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1. Willowbank Visits Buckingham Palace
2. Willowbank Announces Scholarship Program
3. The Ward Cabaret - Performances June 20-22
4. ACO Toronto Schools at Risk Symposium - On You Tube
5. ACO Launches Questions for MPP Candidates
6. University of Alberta-Indigenous Canada-Free Online Course

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1. Willowbank Visits Buckingham Palace
Press Release

Willowbank is pleased to announce it will be visiting the United Kingdom from May 20-23, 2018. The highlight is an invitation to Buckingham Palace for a reception celebrating the work of organizations under the Patronage of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, a leader in the sustainable regeneration of historic places. The visit coincides with the fourth anniversary of The Prince’s Patronage of Willowbank. 

At Buckingham Palace on May 22, Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will be joined by Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle. 

Read the full media release here.

Editor’s Note: What a lovely pat on the back for the great work at Willowbank!

2. Willowbank Announces Scholarship Program
Press Release

 May 7, 2018 . . . Canada’s School of Restoration Arts at Willowbank is pleased to announce first-ever entrance scholarships for incoming students. 

Newly established scholarships, sustained by a generous three-year funding commitment from the Dalglish Family Foundation, will support talented first year students who would otherwise be unable to attend Willowbank. 

Willowbank is an internationally renowned, charitable institution located on a National Historic Site in the Village of Queenston in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Entering its twelve year, it is pioneering an ecological approach to heritage conservation and renewal. Through a unique three-year Diploma in Heritage Conservation, it is developing an innovative way of thinking about the past to create a more sustainable future. 

Willowbank's approach to learning embraces interdisciplinary problem-solving and an integrated study of people, practices and place. Its progressive and unconventional educational model provides academic theory and hands-on training in traditional building techniques. 

Students are taught by a faculty drawn from leading professionals in the fields of conservation, design and sustainability, that include master tradespeople, designers, planners, academics and artisans. Graduates are forming a growing international network of new professionals--individuals trained in the contemporary practice of heritage, and uniquely equipped to address questions of development and conservation in the 21st century. 

Beginning with the Fall 2018 program, candidates with demonstrated financial challenges now can apply for a scholarship covering up to 50% of their first-year tuition. 

The Dalglishes have previously supported Willowbank through Prince’s Charities Canada by giving Willowbank students an opportunity to attend the Prince’s Foundation Summer School. The Dalglish Family commitment is a testament to their confidence in Willowbank. 

Applications for the Fall 2018 program are currently being accepted. Places are limited. To schedule a campus tour or to apply, please visit www.willowbank.ca.

3. The Ward Cabaret - Performances June 20-22
John Lorinc

Performance at Lula Lounge, 2017

 For well over a century, St. John’s Ward, a.k.a., “The Ward,” was a working-class enclave in downtown Toronto, situated between Yonge and University, Queen and College. From the 1840s to the 1950s, this community became synonymous with immigration, poverty, vice and squalor. It saw waves of newcomers – African-Americans, Irish, Italians, Eastern European Jews and finally Chinese – settle in dense and often run-down neighbourhoods that city officials saw as slums.

 Yet as the award-winning 2015 Coach House anthology co-edited by Michael McClelland, Ellen Scheinberg, Tatum Taylor and I showed, The Ward was much more than its poverty. The streets teemed with entrepreneurial energy, activism and culture. Moreover, the community’s sounds – everything from Italian street musicians to Chinese opera and Jewish cantoral songs -- evoked the homelands of the groups that settled in the area.

The Ward Cabaret was conceived by the Juno Award-winning musician David Buchbinder, a unique show that combines the musical traditions of the groups that lived in the Ward’s crowded streets – African American, Italian, Jewish and Chinese. 

Led by Buchbinder, Michael Occhipinti and Andrew Craig, The Ward Cabaret is a 90-minute collection of songs about emigration, love, struggle and traditions lost or renewed. Playwright Marjorie Chan, artistic director at Cahoots Theatre, has added vignettes based on the lives of Ward residents – stories that express the hardships and determination of Toronto’s earliest immigrants. The show’s director is Leah Cherniak, a resident artist and associate director at Soulpepper. 

Earlier versions were performed in 2016 and 2017 to sold-out houses at Soulpepper/Young Centre for the Performing Arts and Lula Lounge (check out a short video about that show here). Later this spring, the next iteration, which for the first time includes Chan’s script and actors, will be performed over three nights at the Berkeley Street Theatre, from June 20 to 22. Tickets for the shows are available through Luminato, and can be purchased here.

The Ward Cabaret, produced by the book’s co-editors, is a joint venture between Luminato and Diasporic Genius, a Tides Canada project founded by David Buchbinder. The show depends on both Luminato contributions and ticket sales, as well as donations to Diasporic Genius. We have had great support, including a generous gift from the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario/Toronto and others in the heritage community. But we still have a $10,000 gap to close. All contributions over $25 receive a charitable receipt. If you would like to donate, please visit this site and click on the option directing funds to The Ward Cabaret.     

I am incredibly excited about this show and the way it evokes one of Toronto’s most important but least understood neighbourhoods. On behalf of my co-producers and the artistic team, thank you for supporting our project. – John Lorinc

4. ACO Toronto Schools at Risk Symposium - On You Tube
Catherine Nasmith

Rust chewing through the steel at Lord Lansdowne Public School, Peter Pennington Architect
City Adult Learning Centre, April 7, Peter Pennington Architect

For almost ten years, Architectural Conservancy Ontario has been expressing concern about the way the provincial school funding formula puts school buildings at risk, leading to premature demolition of buildings which have cultural significance no matter how you measure it. Some are great architecture, all represent public investment in our most important civic objective, public education, and all have played an ongoing role in the life of their respective communities. 

The Davisville Junior Public School is on the National Trust for Canada's Top Ten Endangered List, chosen for its merits and representative of school buildings across the country that are being neglected by penny-wise pound-foolish governments. 

On April 7, Toronto School Buildings at Risk: A symposium in 3 Parts organized by ACO Toronto examined both the cultural value of school buildings and the political and government forces that are putting some of our most significant public buildings at risk. Held at the City Adult Learning Centre at 1 Danforth, a building designed by the brilliant Toronto District School Board (TDSB) team of Peter Pennington and F.C. Etherington, the wonderful design and the decay that has set in were evident; paint was hanging from the ceiling in sheets, linoleum worn through and dirt build-up in all the corners. 

The day opened with remarks from Councillor Josh Matlow lamenting the conflict between cultural value and government funding approaches that led to the failure to conserve Davisville Junior Public School.  Steve Shaw from the Toronto District School Board and Krista Wylie from Fix Our Schools set out the maintenance challenges for the school board in the face of inadequate and unpredictable provincial financial support.

Since the Harris government amalgamated all the school boards and eliminated their direct taxation powers, the Toronto District School Board is no longer directly responsible for raising its monies, and has to make choices described by Krista Wylie as between "bad or worse". Over the past 15 years the maintenance backlog in Toronto has grown to nearly 6B, with 1/4 of the schools slipping to critical condition. Vik Pahwa's slide show captured both the glory of our school buildings and the perilous state many are in. Local provincial candidates Peter Tabuns (NDP) and Li Koo (Liberal) debated their approaches going into the election. (The conservative candidate declined the invitation to participate.)

By lunch the causes of the problems were clearly set out. In the afternoon the focus was on the architecture, with Alex Bozikovic, Globe and Mail architecture columnist speaking of the buildings from 1900-1940. Robert Moffat focussed on mid-century modern, with particular attention to the work of TDSB architects F.C. Etherington and Peter Pennington. Mary MacDonald spoke of her experiences as head of Heritage Preservation Services at the City of Toronto and her thoughts on school buildings. Jessie Gammara covered the typology of mid-century schools in Don Mills. 

Finally, the topic of what to do with redundant school buildings was examined by three speakers. Carol Kleinfeldt, who along with Kim Storey led the Mod Squad fight to save Davisville Junior Public School, showed the alternative site plans they had developed. Marco Polo from Ryerson University described his students' projects, some very fresh ideas for the Davisville Junior Public School building. Alex Speigel, a property developer, shared his work repurposing school buildings for condominium purposes; the George Brown Campus in Kensington Market and the Loretto in the Annex area. 

Over the past year, ACO Toronto has embarked on a project to document all of the City's school buildings. Over 500 TDSB buildings were photographed in the summer of 2017 and posted to TOBuilt, the rest will be done in 2018. A researcher, Loryssa Quattrociocchi, is putting together as much information as is available on architects, dates, critical information which ACO Toronto hopes could lead to a batch listing of all school buildings.  Such a listing would force a conversation between the School Boards and the City regarding conservation of this important building stock before irreversible decisons are made.

As master of ceremonies for the day, I had a ringside seat on several exceptional presentations and papers. The symposium was promoted to Ontario Association of Architects members as part of the Continuing Education program. It is possible that the material may be published, but in the meantime you can see the videos on You Tube. If you are looking for facts and figures as to why the school buildings in your neighbourhood are in trouble pay close attention to Steve Shaw and Krista Wylie. 

The Presentations are on You Tube .

The Toronto Star Article that followed.


5. ACO Launches Questions for MPP Candidates
Catherine Nasmith

Architectural Conservancy Ontario has released a set of questions for provincial election candidates. They cover five topics: financial incentives for heritage, conserving our school heritage, heritage as an environmental priority for public sector buildings, energy efficiency incentives for heritage windows, and relieving property tax issues for heritage buildings.

Ways to use these to raise awareness of heritage issues in Ontario.

  • Print them and keep them handy to raise when a candidate phones or knocks.
  • Take them with you to all candidates meetings and raise these questions with all candidates.
  • Email them to your local candidates election offices, if you get a response please let ACO's COO Will Coukell know at coo@arconserv.ca, ACO will be posting responses on our website.

Here's the link to download or forward these questions.




6. University of Alberta-Indigenous Canada-Free Online Course
Paul Gareau, Tracy Bear

A free online course you can take, if you want it for academic credit then there are some charges. Apparently over 60,000 Canadians are already signed up. It is very affordable and the sylabus looks great. I would encourage all BHN subscribers to enroll.

As subscribers will be aware, over the past several years, as editor of BHN I have been trying to fill in the many gaps in my knowlege of Canadian history, particularly in relation to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission findings. This course offers an organized base for further reading. To sign up, go to https://www.coursera.org/learn/indigenous-canada. Starts May 14, 2018.

About this course: Indigenous Canada is a 12-lesson Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) that explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada. From an Indigenous perspective, this course explores key issues facing Indigenous peoples today from a historical and critical perspective highlighting national and local Indigenous-settler relations. Topics for the 12 lessons include the fur trade and other exchange relationships, land claims and environmental impacts, legal systems and rights, political conflicts and alliances, Indigenous political activism, and contemporary Indigenous life, art and its expressions.

Dr. Paul Gareau
Taught by: Dr. Paul Gareau, Assistant Professor

Faculty of Native Studies

Course taught by

Taught by: Dr. Tracy Bear, Assistant Professor

Faculty of Native Studies & Dept. of Women's and Gender Studies

Editor’s Note: I've signed on for this, perhaps all BHN subscribers may be interested.A