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Why We Should Care About Heritage Preservation
By Enzo Di Matteo from NOW Toronto

April 17th 2012


5 reasons we should care about heritage preservation
By Enzo Di Matteo

1. Architectural beauty is good for your brain. A relatively new area of neuroscience known as neuroaesthetics posits the theory that beauty in art and design makes us happy. The synaptic payoff is real: scientists can track brain activity when people respond to design and beauty. Don’t you feel better already?

2. Historic buildings are physical links to our past. Yes, we’ve all heard that before. It’s not just about saving bricks, but about saving the layers and layers of information about our lives and those of our ancestors. Without that, we’d erase the stories of our past, as if the people who came before us never existed.

3. Historically significant buildings contribute to our city’s cultural and economic well-being – not to mention the vibrancy of street life. When re-purposed for modern-day use, like the Wychwood Barns redevelo pment or 401 Richmond, older buildings are great incubators for entrepreneurship, innovation and experimentation. The opposite holds true when older buildings are demolished to make room for high-rise development. Only chain stores like Shoppers Drug Mart can afford the street-level rents.

4. Heritage designations boost property values. Contrary to the conventional wisdom that the designation ties the hands of owners interested in redevelopment, a historical specification sets properties apart.

5. Heritage preservation is more labour-intensive, which means more jobs. It’s also good for the environment. Fewer building materials are required to refurbish old buildings, which reduces waste headed to landfill and the demand for aggregates gouging holes in the countryside up north to supply the materials for new bricks and mortar.
What the experts say

“There are lots of places we can build. We shouldn’t have to raze the city to intensify. My big worry is what’s happening on our main streets. As we erase historical patterns of ownership instead of replacing them gradually, we’re not just pushing artists out, we’re removing space for invention.”

Catherine Nasmith, president, Toronto Architectural Conservancy

“We need to define what constitutes a threat to heritage. When I think of threats, I think not just of bricks and mortar, but the impact of development on the visual environment. What are we saying when we put a huge tower over a building of historic significance? Are we saying it’s more important? Is that the message we want to be sending? I’m wondering if we’re not missing the point.”

Don Loucks, chair, Heritage Toronto education and conservation committee

“Some of our early buildings were designed by some of the world’s greatest architects and architectural firms: Old City Hall, Casa Loma and the King Edward Hotel. The New York City firm of Carrère and Hastings, designers of the New York City Public Library, built the still-standing Traders Bank building at Yonge and Colborne. These are true marvels of art and engineering and in their day were modern masterpieces. However, thousands of other marvels were destroyed, and in doing so we destroyed a lot of art. I always think of Toronto’s urban renewal of the 1950s and 60s as the destruction of a great museum, like the burning of the Louvre or the British Museum – all that great art we used to have on our streets destroyed.”

Bruce Bell, author and local historian

“To me, heritage preservation is an essential part of any city that values itself. We have a long way to go compared to so many other cities around the world: our heritage legislation is pretty weak and the range of tools available to help achieve meaningful heritage preservation is pretty thin.”

Paul Bedford, former chief planner, city of Toronto

“The first act of many revolutions is to destroy the artwork of the past as a symbol of a new order. To maintain existing public works is to maintain a respectful sense of history and cultural continuity both symbolically and physically. When we allow public works to decay because of neglect, we are engaging in an act of disrespect both to artists and to our own culture.”

Eldon Garnet, artist, professor of contemporary photography, public art and Sculpture at OCAD U

“Toronto needs to stop the deliberate demolition-by-neglect practice that has become, sadly, too commonplace. We have to create incentive tools to assist benevolent heritage property owners in their efforts to preserve buildings. The cultural values of such properties belong to all of us. Our heritage properties are cultural assets, and each one informs the evolving cultural landscape of Toronto.”

Kristyn Wong-Tam, Ward 27 councillor, member of Toronto Preservation Board
What you can do

• Make a donation to Heritage Toronto or a local group of your choice involved in preservation issues.

• Become a member of Heritage Toronto. The $55 annual fee buys your way into city-operated facilities and museums.

• Volunteer your time and expertise to preservation efforts in your community.

• If you own a business, sponsor heritage programs and events. Most preservation orgs have charitable status, so your contribution is tax-deductible.

• Stay informed about what’s happening with heritage issues in your neighbourhood.

• Write your local councillor, MP and MPP. Push for legislative changes to strengthen heritage preservation. Remind them of the economic benefits of keeping our historic landmarks.

ACO 2012 Provincial Awards
The Architectural Conservancy of Ontario Awards 2012

April 17th 2012

The ACO is seeking nominations for the 2012 ACO Provincial Awards. The purpose of the awards is to honour preservation leaders and/or projects that are considered valuable on a provincial scale to the architectural conservation movement in Ontario.

This year’s awards include:

(1) A. K. (Alice King) Sculthorpe Award for Advocacy
This award recognizes an individual, an informal group or an established nonprofit organization that at a critical point achieved exemplary success in solving a significant heritage crisis. The people involved have demonstrated leadership in the field, integrity, and the ability to be inclusive and communicate the value of heritage conservation to others.

(2) Eric Arthur Lifetime Achievement Award
This award recognizes individuals or groups who have made an outstanding contribution to the heritage conservation movement in Ontario over a sustained period of time. The state of the Province’s architectural heritage today would not be the same without the significant activities of this nominee.

(3) Peter Stokes Restoration Award:
This award recognizes those responsible for the exemplary restoration of significant heritage structures, undertaken in accordance with the accepted policies and practices of heritage conservation in Ontario.

(4) Paul Oberman Award for Adaptive Reuse
The Paul Oberman Award recognizes those responsible for projects that highlight and incorporate significant heritage structures in fitting and imaginative ways, thereby conserving them for future use and enjoyment.
(5) Margaret and Nicholas Hill Cultural Heritage Landscape Award:
This award recognizes individuals or groups and their projects that have led to a heightened level of awareness and appreciation of Ontario’s significant landscapes.
(6) ACO Award for Special Contributions:
This award recognizes ACO members who have made a significant contribution to forwarding the goals of the provincial organization.

(7) James D. Strachan Award for Craftsmanship
This award recognizes outstanding craftsmanship on a restoration project in Ontario. The award recognizes projects for which, along with the historic fabric, the intangible heritage of artisanal craft and material has been preserved.

(8) ACO NextGen Award
This award recognizes the effort, work, or achievement of an emerging professional or group in heritage advocacy or conservation.

(9) ACO Media Award
This award recognizes individuals whose commitment to heritage advocacy is expressed eloquently through such media as books, journalism, visual arts, or new media.

(10) Post-1945 Design Award
This award recognizes an architect, engineer, planner, or landscape architect who has designed a building or landscape that contributes to its community because it is outstanding, enduring, worthy of preservation for future generations, and extant at the time of the nomination.
Judging criteria include the degree of:
- significance of the heritage issue or project;
- difficulties that the project and/or persons faced;
- impact the project’s success has had on the immediate community; and
- innovation, commitment and leadership demonstrated.
Submit nominations to the ACO Head Office Suite 403,
10 Adelaide Street East, TORONTO ON M5C 1J3.
Fax: 416-367-8630 Email:


Calling all Artists and Photographers
Themed Art Contest 2012 from ALFEW and Heritage Mississauga

April 17th 2012

“Capturing Mississauga’s Heritage 2”
Remembering the 175th Anniversary of the Rebellion of 1837

An Art Contest from Heritage Mississauga & ALFEW
(Artists Looking For Empty Walls)

We are inviting artists and photographers to walk in the footsteps of history and to retrace and capture an image from the “Rebel Route” of William Lyon Mackenzie’s escape following the failed Rebellion of 1837.

175 years ago Mackenzie’s flight from authorities took him through historic Mississauga in late December of 1837, following the rebel uprising at Montgomery’s tavern. Mackenzie’s story, and of the Rebellion of 1837, has become a famed part of Canada’s history.

We are asking submitting artists to capture a scene along the route that was taken by Mackenzie through Mississauga; a modern scene or streetscape, nature, a historic house or setting, or an inspiration from the past – anything that might strike your fancy and in any format that you wish.

Completed artwork must be submitted at The Grange, offices of Heritage Mississauga, no later than 4:00 pm on Friday, June 8th, 2012. Prizes will be awarded to the winning entries, and all entries will be part of the ALFEW show “Capturing Mississauga’s Heritage 2: Remembering the 175th Anniversary of the Rebellion of 1837”, which runs from June 19th, 2012 to August 24th, 2012 at The Grange.

For more information on the art contest, and submission guidelines, please visit:

Art Contest Press Release


Earth Day Events in Mississauga
Celebrate Earth Days 2012

April 16th 2012

20-Minute Makeover
Friday, April 20th, 2pm

Sponsors: GLAD® and The Mississauga News
Join the thousands across Ontario who will volunteer for 20 minutes to pick up litter around their workplace, school or community.

Starting April 9, garbage bags and gloves will be available at your local community centre while supplies last.

Community Cleanup
Saturday, April 21

Sponsors: GLAD® and The Mississauga News
Gather your family, friends, neighbours or community group together and tackle the litter on your local street, boulevard, park or woodlot.

Registration Deadline: Monday, April 16
Starting April 9, garbage bags and gloves will be available at your local community centre while supplies last.

Earth Day Tree Planting Event: Kings Park
Saturday, April 21 at 9am to 1pm

Location: Kings Park (Dixie Road and Drew Road)

Come out and celebrate Earth Days! The event will begin with a free yoga class followed by planting native trees and shrubs, tree maintenance and potting your own veggies. Event partners include the City of Mississauga, Evergreen, EcoSource and Credit Valley Conservation. Refreshments will be served.
Registration Deadline: Monday, April 16
To register please email:

Erindale Park Earth Day Tree Planting Event: Erindale Park
Saturday, April 21, 2012, 9am to 1pm

Location: Erindale Park
Exact meeting location: Follow signage along trail from parking lot to event site

The MARTYS 2012
Mississauga Arts Awards - May 31, 2012

April 9th 2012

The Mississauga Arts Council (MAC) is proud to announce the nominees for the 2012 MARTY Awards. This year there are a grand total of 90 artists in the running! The winners will be revealed at the MARTYS celebration taking place on Thursday, May 31, 2012 at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga.

Now into its 18th year, the MARTYS Awards celebrate the artistic achievements of the city’s established artists while encouraging and supporting emerging artistic talent. Produced by the Mississauga Arts Council, the MARTYS have been described as an important launch for many Mississauga artists’ careers.

For more information and to vote for the People’s Choice Award, please visit the Mississauga Arts Council website:

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