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1. Globe and Mail: An Open Letter Re: The Victims of Communism Memorial
2. Stratford Beacon Herald: Cooper Site/GTR Train Shed Compromise
3. Globe and Mail: Why the Gardiner East must GO
4. Toronto Star: McKenzie House and a little History of the Ontario Historical Society
5. Blog T.O. Future for "Jilly's", Broadview and Queen
6. Kitchener Waterloo Record: Mayfair Hotel Demolition
7. National Post: Schooner Uncovered in Archaeological Dig at Toronto Waterfront
8. Stratford Beacon Harold: GTR Trainshed
9. Brantford Expositor: Onongaga Community Hall, J. Turner Architect to designate or demolish?
10. Toronto Star: Role of GG Nasmith in World War I
11. The Record: Council De-designates to permit demolition
12. Nasmith Avenue.com
13. K-W Record.com: Diocese withdraws application to demolish Sacred Heart convent building in Kitchener
14. Winnipeg Free Press: Endangered species: 90-year-old wooden barn one-of-a-kind in Western Canada

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1. Globe and Mail: An Open Letter Re: The Victims of Communism Memorial
Several Prominent Canadian Cultural Figures

Why the Victims of Communism memorial needs a new site

Dear Members of the Board of Directors of Tribute to Liberty – Ludwik Klimkowski, Alide Forstmanis, Teresa Berezowski, Christine Dang, Ivan Grbesic, Paul Grod, Markus Hess, Robert Tmej, Byong Gil (Ron) Suh:

We, the undersigned, respectfully ask your group to reconsider the construction of the Memorial to the Victims of Communism at its current location near the Supreme Court of Canada.

More than six decades of long-term planning and public consultation, together with millions of tax dollars, have reserved this nationally significant site for a federal courthouse that would frame a square centred on the Supreme Court. This judicial triad of buildings parallels the parliamentary triad surrounding Parliament Hill.

The pillars of our democracy rest on our parliament and our courts. Their physical presence – in the form of the parliamentary and judicial precincts of our national capital – represent Canada’s history, aspirations and democracy. This is our commonwealth and it belongs to all Canadians.

From an outside perspective, the current site was allocated to your group without the public consultation or engagement that such a decision merits. We know that you value Canada’s commitment to democracy, and believe you will recognize that this lack of due public process and disregard for decades of long-term planning is hardly democratic.........


Robert Allsopp, FCSLA, George Baird, FRAIC RCA, Shirley Blumberg, CM FRAIC, Edward Burtynsky, OC RCA, Jack Diamond, CC FRAIC RCA, Jack Granatstein, OC FRSC, Dan Hanganu, CM FRAIC RCA, Bruce Kuwabara, OC FRAIC RCA, Cornelia Oberlander, OC Hon. MRAIC RCA, Michael Ondaatje, OC FRSC, Vincent Lam, MD, Gabor Maté, MD, Marianne McKenna, OC FRAIC, John Michaluk, Raymond Moriyama, CC FRAIC RCA, Barry Padolsky, FRAIC RCA, John Patkau, CM FRAIC RCA, Patricia Patkau, CM FRAIC RCA, Brigitte Shim, CM FRAIC RCA, Howard Sutcliffe, CM FRAIC RCA, Bing Thom, CM FRAIC RCA


2. Stratford Beacon Herald: Cooper Site/GTR Train Shed Compromise
Mike Beitz

Council committee endorses compromise proposal to preserve nearly half of Stratford's Cooper site building

Those who want to see Stratford’s former locomotive repair shops preserved in their entirety may not get what they want.

Those who want to see the whole building levelled to the ground may not get what they want.

Those who want something in between may get exactly what they want.

City council’s committee of the whole approved a motion Monday night that, if endorsed by council next week, will eventually see just under half of the historic industrial building on the Cooper site preserved, and the remainder demolished.

More precisely, some 75,000 square feet at the east end of the building would be saved, and most of the westerly half – including the fire-damaged portion – would be taken down. The annex at the south side would also be demolished, but at a later date.

The city would consider some public uses for the site, and a commercial realtor would be engaged to market the remaining 75,000 square foot building over the next four months to potential developers for adaptive reuse.

“I think this proposal strikes a balance of what has been heard in the community from those who believe there needs to be some development on the site, and those who think that heritage needs to be looked at,” said Mathieson, as a standing-room-only crowd watched from the gallery.


3. Globe and Mail: Why the Gardiner East must GO
Alex Bozikovic

Tear it down: For Torontos brightest future, the eastern Gardiner Expressway must go


Years of debate and studying have gone into deciding the fate of 1.7 kilometres at the Gardiner Expressway’s eastern edge. At stake: hundreds of millions of dollars in development, a fully realized waterfront and Toronto’s future. Yet the mayor believes it must stay up. He’s wrong

Imagine: Toronto is thinking of turning a stretch of a downtown road into an elevated highway. This project would speed the trips of a few rush-hour drivers by a few minutes. On the other hand, the highway would run through a new waterfront park, scar a neighbourhoood and eat up valuable land, costing the city another $137-million up front.

It sounds crazy. And it is. Yet if Toronto rebuilds the east end of the Gardiner Expressway, this will be the tradeoff. This week, Mayor John Tory seems ready to lead the city, with misinformed arguments, into reconstructing the underused highway rather than tear it down. This would disrupt plans for a new district that would be, like the rest of the new waterfront development, walkable, dense, and prosperous – incurring huge financial and urban costs.

This is why Toronto must change direction. The Gardiner East must go. In a time when Canadian cities are starved for infrastructure dollars, Toronto can’t afford to fund a project that will have a frankly negative impact on its future.


Editor’s Note: For fifteen years I served on the Gardiner Lakeshore Task Force. Its last great achievement was getting the eastern leg of the Gardiner down under Mayor Mel Lastman. There were dire predictions of disaster....but guess what, a whole generation has grown up without it, and no-one misses it.

4. Toronto Star: McKenzie House and a little History of the Ontario Historical Society
Shawn Micallef

John McKenzie House a part of North York history


When you arrive in the City of Toronto from the north along Yonge St., it’s like entering an Emerald City with a great, Manhattan-style canyon down the middle. Downtown North York has a commanding skyline suddenly and on the wide sidewalks below there’s 24-hour life, a busy promenade by karaoke bars that go late into the night.

This thicket of buildings is finite though: it ends a block east or west of Yonge and transitions abruptly to the single-family homes of genteel Willowdale, though now with a few dashes of monster home too. North York is a new city and its incredible growth upwards happened by design, within new ring roads on either side of Yonge.

The initial plan was to bulldoze the historic John McKenzie House for the east ring road: Doris Ave. “Historic” in Toronto usually means the first families that settled there. Pioneer types, they had the good timing needed to get in the history books. First Nations get honoured this way less often, though that is slowly changing. The layers of history in Toronto continue to be added to as the stories of more recent immigrants, pioneers in their own right, get added to the historical record.


5. Blog T.O. Future for "Jilly's", Broadview and Queen
Derek Flack, forwarded by Richard Longley

This is what the new Broadview Hotel will look like Posted by Derek Flack / MAY 21, 2015 28 Comments Broadview HotelAs the last remains of Jilly's are removed from the facade of the Broadview Hotel, a good picture of the historic building's future has fin

Broadview Hotel As the last remains of Jilly's are removed from the facade of the Broadview Hotel, a good picture of the historic building's future has finally been revealed. Earlier schematics showed that renovation efforts would include a four storey addition to the building, which appears in the above rendering as a slick-looking glass box that will add significant square footage without overpowering the historic character of the structure.

The addition will be more prominent when viewed from Broadview Ave. rather than Queen St. East, from which it will appear somewhat hidden at the back of the building. City staff have recommended that the alterations to the building be approved (this rendering comes via a heritage report), which means that today's picture will likely be very close to what the final product looks like.


6. Kitchener Waterloo Record: Mayfair Hotel Demolition
Catherine Thompson

Mayfair demolition could proceed within days

By midafternoon Tuesday, the sidewalks in front of the doomed Mayfair Hotel and the Hymmen Hardware building next door were blocked to pedestrian traffic.

Kitchener's chief building official, Mike Seiling, ordered hoarding to go up in front of the two buildings, at 11 Young St. and 156-158 King St. W., as well as three metres from the buildings in the lane that runs behind the buildings. The fencing had to be up by 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The buildings' owner, Bernie Nimer, is required to apply for a demolition permit no later than noon on Friday, and Seiling said he will do everything he can to speed up the demolition.

Seiling was told by three independent engineers that the Mayfair building is in imminent danger of collapse, and that it could fall onto the adjacent Hymmen building, causing it to fall as well, so he is keen to see both buildings brought down as quickly as possible.

"As soon as we get it (the application), city staff will review it immediately," Seiling said Tuesday. "If it addresses all the things that the building code requires, how 140-150 King St. (adjacent to the Hymmen building) is going to be protected, amongst other things, then we will issue the demolition permit immediately."

It's not clear how soon after that the demolition would begin, but Seiling said the city will issue a press release when it does, given the amount of public interest. Attendees at Monday night's council meeting were vocal in their desire to see the buildings saved, clapping and calling out until Mayor Berry Vrbanovic called for order.

Their support did not sway council, however, which voted 6-5 to allow the demolition to proceed.

Until Seiling sees the demolition plan for both buildings, he can't say how long it will take for the buildings to be razed, but he'd been told the demolition of the Mayfair alone could take three to five days, depending on the weather and conditions on site.

The demolition will not likely involve explosives, and could include some painstaking demolition by hand, he said.

Nimer has said he will grass over the vacant lot by summer. His development plans for the site have been scrapped now that the heritage buildings must come down, but he told council Monday that "whatever I put there will also be iconic."


Editor’s Note: Demolition is in progress now.....sad given the successful rehabilitation of the Tremont in Collingwood, and Gladstone in Toronto. So much depends on the attitude of the owner.

7. National Post: Schooner Uncovered in Archaeological Dig at Toronto Waterfront
Kathleen McGouran

Archaeologists dig up 19th century schooner that might just be the oldest ship ever found in Toronto harbour

TORONTO • A routine archaeological excavation has uncovered a piece of Toronto history near the city’s old shoreline. The team that dug up remains of a 19th century schooner this week believes it may be one of the oldest ships found in the city yet.

“Based on what we have seen so far, this seems to be a vestige of one of the earliest vessels found in Toronto,” said David Robertson, the senior archaeologist and project manager of ASI, the firm doing the excavation.

Only the keel, lowest portions of the stern and bow, and a bottom section of the port (left)-side hull remain intact. Archaeologists believe the ship could date back to as early as the 1830s.

Robertson said he is not confident it will be possible to preserve the remains, but the team will complete a detailed study to find out everything it can about the vessel, a process that may include 3D scanning. It will be fully exposed, excavated and recorded.


8. Stratford Beacon Harold: GTR Trainshed
Mike Beitz

Riversedge Developments still hoping to realize its ambitious community-based plans for Cooper site

The developer behind the recently rejected proposal for the Cooper site in Stratford is still hoping to work with the city on the adaptive reuse of the former locomotive shops.

Council voted earlier this week to turn down the offer from Riversedge Developments to purchase the property for a nominal fee.

“We are very disappointed, definitely,” said Riversedge principal Paul Veldman in an interview earlier this week, “especially because of what the nature of our proposal was – to work hand in hand with council, the community and staff to determine what a public-private partnership would look like that has everyone’s interest in mind.”

Riversedge would have taken the lead on that collaborative process, he said.

“Generally, when a private company facilitates the process, it opens the door to look at things differently, and this is what we do,” he said. “I always say, we’re in the business of making the messy make sense. And this situation, for 15 years, has been very messy.”

Details of the Riversedge proposal have not been made widely available to the public, and since it involves the potential sale of municipal property, city council has only discussed it in closed-door sessions (which it’s entitled to do under the Municipal Act).

But Veldman spoke openly about the plan Thursday.

To put it simply, “our process is the plan,” he suggested.

The first step, he explained, would have been to make the site secure, at no cost to the city, and remove the fire-damaged portion of the building.

In that regard, the “nominal fee” for which the company hoped to obtain the property is not nominal at all, said Veldman.

“The reality is, the project today has a negative value,” he said, suggesting that it might cost millions to get the building in a safe condition.


9. Brantford Expositor: Onongaga Community Hall, J. Turner Architect to designate or demolish?
Michael-Allan Marion

BRANT COUNTY: The future of Onondaga Community Hall stirs debate


Should Onondaga Community Hall be demolished or designated a heritage property?

Brant Coun. Brian Coleman filed a notice of motion for Tuesday's county council meeting calling for the hall be "demolished and that the lands be utilized as a greenspace, with a commemorative marker of the hall to be erected."

Meantime, a report from the county's heritage committee recommending the hall's designation is due to be discussed at council's planning advisory committee May 5.

Noting that he filed his notice of motion before he knew about the heritage report, Coleman, who represents the ward that contains the building, said Monday that he is willing to wait a month to give councillors and the public a chance to discuss the report.

"Another month won't matter," he said.

"I don't like the municipality to have to continue to bear a cost to keep a building that people aren't really using and has problems. That's my concern."

In his notice of motion, Coleman noted that the hall is located in an area regulated for steep erosion-prone slopes under the Grand River Conservation Authority.

He also referenced a staff report that stated that marketing the community hall is not in the best interest of the county because of its location and deteriorated condition.

Earlier this month, council's corporate development committee rejected a negotiated agreement that would have transferred the building's ownership for $1 to the Langford Conservancy, which wants to turn it into a community centre. At the time, councillors heard a presentation from a group of motorcycle enthusiasts proposing to buy the building and renovate it into a clubhouse.


Editor’s Note: The work of John Turner is important to the region, and to the province. This finely proportioned and exquisitely detailed building deserves to be retained and designated! Take a page from successful RFP for the Tremont Hotel in Collingwood, I am sure that many would jump at the chance to operate a business or facility here, for less than the cost of demolition. NOTE Re: J. Turner architect see Robert G. Hill, http://www.dictionaryofarchitectsincanada.org/node/1370 see also, Paul Dilse, JOHN TURNER AND ENGLISH ARCHITECTURAL INFLUENCE IN SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO. SSAC Vol. 10(3) September 1985 pp.3-7 http://sextondigital.library.dal.ca/jssac/PDFs/Bulletin/Vol_10/vol10_no3_OCR_150dpi_PDFA1b.pdf

10. Toronto Star: Role of GG Nasmith in World War I
Mitch Potter

Toronto sanitation expert identified poison gas used at Ypres

When chivalry died in the trenches of Ypres a century ago with the dawn of chemical warfare, Canada didn’t know what hit it.

Day after day, conflicting reports grappled with the nature of the greenish-yellow noxious cloud that descended upon the Western Front in the late afternoon of April 22, 1915.

“Various Vapors Used By Enemy To Asphyxiate,” was the headline of one Canadian Press dispatch a week after the fact. “Howitzers Used To Throw Poisons,” said the subhead.

Then, on May 3, an even deeper shock: the first published accounts of how “the gates of hell opened and three Canadian brigades were pushed in” to hold the crumbling lines at Ypres against Germany’s new secret weapon. The Canadian toll: More than 6,000 killed, wounded and missing in “three days of terrific horror.”

For Toronto Star readers, the gas mystery unravelled the morning of May 15, in a Page One interview from the front with a well-known eyewitness who had more than a passing knowledge of chemistry.


Editor’s Note: I know its rude to brag about your relatives, but just this once. GG Nasmith was my grandfather's first cousin, and had no descendants.

11. The Record: Council De-designates to permit demolition
Hannah Eden

Kitchener's Mayfair Hotel demolition gets green light

KITCHENER — City council voted Thursday to remove heritage protection from the former Mayfair hotel, paving the way for its imminent demolition.

The vote to withdraw the city's notice of intention to designate the Mayfair came despite an effort by Coun. Frank Etherington to defer the vote to buy time for an independent assessment by a heritage expert on the potential to save the building.

Councillors debated the decision for three hours, and almost every councillor expressed sadness and disappointment at the decision.

"It's a shame that we're here," said Coun. Bill Ioannidis. "But when there is overwhelming evidence that the building is unsafe, we cannot ignore that."

Etherington urged a deferral to allow a heritage expert to comment on what it might cost to save the building, or at least a portion of it such as the King Street façade, saying he had campaigned to "preserve and protect Kitchener's few remaining heritage buildings."

He had asked for a short delay of 10 days, until city committee meetings on May 4, after the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario said it had experts who could work quickly to do a heritage assessment.

The city has a long legacy of seeing heritage buildings demolished, Etherington said, listing the losses of the old city hall; the Barra Castle, a strikingly unusual home on Queen Street South; the Forsyth shirt factory; and several buildings associated with the Lang Tannery.

But others rejected the proposal for a heritage report as unrealistic, after the city had received two expert opinions already and after it became clear that no one would be allowed to enter the building to carry out an inspection.



Editor’s Note: The situation is eerily like the Tremont in Collingwood Ontario, which thanks to Rick and Anke Lex is enjoying new life as an arts centre.

12. Nasmith Avenue.com
Keith Lawrance, a curious resident of Nasmith Avenue in Toronto

Nasmith Avenue History

April 22, 2015 - Have you ever been curious as to how Nasmith Avenue got its name? Well, today is an important day for that question as it's 100 years to the day of a significant event in Canadian history that might be related to the "Nasmith" of Nasmith Avenue.

Nasmith Avenue is a relatively "new" street in the Cabbagetown / Don Vale neighbourhood of Toronto. Before Europeans arrived in the area, the Anishnabai (Ojibwa), Haudenosaune (Iroquois), Huron, Eries, Petuns and Neutrals met in this region to trade, hold councils and to conduct ceremonies. Once Fort Toronto / Fort Rouillé was founded, the migration of europeans to Toronto (renamed to York and then back again) began.

The area now known as Cabbagetown, once considered to be the outskirts of the city, started to be settled in larger numbers during the 1800s and local lore has it that Irish immigrants, escaping famines and poverty in Ireland, grew cabbages and other vegetables in their front gardens which certainly makes sense from a practical perspective.

Many of the homes in Cabbagetown were built during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837 - 1901), however Nasmith Avenue saw its first homes occupied in 1926 (you can read the exact year and learn about the original occupants using the Cabbagetown Heritage Conservation District's excellent searchable database). Therefore, Nasmith Avenue could be considered a "new block on the block".





Editor’s Note: No doubt Nasmiths find this story more interesting than some, but I am including it as it contains quite a bit of interesting Toronto history too!I am most grateful to the residents for pulling together this research.

13. K-W Record.com: Diocese withdraws application to demolish Sacred Heart convent building in Kitchener
Catherine Thompson


KITCHENER — The Diocese of Hamilton has decided to withdraw its application to demolish the 1927 Sacred Heart convent building, after Kitchener's heritage committee moved to protect the building with a heritage designation.

"We're ready to work with you and that is why we've withdrawn the application," said Douglas Crosby, the bishop of Hamilton diocese, who came to city council Monday.

The city also shelved its plans to designate the property, "to provide the city and the diocese time to find a solution that will meet the needs of the diocese while conserving the building," said Leon Bensason, the city's co-ordinator of heritage planning.

The agreement buys time to find a solution, but does not prevent the diocese from applying at a later date to tear the building down, or the city from moving then to designate.

But the bishop warned he would "protest vigorously the designation of heritage when and if it comes back to council, and I want you to know that."

The city's heritage committee had moved to designate the convent, as well as the 1916 Sacred Heart church and a number of associated buildings on the property at

Moore Avenue and Shanley Street. The building housed the Sisters of Notre Dame, who taught at the Catholic school next door, until 1985, and has been used by a number of Catholic community groups.

But the convent has sat empty since 2008, and the diocese says it needs the 20 or so parking spaces the site would yield. The church has only seven parking spaces now.

"We do not make decisions about tearing down buildings frivolously or carelessly," Crosby told council. But, he said, the diocese's role isn't "to create and preserve museums. We're trying to promote parishes that thrive," and the reality is churches today need parking. The convent building "is in a state of great disrepair," he noted.

"We have to work together to move into the future," Crosby said. "Everything isn't historically valuable. We need to work together to determine really what is …"


14. 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.