Dear Friends:

I am writing to you to enlist your consideration on a matter that is of great concern to me and to my colleagues in the history and heritage community in Hamilton and beyond as well.  As you know I have been a director with Heritage Hamilton Foundation for many years and in that time have witnessed the destruction of many buildings of heritage value.  In most of these cases of destruction a contractor will quickly tear down a building before the ink is dry on the demolition permit.  Whether it is of heritage value or not, they leave an empty unsightly lot that eventually is overcome with weeds.   Two current sites are the Thistle Club in the Durand neighbourhood and another small lot in Westdale that has been empty for years.  In the ensuing period, the original plans and cost is changed multiple times with the contractor approaching the city for changes, etc.  It is a classic case of political manipulation by these contractors, in my opinion.  Do we want to see a similar situation evolve in the Gore area right in the centre of our city?  We have proved in the not too distant past that renovation and renewal is possible, i.e. The Lister Block, The Right House. 

Please read the following communication from Heritage Canada Foundation, especially the areas I’ve highlighted.  This communication of the ten endangered places in CANADA includes two of the buildings in the Gore Park area as well as the destruction of the Education Centre.  This proves the concern that is shared by many Canadians.  It is embarrassing to see Hamilton included in this list.  Let us all take a moment to ponder, and stop this destruction of our history as depicted in our built heritage.  The design of these buildings is a work of art.

The Provincial Ministry of Culture has been visited by members of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario but the Ministry does not seem to want to act and designate the Gore. We know the ministry is watching but they are not acting.  That is why the concerned citizens of Hamilton need to step up to the plate and ask, no demand, that these pre-Confederate buildings of historical value be designated as soon as possible.  When Caroline Di Cocco was the Ontario Minister of Culture she worked with the owner of the Lister Building and the city; then put a moderator in place as head of a Task Force. This resulted in the rehabilitation/adaptive re-use of the Lister Building. The building was restored, not demolished.  The province could and should do the same with the GORE. Ask the Mayor, your MPP and your councillor to do likewise before Hamilton permits the demolition of these pre-Confederation buildings in the Gore.

Yes, The Mayor of Hamilton could ask Michael Chan, Minister of Culture to designate the Gore. Yes the Province could designate, but they will not without citizens of Hamilton asking the Mayor and/or your councillor to immediately contact the Minister of Culture, the Deputy Minister or the Assistant Deputy Minister to designate the Gore then negotiate.

Attached is a sample letter I used to remit to my counsellor with copies to others in City Hall and because this matter is a Provincial concern as well, I copied our premier and the minister responsible.  I am asking you to consider writing a letter to your counsellor and any others in the municipal and provincial government asking for designation of the Gore.  You may use the sample letter or write it in your own words, but I do implore you to think about this and take some action quickly.  Time is running out.  It is our city, our history/heritage and our work of art that is at stake.  I am told that politicians do take letters and e-mail letters seriously.  Here are some e-addresses:

  1. Your councillor you can find their e-addresses on the City Hall website http://www.hamilton.ca/YourElectedOfficials/WardCouncillors/ 
  2. Mayor Bob Bratina : mayor@hamilton.ca and Councillor McHattie Brian.McHattie@hamilton.ca and Councillor Farr (the Gore is in his ward) Jason.Farr@hamilton.ca and the councillors on the Municipal Heritage Committee:  Maria.Pearson@hamilton.ca  and Lloyd.Ferguson@hamilton.ca
  3. The Minister of Culture, Michael Chan:  mchan.mpp@liberal.ola.org
  4. The Assistant Deputy Minister of Culture Kevin Finnerty:   kevin.finnerty@ontario.ca>
  5. The Ontario premier, Kathleen Wynn:  kwynne.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org 

6.   Your MP–find his/her e-address here:  http://www.parl.gc.ca/MembersOfParliament/MainMPsCompleteList.aspx?TimePeriod=Current&Language=E   

Thank you in advance for your attention and consideration.  And, please do not hesitate to share this request with others.

Sincerely,

Gayle

P.S.  Here are links to more reading on this subject:

From the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario–http://www.arconserv.ca/news_events/show.cfm?id=341

From Raise the Hammer website–http://raisethehammer.org/article/1882/city_has_power_to_save_gore_buildings_-_if_council_chooses_to_act