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1. Appeal for Financial Support: Legal Action to Move the Memorial To the Victims of Communism
2. York Square: Redevelopment Scheme Preserves Next to Nothing
3. Release of 2015 Top Ten Endangered Places and Worst Losses lists

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1. Appeal for Financial Support: Legal Action to Move the Memorial To the Victims of Communism
Move the Monument Coalition

On June 26, 2015, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, Heritage Ottawa, and architects Barry Padolsky and Shirley Blumberg filed an application in the Federal Court. They are challenging the National Capital Commission’s decision to break ground for the Memorial to the Victims of Communism on a site in Ottawa’s Judicial Precinct, just southwest of the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Government's approved Long Term Vision and Plan includes the vision of completing a harmonious "triad" within the judicial precinct by erecting a new Federal Court building on the site—not a Memorial to the Victims of Communism.

The lawsuit alleges that the National Capital Commission violated its procedures for public consultation and acted agaed against the National Capital Act in its hasty decision to prepare the site, despite not having finalized the design for the memorial. The law requires meaningful public consultation and prohibits breaking ground on a project before its design is approved.

The Applicants do not oppose the commemorative intent of the memorial and believe that other appropriate sites exist.

Donations are being accepted in support of this legal action:

To send donations by Paypal, please use the following link: http://bit.ly/1KldP3u.

Cheques can be sent to Champ & Associates, 43 Florence Street, Ottawa, Ontario K2P 0W6, made out to “Champlaw, In Trust” with “Move the Memorial” in the memorandum line or in an accompanying letter.

Donations can also be sent directly by electronic bank transfer to pchamp@champlaw.ca , with an explanation in the message that it is for Move the Memorial.

They are encouraging supporters to sign the Change.org petition:

You can also follow news coverage and join the discussion at Facebook

We are pleased to include you among the national coalition of groups and individuals asking the government to move the Memorial to the Victims of Communism to a more appropriate site.

Please circulate this appeal to others in your network—and thank you again for your support.

2. York Square: Redevelopment Scheme Preserves Next to Nothing
Catherine Nasmith

The restaurant is still operating, catch a drink there before it goes! photo R. Longley
photo, R. Longley

The planning process to redevelop York Square is well advanced, has had a public meeting and a working group process. So far, preservation of the complex is barely getting lip service.

Last week I attended the final working group meeting regarding the proposed redevelopment of York Square, at the corner of Avenue Road and Yorkville. The two issues being discussed were traffic and heritage. The working group process has resulted in little substantial change to the project since it was unveiled in January.

Heritage, which should be the defining issue, is still being treated as just one of the balls in the air. It was left unresolved. ACO Toronto, (I am the current President) who worked hard providing research and argument for the designation, is watching this file closely, and is also considering an appeal of the project to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) if the design continues to fail to include the majority of the heritage attributes of the property.

The property was designated as a full complex, including all the existing buildings, round windows and all, the courtyard, entrances and urban connections to surrounding streets and Hazelton Lanes. All that is being conserved in the current iteration are two facades on Avenue Road and Yorkville, minus the round windows. None of the little proposed for retention addresses the reasons for designation, the complex’s internationally praised urbanism. What is significant here is how the project, by the pioneering firem Diamond and Myers, brought together new and old, creating something unique to Toronto and in the world at the time. Saving only a fragment of an Edwardian building completely misses what is important.

ERA Architects have prepared an HIA, that suggests that partial retention of the older buildings on the corner and replacement of the courtyard with a court off of Yorkville Avenue keeps the spirit of the existing complex. ACO Toronto strongly disagrees with this approach.

The designation report is as well developed and argued as any I have ever seen, and if it didn’t withstand OMB scrutiny, we should all just give up trying to work under the Ontario Heritage Act (OHA). If you were a numbers kind of person, you would see that it scored 8 out of a possible nine in the evaluation under the regulations of the OHA. A score of only one in nine is sufficient to be considered for designation. City Council would be well within its rights to refuse development on this property. But as OMB forced mega-development has become the Toronto norm, it seems planning staff and residents may settle for crumbs rather than stick to their guns.

What makes York Square so special is the totality of the way the early buildings were retained and organized around a public space, intimate in scale and sheltered from the street noise. The spirit of Yorkville lives in this place that inspired so much like it in the area, and in cities around the world. Toronto needs to say “No, we’re keeping this one”.

3. Release of 2015 Top Ten Endangered Places and Worst Losses lists
Carolyn Quinn, Heritage Canada The National Trust

The National Trust for Canada has released its Top Ten Endangered Places and Worst Losses Lists, drawing attention to historic places in Canada either threatened or already lost, as part of its mission to raise awareness of the value that historic places bring to quality of life, local identity and cultural vitality.

The Endangered Places List, compiled from nominations received as well as from news items the National Trust has been following and reporting on throughout the year includes (from west to east):

Peace River Valley, Northeast, BC  Hydro power trumps Aboriginal and Natural Heritage.
Point Grey Secondary School, Vancouver, BC  Seismic mitigation program poised to reduce historic school to rubble.
East Coulee Bridge, Atlas Coal Mine, East Coulee, AB  Rare trestle bridge needs new lease on life.
Central Experimental Farm, Ottawa, ON  Feds play fast and loose with a National Historic Site.
Barber Mill, Halton Hills, ON  Stakeholder impasse threatens important industrial heritage site.
Our Lady of Assumption Church, Windsor, ON  Hope remains despite fundraising rollercoaster ride.
Quebec Bridge, Quebec City, QC  Longest cantilever bridge span in the world is rusting away.
Miséricorde Hospital, Montreal, QC  Institutional landmark in need of revitalization.
Sackville United Church, Sackville, NB  Deck stacked against yet another former church building.
Belcourt Spirituality Centre, Rustico, PEI  Good faith lacking in Diocese's dismissal of a cherished community

This year's Worst Losses lists three heritage buildings destroyed by the wrecking ball: Etzio Building, Edmonton, AB; Farnam Block, Saskatoon, SK; Stollery's Building, Toronto, ON.