December 2012 newsletter of Built Heritage News (Catherine Nasmith)

The current newsletter of Built Heritage News can be found at this website.

The newsletter includes information about the Gore Park Streetwall in Hamilton.

Some highlights from the newsletter (click on the link at the top of this page to read more):

Feature Stories

  • Raise The Hammer: Hamilton – Gore Park Buildings
  • December 5, 175th Anniversary of the Rebel’s March
  • Rosedale Project Still Looking For Space
  • Fort York: Fife and Drum-Subscribe
  • Globe and Mail: 6 New Toronto Buildings
  • Owen Sound Sun Times: work to rehabilitate a 140-year-old arched bridge get Federal funding
  • Toronto Star: Change the Only Toronto Constant
  • Toronto Star: Future of Masonic Temple
  • Toronto Star: Wychwood Park
  • Medicine Hat: Brick and Tile site a Provincial Historic Resource
  • Grende Prairie AB: Eight buildings declared historic sites
  • A History of Winnipeg’s Metrpolitan (Allen) Theatre
  • A History of Winnipeg’s Sherbrook Pool
  • Winnipeg: Answers wanted on Historic Pool’s Closure
  • Winnipeg: The MEt theatre’s faded beauty’s glory restored by renovations
  • Wall Street Journal: Wyoming Town Hopes for Revival With Carousel
  • Daily Telegraph: 18th century French chateau bulldozed ‘by mistake’
  • National Post: Oops French demolish Wrong Building
  • New York Times – Sale of Wright House Assures Its Preservation
  • Toronto Star: 2012 Best New Buildings in Toronto
  • Philadelphia Daily News: Legacy of Frank Furness burns during citywide celebration
  • South China Morning Post Magazine: Then & now: ivory tower
  • South China Morning Post: Hong Kong’s balancing act on heritage building conservation made difficult
  • The Guardian: Restoration of Roman tunnels gives a slave’s eye view of Caracalla baths
  • The Times: Critics battle over “brutalist treasure” bus station

2012 Good news and not so good

Following text [I’ve added some paragraph breaks and headings] is from Catherine Nasmith’s newsletter:

What would a year end/beginning be without a round up of the year’s news.

Through 2012 we saw many ups and downs. In the down category, Brighton Public School, the Ontario Northland train, with its stations to follow, Hamilton’s Education Building, and Macy Dubois 45 Charles Street in Toronto. Fire has taken its toll in Toronto, with losses on George Street, and Queen Street East and West. Winnipeg seemed to have more than its share of downs, but perhaps that is only because we have had such good reporting from Winnipeg this year. (Thanks to Winnipeg posters!)

Fort York

For ups, Station K seems to be headed for designation, but it is never clear whether designation is just a pause before evisceration to just the facades. The Sharon Temple seems to be going from strength to strength with restoration ongoing. Fort York is looking forward to breaking ground on its visitor centre.

This year we have also lost important people, Herb Stovel will be missed across the country. London Ontario is grieving Julia Beck, a longstanding member and past-President of the local ACO branch. Coming up behind to replace them are the next generation of heritage preservationists, best exemplified by ACO Next Gen.

Parks Canada

Parks Canada is reeling across the country with the cutting of thousands of staff members, an astounding attack on natural and cultural conservation, which seems to be culturally linked with extraordinary tax scrutiny of charities with conservation in their objects.

Heritage Canada Foundation

In the threatened category, all ten of Heritage Canada’s endangered places, a block of Main Streets buildings in Hamilton along the edge of Gore Park, a block of King Street West in Toronto which is almost entirely designated…no matter we have Frank Gehry on board for a replacement scheme.

Interestingly, one non-designated building in that strip at King and John, is the first warehouse adaptive re-use project in Toronto done by Diamond and Myers in the late sixties – early seventies, and which is still home to Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg architects one of the successor firms to Diamond and Myers. They have received their notice, which hurts more for having recently invested significant funds in their office space.

York Square

Another early project of Diamond and Myers, York Square, is on the block to be replaced by another Toronto condominium. This proposal will destroy a project that was the first to turn the tide of urban razing by re-using older building stock, 7 years before there was an Ontario Heritage Act. York Square received local and international recognition, an unheard of 10 pages in Progressive Architecture. The proposal to replace York Square falls in the proposed protected viewshed north of the Ontario Legislative Assembly Buildings.

Shift, the Richard Serra sculpture near King City may soon be surrounded with suburban blight. Now there is a cause worth getting behind. I dream of a major fundraising campaign led by Ontario art lovers to purchase the site and its surrounding landscape, perhaps management by AGO or Kleinberg as a remote site. Is there a fairy godmother for great works of art? I hope so.

The recent CRB decision that advised King City not to designate because there was no community interest in the site, ie it is on private land and a private commission, should not be seen as meaning there is no cultural value, but rather a reason to make the site publicly accessible.


In the world of good news, Willowbank is steadily expanding to produce the skilled graduates so needed in Ontario. The recent purchase of the Laura Secord School in Queenston will make a huge difference to the number of programs they can sustain, but remember it is a private charity. You can support Willowbank by donating at this link. The Peterborough Y will be coming back as part of a new housing complex. The City of Toronto has passed an OP amendment to give modest protection of the Queen’s Park silhouette, but not before several local developers appeal.

Looking ahead, the year will begin with two hearings. The first at OMB will be the Don Quixote charge by Al Carbone at the City of Toronto’s failure to protect Restaurant Row from development. I can only wish him well, having tilted at a few developer windmills myself. We may see a half loaf for preservation on King Street if Councillor Vaughan is successful in protecting the rest of the block. If David Mirvish succeeds in demolishing his two blocks of King Street, restaurant row will be the lone survivor in that area.

Bala Falls

A second hearing is at the Conservation Review Board on the proposed designation of 3 municipally owned sites near the Bala Falls. Later in the year, protection for the views of Queen’s Park will be once again at the OMB. Perhaps new political leadership at the province will result in the declaration of a provincial interest in that case.

Ontario Place will no doubt be in the news again, having been unceremoniously shut down by the McGuinty government even though it was more profitable than it had been in ages. Casino anyone?

You do have to be an optimist to be involved in heritage preservation. Happy New Year and success to optimists across Canada.

Submissions invited from Built Heritage News subscribers

[Catherine Nasmith adds:]

P.S. I invite subscribers from across Canada to post their local ups, downs and files to watch, preferably with pics. To do that, click on post a news item at the side of this newsletter or webpage and just type away.

Editor to receive Diamond Jubilee Medal

Following text, like previous text on this page but not some of the headings, is from Catherine Nasmith’s newsletter:

A little bit of news, in January I will be receiving the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal for volunteer work in heritage.

I am grateful to Steve Otto for his nomination of myself and other members of the Friends of Fort York for their work. Steve Otto, Rollo Myers, Robert Allsopp and myself were the founding members. I served on the board for the first ten years, but can take little credit for the amazing ongoing success of the organization. It is great to see new directors such as Shawn Micaleff and Matthew Blackett of Spacing bringing a new generation to this important Toronto site.

[Information about Queen’s Jubilee Medal cane be found here.]


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