2489 subscribers


1. OHA + M: New OMB decision says no to insensitive infill
2. Stratford Beacon Herald-Stratford Railway History Celebrated
3. washingtonian.com: A Marcel Breuer Building in Reston May Get Knocked Down - Fairfax's planning commission will help decide the Brutalist building's fate on Thursday
4. Spacing: Hal Kalman Reviews Dorothy Mildenhall's Book on Thomas Fuller
5. Atlantic City Lab:What would Jane Jacobs Do?
6. Waterloo Region Record: Corduroy Road a Hot Seller
7. Niagara This Week: Port Dalhousie Loss
8. World Monuments Fund Website
9. Gravenhurst Banner: Save The Bala Falls Hard at Work
10. Goderich Signal Star: Saving of Hill Cottage, Goderich
11. Now Magazine: Façadism
12. Now Magazine: Threat to York Square
13. Arch Daily: Bruce Goff Basinger House GONE
14. Blog TO: John B. Parkin
15. Blog TO: 1960's Top Pics
16. Canadian Architect: Reviews on Two Books on Toronto City Hall
17. Cottage Life:10 of Ontario's Prettiest Historic Towns
18. Ministry of Culture: Draft Ontario Culture Strategy

submit a link


1. OHA + M: New OMB decision says no to insensitive infill
Dan Schneider

Stratford White House

Stratford's White House

To recap from last time: the Stratford White House is an 1860s Italianate mansion dressed up with a much later oversized portico (with 18 columns!) and boasts a landscaped front and semi-circular drive. Prominently located on St. David Street, one of the best streets in town, the house currently has three residential units and an events facility. The property is the subject of an intensification/infilling proposal that would keep the house but cram in three new building lots on the back and west side (Areas 'A', 'B' and 'C' on the plan below).

The White House property is neither designated nor officially listed under the Ontario Heritage Act, but it does appear on a limited inventory of heritage properties prepared by the Stratford Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee in 1999. It is also located in a Heritage Area comprising much of the city in Stratfords official plan. [Note 1]

When the Committee of Adjustment refused the applications for the required severances and minor variances, the owner appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board. The citys own planner, who had recommended approval of the proposal (without a single mention of heritage!), was summoned to help the owner make its case. The city declined to take part in the hearing, leaving the neighbourhood group, Friends of the Stratford White House, as the opponents to the appeal. The hearing took place on May 12, 2016 and  remarkably  the decision came down not quite two weeks later on May 25.

In a refreshingly short (nine-page) decision, OMB Vice-Chair Steven Stefanko dismissed the appeal. [Note 2]

The Board had no problem finding that the White House is a heritage resource, citing the following:

while neither listed nor designated, the property is on the 1999 inventory and is in the citys Heritage Area
a previous (2007) OMB decision concerning the rezoning of the property stated that all of the then-parties considered the property a heritage resource
in 2005 a preliminary draft designation by-law for the property had been prepared (although it went nowhere: Based on the evidence in this matter, that designation was not finalized as the Citys practice is to require the permission of the property owner prior to designation. Needless to say, that permission was not given.) [Note 3]

Perhaps most importantly, the Board accepted the opponents argument that the property meets the criteria for determining cultural heritage value or interest in Ontario Regulation 9/06 under the OHA.

In terms of the applicable planning policies: probably because the legislative tests for severances and minor variances both include deference to the municipalitys Official Plan, the Board starts, not with the provincial policy context provided by the Provincial Policy Statement, but with the relevant OP policies. [Note 4]

The Board cites the general heritage conservation policies in the OP, typical of those in municipal OPs in Ontario. For example, one of the guiding principles for decision-making is: heritage preservation to protect areas, landmarks and features which provide a physical link to the early development of Stratford and which contribute to its distinct character and sense of place. And, under the heading Tourism and Heritage: Stratfords built heritage, as evidenced by its remaining fine examples of Victorian architecture and other historic landmarks are [sic] considered critical to fostering tourism activity.

With respect to infilling, the Board refers to the OPs direction that projects be evaluated based on the guidelines adopted by the city in a 1991 Residential Intensification Study to ensure that new development is compatible with and sensitive to existing development in the area. And, under the heading Infilling in Heritage Areas: [W]here infilling is proposed & the inherent heritage qualities of the area or corridor will be retained, restored and ideally enhanced&.

Faced with the ultimate, inevitable argument that the benefits of intensification trump those of heritage, the Board is clear.

It is arguable that the proposal is a form of intensification contemplated by the City OP; however, that intensification, even if permitted, does not in my view, outweigh or override the very clear and compelling language of the City OP relating to heritage preservation and protection. & Neither the Severances nor the Requested Variances retain, restore or enhance the heritage character of the site in my estimation.

The Board concludes that the proposal does not conform with the citys Official Plan. And that would be that& except that the decision goes on to briefly consider the application of the Provincial Policy Statement even if this is technically unnecessary.

In something of a replay, intensification fares no better against heritage at the provincial level:

The Proponent argues that since the proposed lots provide for modest infilling and intensification& consistency with the PPS is established. I am not persuaded.

Section 2.6.1 of the PPS states, very decisively, that Significant built heritage resources and significant cultural heritage landscapes shall be conserved. &

In my view, the property, including the existing building and landscape setting constitutes, at the very least, a significant built heritage resource which is to be conserved. The proposal however, has, in my estimation, a somewhat awkward and disproportional lot configuration in an area with a preponderance of stately homes and large landscaped properties. As a result the Subject Parcels cultural, historical and heritage character is undermined. In my opinion, consistency with s. 2.6.1 of the PPS is not achieved.

So, yet another case of the Ontario Municipal Board siding with the heritage argument. Just how many more examples of this do we need to finally persuade those out there (you know who you are) that the OMB is not an ogre when it comes to heritage concerns?

Some takeaways:

While they often seem like motherhood statements  nice to have but not counting for much  general heritage policies in OPs are important and potentially critical in preservation disputes.

Although it certainly makes the preservation argument stronger, a cultural heritage property does not have to be designated or even listed under the OHA to receive the benefit of OP heritage policies and section 2.6.1 of the Provincial Policy Statement; but you will have to demonstrate its cultural heritage value, using the criteria in the regulations.
Intensification as an argument for undermining or overwhelming heritage may be even less compelling in places like Stratford outside of the Greater Golden Horseshoe and other areas subject to provincial growth plans.

Two other (more esoteric) observations. First, I think we see from this case yet more evidence that the Provincial Policy Statements definition of the term significant as applied to cultural heritage has become so broad as to be effectively redundant. I defy you to coherently explain the difference between, say, a built heritage resource and a significant built heritage resource.

Second, in intensification versus heritage face-offs (and, granted, it is often not helpful to set them up as such), this and other recent decisions suggest an Achilles heel to intensification: the specific usually takes precedence over the general. Meaning that the particular, site-specific (and irreplaceable) heritage resource should not be sacrificed to the general, less localized push for intensification, which can be satisfied in other ways  and other places.

Meanwhile, the fate of the White House is looking brighter. Just days after the OMB decision was issued, the owner has withdrawn an application for a demolition permit (!) for the building, and apparently is moving ahead with a revised development plan for the property.

Note 1: The Official Plan, from 1993, has since been revised, although the new plan is awaiting provincial approval. The "Heritage Area" covers almost all of the older part of the city.

Note 2: Go to http://elto.gov.on.ca/omb/e-decisions-omb/ and enter case number PL150859.

Note 3: This is a little off our topic today, but I have to once again point out that this type of policy  not to designate without the okay of the owner  has been ruled illegal. See OHA+M from Nov. 6, 2015: http://danschneiderheritage.blogspot.ca/2015/11/the-oha-what-courts-have-to-say-part.html

Note 4: See subsections 51(24) and 45(1) of the Planning Act.


Editor’s Note: Hurrah!

2. Stratford Beacon Herald-Stratford Railway History Celebrated

Stratford welcomed to rail Hall of Fame

The city’s rich railway history will be honoured next week during induction ceremony in St. Thomas

Stratford’s rich railway history will be recognized next week when the city is inducted into the North America Railway Hall of Fame in St. Thomas.

The ceremony will take place June 24 in the recently restored Canada Southern Railway Station.
“The Hall of Fame’s selection of Stratford not only recognizes the importance of the railway in the city’s founding during the 19th century, but its influence over the economic and social development of the community for more than 100 years,” said Carole Huband, president of the Stratford/Perth County branch of the Architectural Conservancy Ontario (ACO).


3. washingtonian.com: A Marcel Breuer Building in Reston May Get Knocked Down - Fairfax's planning commission will help decide the Brutalist building's fate on Thursday
Amanda Kolson Hurley

The limbo that the API building finds itself in is increasingly common for works of Brutalist architecture

The American Press Institute's former headquarters in Reston. Photograph by Amanda Kolson Hurley.

Unbeknownst even to many fans of modern architecture in the Washington area, Reston, Virginia, has a building designed by Marcel Breuer, the renowned architect responsible for such landmarks as the UNESCO headquarters in Paris and the Whitney Museum of Art (now the Met Breuer) in New York, as well as the love-it-or-hate-it HUD building in downtown DC. Reston’s Breuer building, formerly the American Press Institute (API), stands on Sunrise Valley Drive.

But maybe not for much longer. A homebuilder has applied to rezone the site, raze the structure, and replace it with a mix of townhouses and condos. This has prompted an 11th-hour campaign by residents and architects to save what they say is a work of major architectural significance. On June 16, the Fairfax County Planning Commission will decide whether or not to recommend that the county’s Board of Supervisors approve the new development.


4. Spacing: Hal Kalman Reviews Dorothy Mildenhall's Book on Thomas Fuller
Harold Kalman, forwarded by Stephen Otto

BOOK REVIEW: Thomas Fuller: Architect for a Nation

Thomas Fuller (1823-1898) rose to prominence as one (of four) architects of Canada’s Parliament Buildings, the one building for which he is widely known. His extensive professional career included work in England, Antigua, and the U.S., as well as Canada. Despite the scope of his work, Fuller has been the subject of only a handful of studies. Dorothy Mindenhall’s new book on Fuller is therefore a welcome newcomer. Her treatment is essentially chronological, tracing Fuller’s life and work from his youth in Bath, through his Canadian and American sojourns, to his death in Ottawa.

Whether in one of several partnerships – none lasted very long – or working alone, Fuller’s buildings display an eclectic variety of treatments, revealing his facility with the design vocabularies of the Victorian era and his skill at making the big statement. Fuller’s first building, the Late Georgian St. John’s Cathedral, Antigua, commissioned when Fuller was only twenty-two, already reveals a penchant for monumentality and superb siting. It also introduced Fuller’s ability to stir controversy, as the Ecclesiologist dismissed the cathedral as a ‘mere overgrown Pagan church … with two dumpy pepper-box towers.’ Fuller and his young family emigrated to Toronto in 1857 in search of the opportunities offered by the New World. His skills at self-promotion soon paid off, and within months he found an important client, R.B. Denison, who retained him to design St. Stephen-in-the-Field Anglican church, one with which the Ecclesiologist would have been far happier.


Editor’s Note: EDITORS NOTE: The Spacing Store is the lone retail shop to carry copies of the book. Please visit us at 401 Richmond St W, Toronto to pick up a copy.

5. Atlantic City Lab:What would Jane Jacobs Do?
Kriston Capps forwarded by Richard Longley

Whose Side in the Housing Wars Would Jane Jacobs Take Up Today?

Of all the ways to celebrate a centenary, announcing a collab with Bob Dylan might be the tops. Days before Wednesday’s Google Doodle marked the 100th anniversary of Jane Jacobs’s birthday, her son confirmed with The Globe and Mail that mom co-wrote a song with Dylan to protest Robert Moses’ plans for Lower Manhattan. But of course she did.

No planner is so revered—well, that’s a silly thing to say, since no other urbanist comes close to boasting the household-name status that Jacobs enjoys. Her battles with Moses in New York over urban renewal, and her advocacy for a city scaled to the person on the street, made her famous. They earned her not just acclaim but a philosopher’s eminence in the public sphere.

In her son’s telling, Jacobs even taught Dylan how to write a protest song. Now, that’s so unlikely as to throw a shadow over the whole story. But the lyrics, if they are Dylan’s, read like something Jacobs would be saying in 1963:

Listen, Robert Moses, listen if you can
It’s all about our neighborhood that you’re trying to condemn
We aren’t going to sit back and see our homes torn down
So take your superhighway and keep it out of town

Part of her critical appreciation surely stems from the fact that she was right about a great many things, while her sparring partner, Moses, was so wrong. Urban renewal cut devastating racial and economic fault lines through cities. Had Moses (and others) succeeded in building the Lower Manhattan Expressway, some of the most beloved neighborhoods in New York would not exist today.

Still, it is hard to share wholeheartedly the sentiment, expressed by colleagues at this publication and others, that Jacobs’s lessons should still guide us today. Or maybe it is tempting to do so but hard to justify, looking at the challenges that stand ahead. “If Jane Jacobs were with us today, she would have every right to say: I told you so,” writes Roberta Brandes Gratz. That’s no doubt right.


Editor’s Note: Food for thought. I am pretty sure that Jane Jacobs would not have expected nor supported the kind of runaway development in King Spadina that increasingly threatens the existence of all the old buildings that are home to "new ideas", and critical to the creative economy.

6. Waterloo Region Record: Corduroy Road a Hot Seller
Paige Desmond

Traffic was backed up nearly two kilometres on Erb Street Friday morning as hopeful residents lined up for a piece of the corduroy road unearthed from King Street in uptown Waterloo.

It took just 27 minutes for the Region of Waterloo to dole out the 100, two-foot sections available to the public at the landfill.

Susan Weber arrived at 3:45 a.m. to be first in line. She enjoyed a snooze in the back seat with her slippers, pillow and blanket as she waited for the gates to open. The next person arrived at 4:20 a.m., she said.

When she heard about the discovery of the road in early March, Weber was thrilled. "I love history and I love looking at old pictures so I just thought it was very exciting," she said. Weber plans to give her piece of corduroy road to her father John as a Father's Day gift. Coming from a Mennonite background, she believes perhaps her ancestors may have been involved in building the road. "I think it's special because there's a good possibility that one of our relatives was involved in that project so it makes it personal," she said.

Light rail transit construction consortium GrandLinq discovered the road under King Street and Willis Way on March 11. Work had to stop until the discovery could be properly documented as required by the province. A corduroy road is made by laying logs side by side perpendicular to a roadway passing through soft or wet soil. The lead archeologist documenting the road said it was built between 1790 and 1816 by Mennonites.

Tim Ireland arrived at the landfill with his young daughters Cassie and Callie shortly after 6:15 a.m. The girls were pretty excited to get a piece of corduroy road. "Callie wanted to get up at 1 a.m. this morning," Ireland said. The Irelands aren't sure what to do with their piece of wood quite yet, though Cassie suggested it go in their bunny Snowy's cage. Before they arrived, Ireland thought maybe they would be able to make a second trip for a second piece of wood. As the lineup formed it was clear that wasn't going to happen. "I don't think they thought this would happen," he said.

7. Niagara This Week: Port Dalhousie Loss
Scott Rosts

Lakeside Park pavilion to be demolished

St. Catharines council voted to demolish the structure in Lakeside Park on Monday night, but not until after there was significant debate on whether or not to save the structure, which has been closed since January due to structural integrity issues. While some councillors felt there was heritage value to the pavilion and saw merit in a Port Dalhousie Conservancy proposal to save it and restore for significant savings, the majority felt it was time to move forward with a new structure as part of the overall Lakeside Park enhancement program.

“This feels like a very much red herring debate. We’re debating a feces-filled roof on stilts,” said Coun. Mat Siscoe. “We need to start debating the issues that matter in the community, for example the gaping hole in Port Dalhousie and the piers that aren’t functional.” He added city staff and the city’s consultants were pretty clear the building doesn’t meet any definition of heritage — suggesting it was constructed in the 1960s. The consultant had also said in November the structure couldn’t be salvaged because of its poor condition.

Coun. Bruce Williamson, however, countered that the city has had a “poor track record” in preserving history and the conservancy and area residents not only have evidence suggesting the structure was built in 1925, but identified savings of between $200,000 to $300,000 with their counter proposal to rehabilitate the structure.

The city’s consultant, however, said what the conservancy suggested was a $550,000 project was actually closer to $999,000. The new pavilion, city staff said, would cost $732,000.

“Attitudes have changed. We need to look at this thing as something that adds value,” stressed Williamson. “It’s in rough shape, no doubt about it. It needs a lot of work, but it can be done…. There is an alternative that is more creative, more progressive and gives us an opportunity to save something that has historical merit.”
Coun. Carlos Garcia agreed and questioned the process, saying a third party should have reviewed the conservancy estimate, not the city’s consultant for the project.

“For $580,000 I think we can accomplish all the onjectives we had as a council,” said Garcia. “(It’s) more safe, more usable, extends the life, keeps the historical connections and it saves us a pile of money.”

Conservancy president Hank Beekhuis said he felt the issue has been “one sided” and the most recent staff report was “unbiased”. He admitted that while everyone agrees the status quo isn’t acceptable, the conservancy plan provides a significant improvement for less tax dollars.

“It comes down to preference, pride and prejudice at a cost of somewhere in the area of $200,000 to $300,000 extra to the taxpayer,” said Beekhuis, later adding “this closed-minded approach to heritage preservation in a heritage district like Port Dalhousie does not bode well for our future.”

The new pavilion is one of two proposed as part of the Lakeside Park enhancement project. In all, the $2.47 million project includes the pavilions ($1.05M), washroom and concession upgrades at a cost of $460,000, electrical upgrades at a cost of $440,000, a playground replacement for $400,000, accessibility improvements estimated at $75,000, and other miscellaneous items, for another $45,000. The project is being funded by the city ($1.77M), Region of Niagara ($545,000) and federal government ($150,000).

“This is an opportunity for us to move to something I think is respectful of the heritage of the park, but allows us to move forward,” said Mayor Walter Sendzik.

8. World Monuments Fund Website
forwarded by Margie Zeidler

Take a look at what they are doing at teh World's Monuments Fund


9. Gravenhurst Banner: Save The Bala Falls Hard at Work
Brent Cooper

SaveTheBalaFalls.com may still initiate legal action

Mitchell Shnier told an audience of around 178 at the Bala Community Centre that the group might have to initiate another legal action in relation to the plant project.

“We have a lot of focus on our plan how to move forward,” he said to those gathered for the meeting, which was an update of STBF’s activities over the past year. “If we need to initiate legal action we must be able to show that it is not in any individual’s interest, it is in the broad public’s interest. We need to show, for example, that Save The Bala Falls is not just a few people, it is representing an active and broader community.”

SaveTheBalaFalls.com filed an application in November to prevent Muskoka Lakes township from entering into a leasing agreement with Swift River Energy Ltd — the proponents of the hydroelectric plant project at Bala Falls — for the use of Portage Landing, the south half of the Don's Bakery parking lot, and the north half of the Precambrian Shield parking lot during construction of the plant, mainly as a staging area for construction.



10. Goderich Signal Star: Saving of Hill Cottage, Goderich
Laura Broadley

Goderich council rejected the Cottage owner

Cheers erupted in the gallery of Goderich council chambers on May 24 as council voted to reject the Cottage (135 Essex Street) owner’s request to have it de-designated as a heritage site.

This conclusion comes nearly two years after the owner’s initial request to have the designation removed from his property.

The years-long debate amounted to a Conservation Review Board hearing on Feb. 23, which saw Beth Ross and Laurel Armstrong objecting to council’s 2014 decision to de-designate the property.

Following the hearing, Conservation Review Board recommended that council repeal its original decision, and keep the property as a heritage site. It also recommended that Nick Hill’s work on the property be recognized.

Conservation Review Board recommendations are not binding for council, and so it was up to council members to make the final decision.

Before council had a chance to vote, John Thompson, Jim Wallace, Laurel Armstrong and Beth Ross spoke in favour of keeping the heritage site designation.

Councillor Michele Hansen said she believed that council should remain consistent with its voting, and uphold its original decision to de-designate.

“I believe that the owners own their home,” Hansen said.

Councillor Matt Hoy said it was important that the designation remain on the Cottage as evidenced by the expert recommendation of the Conservation Review Board.

“I’m not an expert. I’m not an architect,” Hoy said. “The experts tell us this property should be maintained as a designated property. That carries a lot of weight for me.”

The current owner purchased the property knowing it was already designated, so they knew what they were getting, Hoy said.

Councillor Trevor Bazinet said he agreed with Hoy.

“I don’t like flip-flopping. I said I would never flip-flop, but in this instance I’m changing my vote,” Bazinet said.

Deputy Mayor Jim Donnelly said he would accept the owner’s request to de-designate because he said he believed that when the power of the state encroaches on someone’s property without compensation it is theft. He said the owners of the Cottage have taken care of the property for over two decades without compensation.

Mayor Kevin Morrison said council received last-minute correspondence that he wanted to review and requested more time to make a decision. Donnelly made the motion to table the issue, but it failed to garner a seconder.

Council voted in favour of repealing its 2014 decision to grant to owner’s de-designation request. Councillors Matt Hoy, Luke Elliot, Myles Murdock and Trevor Bazinet voted in favour of keeping the heritage site designation thereby defeating the three votes of councillor Michele Hansen, Deputy Mayor Jim Donnelly and Mayor Kevin Morrison.


Editor’s Note: There was a petition circulating at the Ontario Heritage Conference at the ACO booth, hoping this will lead to the re-invigoration of the ACO branch in Goderich. Nicholas and Margaret Hill were very active members.

11. Now Magazine: Façadism
Richard Longley

Façadism: Is it an Architectural Plague or Preservation

It might be the dirtiest word in the conservationist’s dictionary, unless you prefer “facodomy” or landscape architect and planner Bob Allsopp’s “urban taxidermy.” It cannot be popular among architects either, who would rather design buildings that are wholly their own.

But if facadism – building new structures above, behind or inside the skins of heritage buildings – is so heinous, why is it so common?

Is it because, since Torontonians have lost so much of their city’s past, they are determined to hold on to fragments of what remains? Or is it because so many architects seem to have lost the knack of creating building fronts that impress, awe, intrigue, enchant or invite us to explore within?

If that is what facades are supposed to do, why are we so often confronted instead by bleakness and banality on the faces of new buildings? Is facadism a creator of monsters and mutations or is it an architectural movement whose products can be good, bad and indifferent?

In a Toronto clear-cutting, replanting and regrowing itself at a pace that’s transforming its skyline month by month, facadism is epidemic, with results that include the bizarre, the grotesque, the dramatic and the ridiculous, but rarely the sublime.

Michael Emory is president of Allied Reit, the firm responsible for Queen-Richmond Centre West at 134 Peter – possibly the most spectacular conservation project in Toronto, an 11-storey glass tower that straddles a four-storey former Weston Bakery built in 1912.


12. Now Magazine: Threat to York Square
Catherine Nasmith

Almost every time I mention Toronto’s York Square, people ask, “Where is that?” That’s a compliment to its success: its modest approach has been so widely copied that it’s almost invisible today.

Better known as the location of the Vidal Sassoon hair salon in Yorkville, the seminal work of Jack Diamond and Barton Myers’s groundbreaking architectural firm set the architectural and planning world on its head when it was completed in 1968. We now take for granted the idea of working with and around existing buildings, but York Square was one of the first projects in Toronto to mix historic and new. It set out on a different path than the scorched earth approach to “urban renewal.”

In 1968, Yorkville was home to the counterculture, to hippies, street kids and musicians like Joni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot. Toronto had not yet been hollowed out for urban renewal in the same way many American cities had, but it was charging headlong over that cliff, goaded on by planners and developers.

The development made news in architectural and planning journals around the world, and made Diamond & Myers the firm architecture graduates wanted to join. The round windows pay homage to Louis Kahn, reflecting the firm’s connections to the University of Pennsylvania, where Kahn taught.

Prior to the passage of the Ontario Heritage Act in 1975, it was hard to make the case to save lovely old buildings like Old City Hall and Union Station, let alone old houses. But the reform council of the 70s made Toronto famous as a liveable city and place of progressive urbanism.


13. Arch Daily: Bruce Goff Basinger House GONE

Bruce Goffs Bavinger House Demolished with Little Warning

The Bavinger House is considered by many to be the crowning achievement of Bruce Goff, an esteemed architect who was once referred to by his mentor Frank Lloyd Wright as one of the few creative American architects. Its spiraling form and integration with the landscape was one of the first instances of modernist bio-mimicry.

Originally built along with students at Oklahoma University, the house was damaged by a storm in 2011, after which its status remained a mystery due to its remote, private location and an unknown individual threatening reporters with gunshots.


14. Blog TO: John B. Parkin
Derek Flack

This architect changed everything in Toronto

Conversations about Toronto architecture often focus on the birth of the City Hall and the TD Centre in the 1960s as defining moments in the modernization of design in Toronto. It's tough to argue against the profound influence both of these structures, but it's also imperative to note the pioneering force that John C. Parkin was in making Toronto a modern city a decade earlier.

This process started well before Viljo Revell won the design competition to build a new municipal headquarters in Toronto. In fact, you'd want to go back to 1947 when John B. Parkin and John C. Parkin (no relation) joined forces to start the firm John B. Parkin and Associates. The similar names can lead to confusion, but John C. was the design lead, while John B. ran the business.

While far too many of John C. Parkin's buildings have been demolished over the years, including the glorious Bata Building on Wynford Drive, there's ample evidence of his footprint on Toronto. One of the most significant of these is a small building tucked at 50 Park Rd. in Rosedale.

Formerly the home of the Ontario Association of Architects, the structure dates back to 1954, and caused quite a stir when it first opened for its utter simplicity and unabashed modernism. It doesn't seem like much today, but Toronto hadn't seen anything like it at the time. Still, Parkin was only getting started.

Over the next 15 years, Parkin would change the face of Toronto with such landmark buildings as Rosedale Subway Station (1954), Sidney Smith Hall (1961), the Sun Life Building (1961), Yorkdale Shopping Centre (1964), Aeroquay No. 1 (1965), Don Mills Collegiate (1965), the IBM Canada Headquarters (1967), and the Simpson Tower (1969).

Wouldn't you know it, the firm would also play a supporting role in the design of the TD Centre alongside Mies van der Rohe and Bregman + Hamann Architects. It seems fitting that Toronto's best modern building to this day bears Parkin's name.

Editor's Note: If you want to see photos of his work, enter John B. Parkin in a detailed search on http://acotoronto.ca/tobuilt_new.ph


15. Blog TO: 1960's Top Pics
Derek Flack

The top 10 Toronto buildings from the 1960s

The 1960s were a massive decade for architecture in Toronto. In addition to the birth of New City Hall and the TD Centre, Brutalism left its mark on the city with grand concrete structures that would inspire designers to reach new heights in the 1970s. In the span of 10 years, Toronto had embraced modern design and there was no looking back.

Here are my picks for the top Toronto buildings to rise in the 1960s.

okeefe centre O'Keefe Centre (now the Sony Centre)
One of architect Peter Dickinson's most grand Toronto works, the O'Keefe Centre opened in 1961. Recognizable for its stunning marquee canopy (a smaller version of which could be seen at the Four Seasons Motor Hotel), it now serves as the base of the L Tower.

colonade building torontoThe Colonade
I doubt that many young people find much beauty in the Colonade nowadays, but architect Gerald Robinson's concrete palace near Bloor and Avenue Rd. was a marvel when it opened in 1964. It's aged well, but concrete is no longer as sought after a building material.

yorkdale mall 1960s Yorkdale Shopping Centre
Mall architecture can be as bland as it comes, but Yorkdale was a stunning exception. Completed in 1964, the majority of the mall was designed by John Graham Jr., who's most famous for the Seattle Space Needle. John Andrews also took part in designing the Simpson's department store. Much of the original work has been lost through renovations, but some remains.

university toronto scarborough University of Toronto Scarborough
John Andrews' University of Toronto Scarborough campus was one of the most significant and studied architectural works in this city for decades after it opened in 1964. The Brutalist complex is still considered one of the chief examples of this brand of architecture and is surprisingly human in orientation when you explore the space.

city hall toronto City Hall
This was the building that changed everything in Toronto. The winner of a massive international design competition in the early part of the decade, Viljo Revell's modernist municipal headquarters still looks like it comes from the future.

castle frank subway station Bloor-Danforth Subway Stations
There's an understated elegance to the Bloor-Danforth Subway Line that's easy to spot if you look past the grimy walls and aging signs. Architects John B. Parkin and A. G. Keith provided a consistent design that alternated between five colours of tile and four versions of trim. Station entrances like the rounded one found at Castle Frank have become iconic over the last 50 years.

toronto dominion centre The TD Centre
Surely the second most important building that rose in Toronto during the decade, the black steel of Mies van der Rohe's TD Centre was like nothing Toronto had ever seen at the time. The city's modern Financial District was born with this imposing complex.

20 prince arthur 20 Prince Arthur
Uno Prii deserves more respect for being the pioneering architect that he was. As the Toronto began to see a boom in concrete slab apartment buildings, he injected Googie-influenced style into his buildings, many of which can be found scattered around the Annex today. 20 Prince Arthur (1968) is the cream of the crop, though.

ontario science centre Ontario Science Centre
Raymond Moriyama's Ontario Science Centre is a building that needs to be experienced from both afar and within to get a true appreciation of its best attributes. Despite its sprawling size, from a distance one sees how well it blends into the ravine wall, the topography of which is also used to invite the natural surroundings into the building as one descends each floor.


16. Canadian Architect: Reviews on Two Books on Toronto City Hall

Danish architects 3XN to design condo tower on Toronto

Following a design competition, real estate firm Hines and developer Tridel have selected Danish firm 3XN as the design architect of their latest waterfront residential project at Bayside Toronto. Joined by 3XN principal and senior partner Kim Herforth Nielsen, the development partners and architect released initial renderings of the proposed condominium last week.

Architect Kim Herforth Nielsen described his firm’s intention to create a vertical neighbourhood, with the family home as its inspiration. “The design puts people first, paying particular attention to the quality of views, space and lifestyle,” he said. “The development will command extraordinary views of the water, neighbouring parks, and the city skyline.”


17. Cottage Life:10 of Ontario's Prettiest Historic Towns
Susan Laux

10 of the quaintest towns in Ontario

We know, we know—Ontario is overflowing with pretty, historic towns. Once you get away from the big cities, it’s hard to travel very far in any direction without coming across lovely Victorian storefronts and graceful heritage houses—so narrowing it down to only 10 towns was pretty difficult.

While it may be a controversial list, we’ve picked the spots that offer that perfect balance between old-fashioned charm, quirky culture, and welcoming community.


Editor’s Note: I say with a certain amount of pride as ACO President, almost all of these towns have or have had an active ACO branch. And there are many, many more, missing are some of my favorites, Meaford, Cobourg, St. Mary's, Stratford, Niagara on the Lake, Hanover, Walkerton, Collingwood, Guelph.....and....

18. Ministry of Culture: Draft Ontario Culture Strategy
Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sport

Core elements of Ontario

Last fall, the Ontario government launched Culture Talks to start a conversation with Ontarians about the value of culture in their lives and communities to help us develop Ontario’s first Culture Strategy. 

We would like to thank the thousands of participants who shared their ideas and thoughts on what culture means and the many ways they contribute to and take part in culture.

We now invite you to participate in the next stage of consultation by providing feedback on the key parts of the draft Culture Strategy. The draft sets out a vision for culture and identifies three overarching goals to strengthen culture in communities, fuel the creative economy and promote cultural engagement and inclusion. These goals are supported by strategies and actions to guide Ontario’s support for culture so that it continues to grow and flourish in the years to come.  The consultation period on the draft strategy closes on Friday, May 13, 2016. Visit ontario.ca/culturetalks  to find out more and to learn how you can provide feedback. 

Our next step will be to review the feedback we receive. We will then finalize the strategy and release it in June.

We would also like to let you know about two additional documents we have posted on ontario.ca/culturetalks:

  • A Summary of What We Heard from Ontariansan overview of the first stage of consultations held from September 2015 to December 2015, in which we capture the key themes and ideas that emerged during the engagement process.
  • An Environmental Scan of the Culture Sector, a background document that describes key challenges, opportunities and trends affecting the culture sector in Ontario and emerging best practices in Canada and other areas of the world. 

We look forward to receiving your feedback and continuing the conversation.