Properties. Also illustrated is the former Labour Lyceum at 346 Spadina Avenue, now altered to house a Chinese restaurant.

The other plaque contains text in both English and French outlining the area’s role in the Canadian urban immigrant experience in the twentieth century. The district was first occupied by British workers, then by Jewish immigrants who converted the Victorian houses into small family-run stores by adding makeshift ground-floor shops. After the Second World War, new Canadians from Italy, Portugal, Eastern Europe, the Caribbean and Asia were drawn here, each in turn adding to the vibrant life of the area.

Designation as a National Historic Site means recognition, not regulation. If the community wishes to look into protecting the unique characteristics of the area it may consider designation of the area as a Heritage Conservation District under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act.

Pictures of the two plaques and their setting, as well as a copy of the full text, may be seen at the Toronto’s Historical Plaques website at


3. TSA | Volunteer Tour Guides Needed
Toronto Society of Architects

The Toronto Society of Architects is launching a new initiative in spring, 2010, Guided Architecture Walking Tours. Two tours have been developed: one highlights the recent “Cultural Renaissance” and one features historic and modern buildings in “The Financial District.” The tours will be launched at Doors Open Toronto and will then be offered for a fee on Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays from June through September. Tours will be led by trained volunteers.

Volunteer Tour Guide Positions

· Volunteer Tour Guides will be responsible for delivering an engaging, two hour walking tour using the information included in the script developed by TSA
· Training will be provided by TSA and will include health and safety, facts about the city, its services and attractions, and comprehensive information about each building on the tours
· Tour Guides will work with a TSA staff member who will coordinate schedules, provide on-going information/up-dates, problem solve and otherwise provide support to ensure successful delivery of the Tours
· Tour Guides will be asked to commit to delivering a minimum of 7 tours during the four-month season, on the days indicated below

Key Dates:

· Training will take place on weekends and/or evenings in April and May
· Tours will be launched at Door’s Open Toronto May 29th and 30th
· Tours will be approximately two hours in length and offered from June 4th to September 27th, 2010 at the following times:
o Friday’s at 1:00 pm
o Saturday’s at 11:00 am, and
o Monday’s at 1:00 pm


Superior public speaking skills
Enthusiastic and at ease with people from diverse backgrounds
Knowledge about architecture preferred: interest in architecture essential
Physically fit to lead a two hour walking tour

For more information or to apply to become a Volunteer Tour Guide please contact, Margo Welch, TSA Executive Director at:

4. Edmonton Church Street losing its Title and Churches.
H. Huizinga

In a report on the fate of the historic 1914 St. Stephens's Anglican Church in Edmonton, Paula Simons stated that: "one of the streets most chrming signature chrches is facing imminent demolition." This five block section of 96 street north of 106 avenue was in Ripley's records known as the "church street" with its multiple variety of denominations worshiping in many church builings. The community of McCauley is very conscerned about the loss of this Tudor style building and the loss of another heritage structure. Some of the other church buildings have been converted to use as aid centers for the homeless community in the inner city. They supply meals, counselling, and social programs for this segment of Edmonton's citizens.
See Edmonton Journal, March 20, Section B, pp 1 & 8

5. Edmonton Council challeged to honnor Historic Airport Client leases.
H. Huizinga

The Municipal Airport in Edmonton has been in dispute for a decade or two. This field was taken over by the Edmonton Airport Authority shortly after the International Airport was opened next the town of Leduc, outside the city of Edmonton. This oldest registered airport in Canada (May 1926) was named after a former mayor as Blantchford field. The former farm of Hagmann was used as early as 1919 by the Edmonton Airplane Co. and later by Wop May as his landing field for commercial flights.

The City Council decided the projected value of the land for commercial and residential use was greater than the vote of the citizens of the city to keep this centrally located Edmonton airport open. They voted to close one of the two main runways with the second runway to be closed later. This action has been contested by long time lessees whose livelyhood in repair work and transportion flights to Northern Alberta, Yukon, and NWT will cease.
See Edmonton Journal March 20, section E, pp 1 & 6

6. blogTO: Queen West's Burroughes building Explored
Jonathan Castellino

A view from the beautiful Burroughes building

Click here for Link

7. Brantford Expositor: Heritage district won't include buildings pegged for demolition

A majority of city councillors were not ready to accept Monday the concept of creating a heritage conservation district in the downtown yet, because of a general distrust of the proposal's impact on a plan to demolish 40 properties on the south side of downtown Colborne Street.

They backed, however, a compromise recommendation to have staff prepare a report by mid-April on what would be involved in establishing such a district, with south Colborne specifically excluded.

The compromise came after a lengthy -often testy -debate that followed an hour's worth of presentations from representatives of the Brantford Heritage Committee and other enthusiasts extolling the virtues of creating a conservation district.

"The south side of Colborne is gone, you've seen to that. So, there is no reason to be afraid," Coun. Dan McCreary, a member of the heritage committee, said late in the evening after hearing Coun. Richard Carpenter express his fears that the opponents of demolition might use approval of the concept to stall the work.

"All we're asking is to go forward over what is left."

Many of the presenters speaking on behalf of the heritage committee's recommendation to set up a conservation district still had in mind trying to save the doomed 40 buildings on the south side, along with preserving the remaining ones on the north side of Colborne.

"The heritage committee has always been concerned about the fate of the downtown buildings and discussions about

how to protect the buildings, especially those on the south side of

Colborne Street, have taken place regularly at committee meetings," said chairman Jack Jackowetz.

"The buildings on the north side of Colborne will be in jeopardy when they are no longer anchored by their contemporaries on the south side."

Click here for Link

8. Elizabeth Paden wins the Canada Council for the Arts Prix de Rome in Architecture for Emerging Practitioners
Canadian Architect Release

McGill University School of Architecture graduate Elizabeth Paden is the winner of the Canada Council for the study the impact that large-scale public buildings can have on territorial boundaries within geopolitical regions.


This $34,000 Prix de Rome is awarded to a recent graduate of one of Canada’s ten accredited schools of architecture who demonstrates outstanding potential. The prizewinner is given the opportunity to visit significant architectural sites abroad, and to intern at an architecture firm of international stature.


Over the next year, Paden will travel to three regions that offer insight into the humanity of architecture, including The Ghetto (suburbs of Paris), The Colony (boundary between Israel and the West Bank) and The Fringe (Euro-Arctic boundaries of northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia). She hopes these studies of responsive social design will inform the Canadian architectural process for peripheral Aboriginal communities and enrich cultural exchange between communities. Paden’s internship will be with 0047 in Oslo, Norway. Together, they will develop a collaborative public exhibition to be showcased in Canada.

Click here for Link

9. Globe and Mail: Historic Buildings and LEED -
Angela Kryhul

Historic buildings ready for next act

Smith Hall, from Globe and Mail
Vancouver Cultural Centre, from Globe and Mail

“The greenest building is the one already built.”

Whether that saying is true depends on the building, of course, but it does raise the question of whether decades-old buildings can be brought to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards.

Extending the life of an old building is not as straightforward as it sounds. Many fail to meet modern building codes, let alone qualify for LEED points. And buildings with a heritage designation come with strict renovation rules.

However, a number of projects across the country are tackling older buildings in an effort to earn LEED points for things such as water-energy efficiency and air quality which helps to reduce operating costs in the future. Projects can even earn points for the amount of original building being saved. If you're going to save a cultural landmark, why not do it to the highest standards, proponents say.

Because the Canada Green Building Council awards LEED certification based on the total number of points earned, different older buildings have the chance to achieve green status in their own unique ways. Here are three projects that have applied for LEED certification – by recycling, restoring and repurposing.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:The heritage movement has been pounding this message home for five years, great to see it emerging in the business section of the Globe!

10. Halifax Chronicle Herald: City hall's stone 'deteriorating'

$1 million should be spent to restore historic building, senior staff recommend

Halifax city hall, which was built in the 19th century, needs to have its exterior fixed. Staff say the stone is damaged. (Eric Wynne / Staff)

The exterior of historic Halifax city hall should get a much-needed facelift, a new municipal staff report recommends.

It says the proposed restoration project, which would cost just over $1 million, must be done as soon as possible.

"There is an urgency to this project," says the report from senior bureaucrats.

The report will be discussed at Tuesday’s regional council meeting.

"After 25 years of neglect and minimal maintenance, stone is deteriorating at an accelerated rate," the report says.

City hall in downtown Halifax was designated a national heritage site in 1987.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:It seems odd that the budget has crept upwards and the recommended contractor changed, since the 2009 report to the Regional Council RFP No. 09-151, Exterior Masonry Restoration, Halifax City Hall. see, And the eventual 2010 report to the Regional Council Tender 10-158 - Stone Masonry Restoration, Halifax City Hall. see,

11. Owen Sound Sun Times: Days of city
Denis Langlois


Alexandra Community School is slated to be demolished next year, just as the oldest public school on Owen Sound's east hill turns 100.

The building and its classrooms have served as a backdrop for academics, friendships and memories since 1911.

But now, the aged, tired school has reached its end, school officials, parents and students say, and it's time for a new one.
"Oh my gosh, the students are very excited about it," said principal Denise Horvath.

The building is "awkward," she said, with lots of stairs and a list of "old-building issues."

An aged boiler exploded this week, sending particles of asbestos into the air and forcing the Bluewater District School Board to cancel classes for three days. The school is scheduled to reopen Monday.

Admirers of historical architecture are not disputing the need for a new school  in fact no one is  but say the original two-storey section is an example of an Edwardian-style school that is quickly disappearing in Ontario and should be preserved.

"There were many of this style built in Ontario . . . but, one has to consider not just were many built, but how many are left," said Toronto architect Catherine Nasmith, the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario's past-president.

City council is holding a public meeting Monday at 7 p.m. The school board has applied to rezone a strip of land that abuts the northern section of the Alexandra property to permit construction of a new single-storey school and parking lot.

City hall has not requested a heritage impact evaluation of Alexandra  which it did for the 1891 annex of St. Mary's High School  to determine its historical significance.

No councillor has announced plans to present a motion to block its demolition, although Coun. Jim McManaman has asked planning staff to explain why no heritage study is warranted.
In 2008, a student accommodation review committee recommended Alexandra school be replaced, pending Ministry of Education funding.

A report, reviewed by the committee, said the school would require $1.4 million in major repairs from 2010-14, another $646,000 from 2015-19 and $1.97 million from 2020-24.

The building is not accessible and is double the size needed for the student population. Data shows the school will be at only 40% capacity until at least 2018.

The board has secured ministry funding to build a $5.2 million school, which will be 13,600 feet smaller than the current building.

The new 257-student school will be modern, completely accessible, have "green" technologies and onsite parking/drop-off areas, the board says.

Construction is scheduled to begin this spring, with completion expected in fall 2011.

The old Alexandra will then be demolished.

Local heritage advocate John Harrison said constructing a new school should not automatically trigger demolition of historic Alexandra.

He said the building's demolition should be blocked and a full heritage impact study be ordered.

"I believe that Alexandra can and should be saved by finding an appropriate adaptive reuse."

The architecture of the original section is unique, he said, and becoming increasingly rare.

The Bluewater District School Board and an Owen Sound planning report put the school's year of construction as 1924.

However, documents analyzed by The Sun Times  and the research of the late Melba Croft, who was a local historian  shows the school was built 13 years earlier and opened to students in 1912.

Named after Alexandra of Denmark, the late queen-empress consort of King Edward VII, the two-storey original Alexandra school was built on land purchased by the Owen Sound Board of Education from Shallow Lake entrepreneur R.J. Doyle.

"Six hundred dollars bought the land, measuring 90 by 160 feet," reads an excerpt from "Growth of a County Town" by Croft

The original school had four classrooms, where teachers taught children in grades 1 to 4. About 150 students attended its first year.

At the time, Owen Sound was not yet a city, but an industrial town with a busy harbour, productive factories and a thriving lumber industry.

Students attended the school while Canadian soldiers, including many of the students' fathers, fought in the First and Second World Wars.

The school was expanded in 1948 to accommodate a growing east-side population.

Four rooms were built on, transforming Alexandra into a full kindergarten to Grade 8 school.

Donna Steinacher began her teaching career at Alexandra in 1948, instructing 43 Grade 4 students.

She recalls a vibrant school, with parents dedicated to its success.

"The people were really a community," she said.

Teachers and students assembled together each morning to recite the Lord's Prayer and select passages from the Bible, she recalled.

Owen Sound resident and retired teacher Paul Flood attended Alexandra from kindergarten to Grade 8, starting in 1949.

"It was an excellent school. The parents were really involved. I remember the parents would take care of a skating rink out front all winter," said Flood, who, along with other former students is planning a reunion of sorts to bid adieu to old Alexandra.

In 1954, a second addition was built, which included an extra primary and remedial classrooms, said retired teacher Helen Johnstone.

She taught music, physical education, english and history from 1955 to 1960 and returned for a half-year stint in 1963.

"I just loved that school," she said.

Johnstone recalls a "special atmosphere" at the school, with a tight-knit parent community and "great support" from parents.

In 1969, under the direction of principal Fred Steinacher, Donna's late husband, Alexandra was granted status as Owen Sound's first "community school."

The school then became active in the evenings, with classes for adults, Girl Guide meetings, band recitals and exercise sessions held within its walls.

"My husbands really liked the school," Steinacher said. "There are a lot of memories there."

And, while she admits it's sad to see it go, she said she understands it cannot stand forever.

"That school has served its purpose and it's done its job."

Click here for Link

12. Owen Sound Sun Times: Paisly Inn fate made by the end of March

City CBO brought in as consultant in inn case

Paisley Inn viewed from the side
Paisley Inn on Town Square

Arran-Elderslie has hired Owen Sound's chief building official and property standards officer as a consultant to help with the Paisley Inn.

Brian Green, who has experience in dealing with buildings declared unsafe, will help Arran- Elderslie's chief building official/ property standards officer Stephen Walmsley.

"It's good to have someone with expertise and with no vested interest help make decisions," Walmsley said.

After more than three-and-a-half years of court battles between Arran-Elderslie and inn owner Burke Maidlow, a Superior Court justice ruled last November that a demolition permit issued by former chief building official Craig Johnston was invalid. Arran-Elderslie had been seeking permission to use the demolition permit to remove the inn because Johnston found it to be unsafe.

Maidlow vowed to apply for another building permit to make repairs, first to the most problematic west wing roof, which his own engineers agree could collapse.

Walmsley has met with Maidlow and has outlined what needs to be done for a permit to be issued. Those requirements include a completed application outlining future use of the building, engineer-approved drawings for the work planned and adequate insurance.

By the end of February, Maidlow still did not have a completed application and no permit has been issued. He's been given to today to comply "at which time we'll decide what to do," Walmsley told council, adding his concern is for public safety.

Walmsley told council he doesn't believe Maidlow understands the seriousness of the building's condition and admits whatever plans he has for the building "will require a lot of time, money and work. I'm not saying the building will come down," Walmsley told council at a meeting last month. "But a decision about its future has to be made by the end of March."

Walmsley toured the building with Maidlow recently and found the main part of the building "to be surprisingly sound," however "the bar area and west wing are done. I am not confident that some of the repairs that have been made there will hold up."

He said he is "leaning toward" having the former dance hall area and west wing demolished.

"The main part is amazingly not that bad . . . what we will do is proceed within the regulations of the Building Code Act and do what is necessary," Walmsley said.

Click here for Link

13. Owen Sound Sun Times; Ministry calls for Alexandra study
Denis Langois

A provincial ministry is recommending Owen Sound consider hiring "an experienced built heritage consultant"

A provincial ministry is recommending Owen Sound consider hiring "an experienced built heritage consultant" to conduct a heritage evaluation of the original 1911 section of Alexandra Community School, which is slated for demolition.

"It is possible the existing school may be considered a significant built heritage resource," Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Culture heritage planner Ragini Dayal wrote in a March 28 letter to the city's planning department.

In December, a planner with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing said he had "no comments" on the proposed rezoning application for Alexandra school and the Bluewater District School Board's plan to raze the building and construct a smaller one.

Council held a public meeting Monday about the school board's application to rezone a strip of land that abuts the northern section of the Alexandra property to permit construction of a new 257-student school and a parking lot.

Council will consider the application -- and the board's demolition plan -- at a future meeting.

No members of the public spoke at Monday's meeting.

Coun. Deb Haswell said she has concerns with the conflicting messages from the province. Municipalities are told to preserve heritage, but the Ministry of Education believes it is easier to rip down a building and build a new one, rather than pay for repairs, she said.

"It seems like there is an incredible flurry of activity of knocking schools down," said Haswell, who added she stands behind an accommodation review committee's recommendation that Alexandra be demolished and replaced.

The original wing of St. Mary's High School in Owen Sound is also slated for demolition, although it has been put on hold, for now, by council

Click here for Link

14. The Record: Grand View School Redundant
Brent Davis and Kevin Swayze

Trustees vote to build new Grand View school

WATERLOO REGION — Public school trustees voted Monday night to move ahead with a $7-million plan to build a new Grand View Public School in Cambridge.

That proposal would also see the existing school — which has 170 students — demolished once students move into the new facility in September 2011. An original $4.6-million plan to expand and renovate the historic building largely fell out of favour as more and more problems were found.

Board chair Mike Ramsay said trustees “put kids first” with their decision. “It’s very clear that Grand View school is not an optimum learning environment.”

Trustees Ted Martin and Catherine Fife voted against the motion, urging fellow trustees to give the decision more time.

Click here for Link

15. The Sun Times: Ministry of Culture Asks For Heritage Study
Denis Langlois

Ministry calls for Alexandra study

A provincial ministry is recommending Owen Sound consider hiring "an experienced built heritage consultant" to conduct a heritage evaluation of the original 1911 section of Alexandra Community School, which is slated for demolition.

"It is possible the existing school may be considered a significant built heritage resource," Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Culture heritage planner Ragini Dayal wrote in a March 28 letter to the city's planning department.

In December, a planner with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing said he had "no comments" on the proposed rezoning application for Alexandra school and the Bluewater District School Board's plan to raze the building and construct a smaller one.

Council held a public meeting Monday about the school board's application to rezone a strip of land that abuts the northern section of the Alexandra property to permit construction of a new 257-student school and a parking lot.

Council will consider the application -- and the board's demolition plan -- at a future meeting.

No members of the public spoke at Monday's meeting.

Coun. Deb Haswell said she has concerns with the conflicting messages from the province. Municipalities are told to preserve heritage, but the Ministry of Education believes it is easier to rip down a building and build a new one, rather than pay for repairs, she said.

Click here for Link

16. Waterloo Record / Cambridge council asked to halt Grand View school demolition plan
Kevin Swayze

CAMBRIDGE – Heritage watchdogs want Cambridge city council to halt demolition of Grand View Public School.

Instead, they want the red brick landmark saved and incorporated into a new, bigger school on a hill overlooking Hamilton Street – likely for less than the $7 million the public school board plans for a new building.

Thursday night, Cambridge’s municipal heritage advisory committee passed a motion asking city council to start the process to designate the one-time school under the Ontario Heritage Act. If approved by city council, that empowers council to later reject any demolition permit requested the Waterloo Region District School Board.

The school board wants to replace Grand View new building by fall 2011. The board considers the plan Monday night.

That’s the same night Cambridge Coun. Pam Wolf might table the heritage preservation motion at Cambridge council. If she doesn’t, it will go to council April 12, when city staff expected to report on talks with the school board.

Wolf said she won’t pull out the heritage hammer if the school board agrees to pause for talks about saving the 1923 landmark. Monday night, she’ll be waiting for news from the school meeting in Kitchener as she sits in the city hall, motion in hand.

“What I hope will happen is they will listen and agree to talk more, to find a creative solution,” Wolf said.

It cost $100 a square foot for Cambridge to renovate the former Riverside Silk Mills on Melville Street into the University of Waterloo school of architecture, Wolf said. School board officials were talking $300 to $400 a square foot to build a new Grand View during questioning at the heritage committee meeting, she said.

“The school of architecture is a great example of using an old building and coming up with something better than a new building,” Wolf said.

Click here for Link

17. Renfrew Council could lift heritage designation
Steve Newman

Renfrew resident Ernest Millar is pushing to have the heritage designation lifted on the Handford Block.

The Raglan Street block, which includes Barry Breen Insurance and second-floor apartment buildings, is protected under the Ontario Heritage Act because of its architectural or historical merits.

However, Millar, who owns the block, says the heritage designation is hurting more than the ability to develop his own property.

In a letter written to town council March 9, Millar says the “viability of downtown Renfrew in general may be limited by single-minded focus on the heritage features of the existing architecture.

“While the overall objective of heritage preservation is laudable, the ultimate effect could be a stagnant and deteriorating downtown area where building owners will no longer be able to afford to preserve their buildings.

“Surely, a gradually deteriorating downtown is not what council had in mind when it designated buildings like the Handford Block in 1982.”

Click here for Link

18. Call for Content: Ontario Heritage Act-5 Years Later
Catherine Nasmith

Alma College, before and after the fire

I would like to devote space in the next few issues to a series of articles from different communities and authors on what is and isn't working under the amended 2005 Ontario Heritage Act and Provincial Policy Statement.

The article from Dr. Robert Burns is the first foray into this topic, reviewing one of the big fights of the past few years, the effort to save the Moore Farmhouse in Sparta.....never was the cup more than less half full.

What has been the experience in your community? In some places things are working as they should, politicians emboldened, higher standards coming into force, better practice.

But in other places the old culture of compromise persists.

Some feel Heritage Impact Assessments prepared by consultants working for the developer are being used to override tadvice of MHC's or municipal heritage staff.

Many fingers are pointed at failures by the Minister of Culture to intervene, or to develop a list of provincially significant sites. Yet Aileen Carroll did issue a stop order for 7 Austin Terrace.

What is the track record of the OMB on heritage decisions in your community? People are howling in St. Thomas (Alma College) and Port Dalhousie (PROUD). Has the OMB made a decision that adequately considered heritage in your area?

Has the ability to protect listed properties helped?

Please send in your stories, 500 words or less summarizing a victory or failure or general impressions. 

To post material go to and click on submit a news item, then just cut and paste. I reserve the right to make minor edits. Once I've done that the material will be posted live to the website, and sent out with the next issue.


Catherine Nasmith

Editor, BHN

(In London England this week)