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London Free Press: Designation of 172 Central Avenue, Home of Dr. Dr. Oronhyatekha
Megan Stacey | October 8, 2018

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Co-owner slams recommendation to preserve London home of Indigenous doctor

From Issue No. 271 | October 8, 2018

172 Central Avenue, important for associative and design reasons

A heritage battle is looming over a historic London property.

 The compelling history behind a 136-year-old London home won over city politicians Monday night.

The planning committee voted unanimously to recommend a heritage designation for a two-storey brick house at 172 Central Ave., a move that would block its owners from knocking down the building, if approved by council next week.

The property was home to several notable Londoners, including Dr. Oronhyatekha (also known as Peter Martin), one of the first Indigenous medical doctors in the country. He built the brick, Italianate-style house on that property in 1882.

“It would be a sheer embarrassment, and we should feel embarrassed, that there is not a (heritage) designation already,” said Coun. Tanya Park, citing the incredible accomplishments and legacy of Dr. Oronhyatekha.

Ava Hill, chief of Six Nation of the Grand River, where he was born, urged politicians to protect the building.

“His stately home is a testament to his accomplishments and you should take the utmost care to preserve this historic building.”

Heritage planner Kyle Gonyou told politicians about the history of the home, noting there are no other tributes to its original owner in London.

The home was later occupied by Canadian painter Tony Urquhart.

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