DOORS OPEN WATERLOO REGION Saturday, September 19th, 2015 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Play On: Sports Past, Present, and Future
As the lazy days of summer quickly draw to a close, thoughts begin to turn to the fall and the various community activities that mark the annual changing of the seasons. From an architectural and heritage perspective, the most significant of such is DOORS OPEN WATERLOO REGION. This free annual showcase highlights interesting places and heritage sites throughout Waterloo Region, many of which are not regularly open to the public.
This year’s Doors Open – the 12th annual for our community – occurs on Saturday, September 19th, 2015 and runs from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM. In 2015, Doors Open events across Ontario are celebrating sports. Community clubs, legendary venues, professional teams, and innovative facilities will be the focus at 10 sport-themed sites here in Waterloo Region. Another 30 sites (40 in total) of cultural and heritage interest will also be open to the public, including the former Waterloo County Court House wherein the North Waterloo Region Branch of the ACO will be staffing a display. Built in 1964 and renovated in 2014/15, this unique facility, originally designed by Snider, Huget, and March Architects and Engineers, is a notable example of modern architecture. Many will recall the insightful presentation that was delivered by Professor Rick Haldenby, former Director of the UW School of Architecture, on the subject of modern architecture at our 2015 Annual General Meeting.
While DOORS OPEN WATERLOO REGION is fortunate to benefit from a number of sponsors and partners, volunteers are still required to help set-up and staff displays. Accordingly, we would kindly welcome the volunteer contributions of any members available on the 19th. Whether you just have an hour of free time, or could participate for the entire day, we would greatly appreciate your assistance.
Former Director, University of Waterloo School of Architecture, 1987-2013; Co-Author, Images of Progress 1946-1996: Modern Architecture in Waterloo Region; Executive Curator, Building Waterloo Region Festival of Architecture & Design 2014.
Kitchener Council will decide whether or not to save it from demolition, by designating it as being of cultural heritage value and interest.
The Roman Catholic Hamilton Diocese wants to demolish the building to reduce its building maintenance costs and create a 20-space parking lot.
Kitchener Heritage Planners contacted the Region of Waterloo Director of Housing to see if there was interest in adaptively re-using the convent as affordable housing. The Region’s favourable and encouraging response was passed on to the Diocese, but the Diocese has refused to withdraw the application for demolition.
Unless Kitchener City Council moves to designate Sacred Heart church buildings on the property, the Diocese will be legally entitled to demolish the building on May 8, 2015.
Come to Kitchener Council on Monday night and speak in favour of designating the Sacred Heart Church buildings – convent, rectory, former pastor house, residential building and the church itself. Email Rita Delaney or come to City Hall by 6:45 p.m.
Share some stories or facts that support its
physical or design value — g. representative of a particular style, material or construction method; displays a high degree of craftsmanship or artistic merit. The convent was designed by architect John Macleod Watt, author of over 60 large/public buildings, from Windsor’s Church of the Ascension to London’s McCormick Biscuit Factory to Kitchener’s St. Mary’s Hospital.
historical or associative value — e.g. direct associations with a belief, activity, organization or institution that is significant to the community; yields information that contributes to the understanding of a community; demonstrates the work of a particular architect or builder, e.g. information about the importance of Sacred Heart Church to the Polish community.
contextual value — e.g. Is important in defining, maintaining or supporting the character of an area; is physically, functionally, visually or historically linked to its surroundings; is a landmark.
Figure 4 of Ontario’s Climate Change Discussion Paper shows that the waste, transportation and building sectors all showed increased emissions. To stop this, ACO North Waterloo Region believes that Ontario’s climate change strategy should include measures which recognize the very positive environmental impact of conserving and retrofitting heritage buildings.
We strongly advocate that measures be taken to stop demolishing heritage buildings — adapt, retrofit and reuse them instead.
There is strong evidence to show this will reduce emissions.
A 2012 study by the Preservation Green Lab of Washington’s National Trust for Historic Preservation showed that if old (heritage) buildings were demolished and replaced with new buildings, even highly energy efficient buildings, it would take between 10 and 80 years for the environmental assaults suffered in the new construction to be overcome by the higher operating efficiency of the new buildings.
The study looked at seven different building types, including commercial offices, single and multi-family homes, urban village mixed use, schools, and warehouse conversions. It did Life Cycle Analyses of the emissions and other environmental impacts of retrofitting an existing heritage building vs. building a new building of the same dimensions. It did this in four climate areas: Chicago, Portland, Atlanta and Phoenix, a total of 28 different comparative studies.
Considering Ontario’s 2020 target date, and leaving aside conversions of warehouses to luxury living spaces, there was not a single casewhere it’s better for our climate and environment to replace old buildings with new, highly energy-efficient ones of a similar size.
The negative climate change effects come from the impacts of demolition (e.g. energy to destroy and truck to landfills) and from the manufacture and transportation of replacement raw materials and building components.
So, we need measures which discourage the demolition of heritage buildings:
require Life Cycle Assessments to be part of all new construction proposals;
require proof that demolition is necessary (reversing the current assumption that older and vacant buildings should be destroyed, where the onus is on heritage advocates to prove such buildings should be kept);
prohibit property tax reduction for vacant premises;
introduce a special Carbon Demolition Tax: a tipping fee at landfills that puts a high surcharge on waste materials from demolitions where there is no plan to replace the destroyed building with a structure that is demonstrably more energy efficient (this might slow down the demo of serviceable structures where the lot is then left empty);
require recycling of building materials – bricks, timber, glass.
By James Jackson, reprinted fromWaterloo Chronicle, February 4, 2015 . Photos: P. Elsworthy
As the City of Waterloo prepares its strategic plan for the next four years of council, a local heritage group has suggested ways that guiding document can protect the city’s past while building for the future.
In a presentation to council last week, Melissa Davies, an executive member of the North Waterloo Branch of the Architecture Conservancy of Ontario (ACO), outlined four ways the city can include heritage in its vision.
Her suggestions included designating or listing more heritage buildings or creating more heritage conservation districts, taking steps to prevent demolition by neglect, considering the creation of Cultural Heritage Landscapes and extending the current heritage planner contract job to a permanent position.
Once the budget is passed on Feb. 9, staff and council will set their sights on developing their strategic plan to help direct future decisions.
“Heritage is a big part of what makes a community unique,” said Davies. “Historic places and heritage buildings are fundamental to our sense of history, community and identity.”
Established in 1933, the North Waterloo Branch of the ACO covers the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo, along with the Townships of Wellesley, Wilmot and Woolwich. The group provides walking tours of important heritage structures in the city and campaigns for the preservation of heritage sites.
In 2013, the group advocated for the former St. Louis Catholic School, built in 1905, to be designated a heritage site given its history as the city’s first Catholic school. The city included the school on its list of non-designated properties of cultural heritage value that May.
Davies said the first suggestion — to list more buildings on the municipal heritage register — was an important step to protect the city’s heritage buildings, particularly those in the uptown core, from demolition by developers.
Two of Uptown’s few remaining industrial buildings: (left) the 1899 addition to the Hoffman, Wegenast & Co. furniture factory which became the home of Ontario’s first craft micro-brewery; (right) former home of Waterloo Music Company founded in 1922 by Charles F. Thiele.
“Designating a building doesn’t freeze it in time, the property and the building itself can (still) be altered once it’s designated,” said Davies. Designation gives the city more time to consider a demolition or alteration request. Waterloo currently has 41 individually designated properties on its register. In 2014, no buildings were added to the list but the city’s heritage committee said it hopes to designate four in 2015.
The city also has one Heritage Conservation District with more than 100 properties, the MacGregor-Albert neighbourhood, which came into effect in 2008. Cultural Heritage Landscapes are similar to these heritage districts but also take into account the surrounding natural environment.
The ACO also has concerns with so-called demolition by neglect, whereby property owners allow buildings to fall into disrepair in order to make a demolition request more likely.
Davies cited the recent demolition of the Charles Moogk home at the corner of Bridgeport Road and Regina Street last fell as an example. It fell into disrepair following a fire in 2011 and was demolished last fall.
“Several municipalities throughout the province have implemented heritage property standards as an amendment to their property standards bylaw. These standards ensure that conservation and maintenance of designated heritage buildings,” Davies said. She also encouraged council take back its ability to approve demolition in the city, a duty delegated to staff in early 2013.
Davies also urged the city to make the position of heritage planner a permanent job. The two-year contract position, currently held by Michelle Lee, expires at the end of this year.
“By making this position permanent the city can ensure that any plans laid out this year are accomplished,” she said, adding a permanent staff person would relieve the added costs associated with hiring external heritage consultants once the contract with Lee expires.
“Yes, the City of Waterloo has a bright future, but it will not be as meaningful if we do not honour its past or its heritage,” Davies said.
Earlier this year, the ACO published a book to celebrate its 80th anniversary. “80 for 80: Celebrating Eighty Years of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario” contains 80 properties that the ACO has had a hand in saving over the past 80 years. The book contains beautiful, full page photos of each building. The stories included detail the creative ways that ACO’s branches and volunteers have found to challenge unsympathetic development and to rescue buildings at risk.
To order your copy of “80 for 80”, please specify whether you are a member or not below.
To become a member, please visit our Membership page.