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Cobourg's Sidbrook Suffering from Demolition by Neglect
Gail Rayment | February 12, 2018

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From Issue No. 266 | February 12, 2018

courtesy Northumberland News

Sidbrook, a “chic…Italianate Villa” in Cobourg, designed by the eminent architect Kivas Tully, was built in 1857. For a hundred years, as home to well-connected families who enhanced it by adding a west wing, a third storey, a portico supported by four Corinthian columns, Sidbrook was the centre of social life for Cobourg’s summer colony of wealthy Americans.

Dramatic change came in 1952 with conversion into a private hospital, as its grounds were reduced to the current acreage. The hospital closed in 2002 and the property sold. In 2009 the owners proposed conversion into six condominium units, then withdrew the application.

Sidbrook, one of the few grand houses remaining in Cobourg, has been empty ever since.

Cobourg designated it under the OHA in 2007.  Sidbrook, now a shadow of its former self with peeling paint and boarded windows, is the subject of ongoing effort to keep the house secure. Appeals to protect the building’s heritage attributes by enforcing Cobourg’s Building Standards by-law result in frustration for the Chief Building Officer. He now, in January 2018, reports the owners’ claim that they lack the resources to do needed roof repairs.

The local Architectural Conservancy Ontario Branch, after monitoring this situation for over ten years, now fears another case of demolition by neglect.

 

Editors Notes: This piece first appeared in ACO's electronic newsletter Acorn in a Nutshell
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