It should come as no surprise the loss of Alma College to fire in May, 2008 tops Heritage Canada Foundation’s worst losses list for the past year. After all the historic school for girls topped the Top Ten Endangered List not that long ago. It was inevitable that destruction by neglect, the accumulative toll of the elements and ultimately the allure of the vacant hulk as a haven for vandals would bring the main building to its knees. However a fitting epitaph would read, “Alma succumbed because of a lack of will by elected officials at all levels and the crass indifference of its owners.”
OTTAWA, July 7 /CNW Telbec/ – The Heritage Canada Foundation (HCF) has
released its Top Ten Endangered Places and Worst Losses Lists drawing
attention to a total of 17 architectural and heritage sites in Canada either threatened with demolition or already lost.
The Top Ten Endangered Places List, compiled from nominations received as well as from news items that HCF has been following and reporting on throughout the year includes:
– The David Dunlap Observatory and Park, Richmond Hill, Ontario, a
scientific and cultural landmark associated with Canada’s
international accomplishments in the field of astronomy-facing
intense development pressure
– Vancouver’s Pantages Theatre – the city’s oldest vaudeville house –
heading for landfill
– Bellevue House, Amherstburg, Ontario, a National Historic Site
connected to the War of 1812 – a shocking case of demolition by
– Quebec City’s Franciscan Sisters Missionary Chapel – the finest
example of neo-baroque décor in the province-praying for a miracle
– Moncton High School, New Brunswick, magnificent sandstone landmark,
victim of province’s lack of commitment to existing schools
– Dominion Exhibition Display Building II, Brandon, Manitoba – monument
to agriculture and National Historic Site – hovering on the brink of
– Quebec’s Grenville Canal, one of the oldest military canals in
Canada, desperately seeking funding
– St. Mary’s Community School, Saskatoon – the oldest Catholic school
in the city – destined for landfill in order to create a “green”
– Crowsnest Pass Mining Complexes and Coleman’s Historic Downtown,
Alberta, home to designated historic mining sites suffering from
neglect, vandalism and development pressures
– Heritage Conservation Districts in Ontario – landmark Ontario
Municipal Board decision threatens integrity of provinces more than
90 designated heritage districts
Click Backgrounders for the full story and photographs.
Topping the Worst Losses List is the historic Alma College in St. Thomas,
Ontario tragically lost to fire just hours after the local MPP met with
Premier McGuinty’s chief of staff about its preservation.
Examples of historic places needlessly destroyed by the wrecking ball are
plentiful: Ontario leads the country with the demolition of the
heritage-designated Erie Street United Church in Ridgetown, and the Muskoka’s
Modernist Marygrove Resort that was torn down in the name of development
progress – and the tax assessment revenues that will result.
The iconic Bens Deli Restaurant in Montréal was torn down in favour of a
14-storey boutique hotel with, ironically, a restaurant on the ground floor.
Out west, Edmonton lost its oldest apartment block, the elegant Arlington
Apartments, to bureaucratic wrangling; and in Weyburn, Saskatchewan the
massive Souris Valley Hospital was consigned to landfill.
In Halifax, Nova Scotia the Violet Clark Building, the last wooden
“sailortown” structure on Water Street, was demolished – a scapegoat in a
larger development dispute.
Click Worst Losses for more information.
The Heritage Canada Foundation is a national, membership-based,
non-profit organization with a mandate to promote the preservation of Canada’s
historic buildings and places.
For further information: Carolyn Quinn, Director of Communications,
email@example.com, Telephone: (613) 237-1066 ext. 229, Cell: (613)