Transforming Fingal’s old ball diamond into a heritage jewel

The crack of a wooden bat meeting a leather-covered baseball at the old ball diamond in Fingal is but a distant memory, however the Union Road site of games hosted by numerous editions of local teams is soon to be transformed into a heritage park.
A fixture into the 1960s, it was replaced the next decade when the Optimist Club provided Fingal with a more modern facility.
Southwold still maintains the green space north of the main intersection – site of the Fingal Foundry and Machine Shop – and a few years ago, a number of Fingal residents started having yard sales to raise money for playground equipment. Continue reading

More comfort needed at Pinafore Park comfort station?

city_scope_logo-cmykFor well over a century, Pinafore Park has served as the city’s playground. Family gatherings, seniors’ picnics, the Fire Muster and Canada Day celebrations to document just a few of the activities that attract residents and visitors to this green oasis.
Alas, a corner of the park is known for a far darker reason.
Torn down earlier this month, the nearly 60-year-old washrooms were the subject of interest on several truly disturbing websites.
Their internet reputation was brought to our attention by an individual we will refer to as Chris, a victim of childhood sexual abuse.
He started sending photos of the men’s washrooms, many of them downloaded from adult websites.
As Chris describes it, “Pictures included here are from a website that is for adults but some youth are being involved or targetted. This is but two examples of two men looking for younger males. The two here are or say they are from the London area. They are trying to make contact with an 18-year-old. Both offering money to an 18-year-old. I am sure it is a concern, as Pinafore Park is mentioned.”

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Do city officials have the maturity to move forward?


Monday’s announcement this corner of the province is in line to benefit from an $80-million job-generation fund had the City Scope research department scurrying to dust off the archives.
Before delving into those findings, we must note one of the drivers that led to the creation of the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund by Premier Dalton McGuinty was the Southwest Economic Alliance (SWEA).
Launched in 2006, SWEA is an advocacy body encompassing partners from municipalities, counties, educational institutions and businesses in the region.
Today, under the presidency of St. Thomas resident Serge Lavoie, SWEA is comprised of 10 counties, including Elgin, and four independent cities, none of which is St. Thomas.
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Celebrate Demolition by Neglect Week

As heritage week draws to a close,on Sunday February 22nd 2009,let us not forget all the historic buildings we’ve lost under Culture Minister,Aileen Carroll,and all those buildings that are continuing to face demolition by neglect.Minister Carroll has stood up many a times in the legislature,to boast about the “improved & strengthened” heritage act,but she knows it’s window dressing at best,for she has not enforced the heritage act,as it was intended,instead allowing building after building to fall,or allowing owners to demolition by neglect,until the buildings are so unsafe,the culture ministry just gives the go ahead,to tear them down.Owners of historic buildings in the province of Ontario,are fully aware of Aileen Carroll’s lack of interest in protecting our built heritage,so to speed up the demolition process,they remove windows & doors leaving these historic buildings vulnerable to the harsh Ontario weather,and it doesn’t take an engineer to figure out,the longer the building is open and unprotected,the sooner the owner can apply for a demolition permit.Minister Carroll has failed miserably at protecting Ontario’s built heritage,and if there are any people that doubt that statement,I urge you to drive to the City of St.Thomas,and view what remains of Alma College.On the property at 96 Moore Street,you will find 2 historic structures that survived the horrific blaze in May of 2008,you will also find an outdoor amphi-theatre,all of which are continuing to face,demolition by neglect.We lost the main structure,and will lose the 2 remaining structures,if this minister does not take an interest.The property deserves to be designated as “Provincially Significant”,and if the culture minister could bring herself to realize this fact,St.Thomas,Ontario would then have a reason to celebrate “heritage week”.

Robert F.Foster

Heritage is fine, say lawyers, but not for us

Ian McCallum

Ian McCallum

Having remained out of the spotlight since last summer, the Elgin County Court House is back on the radar, following a letter sent Feb. 5 by the Elgin Law Association to Ontario Realty Corporation.
At its last meeting, the association acknowledged the court house is “an impressive building of historical and architectural significance,” and it supports preservation of the Wellington Street facility that predates Confederation.
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Bank and barn transformed into a cultural centre

Province supports new culinary and visual arts facility through RED grant

WEST LORNE – The Ontario government is boosting the rural economies of Elgin and Middlesex counties by turning heritage properties into a showpiece cultural centre.
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No future for heritage preservation

Ian McCallum

Ian McCallum

As guest of the Elgin St. Thomas Archives Association, Mayor Cliff Barwick’s presentation Wednesday on heritage building preservation was so laced with negativity, it made his bland New Year’s address stand out as stirring motivational oratory.
And as was the case in his state of the union to open the 129th council of the Corporation of the City of St. Thomas early in January, Barwick proved a master of buck passing this week before 50 or so gathered in the public library’s Carnegie Room.
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Aileen Carroll strikes again

Erie Street United Church, Ridgetown, Ont.

Erie Street United Church, Ridgetown, Ont.

Minister Carroll,
I’ve attached a photo of the Erie Street United Church,in Ridgetown,Ontario.The church was recently demolished,after you FAILED to issue a “stop work order” on the demolition.It’s fast becoming a trend,that you readily give the go ahead to bring down every heritage building that is threatened,without so much as a second look.
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Aileen Carroll misses the call, again

Minister Carroll,
It’s an absolute DISGRACE that once again,you have allowed another historic building to be demolished.The Erie Street United Church,in Ridgetown,Ontario is another glaring example of your complete FAILURE as Minister of Culture.What will it take for you to see the value in Ontario’s heritage?.We lost Alma College in St.Thomas,Ont on May 28th,2008 due to your lack of interest.It has become very apparent that you’re more interested in opening art galleries,and celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Ontario Science Centre,for which you were all over the news “bubbling” with enthusiasm for this “regal” event.Could you possibly put some of that enthusiasm towards our built heritage?.At the rate you’re going,you could wipe out all of Ontario’s built heritage,with one term in office.These buildings have stood upwards of 100 years,withstood the brutal Canadian weather,have given back to the Province of Ontario in spades,and your way of re-paying the favour,is to send the wrecking ball to their front door.Premier McGuinty needs to rein you in,before you completely wipe out Ontario’s identity.Every building you demolish,is like tearing a page from the history book,every time a building falls to the ground,so to goes with it the legacy that took a 100 years to create.I’m not only sad for the people who are fighting for our heritage today,I’m also sad for the people who years from now,will only have photograph’s of these beautiful & historic buildings.It’s a very sad time for our built heritage,and I can safely say the biggest threat to every historic building in the Province of Ontario,is Aileen Carroll.

Bob Foster