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1. InsideToronto.com & North York Mirror: Heritage preservation too cumbersome to be effective, proponents say
2. YouTube: Restoration of Grant Hall Moose Jaw Saskatchewan
3. Guardian: London's Threatened Skyline and Unesco
4. Leica Camera: Exploring the Landscape of Uncertainty
5. Preservation Green Lab: Environmental Benefits of Recycling Buildings
6. blogTO: 50 Stories on Bloor Street East
7. Bloor and Bathurst Development Website
8. Toronto Star: Christopher Hume Praises Honest Ed's Redevelopment
9. Owen Sound Sun Times: Branningham Grove demolition pending
10. Globe and Mail:Foster and Partners, 80 Stories on Former Stollery's Site
11. Now Magazine: Saving Main Street Toronto
12. Making Cities Livable
13. Changes to Winnipeg's Heritage By-Laws: What You Need to Know
14. Kinsmen seek assurances for Winnipeg's Sherbrook Pool
15. Church gets new life as affordable housing, community space in Winnipeg
16. Manitou, Manitoba Opera House is crowdfunding for renovations
17. CBC Calgary: Pain Block has no heritage status despite surviving Calgary's great fire of 1886
18. Guelph Mercury: Announcement coming on historic Guelph building
19. Cambridge Times: Opinion - City council needs to protect and preserve
20. Winnipeg Free Press: Endangered species: 90-year-old wooden barn one-of-a-kind in Western Canada

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1. InsideToronto.com & North York Mirror: Heritage preservation too cumbersome to be effective, proponents say

Onus should be on developers to prove why buildings cant be maintained

W.J. Morrish Building served the W.J. Morrish family from 1890 until 1989. The building fell into disrepair, but was expropriated by the City of Toronto in 2000. Scarborough Historical Society which fully restored [it].

Proponents of preserving local historical architecture say the process to designate heritage properties in Toronto is too complicated and slow to be effective and is often trumped by the desire to intensify.

It’s why buildings such as Stollerys, a 114-year-old downtown building that housed a clothing store, was cleared for demolition in January before preservation advocates could get the property designated as a heritage building, said Scarborough archivist Rick Schofield.

“There’s a huge backlog of buildings that could be threatened and we want to have them listed (on the city’s inventory of heritage properties), not designated. As a result, things like the Stollerys building were demolished because it wasn’t listed.”

Properties listed on the inventory are flagged by the city’s Heritage Preservation Services for review when applications for municipal permits or approvals are made. Property owners must provide 60 days’ notice of intent to demolish. Getting on the list is the first step towards city staff ultimately seeking to designate the property under the Ontario Heritage Act, giving it long-term protection against any development that may adversely affect the property’s heritage attributes.

Schofield said Scarborough is lucky its important heritage buildings had been listed on the former municipality’s heritage registry, preserving them in the amalgamated city.

Before amalgamation, to get a registry listing, all a person needed was to provide an address and a reason why a property should be listed. Now, even though any citizen can nominate a property for the inventory list, the process to do so is complicated and time consuming, requiring much research to prepare it.

In the west, preservation advocate Denise Harris said Toronto currently is more proactive in preserving heritage buildings than the former city of Etobicoke was, but there’s such a backlog of nominations for the inventory list that the city’s Heritage Preservation Services can’t get through without additional staffing.

Despite this, she said the city today would likely not have allowed several properties to be demolished that Etobicoke did before. Among those is the 1797-built home of Lt. Col. Samuel Smith in Long Branch, which was likely the second oldest home in the city, right after the Scadding Cabin, built in 1794, which is preserved today.

Harris said the council of the day couldn’t see the value of the Smith home, which was in a terrible state.

“Those homes belonged to are our forbearers,” Harris said. “Those are the generations who did all the hard work, physically, of cutting down the trees and creating the towns and the streets that we have today. It honours them and it gives us examples that we can use when teaching about what it used to be like.”

Preservation architect Catherine Nasmith said heritage properties are under threat because the system to protect them is wrong, saying conservation should be seen as an environmental issue.

“I think we should be moving away from having a list of the ‘special ones’ and we really need to think about all the buildings in the city, not just through a cultural lens, but through an environmental lens,” she said. “We shouldn’t be throwing perfectly good buildings in the garbage.”

Nasmith said 20 to 35 per cent of all landfill waste is building waste, and that construction accounts for 50 per cent of all the natural resources humans consume.


2. YouTube: Restoration of Grant Hall Moose Jaw Saskatchewan

From Ravaged to Ravishing

Thanks to my sister in law- Amber Nasmith for this link to a great heritage success story in Saskatchewan. I'll be staying there next time we visit.

For Reservations: http://granthall.ca/


3. Guardian: London's Threatened Skyline and Unesco
Jamie Doward

Eric Pickles under fire for allowing

South Bank plans could obscure the famous views of parliament

South Bank towers development passes final planning hurdle despite Unesco heritage fears, with communities secretary announcing he will not intervene

Heritage groups have accused the government of failing to protect Britain’s world heritage sites after effectively allowing plans for a development on London’s South Bank that will obscure views of the Houses of Parliament.

Campaigners say this confirms fears that the National Planning Policy Framework, promoted by ministers to encourage house-building, is giving too much power to developers.

Unesco had taken the unusual step of asking the government to reconsider plans that would see the demolition of Elizabeth House in Waterloo, a 1960s tower block, and replace it with two new buildings, one 29 storeys high. The £600m scheme will provide 142 new homes alongside offices and shops, but Unesco said this, along with the Nine Elms Regeneration and Vauxhall island site in Battersea, would affect London’s skyline, and the world heritage status of the sites.


4. Leica Camera: Exploring the Landscape of Uncertainty
Olaf Willoughby / Jonathan Castellino

Exploring the Landscape of Uncertainty


5. Preservation Green Lab: Environmental Benefits of Recycling Buildings
Preservation Green Lab, National Trust for Historic Preservation

The Greenest building: Quantifying the environmental Value of building reuse

Until now, little has been known about the climate change reductions that might be offered by reusing and retrofitting existing buildings rather than demolish- ing and replacing them with new construction. This groundbreaking study concludes that building reuse almost always offers environmental savings over demolition and new construction. Moreover, it can take between 10 and 80 years for a new, energy-efficient building to overcome, through more efficient operations, the negative climate change impacts that were created during the construction process. However, care must be taken in the selection of construc- tion materials in order to minimize environmental impacts; the benefits of reuse can be reduced or negated based on the type and quantity of materials selected for a reuse project.

This research provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of the poten- tial environmental impact reductions associated with building reuse. Utilizing a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) methodology, the study compares the relative environmental impacts of building reuse and renovation versus new construction over the course of a 75-year life span.


Editor’s Note: Thanks to ACO North Waterloo for bringing this study to my attention.

6. blogTO: 50 Stories on Bloor Street East
Chris Bateman

50 storey condo pushes development east on Bloor

Bloor Street East between Jarvis and Sherbourne has seen relatively little in the way of high-rise residential development since the 1970s--until now. The oxymoronic "Rosedale on Bloor," a pair of condominium towers planned for the south side of the street beside the new National Post headquarters, could add new life what's long been a staid stretch of downtown.


Editor’s Note: The ink is barely dry on the City of Toronto's Tall Building policy....which sets out where these things go.

7. Bloor and Bathurst Development Website

Toronto rarely sees such well developed and thoughtful presentations. This project really raises the bar for development processes. Take a look!


Editor’s Note: Doing big developments in one hand tends to lead to homogeneous solutions, this project is different in trying to create a more vibrant mix. One thing that would make it really interesting going forward is to mix the types of tenure within...some rental, some ownership, particularly for the low rise portions. It is a lot of city to have under one owner, mixing it a bit more would allow for a more interesting future evolution.

8. Toronto Star: Christopher Hume Praises Honest Ed's Redevelopment
Christopher Hume

Honouring his parents at Honest Ed

For too many developers, the legacy that matters most is the one that’s counted in dollars.

For David Mirvish, impresario, art collector, city-builder and accidental developer, the legacy that counts is the one that comes with being the son of “Honest” Ed Mirvish, easily the city’s most beloved retailer.

Aside from keeping locals entertained for decades with his publicity stunts, in the 1960s Ed Mirvish single-handedly saved the Royal Alexandra Theatre from demolition. In so doing, he struck a huge blow for the city’s cultural life and laid the groundwork for what’s now the Entertainment District.

The younger Mirvish’s commitment to his family’s civic history is most obvious, perhaps, in the elaborate project now being planned for King and John Sts. Designed by one of the world’s most sought-after architects, Frank Gehry, the two-towered scheme will include condos, an art gallery, an Ontario College of Art and Design University satellite facility, and several floors of shops and restaurants.

Nothing like it has ever been seen in Toronto. Easily the most ambitious development proposal in this city since the Toronto-Dominion Centre in the 1950s, it will become one of those rare structures that define a community.
But then there’s Honest Ed’s itself, the store, at Bloor and Bathurst Sts. It will eventually be torn down to make way for a mixed-use complex so enlightened that people — and neighbours — actually like the proposed development. In a city awash in NIMBY-fuelled fear of change, such a positive response is rare, if not unique.


Editor’s Note: Would be fun to somehow capture the memory of the signage?....Projection on special occasions? From all reports this development has had an exemplary process, and is doing a lot of things right in a City plagued by generally damaging development. 1000 new rental units in the core, many for families....in a really interesting neighborhood.

9. Owen Sound Sun Times: Branningham Grove demolition pending
Denis Langlois

Branningham Grove subject of demolition permit

The days may be numbered for historic Branningham Grove.

The owners of the 134-year-old building, which was once a brothel and most recently a restaurant, applied March 5 to city hall for a permit to demolish the structure on 16th St. E., Owen Sound's chief building official Kevin Hicks confirmed Monday.

Council now has 60 days to act if it wants to stave off demolition, since the structure is listed on the city's registry of properties of cultural heritage value or interest.

A staff report, with three options for council's consideration, is expected to come before the city's community planning and heritage advisory committee March 26. The committee is to make a recommendation to council.


10. Globe and Mail:Foster and Partners, 80 Stories on Former Stollery's Site
Alex Bozikovic

First look: New Yonge and Bloor tower would be Torontos tallest

Is it The One? The new development at the southwest corner of Yonge and Bloor streets will be sold with that catchphrase, and it will in some ways earn that title. The design by global architects Foster and Partners is tall, brawny and complex.

The project, which developer Sam Mizrahi and the architects presented to a community meeting Wednesday night, would be the third tall tower to rise at the corner. However, in size and architectural character, it would stand out: The proposal places 72 levels of apartments on top of an eight-level luxury shopping mall, and wraps a grid of structural steel outside of its glass skin.



11. Now Magazine: Saving Main Street Toronto
Catherine Nasmith

New Ideas need Old Buildings

I dreamt recently that I was on a streetcar travelling through piles of demolition rubble, through a completely unrecognizable landscape. Another night I woke up fearing the whole city was going to end up like the ludicrous tower going up at Yonge and Bloor. What's happening to Toronto's heritage architecture is giving me nightmares.

January's sudden demolition of Stollery's has led to lots of navel-gazing about how it happened. The simple answer is that the heritage process is too cumbersome and under-resourced.

The Toronto branch of the Architectural Conservancy Ontario (I am the branch president) recently lobbied hard to protect York Square at Avenue Road and Yorkville, including doing significant research. It took two years to get the Ontario Municipal Board proof-of-designation report written and passed, racing against a property owner who was planning redevelopment.

At the recent planning meeting on that redevelopment project, the heritage of York Square was given the same weight as transportation, shadow studies, wind and retail, as if being designated under the Ontario Heritage Act were just one more thing to think about as we blast away at Toronto's fabric. The current proposal would destroy about 75 per cent of the site's designated heritage attributes, obliterating the physical record of York Square's significance in the history of international urbanism.

How hard would it be for no to mean no?



12. Making Cities Livable
Alain De Botton

Video from Alain de Botton

Alain de Botton, philosopher and author of many wise and entertaining books including “The Architecture of Happiness”, has now produced a video on “What Makes Cities Attractive”. He calls on us all to express our opinions, and to make our city leaders accountable to the citizens, not just to the developers.

His six principles include scale: "Our urban skylines have become dominated by tall buildings dedicated to banking and commerce. Instead, we should be building at an ideal height of five stories, resulting in dense and medium-rise cities, like Berlin and Amsterdam. If there are tall buildings in a city they should be dedicated to something “all of humanity can love.”


13. Changes to Winnipeg's Heritage By-Laws: What You Need to Know
Heritage Winnipeg

Changes to Winnipeg's Heritage By-Laws: What You Need to Know

The Historical Resources By-Law No. 55-2014 The Old The former Historical Buildings By-law No. 1474/77 was adopted by City Council in 1978 (the same year Heritage Winnipeg was established), and continued to mandate heritage conservation in Winnipeg for over 35 years.

Buildings on the Conservation List were graded either a I, II, or II, according to their historical and architectural significance. Upon application for alterations to a building on the Conservation List, a Certificate of Suitability would be issued. However, as with other policies and regulations, by-laws must evolve to keep up with the changing needs of the community


14. Kinsmen seek assurances for Winnipeg's Sherbrook Pool
Winnipeg Free Press

Kinsmen seek assurances for city pool

The Kinsmen Club of Winnipeg wants assurances there will be no program cuts at Sherbrook Pool before it donates $1 million to help renovate the inner-city facility.

Club president Raj Phangureh said the group's concerns were revived this week when Mayor Brian Bowman confirmed sections of all civic indoor pools will be closed at times of low public usage to save staffing costs.

Phangureh said the club contacted the city in February, after the Free Press first reported several city councillors had been told of widespread pool closures and programming reductions, but were told that wasn't going to happen.

Phangureh said his concerns were raised again this week when information in the city's budget books appear to show the cuts to aquatic programming will be worse than Bowman had predicted.

"This is a very big investment for us in the community's future, and we don't want it nickled and dimed back down to lower levels where our contribution will not mean as much as we thought it would," Phangureh said. "To put it plainly -- we want the best bang for the buck for our million-dollar donation, and this doesn't sound like this will be it."

Phangureh said the contribution agreement still hasn't been finalized, adding he wants further assurances programming at the pool will be not be affected for budgetary reasons.

When the 2015 budget was tabled this week, officials acknowledged $100,000 would be trimmed from the aquatics budget this year and $300,000 in 2016. Bowman explained the reduction is to be achieved by closing sections of indoor pools that are not being regularly used on a given day and not needing to staff lifeguards at those times.

All indoor civic pools will be affected to some degree, but city officials said they had not yet determined how individual pools would be affected.

But the budget documents revealed the cuts to the aquatics program totalled $381,000 this year and $1 million in 2016.

A civic spokeswoman said Thursday the additional $281,000 in cuts attributed in the budget documents for this year is the result of "an accounting restructuring of the recreation and aquatics sub-services."

For 2016, the spokeswoman said the only reductions for aquatics is the $300,000 announced. The remaining $700,000 cut, the spokeswoman said, is the result of "lower capital-financing costs for aquatic facilities in 2016, as the capital program for 2015 is complete."

Sherbrook Pool has been closed since November 2012 because of structural concerns. Despite a groundswell of community support, the city administration opposed re-opening the pool because it was old and they did not believe it would be money well spent. However, council approved the structural repairs in the 2014 budget and that work was expanded when the Kinsmen agreed to contribute $1 million. The province later committed funding for additional interior renovations.

The cuts to the indoor pools won't affect Sherbrook Pool this year as it remains closed and is not scheduled to reopen until January 2016.


15. Church gets new life as affordable housing, community space in Winnipeg
CTV Winnipeg

Church gets new life as affordable housing, community space in Winnipeg

The West End Commons officially opened its doors to the public Friday. The space was formally the St. Matthews Anglican Church in the citys West End neighbourhood. The new space is now home to a total of 26 one, two, three and four-bedroom affordable housing units, six of which are wheelchair accessible. Theres also a food bank, indoor childs play area, resource centre and smaller worship area.


16. Manitou, Manitoba Opera House is crowdfunding for renovations
West End Dumplings

The Manitou Opera House is crowdfunding for renovations

The Manitou Opera House Management Committee wants to build a 2,175 square foot addition that will allow wheelchair access to the main floor and a new foyer area that will include men's and women's accessible washrooms, two accessible meeting rooms and a cloakroom.

The total price tag is $725,000, of which over $600,000 has already been raised, and they have created a crowdfunding campaign to raise a further $25,000.

Built in 1930, it is is not only an historic landmark but an important cultural institution for the region. Between September 2012 to August 2013 it was booked for 213 days for a wide range of events.

It has a great past and YOU can be part of its future !


17. CBC Calgary: Pain Block has no heritage status despite surviving Calgary's great fire of 1886
Scott Dippel

Heritage group hopes to demystify historic designation in upcoming seminar

The Pain Block is the only wooden building to survive the massive fire that swept through downtown Calgary in 1886. The devastation sparked a spurt of sandstone construction in the area. (Scott Dippel/CBC)

As historic buildings go in Calgary, the Pain Block on Stephen Avenue Walk is one of a kind.

It's the only downtown building to have survived Calgary's "great fire of 1886" that devastated a significant portion of the young Prairie town.

It's also one of a handful of buildings left of that vintage made entirely of wood. Many older Calgary buildings were constructed of sandstone, which became the product of choice after the 1886 fire.

However, the Pain Block doesn't have protected heritage status from any level of government even though it has ties to significant political and business figures in Calgary's history.

According to Bob van Wegen with the Calgary Heritage Initiative Society, the building which now houses a souvenir shop actually has plenty of company.

"I think most people think that the buildings on Stephen Avenue — historic buildings that they are — have legal protection and can't be torn down. That's not true," said van Wegen.


18. Guelph Mercury: Announcement coming on historic Guelph building
Rob O'Flanagan

Rob O'Flanagan, Mercury staff - The Petrie Building on Wyndham Street in downtown Guelph.

GUELPH–A public announcement will come Sunday evening or Monday morning on a possible sale of the Petrie Building in downtown Guelph.

Tyrcathlen Partners of Guelph has been rumoured to be in negotiations to purchase the architecturally and historically significant structure at 15 Wyndham St. N.

Kirk Roberts and Peregrine Wood are the partners in Tyrcathlen, which acquires, restores, and repurposes heritage buildings in Guelph. Two significant projects, the Granary Building and Boarding House Arts, are examples of what they do.

On Thursday morning, Roberts said an announcement is forthcoming related to the Petrie Building. There are unconfirmed indications that the designated heritage building has been sold. The Apollo Eleven restaurant has occupied the ground floor of the building since the mid-1970s.

Last year, Heritage Canada The National Trust, an organization dedicated to the preservation of historic places in Canada put the Petrie Building on its Top Ten Endangered Places in Canada for 2014.

Efforts have been underway for years to raise awareness about the dilapidated state of the building, and in 2012 a community group renewed the call for the preservation of the building. Rumours of possible sales have come and gone over the years.

The Petrie Building is unique in Canada as one of only three pre-1890 buildings in the country with a full sheet-metal façade and stamped galvanized iron front. That unique feature has been neglected for decades, causing many to fear that the building would end up being demolished out of neglect.


19. Cambridge Times: Opinion - City council needs to protect and preserve
Karen Scott Booth

Of particular concern is the risk to the architectural integrity and heritage value of the Old Galt Post Office

On Feb. 27, I was honoured to accompany Patricia Rosebrugh, founding president of Heritage Cambridge, now the Architectural Conservancy Ontario (ACO) Cambridge, when she was presented with the Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Along with many past and current members of ACO Cambridge, I have long admired and respected the important and selfless work that Pat has undertaken to preserve the best of our natural and built heritage.

In her remarks at the awards ceremony, the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, was eloquent and heartfelt as she spoke of the importance of preserving our cultural heritage. And when she emphasized the role of each citizen, I was reminded of the important issues currently threatening the integrity of so many notable resources within the City of Cambridge and the Region of Waterloo.


20. Winnipeg Free Press: Endangered species: 90-year-old wooden barn one-of-a-kind in Western Canada
Bill Redekop

It was originally a dairy barn, with cattle on one side and work horses on the other. The main floor is close to 5,000 square feet and the loft doubles that. It still has the original concrete floors.

PHOTOS BY BILL REDEKOP / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Curtis Gervin and his massive barn that was built in 1924

BROOMHILL -- To rebuild Curtis Gervin's 90-year-old barn today -- believed to be the only two-siloed wooden barn still standing in Western Canada -- would cost more than $1 million, he estimates.

But in 1924, two brothers from Chicago spared no expense.

Albert and Ephraim Ivers went to southwestern Manitoba and purchased 1,600 acres of crop land. That's an extraordinary land holding, about 10 times the size of most farms back when people still cropped quarter sections (160 acres).

Then they built the most extravagant barn with top-of-line technology, including two built-in wood silos, a wooden air-duct system and a railing system for manually moving the feed bucket from stall to stall.

Then they went broke, as farms so often do when they are financed by investors from the city. But they left behind one amazing barn.

The barn near Broomhill, south of Virden and more than 300 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg, is featured in Bob Hainstock's Barns of Western Canada, the definitive work on these pastoral works of architecture.

"You have to remember the 1920s were a boom time in agriculture. Adjusted for inflation, the price for a bushel of wheat was about $35," said Gervin, of the Iver brothers' attempt to capitalize on the farm economy. "Western Canada was opening up and investors had the idea to buy land and make a fortune when it appreciated."

Many old barns have collapsed since being archived in Hainstock's book from 1985, but not Gervin's. He's already spent $30,000 replacing the roof. It still had its original cedar shingles.

"This one's lucky. I don't know if it's built better. I do believe what kills a building is not using it."

His barn is still very functional, used for calving 800 cows. He has added some modern touches, such as three calving cameras to monitor for birthing problems.