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  #321  
Old Posted Dec 16, 2018, 5:58 AM
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Built in 1882, the Fortune Block is one of the oldest buildings in downtown Winnipeg.
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Fortune / MacDonald's Block looks fantastic.
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  #322  
Old Posted Dec 16, 2018, 6:18 AM
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Yes, note the meticulously reproduced (from photographs) cornice, the original version of which had disappeared by the mid 20th century. They are restoring the whole building, including the original interiors and layout in most of it. It is very unusual for the restoration of an ordinary commercial building to go much beyond the outer shell.
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  #323  
Old Posted Dec 17, 2018, 6:23 PM
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Old Union Station Ottawa, transformed into the temporary Senate while Centre Block undergoes renovations over the next 10+ years.

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  #324  
Old Posted Dec 17, 2018, 10:31 PM
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Old Union Station Ottawa, transformed into the temporary Senate while Centre Block undergoes renovations over the next 10+ years.

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Beautiful!
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  #325  
Old Posted Dec 23, 2018, 1:00 AM
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Here are a few West Block Rehab photo's from the government's website:







I like the idea of the Prime Ministers' portraits in the scrum room. This whole thing was really well done.



Committee Room


They dug under the building to add more rooms.








Plus video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oajxD--1jxM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8yWByNeb2Q
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  #326  
Old Posted Dec 23, 2018, 1:14 AM
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Originally Posted by 1ajs View Post
fortune block in winnipeg really coming along now

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manit...ions-1.4487674
Beautiful building.

It's interesting to see vaguely Moorish/Andalusian-inspired architectural features adopted in places as far away and obscure as Winnipeg.
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  #327  
Old Posted Dec 23, 2018, 3:07 PM
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Thanks for those West Block pics. A lot of those I've never seen.
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  #328  
Old Posted Dec 30, 2018, 5:51 AM
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I agree that Canada tends to have low standards and Halifax is particularly bad for applying utilitarian standards to exceptional heritage buildings. It's pretty common to see debates over whether or not to allow a condo developer to gut a 200 year old building, even national heritage sites. In most wealthy countries such sites would be very carefully preserved. The number of buildings like this is so small that preserving them well is not an expensive proposition for the city, province, or country as a whole.

How many 5 storey Victorian office buildings are there in all of Canada? Maybe in the hundreds?

Here's an old picture of that building from the NS archives:



The good news is that if one day someone wants to restore the building it's still possible without much reconstruction. Based on how things have evolved over the past 20 years I think standards probably will continue to improve.
Here's the source of someone123's photo above:
Source

Archive gives 1900 as a date, but not sure how accurate that is as sometimes I've seen them give approximations. If you click on the source link you can blow up the shot to see greater detail. At the top of the building it looks like it is labeled "ST. PAUL BUILDg"? Possibly after the famous church across the street?

Here's another shot:


Source

Here's a shot from 1951, visible just behind St. Paul's church at the upper right of the photo. It appears that the cornice change (removal?) had already been done at that point, possibly when it was a 50-60 year old building?



Source

In Halifax (and many other cities I'm sure) back then, when elements of older stone/masonry buildings started to crumble, the weak elements were typically removed and replaced with a functional less ornate (less expensive) piece, but the goal was just to keep the building functional. We didn't start to think much about restoration until decades later (and/or arguably haven't really started yet...).
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  #329  
Old Posted Dec 30, 2018, 6:33 PM
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Victorian buildings were considered more outdated than historic in the 1950's and 60's, just like how 60's buildings tend not to get much respect today.

The ornamentation was often stripped off to make the buildings look more modern.
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  #330  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2018, 5:40 AM
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Victorian buildings were considered more outdated than historic in the 1950's and 60's, just like how 60's buildings tend not to get much respect today.

The ornamentation was often stripped off to make the buildings look more modern.
I hadn't considered it from the aspect of 'updating' a 50-year-old building to look more 'modern' at the time. Good point.

Regardless, I guess the point I was trying to make is that it appears that the cornice removal had been done many decades ago, and though it would have been nice if they had recreated it during the current 'restoration', it appears that this job was more of a cleaning and freshening of existing than an all-out restoration.

I just thought it was relevant to mention it in this case to give context to the comments made by other posters on the previous page of this thread. Barrington Street building owners had been offered grants by the city to freshen up their facades in keeping with the heritage conservation district. Also, the motion was made on March 28, 2018 and there was a stipulation that all work had to be completed by Dec. 31, 2018, so there may not even have been enough time to engineer and construct a new cornice to replicate the original one - I can't really speak to that. Likely, though, was that the building owner wanted to keep within the budget of the grant and not expend more funds than covered by the grant for the job.

Here's a link to the document: https://www.halifax.ca/sites/default...0410rc1441.pdf

It would be cool to see the little clock tower replicated some day, though.

Last edited by OldDartmouthMark; Dec 31, 2018 at 6:01 AM. Reason: Add information
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  #331  
Old Posted Jan 1, 2019, 9:09 PM
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It would be cool to see the little clock tower replicated some day, though.
A lot of heritage buildings in downtown Halifax have been stripped of significant ornamentation, even public buildings. The former post office (AGNS) used to have a cupola on top, and so did the Spring Garden Road courthouse. The former school building at Brunswick and Sackville used to have a lot more detailing. Some others like the Pacific Building are in really awful shape.

It might be the worst city in the country for quality of heritage buildings vs. level of upkeep. Halifax has a lot of dumpy looking national historic sites. The Citadel is okay for example but York Redoubt is in awful shape. The Prince of Wales tower is from 1796, the oldest of its type in Canada, and it has a fake looking roof that was built only after the masonry in the tower started to degrade. The original roof looking significantly different and better proportioned.

At least the active decay is slowing down so if things improve in the future it will be more practical to restore these buildings. Growth in the city is probably a good thing too because it reduces the cost of maintaining so much expensive old stuff relative to the general pool of money floating around in the city.

It'll be interesting to see how the North Park armoury turns out. The restoration budget for that is something like $150M. Then again, it is being restored for use as military infrastructure, not just a historic site.
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  #332  
Old Posted Jan 2, 2019, 12:36 AM
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^I love history and I love architecture. I don't know the armoury in question but that sounds like an astronomical amount of money to spend on a restoration. Is it a waste? Not sure but, damn, that's a lot of dough...
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  #333  
Old Posted Jan 2, 2019, 1:12 AM
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^I love history and I love architecture. I don't know the armoury in question but that sounds like an astronomical amount of money to spend on a restoration. Is it a waste? Not sure but, damn, that's a lot of dough...
It's a big building. It looks like this:


Source


The work going on to restore buildings on Parliament Hill is north of $1B. I think just the West Block was close to that amount.

It's important to keep these costs in perspective by thinking about the time scales. Some of the work being done to the drill hall in Halifax involves fixing damage from 100 years ago. It probably will not need another overhaul for 100 years or more in the future if it is maintained well. Some of these large restoration bills are happening because of deferred maintenance and could have been avoided.
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  #334  
Old Posted Jan 2, 2019, 3:51 AM
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It might be the worst city in the country for quality of heritage buildings vs. level of upkeep. Halifax has a lot of dumpy looking national historic sites. The Citadel is okay for example but York Redoubt is in awful shape. The Prince of Wales tower is from 1796, the oldest of its type in Canada, and it has a fake looking roof that was built only after the masonry in the tower started to degrade. The original roof looking significantly different and better proportioned.
I used to think of York Redoubt as an interesting counterpoint to the Citadel - a similar fort that was left to ruin and largely return to nature as opposed to the (comparatively) meticulously maintained Citadel. However I agree that it feels like it's in "awful" shape now that large sections have been chain-linked off due to structural degradation and the condition of the Martello Tower at York Redoubt is just plain pathetic TBH (boarded up with plywood, etc). There's a reason that one doesn't get mentioned in the tourism brochures.

It's nice that some of the more prominent, visibly-falling-apart buildings like the Armoury, Ralston, and Dennis buildings and St. Patrick's Church are getting restored or redeveloped. I don't mind the original design of the Ralston for example but the utilitarian metal bracing (very obviously in place to keep the facade from falling apart) was not a good look. The Pacific Building's "awning" is simliar, although it does at least provide weather protection. Two other areas that I think suffer from visible degradation are the Historic Properties facing Hollis Street (The "Welcome to Historic Properties" sign itself is in pretty rough shape), the Westin hotel (seems poorly maintained compared to most of the railway hotels). The old BMO building also looks a bit awkward with just a big stain remaining where there used to be logos.

One park that's really been improved lately (I don't think it's a historic site, but maybe) is Fort Needham park, especially the area around the monument. Fleming Park also got a restored seawall a few years ago (before that it was starting to crumble). Hopefully SMU can fix their stadium sometime soon.

Last edited by Hali87; Jan 2, 2019 at 4:09 AM.
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  #335  
Old Posted Jan 2, 2019, 3:56 AM
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The other ornamentation along the roofline is something I'd associate with Dutch/Flemish architecture and seems like it was somewhat fashionable in Halifax at one point but very few examples of these types of features exist here today.
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  #336  
Old Posted Jan 2, 2019, 5:12 PM
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A lot of heritage buildings in downtown Halifax have been stripped of significant ornamentation, even public buildings. The former post office (AGNS) used to have a cupola on top, and so did the Spring Garden Road courthouse. The former school building at Brunswick and Sackville used to have a lot more detailing. Some others like the Pacific Building are in really awful shape.

It might be the worst city in the country for quality of heritage buildings vs. level of upkeep. Halifax has a lot of dumpy looking national historic sites. The Citadel is okay for example but York Redoubt is in awful shape. The Prince of Wales tower is from 1796, the oldest of its type in Canada, and it has a fake looking roof that was built only after the masonry in the tower started to degrade. The original roof looking significantly different and better proportioned.

At least the active decay is slowing down so if things improve in the future it will be more practical to restore these buildings. Growth in the city is probably a good thing too because it reduces the cost of maintaining so much expensive old stuff relative to the general pool of money floating around in the city.

It'll be interesting to see how the North Park armoury turns out. The restoration budget for that is something like $150M. Then again, it is being restored for use as military infrastructure, not just a historic site.
I agree that heritage properties in Halifax don't get the attention they deserve. It perplexes me, actually, given the historical significance of the city. When I was a kid I used to wonder why there didn't seem to be many really old buildings in the city. At that time I attributed it to the Halifax explosion, until I learned that the major devastation was mostly confined to the north end. I later learned of the 'urban renewal' of the fifties and sixties, where many old buildings, good and bad, were razed due to the fashion of the day - "old is bad, new is good". However I still noted through the 1980s and 1990s, that many century+ old buildings continued to disappear, right up current day, actually.

Regarding removal of ornamentation on the buildings you mentioned, would that have been due to structural integrity (i.e. crumbling ornamentation or load-bearing capacity of the roof) from aging, or would it have been due to 'updating' - removing ornamentation to make the building look more 'modern'? I haven't yet read any documentation to support either idea.

I'm curious as to why you've included national historic sites in your summation of Halifax. Aren't they controlled by the federal government? Is it somehow a failing of Halifax in not maintaining those sites?
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  #337  
Old Posted Jan 2, 2019, 5:17 PM
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It's important to keep these costs in perspective by thinking about the time scales. Some of the work being done to the drill hall in Halifax involves fixing damage from 100 years ago.
Yes, in the Halifax Explosion the building suffered some damage, which apparently weakened the structure to the point that the west wall started leaning over time.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-...ions-1.4445342
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  #338  
Old Posted Jan 2, 2019, 6:50 PM
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I'm curious as to why you've included national historic sites in your summation of Halifax. Aren't they controlled by the federal government? Is it somehow a failing of Halifax in not maintaining those sites?
The designation is managed federally but there's no dedicated funding for maintaining these buildings. Some are privately owned, some are not. The federally owned ones are not necessarily in better shape.

Black-Binney House is a good privately owned example. It is a national heritage site. It almost had a condo addition built on top. It's a 3-4 storey stone mansion from around 1800 or so. As a building type in Canada it is incredibly rare.

There are under 1,000 national heritage sites in total in Canada. My main reasons for bringing up the designation are that a lot of poorly maintained Halifax buildings are nationally significant, not just locally significant, and there are not that many of them in all of Canada. Maintaining them all to decent standards would not be a significant federal financial burden.
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  #339  
Old Posted Jan 2, 2019, 7:43 PM
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Thanks for the clarification.

I totally agree in terms of maintenance, especially in light of the huge costs involved repairing the results of deferred maintenance.
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  #340  
Old Posted Jan 8, 2019, 4:05 PM
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This old building that used to be tucked under the Macdonald bridge was also mentioned. Look at how great it was:



It was actually a strange shape and was in this state back in the 60's or 70's:



The full post is here: https://halifaxbloggers.ca/noticedin...not-forgotten/
I found a pic from 1955 of this building from another angle on the NS archives. Here is a cropped image zoomed in from the original one from the archives, which is linked below:



https://novascotia.ca/archives/NSIS/archives.asp?ID=666

Note that the Macdonald bridge wasn't quite completed in the linked image.
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