Monday, September 24, 2012

Heritage in the Core

London's Planning and Environment Committee has received  a demolition request for 199 Queens Ave., an attractive Italianate with a large ugly addition. The owner, Farhi Holdings, apparently has plans for the site. Note the building is a Priority 2 structure on London's Inventory of Heritage Resources and is located within the proposed Downtown Heritage Conservation District. Built about 1880, the structure is within walking distance of the Grand Theatre and other downtown attractions. It would make a nice setting for a classy restaurant or boutique hotel. 

Anyone concerned about this should attend the public participation meeting on the second floor of City Hall, at 7:30 pm on Monday, September 24, 2012. While Planning Committee may decide to permit demolition, partial demolition, or refuse demolition altogether, a good showing from the heritage community might tip the scale in our favour.

Update, September 25, 2012: Planning Committee has delayed a decision on this building's future for 45 days while Mr. Farihi and city staff look for a way to incorporate the old building into the proposed new highrise. Kudos to committee members for attempting to save parts of the building rather than automatically granting a demolition permit. However, if incorporating the old structure into the new one means another absurdity such as the hanging of the Talbot Block on the outside of the JLC, it might be better to demolish it. Our cultural legacy should not appear incongruous and silly.

Update, October 15, 2012: Permission has been granted to demolish the building.

Update, June 15, 2015: Surprise. The site is still a parking lot.

Update, September 16, 2018: The site of the Hiscox house was one of the stops on the Paved Paradise walking tour, hosted by ACO London and LondonFuse at Doors Open. Here actors Jenn Marino and Jeremy Hewitson portray Grace "Fan-Fan" Blackburn and George Hiscox. The tour Highlighted how many London landmarks have been turned into parking lots over the years. 

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