1. National Screen Institute- Film offering A Metis View of Canada 150
2. OHA+M: Proposed changes to OMB underwhelming
3. Guelph Today: Protecting 13 Stuart Street
4. Toronto Star: Situation at 401 Richmond dire-Province must Act
5. Globe and Mail: At Risk - The Palace Arms Hotel
6. Peterborough Examiner: Council leaves Downtown Properties in Jeopardy
A jingle dress dancer, an 1850s blacksmith and a troop of defiant urban Indians assert Toronto as Indigenous territory and challenge Canadians to re-write their nation’s history.
Writer: Jesse Thistle
Directors: Martha Stiegman, Jesse Thistle
Producers: Martha Stiegman, Anders Sandberg
As Canada celebrates 150 years of colonialism, we offer kiskisiwin | remembering as an interruption of the pioneer mythology at the foundation of the Canadian historical narrative, and to force a space for Indigenous presence.
For Jesse Thistle, a Métis-Cree doctoral student of history at York University, and a Vanier and Trudeau scholar, this work is deeply personal, and part of his research examining intergenerational trauma and Métis history.
For Martha Stiegman, a settler and assistant professor at York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies, kiskisiwin | remembering is part of larger body of documentary video and scholarship that explore the history of treaty-making in eastern Canada, and the settler responsibilities that derive from those agreements.
In this Indigenous/settler collaboration, we work together in the hopes of building healthy, honest relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada.
The film also represents a gesture towards embodying truthful public history displays about the Nation’s past and how positive interventions, such as the small film, can dislocate romantic settler narratives that try to erase Indigenous peoples from the history of Turtle Island.
Changes to the OMB --meh
In case you missed it … on May 30, 2017 Minister of Municipal Affairs Bill Mauro introduced the government’s long-anticipated changes to the Ontario Municipal Board. Bill 139, the Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act, 2017, combines OMB/planning system-related changes and changes to the Conservation Authorities Act, which has also been under review. 
The province says: “If passed, the proposed legislation would overhaul the province’s land use planning appeal system.”
Personally the overhaul leaves me underwhelmed. (And that’s not a bad thing!) 
Let’s look at the proposed changes to the OMB and what this means for heritage.
Not to put too fine a point on it, much of what the government is proposing looks a lot like smoke and mirrors — changes that are designed to appease the mostly Greater Golden Horseshoe municipal politicians who rail against the (as they see it) unelected, anti-democratic, unaccountable, cumbersome, unfair, etc., etc. body that has had a major role in the province’s land use planning system since 1906. But changes without a lot of substance.
Guelph City Council voted to fast track efforts to protect a 126-year-old city mansion Tuesday night.
Guelph City Council voted to fast track efforts to protect a 126-year-old city mansion Tuesday night.
Amidst fears that the house was on the verge of being demolished, council voted 10-1 to pass a notice of intention to designate 13 Stuart St. as a heritage property.
The stately home, located in the St. George’s Park neighbourhood just east of downtown, was once the home of the Cutten family.
Its current owners, John and Pamela Rennie, were not in attendance at Tuesday’s council meeting, but their lawyer Eric Davis was.
Davis was seeking a delay in council’s decision.
“My clients haven’t had adequate time to consider this matter” and their options, Davis told council.
He said the speed at which the matter got before council has “taken them aback.”
Even council’s heritage champion, Coun. Leanne Piper, agreed that it is “usually a much longer process.”
But Piper said what brought the matter to council so quickly was a “concern in the community and amongst staff that demolition has already started to occur.”
Interior demolition has apparently already taken place, a staff report to council said.
“It’s been completely gutted,” Piper said.
“This is really a no brainer. The time for comment from the property owner is over.”
Time running out for deal to save 401 Richmond
On a steamy pre-summer evening this week, Councillor Joe Cressy stood beneath the raw wooden beams of a common space at 401 Richmond St., looking grave. He had every reason to.
A hopeful late winter had given way to a stagnant late spring, with the fate of the building, a long-time sanctuary for dozens of the city’s non-profit cultural organizations, hanging in the balance. And he wasn’t the only one feeling anxious.
All around, dozens of the building’s tenants had gathered. At issue was the building’s tax bill, a figure that has more than doubled since 2012, putting pressure on tenants and UrbanSpace, the building’s owner, alike. This year alone, taxes will jump another 21 per cent, due to an assessed value that reflects the overheated property market surrounding it. UrbanSpace has borne the brunt of the increases, shielding its thinly funded tenants as much as it can. But with the new tax bill due in July, time is running out.
“There’s no question: There’s a fierce urgency of now,” Cressy said. It’s the full boil of an issue that’s been simmering publicly since December when it was first revealed that the building, an unofficial cultural landmark, was near the breaking point, holding the line on modest rents for its tenants while its tax burden expanded.
In 2012, UrbanSpace, the building’s owner, paid close to $447,000 in property taxes, with its rate increasing steadily to that point at 1 per cent per year. Then in 2013, it jumped to $520,280. By 2016, the bill was within a few hundred dollars of $700,000. Without some kind of intervention, the building’s 2017 tax bill will be $846,210.73.
While UrbanSpace has absorbed the worst of the increases, tenants have shared some pain. And with taxes projected to go as high as $1.29 million by 2020, there’s only so much that UrbanSpace can swallow and ample reason to be concerned.
An oasis of difference now walled in by high-end retail condominiums and office space, 401 — with its modest rents and non-profit tenants — is a holdout in a commercial property market driven sky-high by rampant development.
Cressy, acknowledging the building’s significance to the city’s cultural life, exhausted all of the city’s tax-relief measures earlier this year, but they’re stopgap at best. His efforts to broker a permanent solution with the province — a new tax class for “cultural incubators” like 401 — have dragged on. He had come to the building this week to offer an update: he had spoken with the premier’s office and had received an encouraging, if imprecise respons
Last call at the Palace Arms: Developers covet the King West property, but where will its poor tenants go?
The building on a coveted King West intersection is one of the last of its kind: an affordable refuge for poor men. Now it’s up for sale. As developers begin to circle, Arthur White examines what the future holds for the hotel and its tenants
For sale: A derelict long-stay hotel at the corner of King and Strachan, its interior design scheme centred around stucco, ceramic tile and wood panelling. In Room 8, where I’ve booked myself for six nights, there’s a carpet stained with splotches of white and black, a sheet peppered with cigarette burns and two pictures of the Last Supper – one in 3-D. It’s one of the better rooms.
The price: $14-million. The Palace Arms went up for sale last spring, when owner Bernie Tishman decided he’d had enough of the hotel game.
“My family and I have been here for 53 years,” he says. “I think it’s time to retire.”
If the market is any guide, it’s only a matter of time before a new project arrives to energize this sleepy strip of King West. The 125-year-old heritage building sits on one of the last underused sites in an area coveted by condo developers (some of whom have already met with city officials to pitch preliminary ideas). With the city aiming to conserve most of the structure in any sale and redevelopment, this Cinderella of Toronto’s Victorian period might be safe – but things aren’t so clear for the tenants, who say they don’t have anywhere else to go.
The Palace has 91 rooms, and the manager says they’re always about 90 per cent full. The mostly middle-aged men who live here scrape by with rough jobs or disability benefits. More than a few are mentally ill. Many are alcoholics.
“The accommodations are basically for men only,” say the rules, but young women are a common sight, strolling along the hallways, knocking on doors. One calls me “sunshine” and asks if I want to party.
Toronto used to have a wide selection of cheap long-stay hotels. But many, like the Gladstone and the Drake, have since been transformed from dilapidated flophouses into swanky neighbourhood hubs.
Riverside’s New Broadview Hotel, once the home of Jilly’s strip club, looks set to follow. As it stands, the Palace Arms is one of the last of its kind: a refuge for poor men seeking privacy and affordable downtown living.
Development Proposal by Denegri Bessai Studio
Most downtown Peterborough properties left off heritage registry
City councillors voted to adopt a new list of buildings that deserve heritage protection on Monday, but they didn't agree to include all 100 properties suggested by city staff - they left out the majority of downtown properties, pending an overhaul of the city's Official Plan.
Councillors also added another caveat: they want consent from property owners, before their buildings are added to the registry.
The idea wasn't to put heritage designations on each of these properties. City staff had compiled a list of roughly 100 buildings - most of them downtown - that are historically significant.
Putting them on a registry would mean the property owner would need to wait 60 days before applying for a demolition permit (enough time for council to start the process of designation.)
City staff wrote in a report that it's about time the city adopts such a registry. Staff included properties such as St. Paul's Presbyterian Church, which has major structural deficiencies.
Ken Doherty, the city's community services director, urged councillors to consider adopting the registry (even without asking property owners' permission, first).
He said he'd be "very concerned" if council elected to wait any longer before adopting a registry.
"We have a distinct and intact 19th century downtown - which Peterborough is known for," Doherty said.
Meanwhile the city recently encountered controversy when a local developer obtained demolition permits to tear down both the Pig's Ear and the Black Horse; the developer wanted to build apartment buildings.