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Issue No. 219 | November 8, 2013

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Feature Stories

  1. Queen's Park Views Protection- Post Card View Protected
  2. David Mirvish Applies to Demolish Designated Buildings on King St. W.
  3. York Square: Nominated for Listing
  4. Bala Needs Your Help
  5. Say Goodbye to Peter Dickinson's last Regent Park building
  6. Gravenhurst Banner: 3 Opinion Pieces Against Bala Falls Hydro Development
  7. Toronto Star: Sale of Honest Ed's in Toronto
  8. Yonge Street: Smart Address Opens at Market Gallery

Events

Riverdale Historical Society November Event
Tuesday, November 26, 2013, 6:00 pm
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Heritage Ottawa Panel Discussion
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
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1. Queen's Park Views Protection- Post Card View Protected
Catherine Nasmith

View from north of College Street
View Showing Potential Development Loopholes

The Ontario Capital Precinct Working Group raised a glass in celebration last night.

This week City of Toronto announced that all appeals of its Official Plan Amendment to protect the silhouette of the Ontario Legislative Assembly have been withdrawn. Effective immediately, no buildings will appear above the roofline of the Ontario Legislative Assembly as seen from the north side College Street. In addition, nothing can appear above the central block as seen from Queen Street and University Avenue. This is a major step forward, and largely due to the efforts of the OCPWG, with strong efforts from the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (ACO), supported by the computer imaging work undertaken by Robert Allsopp of dtah, and the Centre for Landscape Research at University of Toronto (CLR). Councillor Wong-Tam moved the motion to initiate protection and MPP Glen Murray has been an active supporter at Queen's Park. (full disclosure, I have been personally very active on this file, representing ACO at the OMB, and at OCPWG)

This Official Plan amendment is to be celebrated and is all the City of Toronto could do under the circumstances of the recent OMB decision approving the unfortunate intrusion into the viewshed of the 21 Avenue Road project. But as we have seen Official Plans can also drop protection, and Official Plans are subject to appeal at the Ontario Municipal Board. The City of Toronto will now have to defend this protection from all comers. 

There is still more that can and should be done to protect the ceremonial approach to Queen's Park northbound between Queen and College Street, for all time, for all Ontarians. But that work can only be done by the province.

To date the province has deferred to the City, but at this juncture the province needs to step in and finish the job. As you can see from the imaging prepared by the CLR and dtah, this OP protection has some loopholes. The OP amendment does not cover potential development further north of Davenport on Avenue Road, and with the rise in the topography a tall building in that area could have impact on the Queen Street View. The other loophole is west of the central block, as seen from points south on University Avenue. It would be possible to build a building which would appear taller than the central block. As one moves north from Queen Street more of the roof is visible as well as the park setting either side of the silhouette.

But for the moment, we are celebrating a hard won bird in the hand. The approach to the province will start next week. 


2. David Mirvish Applies to Demolish Designated Buildings on King St. W.
Catherine Nasmith

David Mirvish has applied to demolish this streets cape

David Mirvish has applied to demolish all of his historic buildings on King St. W. to clear the site for development of the three Frank Gehry designed condo towers. The item was at the Toronto Preservation Board on Wednesday, and deferred to next month at the request of Councillor Vaughan. Some of these buildings were designated as recently as 2011 without objection from the owner.

The planning staff recommendation is to refuse the application, however even if the Council refuses to grant permission the owner can appeal to the OMB. However, if the application is not dealt with in a timely way, the owner automatically gets permission, so the clock is ticking. If Council agrees to the demolition citizens cannot appeal the Council decision to the OMB, one of the imbalances in the Ontario Heritage Act.

ERA architects have prepared a report in favour of the demolitions. I don't agree with the ERA argument which is essentially the greater public good is served by a new development by Gehry which will be a more suitable legacy to the Mirvish family. Ultimately, Council will make the decision, and wouldn't be the first to be tempted by a juicy bauble. This will be a very significant debate and will test all heritage policies in place at the local, provincial and national level. One thing is for sure, it will be impossible to sit on the sidelines.

Start planning your letter to your local councillor and newspaper now.

Staff Report is at: http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2013.PB26.12

 


3. York Square: Nominated for Listing
Catherine Nasmith

York Square

It has taken about 18 months from nomination for this property to come before the Toronto Preservation Board for listing, but it has. The case for its importance was made in an earlier edition of BHN.

http://www.builtheritagenews.ca/newsletter.cfm?id=184#2

The general attitude of the TPB and the councillors on the board was to proceed with the listing, but the item was deferred one month to give the developer who does not actually own the property time to respond and comment. In debating whether or not to defer to this request, which came with an undertaking not to apply for a demolition permit or appeal the development application to the OMB, it was noted by Mary MacDonald that neither undertaking could be binding, and without the listing the City of Toronto had neither belts or suspenders in place to protect it -- in fact Ms. MacDonald said, "without a listing we have no pants". Nonetheless, the deferral was granted out of a sense of fairness. I hope we don't live to regret that decision.

It was most gratifying to see this excellent report coming forward, and if you have anything to say in support, please let your councillor know.

http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2013.PB26

 Below you will find text from the letter I wrote in favour of the listing as President of the Toronto Architectural Conservancy.

The Toronto Architectural Conservancy has been keeping a watching brief on this proposed addition to the Inventory ever since myself, and Ms. Linda Lewis met with staff and presented a research folder that included publications of the project from journals all around the world. The project was a first for Toronto but also in world architecture. It was a pioneer project in heritage preservation, at a time before there were any preservation laws in Ontario.

 We are writing to offer our whole hearted and most enthusiastic support for the addition of this property to the City of Toronto Inventory of Heritage Properties. We hope it will be moved forward for designation in the very near future.

York Square is in some ways the quintessential Toronto project of that most important reform era in Toronto politics and urban planning from the late 1960’s and 70’s. As has been noted in the report before you, it set new ground for Toronto and in so doing broke new ground around the world. It is a vanguard project which, during a time of “urban renewal” which might more properly be called “urban removal”, instead combined new and old buildings to make a completely new urban form. This was a revolutionary idea at the time, and not just in Toronto but in the world. It achieved a ten page spread in the American architectural journal Progressive Architecture, editorial space given to only the most important projects.

This project, along with the writings of Jane Jacobs, changed urban design. For the generation who came of age in this period, this project represents the dawning of a new age in City building where great cities combined new and old. It set the tone for so much development of its type in Toronto and in the rest of the world. The architectural firm of Diamond and Myers was the place to work, because they were defining how to build a city in a layered way. Projects that followed in a similar vein included Dundas Sherbourne, The Hydro Block on St. George, and Innis College. The red brick palette pioneered by this firm, in recognition of its ubiquitous nature as a Toronto building material, soon became the signature material for the soon to be developed St. Lawrence Neighbourhood. 

It would be supremely ironic if this project that was the template blending new and old were to be swept away for an all new project, but in Toronto of 2013, that could easily happen. 

 

 

 


4. Bala Needs Your Help
Catherine Nasmith

Thanksgiving Rally at Bala Falls

Save the Bala Falls and Township of Muskoka Lakes Mayor and Council are running out of appeals to save their community places from hydro development. http://savethebalafalls.com/?p=4393

An ancient portage between the Moon River and Lake Muskoka will be closed, leaving a nearly impossible alternate. Access to the falls, where generations have enjoyed waterplay, canoing and the vistas down the Moon River will be blocked. Already the Ministry of Natural Resources has declared a site which has had public access for generations unsafe.

Here we see the provincial government using its considerable powers to crush local opposition and to be the handmaiden of Swift River Energy. 

This is not a remote site, it is in the heart of the town of Bala. 

This community continues to fight on with a post card campaign. You can help by contacting your MP and telling them it is time to listen to local communities. If the province had listened to Oakville there would never have been a need to cancel the gas plant there. The energy file is one that should concern us all. 

Crushing democratic process is too much of a price to pay for green energy. 


5. City of Toronto launches blog as resource on heritage conservation districts
Heritage Preservation Services

no 37 Madison, Madison Avenue HCD

The City of Toronto has launched a new blog to help Torontonians learn more about the Heritage Conservation District (HCD) studies and plans happening throughout the city. The blog is called Heritage Conservation Districts in Toronto.

"The new blog will be a resource to learn about milestones, events and ways to participate in the heritage conservation district studies and plans currently underway in the city," said Councillor Peter Milczyn (Ward 5 Etobicoke Lakeshore), Chair of the Planning and Growth Management Committee. "This is an example of how we want Torontonians to be better informed and more engaged in our city."

Each HCD study or plan has a dedicated section in the blog where readers can find detailed background information, study area boundary maps, read community consultation presentations and use feedback forms. The blog also has historic photo galleries and a page dedicated to answering frequently asked questions.

"This is a really exciting initiative that creates a meaningful way for us to share our work with the public, while also creating a vehicle through which we can collect feedback that will in turn shape our work," said Jennifer Keesmaat, Toronto's Chief Planner. The Heritage Conservation Districts in Toronto blog will be updated regularly to ensure that anyone interested in these studies has access to all of the latest information.

The City of Toronto is currently studying five potential HCDs, comprising about 2,000 properties. The five areas being studied are:
• Historic Yonge Street: Yonge Street between Davenport Road to the north and Carlton Street to the south, including areas west of Yonge Street on Carlton Street, Wellesley Street, St. Joseph Street, St. Nicholas Street and Irwin Avenue.
• Garden District: from Allan Gardens south to Moss Park between Jarvis and Sherbourne Streets
• St. Lawrence: from Adelaide Street south to the railway corridor, between Yonge and Parliament Streets
• Queen Street East: Queen Street East from the Don River to DeGrassi Street
• King/Spadina: between University Avenue and Bathurst Street east of Spadina Avenue, the study area runs between Queen and Wellington Streets. West of Spadina Avenue, the study area runs between Adelaide and Front Streets.

Each area is subject to two phases of work – an HCD study followed by an HCD plan. HCDs are enclosed by a boundary and designated under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act. Once an area receives the HCD designation, the heritage designation helps manage change and growth within the historic neighbourhood. District plans are designated to protect and maintain heritage value and character.

More information is available at http://hcdtoronto.wordpress.com. The blog is maintained by Heritage Preservation Services, City Planning Division.

Anyone can sign up for automatic City Planning email updates at http://www.toronto.ca/e-updates.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. Toronto's government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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Media contact: Bruce Hawkins, Senior Communications Coordinator, 416-392-3496, bhawkin@toronto.ca


6. Heritage Canada Awards

Heritage Canada Foundation Announces Recipients of the Prince of Wales Prize,
and the Gabrielle Léger and Lieutenant Governor’s Awards

Ottawa, ON October 30, 2013 – The Heritage Canada Foundation today announced the City of Owen Sound, Ontario, as the recipient of its most prestigious award, the Prince of Wales Prize for Municipal Heritage Leadership. A message of congratulations from His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, will be screened during the Awards Ceremony.

In keeping with his commitment to architecture, the environment, and inner-city renewal, His Royal Highness agreed to lend his title to the creation of a prize to be awarded annually to the government of a municipality that has demonstrated a strong and sustained commitment to the conservation of its historic places.

The jury selected Owen Sound in recognition of its dedication to preserving heritage buildings and cultural landscapes through a series of policies and programs that include community consultation, tax relief, design guidelines and education. The municipality has demonstrated a commitment to integrating heritage assets into long-term urban revitalization strategies.

This year’s HCF Leadership Awards recognizing individual excellence will be presented to: Mr. François LeBlanc of Ottawa, winner of the Gabrielle Léger Medal for Lifetime Achievement in recognition of his 40-year contribution to heritage conservation in Canada and abroad and to Mr. Charles Fairbank III of Oil Springs, Ontario, recipient of the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Heritage Conservation at the Provincial Level for his work in preserving and promoting a unique piece of Canada’s industrial heritage: the First Commercial Oil Field.

The National Awards Ceremony and Reception is taking place in Ottawa on November 1, 2013 at the National Gallery of Canada. HCF is pleased to be screening a video message from His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales congratulating the municipality of Owen Sound. Tickets are available by contacting heritagecanada@heritagecanada.org or 613-798-6313.

Learn more about the 2013 Heritage Canada Foundation National Award recipients.

For further information contact:
Carolyn Quinn, Director of Communications
cquinn@heritagecanada.org
Telephone: (613) 237-1066 ext. 229; Cell (613) 797-7206

For more information about the 2013 Prince of Wales Prize winning city contact:
Mayor Deborah Haswell, City of Owen Sound
dhaswell@owensound.ca
Telephone: (519) 376-4440 ext. 1212


7. ACO Awards
Acorn in a Nutshell

Join us in celebrating the winners and nominees at the Annual Awards Dinner on Friday, November 8, at the historic Arts and Letters Club in Toronto.

The ACO Awards Dinner is our opportunity to honour those who have made contributions to the preservation of Ontario's landmarks. As the principal non-government volunteer organization for heritage conservation in Ontario, ACO honours preservation leaders and projects that are valuable on a provincial scale to the architectural conservation movement in Ontario. This marks the seventh year of our awards program.

This year's annual dinner will also mark the 80th anniversary of the founding of the ACO in 1933. A commemorative book, 80 for 80: Celebrating Eighty Years of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, will be launched at the dinner.

Time: 6:00 p.m. cocktails, 7:15 p.m. dinner
Place: The Arts and Letters Club, 14 Elm Street, Toronto
Tickets are $150. A substantial portion of the ticket price is eligible for a charitable tax receipt.

Reserve by calling the ACO at 416-367-8075 ext. 201 or email manager@arconserv.ca

 

A.K. (Alice King) Sculthorpe Award for Advocacy
Pamela Minns, Thorold

ACO Award for Special Contributions
Joan Tooke, Port Hope

Eric Arthur Lifetime Achievement Award
Helen and Gerald Finley, Kingston

James D. Strachan Award for Craftsmanship
Clayton Smith, President, The Commercial Realty Group, Toronto
and all who made this restoration possible

Margaret and Nicholas Hill Cultural Heritage Landscape Award
Friends of Meadowlily Woods, London

Paul Oberman Award for Adaptive Re-use
Jeff Feswick, President, Historia Building Restoration Inc. for adaptive re-use of Treble Hall and Pagoda Building, Hamilton

Peter Stokes Award for Restoration
Orillia Museum of Art & History for restoration of the Sir Samuel Steele Memorial Building

ACO NextGen Award
Nancy Oakley

ACO Media Award
Graham Crawford, HIStory + HERitage, Hamilton

Post-1945 Design Award
Jerome Markson

 

Editor's Note:
Alas, the dinner is sold out for this year, but if you want to support the excellent work of ACO, donations are welcome!


8. Say Goodbye to Peter Dickinson's last Regent Park building
Catherine Nasmith

From T.O. Built

It turns out 14 Blevin is the most hated address in Toronto's Regent Park. Designed by the much praised Toronto architect Peter Dickinson, it is the last of 5 similar towers. It is currently on the Inventory of Heritage Property, and it was hoped that it could be preserved as a legacy of the original development, and for its interesting mid century design. With two storey units and a playful facade it is much admired by architecture fans. 

But it seems that legacy is abhorant to the community that lives in it and next to it. At the Toronto Preservation Board today, one after another residents stepped forward begging the TPB to let it go. They were joined by reps of Toronto Community Housing management. It's dirty, overun with vermin, has no parking, stairs in two story units are dangerous and make the units inaccessible, no elevator access to laundry room, along with broken mechanical systems were some of the complaints, but its biggest failing seems to be that it reminds people of something they really want to leave behind, a failed social experiment with human guinea pigs. 

The building had been listed for its design value. While its physical failings could be fixed, no community housing resident wants to be moved back in there. Daniels Corporation, the developer of the private housing concluded that it is not suitable for condo conversion, in part because there is no place to build parking. 

The discussion reminded me of arguments to get rid of the hated hospital at 999 Queen Street West in the 1970's. Sometimes a building is destroyed because its negative cultural associations over-rule the positive. Yet, when the dust settles we often look back with great regret at our failure to see beyond the superficial decay. But the pleas were poignant. Even consistently pro-conservation Councillor McConnell begged for the building's demise.

There will be efforts to record 14 Blevin, but it will soon be gone. 

 


9. Cumberland Chain Saw Massacre
Catherine Nasmith

Missing Trees in Cumberland Park

What happened here? 

A late night attack from our Mayor trying to create more parking spaces?

Christmas tree lumberjack?

Overzealous park pruning?

Here's the answer from Councillor Wong-Tam

The Village of Yorkville Park is receiving an exciting face lift. In consultation with the Bloor-Yorkville BIA, as well as the ABC Resident’s Association and the Greater Yorkville Resident’s Association, my office has been working with City staff in Parks, Forestry and Recreation to review the health of the spruce trees in the eastern end of the park located at Cumberland Street and Bellair Street.

Due to a parking garage located underneath the park, the health of the soil beds for the 30 trees was deteriorating and causing the trees to die or have very poor structural form. The membrane located underneath the tree pits was also malfunctioning and since the water was not able to weep from the membrane, the roots of the trees were continuously over-saturated by water. In response to the poor health of the trees, a replacement plan was created.

As part of this welcomed improvement, 30 trees will be removed this fall (late October and early November, 2013) and will be replaced at the beginning of the spring, 2014. The trees were scheduled for removal this fall because it is considered the safest time given the decrease in pedestrian traffic in the park. The trees are being replaced in the spring since it is the time of year most conducive to healthy tree planting and replanting.

In addition to this work, the soil beds will be improved in an attempt to ensure that the new trees flourish for many years to come.

Urban Forestry continues to work with the Bloor-Yorkville BIA to minimize safety
concerns during the improvements and to identify species-selection for the spring planting. The BIA is also responsible for all costs associated with the installation of the new trees.

After conducting several site visits with the BIA, ABC, GYRA, and City staff, I am
pleased that the improvements to this iconic park are taking place and I am relieved that no one has been injured by the trees that have needed attention and replacement.


10. Globe and Mail: Obituary Gordon Ridgely
John Bentley Mays

Architect Gordon Ridgely brought out the best of Georgian style

From the time he crafted his first Georgian residence, Toronto architect Gordon Ridgely remained devoted to this traditional style, refining his interpretation of it as the years went by.

“It began around 1975,” Mr. Ridgely said in an interview a few years ago. “I had a client who wanted a Georgian house. I said, ‘Give me a month to study Georgian, and if you’re prepared to do it properly, with enough resources to do a proper job, I might be interested.’

The project not only taught Mr. Ridgely, who died on Sept. 7 at the age of 75, that he could do a credible job of making Georgian architecture, it introduced him to a field of design that had a promising market among Canada’s wealthiest and most prominent individuals. Over the years, his client list included Galen Weston, the Irving family of New Brunswick and Conrad Black.

As the contemporary Swiss architect Peter Zumthor wrote, “To me, buildings can have a beautiful silence that I associate with attributes such as composure, self-evidence, durability, presence, and integrity, and with warmth and sensuousness as well; a building that is being itself, being a building, not representing anything, just being.”

Click here for Link


11. Gravenhurst Banner: 3 Opinion Pieces Against Bala Falls Hydro Development

We live in a democracy, dont we?

3 opinion pieces outlining public concern re: the proposed hydro plant at the Bala Falls, pointing out loss of public access to their waterfront, the provincial government using its powers to override local concerns and assist a private developer, and finally the public cost to subsidize this power generation. 

Click here for Link


12. Inside Toronto:Preservation of Wesley Mimico United Church
Tamara Shephard

City moves to preserve 1922 Mimico church

Heritage designation of Wesley Mimico United Church took another step forward last week.
Etobicoke York Community Council voted unanimously last Thursday to endorse city planners and the Toronto Preservation Boards recommendation that Toronto council state its intention to designate the 1922 property and its 1953 church addition under the Ontario Heritage Act.

The 2 Station Rd. property is currently listed on Torontos inventory of heritage properties.
For the past five years, the churchs congregation and community-based faith and hope planning team has explored economically viable options for renewing the church and property.
The amended recommendation removed preserving the interior of the existing sanctuary from the list of heritage attributes, a critical change church officials said, arguing their renewal proposal would have proved impossible with that condition.

The churchs congregation is shrinking, as its ability to maintain the buildings upkeep and operating costs.
In April, the church submitted its fully accessible renewal development application to the city, which proposes to preserve heritage aspects of the church and retain it, add 36 units of leasehold seniors housing crucial to raise the necessary capital to preserve the property, and add 4,000 square feet of flexible community program space.

City planners cited the church as an institution of importance to the community and significant as a fine representative example of a 20th century church with Romanesque Revival and neo-Gothic styling and unique interior features by noted Toronto architectural firm of Horwood and White in Mimico.

Fifteen people from the community and the church spoke to councillors on heritage issues and on the churchs renewal application. All speakers agreed with designation of the property.

Denise Harris, Etobicoke Historical Society heritage officer, spoke strongly in favour of heritage designation of the church, and the churchs redevelopment plans.

We fully acknowledge that the preservation of the exterior of the church with all of its heritage attributes is the ideal. But we believe there are mitigating factors here, Harris said, explaining the society found it difficult initially to support the churchs proposed development if it meant compromising any of its heritage attributes.
But we came to realize sometimes, just sometimes, heritage preservation may not totally be about preserving every single element of a building because the value of the building, not only rests with the tangible, like the structure, but also with the intangible concept  what is the churchs cultural concept? How does the structure connect to a social setting?

Harry Oussoren, the churchs faith and hope teams volunteer convenor and the churchs former pastor, told councillors unless an economically viable means is found to redevelop the historic church, in its current crumbling, inaccessible state and waterlogged basement, it would be forced to shut its doors.

 

Click here for Link


13. Toronto Star: Obituary Paul Reichman
David Olive

Paul Reichmann: The genius who reshaped the world

Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood.

— Daniel H. Burnham (1846-1912), American architect.

 

Paul Reichmann was among the greatest land developers in history. Reichmann, who died Friday morning in Toronto at 83, was also among this country’s outstanding philanthropists.

It is unlikely that those of my generation, raised in Toronto in the 1960s and 1970s, will see Reichmann’s like again. With uncommon audacity, persistence and real estate acumen, Reichmann reshaped the skylines of Toronto, New York and London.

Reichmann is in the pantheon of the most extraordinary modern builders of urban landscapes, in company with master planners Georges-Eugène Haussmann (Paris), Robert Moses (New York state) and William Zeckendorf.


The brash Bill Zeckendorf, a New Yorker, somehow managed the feat of erecting Montreal’s inspiring Place Ville Marie as a collaboration between a Jew (himself); a tradition-bound Scottish skinflint lead tenant, James Muir, then-CEO of the Royal Bank of Canada; and a fiercely nationalistic Québécois mayor, Jean Drapeau.

Click here for Link


14. Toronto Star: Sale of Honest Ed's in Toronto
Laura Kane

Honest Ed's site sold to Vancouver developer

 

Say goodbye to Honest Ed’s.

The discount retail landmark, which has stood at the corner of Bloor and Bathurst Sts. for more than 70 years, has been sold to a Vancouver-based luxury developer.

David Mirvish said Sunday he has inked a deal with Westbank Properties that will close later this year.

“They have a wonderful history and track record. I think they want to be a part of our community and make a contribution to it,” said Mirvish. “I think it will honour my parents.”

Click here for Link


15. Yonge Street: Smart Address Opens at Market Gallery

Toronto's Art Deco heritage on display at Market Gallery

Our skyline is being defined for a generation, probably several, and it looks like Toronto’s decided it’s got a heart of glass.

But before the cult of mirrored and transparent rectilinearity bedazzled our pragmatic developers and their pet architects, Toronto allowed itself to show a little detail, some of which is on display at the Market Gallery’s show of the city’s Art Deco and Style Moderne history.

"Art Deco was a great escape route for designers coming of age during and after the First World War,"  says Alec Keefer, president of the Toronto Architectural Conservancy, which is putting on the show. "Those, like Alfred Chapman, J. J. Woolnough and Martin Baldwin, were looking for an approach that was daring and muscular. Art Deco and its successor Style Moderne allowed them to rid themselves of the cult and sophisticated trappings of classical elegant restraint that epitomized the Anglo-British school, full of conceits and mannerisms that was then the norm."

Click here for Link


16. Daily Commercial News: Heritage trades celebrated in Hamilton
DAN OREILLY

DAN OREILLY - A table of demonstration stones and stone cutting tools from Traditional Cut Stone is one of the exhibits on display at the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre in Hamilton, Ont. until Dec. 20.

A special exhibition designed to celebrate heritage building trades and demonstrate how they are relevant in the 21st century will be at the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre (WAHC) in Hamilton until Dec. 20.

A combined labour history museum and arts centre based in a restored pre-Confederation customs house, the WAHC has organized the exhibition in partnership with the Ontario Chapter of the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals

The exhibition is entitled: Building Our Futures, Preserving Our Pasts: A Celebration of Southern Ontario’s Heritage Building Trades.

On display is a sampling of materials, tools and finished pieces by the participants which include a heritage restoration firm, stonemasons, carpenters, a master plaster and a faux-finish painter. Other exhibits include historic tools from the centre’s own collection and ones on loan from the Westfield Heritage Village in Rockton.

There is also is a photographic montage documenting the restoration of the R. C. Harris Water Plant in Toronto. It was compiled by Taylor Hazell Architects, the architects for the restoration and one of the show’s sponsors.

The participants include Empire Restoration, Shoalts Bros. Construction, Acanthus Heritage Plastering, Lori LeMare Studio, Traditional Cut Stone Ltd. and the centre itself.

fficially opened in mid-September, the exhibition is receiving critical acclaim from the construction industry and the general public, says program coordinator Andrew Lochhead.

“The response has been very positive and people are excited.”

Click here for Link


17. Grey County to celebrate the restoration of Culvert 21
Denis Langlois

A 140-year-old former railway bridge

The nearly $600,000 restoration of the historic arched bridge near Chatsworth is now complete and Grey County is planning a ribbon-cutting ceremony as a celebration.

Chatsworth Mayor and Grey County Coun. Bob Pringle said the event will give people a chance to see the finished bridge, which is believed to be more than 140 years old and a one-of-a-kind feature of the areas railroad past.

It will also be an opportunity for people to further make pledges or donations. So we are certainly looking forward to that day, he said in an interview Tuesday afternoon.

The ceremony is set for Nov. 22 at 2 p.m.

Click here for Link


18. Hamilton Spectator: Can James Street Baptist be dismantled
Matthew Van Dongen

John Rennison,The Hamilton Spectator - The James Street Baptist Church north wall was bowing in at least 15 centimetres when it was measured in June using a laser level.

A compromise is brewing to salvage more of the historic-but-disintegrating James Street Baptist Church.

A city heritage watchdog committee is scheduled to make a recommendation Wednesday on a demolition permit application from Louie Santaguida.

The developer has pitched knocking down three-quarters of the 135-year-old building for safety reasons while preserving the distinctive stone entrance and towers along James Street South.

But committee chair Michael Adkins said he now expects a "stronger proposal" from the developer Wednesday focusing on "more dismantling and less demolition."

Reached late Tuesday, Santaguida said his design team will suggest carefully dismantling the unstable church wall along Jackson Street and using the stone to build a hybrid structure. He'll also pitch a detailed "photo essay" of the building for posterity.

The developer is considering multi-residential and commercial options for the downtown property, but doesn't have a firm building height or design nailed down.

"We believe we've address their concerns," he said of the committee, which put off a decision on the demolition permit two weeks ago and encouraged Santaguida to return with a better preservation plan.

The developer said he would bring conceptual drawings to give committee members a sense of how the older walls could be reused.

That will be an important point for committee members, Adkins suggested.

"I think it's pretty clear he's going to face considerable resistance to simply knocking most of the building down and building completely new on the back end," said Adkins, noting the church is protected by a provincial heritage designation. "I think the idea of reusing stone material has merit, but not if it's simply as decoration.


19. Hamilton Spectator: Demo permit for James Street Baptist Church jumps hurdle
Daniel Nolan

A conception of how much of the church the developer proposes saving.

A developer's contentious proposal to knock down three-quarters of James Street Baptist Church can go forward.

The city's heritage permit review subcommittee approved a demolition permit application for developer Louie Santaguida Wednesday night — with numerous conditions — to remove the back of the landmark downtown church and retain the façade on James Street South.

Engineers for the developer had told him the building was unsafe and in danger of collapse, possibly damaging nearby buildings or injuring passersby. The congregation had moved out of the 135-year-old building and sold it to Santaguida due to safety concerns.

The developer is considering multi-residential and commercial options for the downtown property, but doesn't have a firm building height or design nailed down.

Members of the subcommittee initially favoured obtaining another engineer's thoughts on the condition of the building — a peer review — but Santaguida and engineer Michael Schor argued enough had already been done.

Santaguida said he had consulted with three engineers plus a contractor, who told him the church was unsafe.

The vote on the demolition permit was a bit rocky. Two members — Rebecca Beatty and former heritage committee chair Diane Dent — abstained.

Click here for Link


20. HazMat Magazine: Brantford Brownfield Heritage Remediation

Ontario city to test Dutch steam remediation technology to protect heritage structures

To preserve architectural history, the Ontario city of Brantford is testing out an innovative new remediation technique through a partnership with a Dutch technology company.

The in-situ and heat-enhanced soil remediation technology will be applied to a portion of the longstanding 21-hectare Greenwich Mohawk brownfield site in Brantford, a city that has lost a number of its industrial footholds since the 1980s.

In 2012, a fire damaged some of the brownfield area, which houses at least two historic buildings. The prospect of demolition faced criticism and anger over the potential loss of the most valuable heritage assets at 66 Mohawk St.

In September 2013, the City of Brantford received a $130,845 grant from the Green Municipal Fund, endowed from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, to move the test project forward with Dutch company Groundwater Technology.

This leading-edge technology is another prime example of the groundbreaking innovation this City is quickly becoming known for, said Brantford Mayor Chris Friel in a September 27, 2013 statement to media. This initiative will create a cleaner, greener Brantford for future generations, Friel added.

The Citys hope is that the technology may eventually be used in the Canadian context to remediate brownfield sites to a residential and parkland standard, all without demolishing a sites designated heritage buildings.

The Greenwich Mohawk brownfield site consists of three adjacent properties used for decades by two large farm equipment manufacturers. The propertys approximately 700,000 cubic metres of soil is contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons and other pollutants.

The test project will use steam to remove the petroleum hydrocarbons from a 300-square metre area within the source area for the contaminants. The steam will mobilize the petroleum hydrocarbon contaminants so they can be extracted with a vacuum system, then separated through condensation and physical separation.

The petroleum hydrocarbons will be recovered and disposed of as a chemical waste or refined or recycled.

The initiative is a key component of Brantfords Brownfield Sites Community Improvement Plan.

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21. Kenora Daiy Miner & News: City hall roof replacement on track for Dec. 1 completion
Reg Clayton

contractors arrived on site to remove several of the tiles to make a mold for fabrication of the replacement panels [and] determined the required thickness of the material for longevity

An Empire Restoration crew removes original roofing material from the south side lower level of the city hall roof in preparation for the installation of new metal panels - REG CLAYTON, Miner and News

It’s a race against Old Man Winter but city facilities supervisor John Nabb is confident with the arrival of an additional five workers on site this week the city hall roof replacement project is on track for completion as scheduled.

“People are going to see a big difference in the next two weeks,” Nabb said. “The project is roughly 30 days behind schedule but with (eight workers on the job) I expect they will meet the target date of Dec. 1.”

City council awarded the approximately half-million dollar contract to Empire Restoration, a southern Ontario-based company specializing in the repair and restoration of historically significant buildings. The project got underway in early June.

“There are very few companies in Canada with the expertise and trades people to perform this sort of work,” Nabb said. “It’s a very labour intensive process.”

http://www.kenoradailyminerandnews.com/2013/11/05/city-hall-roof-replacement-on-track-for-dec-1-completion

An Empire Restoration crew removes original roofing material from the south side lower level of the city hall roof in preparation for the installation of new metal panels, Tuesday morning, Nov. 5. REG CLAYTON/Miner and News

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22. The Intelligencer (Belleville): Building's future bleak
JASON MILLER

Belleville council will have its say on whether or not a downtown building, built circa 1857, should be reduced to a pile of rubble.

JASON MILLER/ THE INTELLIGENCER - Belleville city council will vote on whether or not to permit the demolition of the The Bohemian Penguin pictured here on Front Street.

The fate of the building that most recently was home to Bohemian Penguin now rests in the hands of council, but city officials say Mark Rashotte, the building’s owner, could appeal council’s decision to the Ontario Municipal Board if council opts to block demolition of t he crumbling building. Designated as a historic building under the Ontario Heritage Act, special approval is required for demolition.

“It’s designated heritage property,” said city special projects planner Greg Pinchin. “Because the building is designated, he will need to get approval from city council in order to demolition it.”

Pinchin said council will lean on input from the Heritage Bell eville committee, which has shown early signs of support for Rashotte’s plans.

“Council could say no,” he said. “If they choose not to allow demolition, the owner will have the opportunity to appeal it to the OMB.”

Following summer talks, Heritage Belleville gave Rashotte the demolition a green light on the condition that he reuse “any pieces that could be restored and put back on a new brick structure” Pinchin said.

Belleville historical files shows what’s now known as the Bohemian Penguin was first dubbed the Henderson Building in honour of city barrister, George Henderson, it’s first owner.

“This is older than the Quinte Hotel,” Pinchin said.

Construction of the building commenced in 1857, when Henderson planted the early foundations of the elaborate structure. The roof was not added until the 1870s, to accommodate an organ and choir loft for the third floor.

The Front Street landmark is also viewed as a fine example of the Napoleon “Second Empire” style of architecture of the 1860s and 1870s, which was popular in France around that time.

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23. West End Dumplings: A sad centenary for Winnipeg's Royal Albert Hotel

A sad centenary for the Royal Albert Hotel

On Tuesday, November 5th the Royal Albert Hotel will celebrate its centenary. It will be a sad occasion given the recent events that led to its closure.

As the hotel proved in 1920 after it was shut down for operating as a bawdy house, it can bounce back given some TLC and a good manager. Lets hope that the Royal Albert has a few more decades left to come.

Earlier this year I wrote a detailed history of the building which can be found here.

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24. VIA Rail awards contracts Winnipeg's Union Station Renovation

VIA Rail awards contracts to Winnipeg-based firms for Union Station Renovation and LRC car components

VIA Rail Canada (viarail.ca) announced today that it has signed agreements worth $4.5 million with locally-based Winnipeg companies for the renovation of Winnipeg Union Station as well as for components for its Light, Rapid, Comfortable (LRC) Business Class cars which are used in the Québec City - Windsor corridor.

$3.5 million granted to Union Station

VIA Rail will be undertaking over $6.5 million of renovations to its Heritage station in Winnipeg, the largest building owned by the corporation. Of the $6.5 million, VIA Rail has, to date, confirmed $3.5 million in contracts to Winnipeg-based companies, which will create over 80 jobs in the construction sector, have a positive impact on the region and boost its economy.

Among the most notable contract partners are ABCO Supply & Service, Security Decorating, Bockstael Construction, Westwood Mechanical Inc. and Bridgman Collaborative Architecture.

The investment, originally announced in 2012, will be used to improve waiting areas, electrical and security systems, accessibility and the exterior of the Heritage building. The washrooms will also undergo a major renovation to make them more accessible and spacious, and some repairs and restoration will be done to the Rotunda - one of the most distinctive features of the station. The new funding tops the $3.5 million already invested in renovation and upgrade projects since 2007, which included repairs to the heating and cooling systems. This previous work ultimately led to Union Station's BOMA BESt Level 2 designation by the Building Owners and Managers Association of Manitoba.

The 120,000 square foot building, located in the heart of Winnipeg, has welcomed thousands of Canadians and visitors over the years. It is also home to other tenants including Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Manitoba Conservation (Province of Manitoba), federal government employees, Environment Canada and Red River College.

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Editor's Note:Great to get news from Winnipeg, would love to get reports from other Canadian cities.....


25. The Salt Lake Tribune: Historic Corinne Masonic Lodge continues oyster and ham dinner tradition
Tom Wharton

An undated photo of the historic Corinne Lodge, home since 1909 of the Corinne Masonic group, which will be holding its longtime annual oyster and ham dinner fund-raiser on Saturday, Nov. 9. Courtesy Mike Kafton

No one knows exactly what year the unusual tradition of serving a fried oyster dinner began at the venerable Corinne Masonic Lodge.

The event was originally held in early November to encourage attendance as the lodge in this small Box Elder County town held elections, but it became so popular that members decided to move it to the second Saturday in November in 1978 and use it as a fundraiser to help pay for upkeep of its historic building on 4405 W. Montana St.

According to Mike Nelson, the current master of the 140-year-old Masonic group, this year’s event is scheduled Saturday, Nov. 9, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. It is open to the public. Cost is $15 and includes fried oysters, fried green tomatoes, ham slices, garlic bread, potato salad, ice cream, root beer and homemade desert.

"Our lodge started in 1872 and received its official charter in 1873," said Nelson. "The oyster dinner started much later than this. The old-timers said that even in the 1960s and ‘70s, they were eating oysters on election nights. In 1978, one of the guys decided it would be better to separate the oyster dinner from election night to the second Saturday of November."

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26. Christian Science Monitor: Industrial Designer Raymond Loewy
Karis Hustad

Raymond Loewy: How his designs defined the modern era

 

In the middle of the 20th century, consumer brands became the symbol of the good life, a nod to technological advancement and peace between years of conflict. Smart branding and products, such as the Shell Oil logo, 

Loewy was born in Paris on November 5, 1893. He served in the French army in World War I and came to America shortly after the war. He lived in New York City, designing windows for Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue, and providing fashion illustrations for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar magazines. His first big break in the industrial design world came when he designed the Sears Coldspot refrigerator in the '30s, which, with its aluminum shelves and round-edged design, quickly became the icebox du jour.

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27. Daily Commercial News: Old Flame Brewery rises from heritage site in Port Perry
IAN HARVEY

SCUGOG SHORES MUSEUMS - The former Ontario Carriage Works building as it stood in 1884. The building, most recently a former LCBO site, is currently being converted into a craft brewery.

Jack Doak is a hands-on entrepreneur who is not shy about his expectations of his fellow investors in the restoration of a Port Perry heritage building to be home to his new craft brewery.

“I don’t just want their money,” he says. “I want them to work. I don’t want people who give their money and then sit in an office. That’s why I have the guys I have working with me. This is something we can have fun with.”

Indeed, Doak, a successful serial start-up entrepreneur is swinging a hammer at the former LCBO site in Port Perry, ripping down exterior stucco cladding and tearing out drywall to expose the original brick walls of the 130-year-old former Carriage Works building on Perry Street which was once a mainstay in the historical town on the shores of Lake Scugog.

Between buying the property, renovating it and starting the brewery in the 5,000 square feet space, all told, Doaks says the venture will top out at between $1.5 and $2 million.

The local council and heritage committee couldn’t be happier that the run down circa 1970s façade and finish of the LCBO store will revert to something more fitting with the rest of the structures in the historical zone.

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28. Dalnavert National Historic Site in Winnipeg shuttered
Alexandra Paul, Winnipeg Free Press

Historic Dalnavert Shuttered

Quietly and without notice, Dalnavert Museum was closed over the Labour Day weekend.

And its devoted army of volunteers worries it may never reopen.

The Victorian-era home at 61 Carlton St., lovingly restored for $500,000 in the 1970s, seems to have fallen out of public favour, despite Christmas and Halloween tours that once drew hundreds through its historic doors.

When the front doors were locked this fall, few noticed. The website for the national historic site remained up and running, and the Manitoba Historical Society only notified volunteers of the decision as they showed up for their shifts.

Dalnavert, one of Winnipeg's finest examples of Queen Anne Revival architecture, is the restored 1895 home of Hugh John Macdonald, son of Canada's first prime minister, John A. Macdonald. During his career, the younger Macdonald was premier of Manitoba and later police magistrate for Winnipeg.

By Halloween, the president of the society conceded the jewel of the city's Victorian-era architecture faced an uncertain future in the 21st century.

"We're hitting the reset button," society president James Kostuchuk said.

Dalnavert is much more than the former home of a former premier. It is a treasure house of Winnipeg's 19th-century history: of its architecture and its ambition, of immigration, urbanization and modernization. It warehouses a history of photography, electricity, the family and class relations. I am heartbroken to see this place, lovingly and expertly restored 40 years ago, die a second death.

-Vanessa Warne, associate English professor, University of Manitoba and Dalnavert volunteer.

"We're looking at the role the house will play in our organization, and we haven't made any decisions."

In an interview from his Portage la Prairie home, the history teacher said the focus for the MHS is shifting outside Winnipeg to rural history sites, and the bottom line is the century-old home of a prime minister's son is a financial liability.

"Dalnavert is the single biggest expense that we have," he said, estimating the annual upkeep at $100,000.

Nothing has been ruled out, including selling the property to a private owner.

The national historic designation could limit its resale options, but that's not something the society has looked into yet, he said.

Parks Canada hadn't answered questions by email or phone call by week's end.

Kostuchuk said the museum's biggest supporters are its volunteers, who've devoted countless hours over the years, running tours, answering phones, taking inventory of antiques and artifacts and decorating the house to look like it's still a family home.

"I've met with some of the volunteers and they have a great interest... And I told them, there's no decision made on the house, but given the circumstances -- no manager in the house and the time of the year -- it didn't seem to be sensible at this time to keep it open."

That hit a decidedly sour note.

One after another, volunteers spoke out Friday, angry over how the closure's been handled and the fact the museum is closed to the public.

English professor Vanessa Warne, a volunteer for three years, is a de facto spokeswoman for the group and she makes no bones about how they feel: It's the end of Dalnavert.

"I care that we are losing an entire cultural history that shows how people lived at such a formative period in Winnipeg's history. I understand that Winnipeggers are putting their money into Jets season tickets, but 40 years ago Winnipeggers broke themselves to get this place open, and now you can read a book about 19th-century Winnipeg. But to smell it, to feel it, to walk up the carpeted stairs in a home from that period? We'll never get that back."

Volunteer Inés Bonacossa said after years of working out of love for the house, she didn't get any notice at all the place was closing.

Shortly after the curator went on maternity leave at the end of the summer, Bonacossa showed up for a shift, only to find the door locked. "The administrator answered the bell and said 'Oh, the museum is temporarily closed.' That's how I found out. It was pretty awful."

Another longtime volunteer, Calla Lofvendahl, said she's disappointed and angry. "We've been left in the dark. I was informed my services were not required the day before my shift. We knew there were issues. Attendance has been unpredictable... (but) I've fallen in love with the house. What's going to happen to it?"

More than one volunteer cited the withdrawal of a $100,000 annual grant from a wealthy donor as the final blow, something the society won't comment on.

In the end, the society might have won the support of volunteers by treating them and the house better at the end.

"The way this is being handled is like kicking a corpse. We're talking about generations of volunteers. Surely, we could acknowledge them. They (the society) could have had an event where people could come and say a final goodbye to Dalnavert... This place isn't getting a proper funeral," Warne said.

The society is taking the winter to decide how or if Dalnavert might fit into a larger restructuring, but even the president said there are wider worries about the museum.

"You have to look at the balance... small theatres and museums don't make money. They cost money," Kostuchuk said. Attendance across North America is trending down by 20 per cent or more as smaller historical sites fall out of fashion.

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