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Wanted: Good home for an old house
Historic Homes in the Path of a new 407 Extension

October 20th 2011

Wanted: Good home for an old house

Carola Vyhnak for The Toronto Star
Urban Affairs Reporter

The offer: Your very own piece of history — a 150-year-old stone farmhouse in north Oshawa. Seen better days but still solid. You name the price.

The catch: You pay to move it.

The house, and eight other heritage homes, along with an assortment of barns, silos and chicken coops, is in the path of the Highway 407 extension east through Durham Region.

So it’s raise ’em or raze ’em, the Ministry of Transportation, which owns the properties, has decreed.

“Stone is the big one,” warns moving contractor Laurie McCulloch. “It’s the heaviest, the most difficult to load and the most expensive.”

How expensive? Try $300,000 to haul the aforementioned Magner-Robson House just a short distance.

But absolutely worth it, says Cathy Clarke, chair of Heritage Oshawa, the city’s volunteer advisory committee on historical properties.

“It’s an amazing piece of history and a unique stone house that’s still in beautiful condition,” she says of the large homestead built in the 1860s.

Would-be buyers of any of the vacant structures have until Oct. 31 to get an offer in, “based on what it’s worth to them,” says Stephen Fagyas, who’s handling the sale for the ministry.

The price will largely be determined by the cost of relocation, he says, noting bidders must demonstrate they’ve contacted a qualified mover to find out what’s involved.

The shorter the distance the better, says McCulloch, whose Whitby company McCulloch Movers specializes in relocating historic buildings. Every time overhead wires have to be taken down, the price goes up, he says, citing one example of moving costs.

He doesn’t do ballpark estimates because there are so many variables in transporting a house to a new home once it’s raised off the foundation onto a wheeled, custom-made steel frame.

Wires, cables, high-tension hydro lines, road crossings, bridges and traffic lights are all obstacles to be negotiated before and during the move, he explains. Then there’s the paperwork and permits, without which you’re not going anywhere.

The 38-year veteran of the big-ticket moving business describes the operation as a combination of co-ordination, communication and clockwork — subject to the whims of nature. “If you get a storm, everything shuts down.”

Fagyas wants the buildings relocated by Jan. 20, 2012, so the province can get on with its plans to extend the 407 toll highway from Brock Rd. in Pickering east to Harmony Rd. in Oshawa by 2015.

Any building without a buyer will be sold off in pieces and the leftovers demolished, he says. But it’s the MTO’s “desire” to see the structures, which have varying historical value, put back to use, explains Fagyas, president of Commercial Focus Advisory Services Inc. The listings are on his company’s website.

With showings on tap this week, prospective bidders need to get a move on.



One can only imagine how and where John Magner got the big granite blocks that help form the walls of the magnificent house he built in the 1860s.

The Irish-born farmer was 46 when he constructed the Neoclassical style, one-and-a-half-storey farmhouse to replace his family of four’s log home on Winchester Rd. W. in north Oshawa.

The house, increased to 12 rooms with an addition in 1891, was sold to Charles Norman Robson of Robson Leather Co. Ltd. for $6,500 in 1944. The Oshawa tannery supplied Canadian forces with boot leather during the two world wars.

As a wealthy businessman in need of a country retreat, Robson did extensive renovations that included a fieldstone extension, gabled dormers, a carved pineapple over an exterior door and a gun room. He also built pens for his peacocks.

A big post-and-beam barn boasted decorative elements such as refined hinges and bars on the large stalls and brass name plates, now missing, for the horses.

Neglected in recent years, the Magner-Robson House is nevertheless an impressive structure that was designated a heritage site in 2004. Bought by the province in 1995, it was most recently inhabited by tenants.

A leaky roof has left the basement smelling musty but that won’t pose a problem to the new owner — it will be left behind when the house is moved.



Aggregation 6
New Exhibit from AFEW at the Grange

October 11th 2011

“Aggregation 6”
A collaborative art exhibit from ALFEW (Artists Looking For Empty Walls)

Heritage Mississauga presents a new art exhibit in the Meeting Hall at The Grange, October 11th to November 25th, 2011

Opening Reception:
Tuesday, October 11th, 2011
6:30pm to 8:30pm

Heritage Mississauga is delighted to partner with ALFEW (Artists Looking for Empty Walls) in offering a rotating art exhibit in our Lower Meeting Hall at The Grange.

Please join us on Tuesday, October 11th, 2011, from 6:30pm to 8:30pm for the opening of their newest installation: “Aggregation 6”. Curated and organized by Louise Peacock, this exhibit is inspired by the fall season, and features original works of art in a variety of mediums by Ray Bechard, John Carvalho, John Doherty, David Hook, Julie Lo Tauro, Iain McKenzie, Louise Peacock, Bruce Teel, Bruce Walker, Jay Ward and Diane Zaremba. The works are available for sale through the artists.

This exhibit is open from Tuesday to Friday, 9am-5pm, and until 8pm on most Tuesdays. For more information, please contact Heritage Mississauga at 905-828-8411 ext.29.

Click here to view the Aggregation 6 press release PDF

"Out of the Woods" Exhibit Coming to the Grange
Sept. 27th to Dec. 9th 2011

September 23rd 2011

Add Text (alt for images, text for links)

View the "Out of the Woods" exhibit Invitation as a PDF

Village turns 175
Meadowvale Anniversary Event: Sept. 17

September 7th 2011

Village turns 175
Julia Le (for

Those who call Old Meadowvale Village home treasure what remains of the farms, shops, pioneer homes and old mills located in their historic corner of the city.

On Sept. 17, the community there is celebrating its 175th anniversary. They’re inviting all city residents to go back in time with them as they remember the past they’ve been working hard to preserve.

The free event will take place from noon to 5 p.m. in the area bordered by Pond St., Second Line w., Old Derry Rd. and Historic Trail. The day will include a tribute to the Credit River, performances by the Madd Paddy Irish band, Goggin-Carroll Irish dancers and First Nations elders, people dressed up in period costumes, vintage cars and even an old pump car on loan from the Halton Railway Museum.
The event also features food vendors, face painting and a wood carver.

Mike Byrne, chair of the committee of residents that’s organizing the event, says the story of Old Meadowvale Village begins with the natural space.

"If you didn’t have the Credit River and trees and the potential for farming at the very beginning, you wouldn’t have a settlement," said Byrne, a resident of village for the past six years.

The Mississauga Indians lived at the river mouth, Bryne said, and the first settlers were of Irish descent.

Byrne says the village continues to be a close-knit community that takes pride in its heritage.

"It’s the first heritage district in all of Ontario," said Byrne, who has been a resident for six years. "If it wasn’t for many villagers who are still active in the community, there would likely not be much of this village left."

Meadowvale residents Terry Wilson and his mother Rosemary will display their Miniature Village that models how the area looked before the boom of development wiped away the farms, shops and homes. The Miniature Village features shops the size of a garden shed, old mills, a miniature version of the old railway station and a church that doubles as a school house. It will be open to the public during the celebrations.

Byrne hopes people will take advantage of the opportunity to connect with the village.

Proceeds from the sale of food and merchandise will help pay for the reconstruction of a bell tower that used to crown the Meadowvale Village Community Hall.

The Meadowvale Village Residents’ Association is accepting donations to help restore the hall.

Original Article Source:

Mississauga Fall Festival at Bradley Museum
September 17, 2011

August 28th 2011

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