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1. vancitybuzz.com: Origami Waterfront office tower rejected over lack of respect for historic buildings
2. Montreal Gazette: Heritage Hotel Viger jewel in a $250-million plan to revive eastern Old Montreal
3. Globe and Mail: Silver Dollar and Waverly Hotel
4. Globe and Mail: Stollery's and York Square
5. Toronto Star: Drawings of all 99 Toronto Libraries
6. Globe and Mail: Granatstein Opinion on Kingston's Marine Museum of the Great Lakes
7. CBC Radio: Nasmith Interview over Stollery's
8. Toronto Star: Detroit on the Rise
9. Toronto Star: Demolition of Stollery's Over the Weekend
10. Toronto Star: Stollery's At Yonge and Bloor to be Redeveloped
11. Toronto Star: Roughing it in the Muskoka Bush-1870's style
12. Blog TO: Bloor Street Viaduct
13. Ottawa Citizen: Shirley Blumberg objects to Location of Ottawa Memorial
14. Toronto Star: Magna Carta Coming to Canada
15. Ontario Heritage Trust Video: Michael Bliss on James Collip, co-discover of Insulin
16. Ontario Heritage Trust Video: Jack Granatstein on John McCrae
17. Gravenhurst Banner: Bala Falls -Wahta Chief Concerned about Huntsville Conflict of Interest
18. Guelph Mercury: The historic St. Agnes School on Catholic Hill is all boarded up
19. Toronto Star: Keeping Toronto's Heritage
20. Globe and Mail: Canada 2017?
21. Windsor Star: Urban Design Preservation in Windsor
22. Globe and Mail: Bala Protest Camps Over 100 Days through Winter
23. The Guardian: New Year's Resolutions for Architects in 2015
24. Winnipeg Free Press: Endangered species: 90-year-old wooden barn one-of-a-kind in Western Canada

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1. vancitybuzz.com: Origami Waterfront office tower rejected over lack of respect for historic buildings
Kenneth Chan

Image: Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill. First design of 555 West Cordova a.k.a. Waterfront Tower

The so-called ‘origami’ Waterfront Tower designed by internationally renowned Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture was rejected during its first attempt into the City of Vancouver’s Urban Design Panel (UDP).

Cadillac Fairview is proposing to build a 26-storey, 127-metre tall office tower at 555 West Cordova, a ground-level Impark parking lot between Waterfront Station public transit hub and The Landing office building – both of which are heritage buildings.

The tower would be built on a small site next to Waterfront Station, with some of the tower’s lower floors overhanging over the former CPR station with an origami glass facade. The overhang gap between the station and the tower also allows for an unique inner courtyard public amenity.

The building is closely situated next to Waterfront Station so that part of the site next to Steamworks can be used for a road extension for the city’s future Waterfront Hub precinct.

However, the UDP members stated they had concerns with the close proximity of the proposed tower to the 1914-built station in an effort to provide sufficient clearance for the City’s future road extension. In essence, they felt the tower did not “respect” the historic buildings on either side of the site and had concerns over how it would be integrated with the public realm.

This includes the public’s ability to use the current parking lot site to view the mountains, although this seems to be an odd issue considering that additional urban development and road infrastructure is slated immediately north of the area over the rail yard.


2. Montreal Gazette: Heritage Hotel Viger jewel in a $250-million plan to revive eastern Old Montreal
Eva Friede

A long neglected and derelict part of Old Montreal could rise again as a thriving hub of the city with a $250-million development project to restore the grand château-style Gare-hôtel Viger and develop almost seven acres of the old city.

As part of the three-phase project in eastern Old Montreal, new buildings will also house condos, rental units, shops, markets and offices, covering more than 1 million square feet.

 “It’s a significant piece of land,” said Anthony O’Brien, senior managing director for the development firm, Jesta Group, noting its size, history and location in Old Montreal on the waterfront.

 “It’s got tremendous potential, but also great responsibility to do the right thing,” he said.

 “The right thing is respecting the heritage and history of the site, through modern architecture and modern uses.”

 The jewel of the property, no doubt, is the hotel, built in 1898 for Canadian Pacific by Bruce Price, the architect also responsible for the imposing Château Frontenac in Quebec City, the original Banff Springs Hotel at Lake Louise and Windsor Station in Montreal.

The Gare-hôtel Viger “forms part of the Canadian identity of the time,” said Edward Hercun, in-house architect for the developers, and a specialist in heritage and sustainable design.

Set within the original fortified city, the heritage building and its immediate vicinity is likely unique in all of North America, Hercun said, in that it was home to three generations of train stations. 

“The city is in the process of rebuilding an urban identity that was destroyed when the train tracks were installed by Canadian Pacific,” Hercun said.

Now in full reconstruction-restoration mode, the building held a train station on its ground floor, which in 1912 moved to adjacent Gare Berri, now home to Jesta offices and part of the 150,000 square feet being developed under Phase 1. The first rail station was Gare Dalhousie, just to the south, whose building still exists and is home to Cirque Éloize.


3. Globe and Mail: Silver Dollar and Waverly Hotel
Brad Wheeler

Placing a Value on the Silver Dollar

If a penny saved is a penny earned, surely it is worth it to save a Dollar.

On Jan. 13, the modest Silver Dollar Room, a cement growth in the shadow of the Hotel Waverly, was deemed by city council as being of cultural heritage value or interest. The preservation status has to do with the musical tradition of a small, dusky room at 486 Spadina Ave. that has seen strippers strip, Bobby Bland do blues and Bob Dylan be Dylan.

The Dollar’s official designation comes one year after the city turned down a developer’s scheme to tear down the saloon (and the attached Hotel Waverly) to make room for a 22-storey mixed-use building, which would house a private student residence on its top 20 floors and a revamped Silver Dollar Room at ground level.

The rejection to that proposal was appealed by the buildings’ owners (Wynn Group) to the Ontario Municipal Board. Final statements are to be presented at a hearing on Jan. 30.

There’s nothing particularly significant about the architecture of the Dollar or the Hotel Waverly. In fact, the city only designated the Dollar – and not the attached turn-of-the-century flophouse – as a heritage site, a decision that has caused concern among the preservationist crowd.

“In my opinion, the two buildings are peas in a pod,” says architect Michael McClelland, a witness for the city’s side in the case currently in front of the OMB. “I don’t agree with designating just one part.”


4. Globe and Mail: Stollery's and York Square
Alex Bozikovic

Stollerys is going. But Toronto should do more to save its heritage


When workers are smashing up a building on a Sunday morning, it suggests some kind of skulduggery. But last weekend at Yonge and Bloor, the rules largely weren’t being broken; The crew attacking the façade of the Stollery’s building at 1 Bloor West had a demolition permit.

Should we mourn the end of this building, site of a venerable and long-crumbling apparel shop? Personally, I’m not convinced. It is a mess: a modestly scaled shoebox with a 1984 gold-glass addition placed on top like a mullet. It’s located at Yonge and Bloor, one of Canada’s busiest corners and fertile ground for some very dense development. It is an anachronism.


But you might disagree, and say that it is a relic: a rare Toronto building with Art Deco details, home of the same family business for a century and part of a historic neighbourhood.

Now there’s not much of it left to argue about. And that is why the weekend’s hasty demolition is a problem. We didn’t get to discuss how to reconcile history and new development, a kind of conversation that Toronto is very good at. And, with half of downtown seemingly under construction, it’s a talk we need to have more often.

This was the point I heard from Mary MacDonald, who heads the city’s Heritage Preservation Services department, this week. “What we would object to is the lack of an ability to have that conversation, and to find a solution that reflects a complex public interest,” she said.

It can be done. Just down the street from Stollerys is 5 St. Joseph St., a 48-storey tower set behind a row of Victorian storefronts that are remaining in place. It’s half a block of old Yonge Street being dolled up under the direction of ERA Architects, with a strong, contemporary building by Hariri Pontarini. In this May-December romance, both partners look fabulous.


5. Toronto Star: Drawings of all 99 Toronto Libraries
Tara Deschamps

Local artist Daniel Rotsztain draws all 99 Toronto libraries

 While most people shuffle through a period of unemployment doling out resumes, one Toronto man decided to spend it travelling to each of the city’s 99 public libraries.

From the end of August to October, 25-year-old artist and geographer Daniel Rotsztain boarded buses, trains, streetcars and his bike with an inky pen in hand and plenty of paper. His goal was to capture the city’s bastions of books by drawing each one of them in a “homey, but blue print style”— a feat he sometimes conquered amidst scorching heat and drizzling rain.

The project was born out of a conversation Rotsztain had with friends about their favourite library branches.
“It’s a love letter to the library,” he told the Star. “It is hard to just wander randomly, but to have this quest oriented me well to explore every corner of every borough of the city.”

He is releasing the images on his website and is eagerly anticipating drawing the 100th library to open in the Scarborough Centre area this spring.

After visiting each branch, it’s tough for him to narrow down just one favourite.


Editor’s Note: How wonderful to have the time to do such a great project. Trust such a talented guy has found work.

6. Globe and Mail: Granatstein Opinion on Kingston's Marine Museum of the Great Lakes
J. L. Granatstein

Why is Ottawa sinking Kingstons Marine Museum?

Historian J.L. Granatstein is the author of Who Killed Canadian History? and many other books on Canadian political and military history.

Kingston, Ontario, was Sir John A. Macdonald’s home town, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper was there for the Grand Old Man’s 200th birthday last week. The city is redolent of history: its statues; City Hall; and splendid old houses – the stuff of Canada’s past.

But Kingston is also the home of the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes, and this piece of Canadian history is on the verge of sinking.

The Marine Museum, opened in 1975, is small, runs on a tiny budget, and gets no federal funding, its support coming from provincial and city grants, fund-raising, ticket sales, and gifts from donors. The Museum sits on a 3.8 acre site on the Kingston waterfront, and the land is owned by the Government of Canada. Now, as part of its program of disposing of surplus land (such as a host of lavish diplomatic residences abroad), Public Works and Government Services Canada has said it will put this site up for sale to the highest bidder on Jan. 31.


7. CBC Radio: Nasmith Interview over Stollery's
Catherine Nasmith

Heritage Building?

Interview with Catherine Nasmith regarding the weekend demolition of Stollery's at Yonge and Bloor in Toronto


8. Toronto Star: Detroit on the Rise
David Olive

Surprising  no, astonishing  Detroit revival taking root

Returning home by helicopter one day in 1967, Bill Ford, a scion of the Ford auto dynasty, looked down and saw that huge swaths of Detroit were ablaze in one of the worst race riots in U.S. history. He turned to his father, Henry Ford II, then CEO of Ford Motor Co., and said: “My God, it’s all over. We’ve lost our home.”

Bill Ford, who was destined to run Ford Motor in the 2000s, recognized the tragedy of 1967 for what it was. “White flight” to the exurbs began immediately. Some big businesses also fled. Chrysler Corp. decamped from Highland Park to the exurb of Auburn Hills. And Motown’s leading bank, Comerica Inc., founded in 1849 as the Detroit Savings Fund Institute, defected to Dallas.

But Ford Motor remains in Dearborn, where it was founded 112 years ago. That the Ford family refused to budge from Detroit during its half-century of decline speaks to the enduring civic spirit of Detroit businesses, small and large.

Bill Ford is among the Michigan champions of the twinning of the ancient Ambassador Bridge, which Ottawa, in proposing to finance a second span, is certain will bolster Detroit’s economy by several billion dollars. And Ford has launched a venture capital fund to attract and finance entrepreneurial startups in Motown.

But while Bill Ford and his uncle own the Detroit Lions and their new Ford Field home, they have opted out of the Motown tradition of the Big Three automakers dominating business decision-making in the region. They prefer instead to participate in a collaborative rehabilitation effort among Detroit’s many civic-minded businesspeople.

Detroit, of course, is the largest U.S. city ever to place itself in bankruptcy protection, in 2013. Emerging from that financial reorganization, its civic operating costs have dropped, freeing up capital for long overdue rebuilding of the city’s infrastructure. And as with postwar Europe and Japan, Detroit is rebuilding from scratch using the latest 21st century technology.


Editor’s Note: A lot is said here about big players like Ford and Dan Gilbert, but as important to the long-term resilience are the many smaller companies starting up to make the "world's best American made products". Like barrell aged gin or Shinola bikes and watches, or any number of others. Its a place where its affordable to take a risk and many are.

9. Toronto Star: Demolition of Stollery's Over the Weekend
Sadiya Ansari

Demolition work begins on Stollerys before heritage designation decided

Taken Sunday

A part of Toronto’s history started to come down piece by piece this weekend, just days after Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam took steps to have the 114-year-old Stollerys building designated a heritage site.

“I was really appalled to see such a sudden attempt by new owners to get rid of the building so quickly,” said Adam Birrell, who has lived in the neighbourhood for six years.

The building with familiar green awnings sits at the corner of Yonge St. and Bloor St. W. and has been owned by the retailer of British and European apparel since 1901 — when shoppers arrived by horse and buggy and Wilfrid Laurier was prime minister.

Birrell, who has previously worked to preserve heritage properties in Thornhill, is concerned the building is being taken down before the city can determine whether it has heritage value. If the site already was listed as a heritage property, it couldn’t be torn down as easily.

But developer Sam Mizrahi says he doesn’t think the building deserves preservation.

“We don’t feel there is any heritage value to it and neither did anyone else for the last 100 years,” he said.
And Mizrahi is well within his legal rights. He bought the building in October and applied for a demolition permit earlier this month. It was approved on Friday and the work started right away.

Wong-Tam noted that the city must issue a permit when all statutory requirements are met according to provincial law.



10. Toronto Star: Stollery's At Yonge and Bloor to be Redeveloped
Ashante Infantry

Mizrahi Developments buys Stollerys at Yonge and Bloor


Just two years after breaking ground on his first condo building, independent luxury developer Sam Mizrahi has vaulted in the big leagues, nabbing the Stollerys store and adjacent lands on the southwest corner of Yonge and Bloor streets.

The purchase sets the stage for a residential-retail development by Mizrahi, who is noted in Toronto for boutique developments such as the nearly completed nine-storey project at 133 Hazelton Ave. and the 12-storey building going up at 181 Davenport Rd.

“It’s really a game changer in a lot of respects and I feel very blessed to be part of it,” said the president of Mizrahi Developments. “This is one of most significant corners in Toronto, if not Canada, and we want to create a pedestrian experience and a destination that we can be proud of as a landmark building and for the future.”
For 114 years, One Bloor St. W. has been home to Stollerys, with its memorable green awnings and now 30,000 square feet displaying “British and European inspired garments for men and women of taste” over four floors.
The establishment is the “longest surviving business that I know of in the area,” said Briar de Lange, executive director of the Bloor-Yorkville BIA.

The owners selected Mizrahi from amongst many suitors, and money doesn’t appear to have been the differentiator.

The deal, estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars, includes One and 11 Bloor Sts. W., as well as properties along the southwest side of Yonge St., but the parties won’t confirm price or scale until the series of closings are finalized.

“He builds a quality building and he’s a gentleman and there’s no fuzz on the thing,” said Stollerys president and chief executive officer Ed Whaley. “It’s a straight deal: cash and that’s the end of it. No game playing.”


11. Toronto Star: Roughing it in the Muskoka Bush-1870's style
Katie Daubs

Discovering Harriet King: descendants of pioneer settler find their roots

It sounds like the premise of a 19th-century reality show: a British lady accustomed to servants, tea and whiling away the hours with embroidery is plunked into the Muskoka bush in 1871, where she lives in a cabin missing a door, fights an endless plague of mosquitoes and chases cows from the cabbage plants.

She may not be suited for the bush, but our 61-year-old widowed protagonist has a dry wit. “The pleasure of a solitary walk is greatly impaired by the vague terror of a stray bear confronting you on the pathway,” she writes.
In 1871, Harriet Barbara Durnford King, daughter of a prominent British military family, leaves Calais, France, a city that has been a shelter for her and her family during “fifteen years of widowhood.” The Franco-Prussian War, now finished, has disrupted her life. Harriet has an adult son making a go of it in Canada and she, along with three of her other children, is convinced to join him in this magical El Dorado called Muskoka.

She is courageous, she is miserable and she nearly starves. She writes it all down in Letters from Muskoka, credited to an anonymous “emigrant lady,” which is published in 1878.

Generations of the King family scatter. Then, seven years ago, a television writer and director living in Los Angeles, a man with the regal name of Durnford King, learns he is the descendant of Harriet. He also discovers cousins back in Canada he never knew existed.


Editor’s Note: I have an office in Muskoka. Some of my neighbors are descendants of pioneers....amazing people to have made it in such difficult circumstances. Even today, few year round residents can survive on just one job. Many have several different businesses.

12. Blog TO: Bloor Street Viaduct
Derek Flack, forwarded by Richard Longley

The birth of the Bloor Viaduct

It wouldn't be a stretch to put the Bloor Viaduct — or, more officially the Prince Edward viaduct — on a top 10 list of Toronto landmarks. Opened in fall of 1918, the bridge system is actually composed of two structures: the one that spans the Don Valley and the smaller western section that runs above the Rosedale Valley (and a third if you consider that the stretch of current day Bloor between Sherbourne and Parliament was built on fill). We've already written a bit about the history of the bridge, but given the wealth of photos of its construction in the Toronto Archives, I thought it'd be a good candidate for a revisit and photographic expansion.

Immortalized by Michael Ondaatje in his novel In the Skin of a Lion, Torontonians seem to have a collective affection for the Bloor Viaduct that not many landmarks enjoy. Perhaps that's because it's the city's most important bridge, linking the eastern and western sections of Toronto over a valley that at one point left them very much divided. Or maybe it's because it stands as an example of how forward planning can pay dividends. The foresight shown by then Commissioner of Public Works R.C. Harris that a subway platform be installed under its roadway wouldn't be rewarded for roughly 50 years, but was a major factor in the birth of the Bloor-Danforth subway line (before it opened, the east/west subway line was almost built along Queen Street).


13. Ottawa Citizen: Shirley Blumberg objects to Location of Ottawa Memorial
Don Butler

Jury member goes public with criticism of victims of communism memorial site

A prominent architect who was part of the jury that recommended the winning design for a major new Ottawa memorial to victims of communism says she has a “massive problem” with the chosen site and doubts the memorial can be built for anything close to its $5.5-million estimated cost.

Shirley Blumberg, a founding partner of KPMB Architects of Toronto and member of the Order of Canada, was part of the seven-member jury that evaluated six finalists for the new memorial last summer.

In an interview, Blumberg said her biggest concern is the “inappropriate” location chosen for the memorial — a 5,000-square-metre site on Wellington Street, between the Supreme Court of Canada and the Library and Public Archives building.

It is so centrally placed that it would seem to quite overshadow Canada’s true history.”


Editor’s Note: Thanks Shirley, so important to hear from architects on public issues.

14. Toronto Star: Magna Carta Coming to Canada

As part of the Magna Cartas 800th anniversary celebrations

Magna Carta, Coming to Fort York Visitor Centre

From June until the end of 2015, the “Great Charter” and its companion document, England’s Charter of the Forest, will be on exhibit in four Canadian cities.

Dating back to 1217, two years after King John put his seal on the original Magna Carta, the Charter of the Forest was intended to restore people’s traditional rights of access to common land to graze livestock, build animal enclosures and collect firewood.

It also removed the death penalty for poaching wildlife, such as venison, which was considered property of the crown, and leveled fines and prison sentences, instead.

The Charter of the Forest’s aim was also to preserve common lands, woodland and countryside, by setting limits for its use in order to protect England’s natural resources.

The historic documents are owned by Durham Cathedral, which was built in 1093 to house the Shrine of St. Cuthbert, North England’s famous 7th-Century patron saint, who lived from 634 to 687, and is the resting place of the Venerable Bede, or St. Bede (673-735), who is regarded as the father of English history


15. Ontario Heritage Trust Video: Michael Bliss on James Collip, co-discover of Insulin


16. Ontario Heritage Trust Video: Jack Granatstein on John McCrae


17. Gravenhurst Banner: Bala Falls -Wahta Chief Concerned about Huntsville Conflict of Interest
Roland Cilliers

Wahta requests councillors step back from Bala Falls

In a letter addressed to Huntsville Mayor Scott Aitchison, Chief Phillip Franks of the Wahta Mohawks requests that the town’s representatives step back from the Bala Falls project and allow the issue to be dealt with by the Muskoka Lakes municipality and those neutral to the process. The letter argues that Huntsville, as a shareholder in Lakeland Holdings Ltd., may have a financial interest in the Bala Falls project going forward in the event that Lakeland Power is later selected to operate the dam.

“The Wahta Mohawk are concerned that Lakeland Holdings Ltd role in the proposed Bala Falls project may constitute a pecuniary conflict resulting from the financial benefit to the Town of Huntsville through increased Lakeland revenues should the Bala Falls Hydro project proceed,” reads the letter from Franks.

The letter specifically refers to a recent Engineering and Public Works Committee meeting at the District of Muskoka wherein the letter claims the Huntsville representative was “active in his support of advancing the project.”

“The Wahta Mohawk are concerned that Lakeland Holdings Ltd. role in the proposed Bala Falls project may constitute a pecuniary conflict."
- Phillip Franks


18. Guelph Mercury: The historic St. Agnes School on Catholic Hill is all boarded up
Rob O'Flanagan

Iconic, historic structures on Catholic Hill in Guelph have recently been renewed, but not all

Millions have been spent on the landmark Basilica of Our Lady, and on the Loretto Convent building that became the new location of the Guelph Civic Museum. But while this work has been the focus in recent years, the stately St. Agnes School has gone largely neglected.

Like other structures on the hill, St. Agnes was built in around the last quarter of the 19th century, completed in 1877. It is built in the Second Empire style. The second storey was added in 1909.

Now, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hamilton has taken steps to the secure the building, removing its steel staircase at the rear, and boarding up its windows. Jim Long, comptroller for the diocese said discussions centring on the building's future will begin in the first quarter of 2015.

There are currently no plans or ideas about what to do with it, although Fr. Dennis Noon, rector of the Basilica of Our Lady said a few proposals were floated in recent times, but renovation costs and space restrictions were seen as prohibitive.

The interior of the building has become somewhat dilapidated through lack of use and maintenance, and the structure needed to be secured, Long said.


19. Toronto Star: Keeping Toronto's Heritage
Alex Newman Living

Building an inheritance into a legacy

On the quest for downtown land, condo developers usually find themselves tripping over heritage buildings, says Andrew DeGasperis, CEO of Aspen Ridge Development.

Almost every developer has had to deal with heritage at one time or another. One of the challenges, DeGasperis explains, is determining fixed costs — and timelines. When Aspen Ridge developed the Hunt Club on Avenue Rd. a decade ago, the heritage clubhouse took a lot of time, money and effort to restore — it was a bit of a nightmare, he adds.

When developers Rudi Spallaci and Ted Valeri recently took on Hamilton’s formerly luxurious Edwardian hotel for conversion to condos as The Residences of the Royal Connaught, the lobby restoration alone took twice as long as anticipated. Razing and starting new was not an option for the native Hamiltonians — they wanted to restore the landmark for the city.

Heritage can be a pain, admits Mary MacDonald, acting manager of Toronto’s heritage preservation services, but there are rewards: “Heritage helps distinguish one project from another in a sea of competition.”
Plus, the buying public loves it — MacDonald figures that’s because the “pace of change in the city is so dramatic people want to hang on to things that ground them.”


20. Globe and Mail: Canada 2017?
Stephanie Levitz

Ad costs for Canadas 150 birthday party rising but no plans in sight


Talk about an expensive birthday party invitation.

Recently released federal spending figures show advertising promoting Canada’s 150th birthday — two years from now — has cost nearly $12 million, so far.

That’s $5 million more than the government had said last fall it was spending on Canada 150 advertising, because they’re now including other programs as part of the party.


An estimated $6.5 million is being spent producing and running ads about the Charlottetown and Quebec conferences currently running on social media and mainstream media channels clearly tagged as being connected to the anniversary.

But the Conservatives are also bundling their campaign marking the bicentennial of the War of 1812 under the Canada 150 banner, adding the $5.2 million already spent on that to the cost of advertising upcoming national birthday celebrations.

The War of 1812 ad campaign was the first of a series along the road to 2017, said Marisa Monnin, a spokeswoman for Heritage Minister Shelley Glover.

“Through these advertising campaigns, the government of Canada will encourage Canadians to learn more about their history, commemorate events, celebrate accomplishments and honour people that helped shape what Canada is today,” she said in an email.



21. Windsor Star: Urban Design Preservation in Windsor

The city of Windsor, Ont., has proclaimed a piece of curb historic

A retired couple, tired of being unable to find a parking spot in their burgeoning Olde Walkerville neighbourhood, want to cut a driveway into a curb at their home. But Windsor’s heritage planner has recommended against it, saying it would “destroy” a portion of an increasingly rare “resource” listed on the Windsor Municipal Heritage Register.

“Whenever I tell somebody about this, they just laugh,” said Karen Fisk, who owns the house with her husband John.

The stone curb in question was likely installed 130 years ago, and the curbs along certain stretches of Kildare Road are listed, but not designated, in Windsor’s heritage register of more than 1,100 properties and features.

A heritage curb in Windsor that could prevent a retired couple from paving a driveway. Dax Melmer / Postmedia News

Stone curbs were once common in Walkerville but are now a rarity, with this stretch of Kildare added by city council to the heritage register in 2008.

The Fisks say they love their neighbourhood’s rich heritage, and are supportive of the city’s preservation efforts. Their own home at 537 Kildare is the DeGurse-McEwan House, a Queen Anne vernacular built in 1891 and one of three designated homes on the block. Five other homes in their block are listed on the register.

The problem, said the Fisks, is the huge recent jump in popularity of the nearby commercial district. Since moving in about seven years ago, they said at least 15 new nearby businesses have sprouted up, and street parking for residents has become an issue.


Editor’s Note: Goodness, I get the reason for caution here, but this reporter makes heritage planning seem silly. Stone curbs are rare in Ontario. I'm betting that not having cars all over the front yards is also important to the neighbourhood character.

22. Globe and Mail: Bala Protest Camps Over 100 Days through Winter
Renata Belasio

In the Muskoka township power plant fight, a lone protester hangs tough

When Peggy Peterson pitched a tent at the picturesque Bala Falls, in the Lake Muskoka region of Ontario, she thought that she’d camp out for a few days and that many would join her cause against a proposed hydroelectric plant.

Her insurgency, however, has become a long, solitary battle.

Residents of Bala have provided her with food, an outhouse and a camper van, but no one has committed to joining her demonstration. For more than 100 days, it’s mainly been just her and her sheltie, Lucy, and they’re digging in for the winter – and likely longer.


“Until it’s stopped, I’m not leaving,” Ms. Peterson vowed recently over the phone from the home of one of her new neighbours.

“How a downtown waterfall like this can be given away by the government to a private, for-profit company without any benefit to Bala? It’s just cash-for-life for a handful of private individuals.”

A 55-year-old permaculture educator from Huntsville, Ont., Ms. Peterson wasn’t even aware of the Bala energy project until the Wahta Mohawks staged a protest in August. After listening to Chief Phillip Franks’ concerns, she told him she would do what she could to help.

“The only thing I could think to do was to pitch a tent,” she recalled.

Ms. Peterson’s one-woman campaign is among the latest barbs in a protracted battle against an Ontario government plan to resurrect a power plant in lake-studded Muskoka. Awarded to Swift River Energy in 2005, the 4.5-megawatt power-plant proposal sparked a grassroots movement called Save the Bala Falls.

“Stop the hydro plant” signs are everywhere in this small recreational community north of Toronto – one of many green-energy skirmishes to flare up as the provincial government aggressively expands renewable power’s footprint, offering to pay lucrative rates to developers.

Wahta Mohawk First Nation registered its opposition to the project in August, sending letters to Premier Kathleen Wynne and Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The aboriginal community contends it hasn’t been properly consulted on the proposed site or on the closing of a historically significant portage.

Meanwhile, a documentary on the hydroelectric battle is in the works. Rob Stewart, director of the award-winning film Sharkwater, spent time in Bala as a kid, chasing fish and turtles in its waters. The trailer for his new documentary implores: “It’s not a done deal.”

But the power deal is rippling closer. Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources is giving the project one last look and a change of mayor in the Bala region may smooth the path for Swift River Energy.



23. The Guardian: New Year's Resolutions for Architects in 2015

Say No to Facadectomies

Build better towers, ditch the Lego, outlaw the ‘facadectomy’ – and how about more transparency in Boris’s London?.......

Here’s an idea for a makeover. Why not flay the skin off a supermodel and stretch it over your own body? You might have difficulty seeing, given that your eye-holes probably won’t match up, and you might not be able to breathe through that misplaced mouth, but no matter. You’ll look great. And you can apply the same idea to your buildings. The six-storey 300-room student accommodation block you’re planning might not fit behind that nice four-storey Victorian brick frontage, but what the hell. You can squeeze it in. They’re only students. They won’t realise that their windows look out on to a blank brick wall and that they can’t fully open their front door. And the conservation officer will give you extra Brownie points for retaining a beloved heritage asset. Win win.


24. 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.