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Heritage Canada Foundation Releases 2008 Top Ten Endangered Places and Worst Losses Lists

OTTAWA, ON-April 30, 2008 - The Heritage Canada Foundation (HCF) has released its Top Ten Endangered Places and Worst Losses Lists drawing attention to a total of 20 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 Riverdale Hospital, Toronto, a well-preserved Modernist landmark heading for landfill
  • Montréal’s BENS Delicatessen—a cultural icon—destined for the dump
  • Winnipeg International Airport, the finest mid-century modern, art-filled air terminal in Canada heading for a crash
  • The Old GTR Station, Kingston, an 1856 limestone original in critical condition
  • St. Patrick’s Church, Halifax, victim of a shrinking downtown congregation
  • The GTR Roundhouse in Biggar, Saskatchewan, the last of its kind on the prairie, on demolition watch
  • Bonavista’s Alexander Bridge House, Newfoundland—the oldest standing house in the province—struggling against a tide of decay
  • The Church of the Holy Cross, Skatin, B.C., a National Historic Site known as the “cathedral in the wilderness” and desperately seeking survival funding
  • The Winter Street Prison, the oldest stone structure in Sherbrooke, Quebec, on death row
  • Old St. Patrick’s Church—the oldest surviving Catholic church in Calgary—left to vandals


Click Backgrounders for the full story and photographs.

Topping the Worst Losses List is the historic Québec City Armoury needlessly lost to fire in April. Examples of historic places destroyed by the wrecking ball are plentiful: Toronto comes up big with the demolition of the Bata Shoe Headquarters, a hallmark of modern design, and Walnut Hall, the once elegant Georgian row that crumbled into the street due to chronic neglect.

Elsewhere in Ontario can be found the Seagraves Building in Windsor where a 1905 industrial heritage building ended up in landfill thanks to a permit office oversight, and Hamilton’s historic Balfour Building, part of the infamous Lister Block, collapsed from decay.

Out west, Vancouver lost the stunning Graham House to demolition—an early design by Canadian architecture icon Arthur Erickson; Edmonton saw one of its mid-century Modernist designs, the Central Pentecostal Tabernacle, fall to the wrecking ball; and in Saskatoon the Legion Building was demolished in the name of progress.

In the Maritimes Kentville, Nova Scotia demolished the rare DAR Roundhouse in favour of new development and in Rothesay, New Brunswick, the site of the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help was paved over to put up a parking lot.

Click Worst Losses for more information.

A handful of root causes—not the least of which is Canada’s status as the only G8 country without a national system of heritage-related incentives and legislation—underlie these lost and threatened sites.

For an update on HCF’s past Top Ten Endangered Places lists, click Updates.

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, Telephone: 613-237-1066 ext. 229; Cell: 613-797-7206