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  #101  
Old Posted Jul 28, 2018, 10:20 PM
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It's also important to point out that most of the heritage buildings in downtown Halifax have already been demolished. We are only debating whether to protect the 40% or so that is left. A couple blocks down from this there are multiple highrise development sites.

No worries if we can just convince the Govt of Canada to do what they did in Quebec and fund not just a restoration but outright reconstruction of what might have been there centuries ago. Throw out the Cogswell lands plan and start with this! It would be like Historic Properties on steroids, and should only cost a few billions.
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  #102  
Old Posted Jul 28, 2018, 10:40 PM
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No worries if we can just convince the Govt of Canada to do what they did in Quebec and fund not just a restoration but outright reconstruction of what might have been there centuries ago. Throw out the Cogswell lands plan and start with this! It would be like Historic Properties on steroids, and should only cost a few billions.
I argue that Cogswell was a mistake. It is a past mistake but one that has been repeated over and over in Halifax on a smaller scale. The Doyle Block was another similar mistake that happened a couple of years ago. I am arguing that the city should start valuing its past more, implement better policies to bring heritage protection in line with similar cities, and stop making these mistakes and losing irreplaceable buildings. I am not arguing that we need to undo all past mistakes by reconstructing anything that was torn down.

Some of the funding was federal money in Quebec but a lot of it is also provincial and municipal, plus a lot of it comes down to regulation rather than funding.

We could turn this around and say: what would Quebec City have been like if they followed the Halifax route and threw out standards of heritage preservation and enhancement? Do we think that Quebec City would have become a lot more economically vibrant?

Areas like Rue St-Jean in Quebec City have buildings similar to Granville Street in Halifax. The main difference is they didn't tear down as many buildings, and the ones that are left are in better shape.
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  #103  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 12:03 AM
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Some of the funding was federal money in Quebec but a lot of it is also provincial and municipal, plus a lot of it comes down to regulation rather than funding.
The article you cited states that it was federal and provincial money, which in Quebec means almost all federal money given how much the feds fund that province.
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  #104  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2018, 4:48 AM
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The question is do you want a heritage preservation district, i.e. a building museum, with limited tenant/owner uses and strict restrictions on what can be changed/renovated? If so that would require massive injections of public funds to private owners or public ownership outright. Or would you prefer what you see in the photograph, which is a pretty vibrant area with some buildings renovated for best use and others awaiting the same? Museums are seldom vibrant.
Yes, I just came back from a 'building museum', and it was just dead - nobody there at all...





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  #105  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2018, 9:48 AM
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It is similar in our case to Historic Properties and that part of the waterfront, which gets jammed with tourists a few months out of the year. With enough federal money something similar could be done here. But even there as can be seen from the amount of business turnover that has always occurred, it is not the greatest spot for year-round businesses. Meanwhile what we have on Argyle, a mix of new and renovated old buildings, does well year-round.
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  #106  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2018, 2:23 PM
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It is similar in our case to Historic Properties and that part of the waterfront, which gets jammed with tourists a few months out of the year. With enough federal money something similar could be done here. But even there as can be seen from the amount of business turnover that has always occurred, it is not the greatest spot for year-round businesses. Meanwhile what we have on Argyle, a mix of new and renovated old buildings, does well year-round.
It's an interesting argument you are presenting, given that you've asserted in the past that the Argyle Street area is a failure and recent improvements would result in massive traffic headaches (which has proven to be false).

Regardless, if you are saying that the reason that Argyle Street is successful and vibrant (which it is, especially since the streetscaping project that was funded by the city) is because of the newer buildings, I think there is no logic to your argument. In fact, since you are only presenting opinions, I will do the same in that I think that Argyle Street would be equally or more successful if the old buildings had been preserved or restored to their former glory while maintaining the same business mix that exists currently.

In terms of your response to my post, I have the impression that many locals enjoy the vibrancy of Old Montreal, as I spoke to many people enjoying the area who were locals. And everybody seemed to appreciate, and be drawn to the old architecture combined with fantastic restaurants, cafés, bars, etc. It could be argued that those same businesses in newer buildings would be successful, and I agree, but being surrounded by the history and elegance of the old buildings is a drawing point that brings people in, and enhances their experience.

It's not all about federal money, which seems to be a popular misconception among detractors. The municipal government in places like these can step in and create rules, guidelines, and assistance to make it all work, but first they need to have a 'eureka' moment and realize the value of their heritage properties, especially in a city (such as Halifax) that has such a deep and interesting history. As an example of this, here is an older document from Montreal, providing support to property owners for restoring and maintaining their heritage properties:

http://patrimoine.ville.montreal.qc....glais_1-26.pdf

Halifax has improved in this respect, in recognizing the historical importance of Barrington Street and providing financial assistance for improving the streetside appearance of their buildings, but they have fallen down in many other areas.
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  #107  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2018, 2:47 PM
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Don't wring your hands too much. We have this discussion here periodically and I always need to point out that we are not tearing down the equivalent of Penn Station here. What we have are mostly unremarkable wood-framed two-storey boxes frm the late 1800s that were never particularly great when new and with the passage of time have become slummy and stripped of most of whatever they originally had in the way of architectural detail. It is also worth pointing out that groups like the Heritage Trust spent most of their political capitol and goodwill fighting to preserve empty lots or utterly unworthy things like the old "dry canteen" on the Wanderers Grounds and various parking/empty lots, so they have lost any credibility they may have had.

Halifax never looked like Old Town Quebec so let's stop fretting.
It amazes me that you continue to repeat this statement, when in the past it hasn't resulted in a successful argument. Perhaps if you repeat it enough times it will become ingrained enough that people will start to believe it?

Halifax isn't New York City, and therefore it doesn't have a Penn Station (neither does New York anymore - which has been recognized as a mistake). That doesn't mean that we should ignore our history and not try to preserve what we have left.

I'm really glad that you continue to state your opinions because it is an indication that the old Halifax train of thought still exists, especially through the children of parents who lived through the depression and the world wars, and saw Halifax at its worst in terms of being a depressed area. In cases like what we saw in the early to mid 20th century in Halifax, practicality kicks in at its extreme, and 'old worthless run-down' stuff logically gets replaced with new stuff, even if it's of lower quality, because it is functional and cheap.

That attitude is understandable, but those days have passed. There is no longer a reason to be unable to appreciate how special and historically significant that Halifax is. It's interesting to me that people who aren't from here, or don't live here, seem to appreciate the historical significance and the charm of Halifax more than people who grew up here. You don't have to look any further than this very forum to see this.

It seems that a lot of locals have always thought that we were a lesser city because we don't have the 'big city' stuff that Toronto (or similar) has, and that we won't feel we are a 'real city' until we have that. Again, it is understandable considering the narrative that they grew up with, but it can have a really negative effect on our city moving into the future.

I still contend that Halifax needs to strive to be the best Halifax that it can be, and that means embracing our heritage and culture while embracing the 'new' and the future in a way that improves our city while not losing what makes it special.
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  #108  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2018, 3:56 PM
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It's an interesting argument you are presenting, given that you've asserted in the past that the Argyle Street area is a failure and recent improvements would result in massive traffic headaches (which has proven to be false).
I believe the more accurate statement is that the various attempts made to "enhance" Argyle St were largely a waste of money and I stand by that. It was vibrant before the blacktop was painted like an argyle sock or replaced by paving stones, and it is just as vibrant now. HRM's war on the private vehicle has meant it is now useless for that purpose although the true believers continue to post shots of delivery or service trucks intruding upon what they perceive as their own private plaza. Where they expect to get their burgers and nachos from without such deliveries remains a mystery. The long-term will tell if the businesses there survive once the weather turns cold and stormy, and people are not wandering around as much.

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Regardless, if you are saying that the reason that Argyle Street is successful and vibrant (which it is, especially since the streetscaping project that was funded by the city) is because of the newer buildings, I think there is no logic to your argument. In fact, since you are only presenting opinions, I will do the same in that I think that Argyle Street would be equally or more successful if the old buildings had been preserved or restored to their former glory while maintaining the same business mix that exists currently.

In terms of your response to my post, I have the impression that many locals enjoy the vibrancy of Old Montreal, as I spoke to many people enjoying the area who were locals. And everybody seemed to appreciate, and be drawn to the old architecture combined with fantastic restaurants, cafés, bars, etc. It could be argued that those same businesses in newer buildings would be successful, and I agree, but being surrounded by the history and elegance of the old buildings is a drawing point that brings people in, and enhances their experience.
What old buildings? Please identify some memorable stone or masonry buildings with architectural detail that would stop visitors in their tracks which have been removed from Argyle St.. The answer is that there were none. Halifax is not a city that ever had very many of those. Aside from the old stone church where TD Canada Trust now resides I can think of none. It was always a very workmanlike city with wooden buildings of minimal character for the most part. You are making a false analogy comparing it to Old Montreal.

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It's not all about federal money, which seems to be a popular misconception among detractors. The municipal government in places like these can step in and create rules, guidelines, and assistance to make it all work, but first they need to have a 'eureka' moment and realize the value of their heritage properties, especially in a city (such as Halifax) that has such a deep and interesting history. As an example of this, here is an older document from Montreal, providing support to property owners for restoring and maintaining their heritage properties:

http://patrimoine.ville.montreal.qc....glais_1-26.pdf

Halifax has improved in this respect, in recognizing the historical importance of Barrington Street and providing financial assistance for improving the streetside appearance of their buildings, but they have fallen down in many other areas.
Certainly what has occurred in Quebec is indeed all about federal money. They receive an endless river of it.

I am not sure I want my municipal property taxes being routed to preserve old run-down buildings of dubious architectural value just because they are old (if there ever were any).
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  #109  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2018, 4:17 PM
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To me, those Old Montreal pictures suggest that Halifax did and does have similar buildings. The buildings around Historic Properties and Granville Mall are of a similar age and level of quality. If anything the Granville Mall ones might actually be nicer.

I'm not sure there is anything like Halifax's old stone wharves anywhere else in Canada. There are a few American cities that still have them.
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  #110  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2018, 7:16 PM
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To me, those Old Montreal pictures suggest that Halifax did and does have similar buildings. The buildings around Historic Properties and Granville Mall are of a similar age and level of quality. If anything the Granville Mall ones might actually be nicer.
Which have been preserved, though most of them had difficulty finding a viable use as commercial operations due to the design of Granville Mall itself. Many of the Historic Properties buildings are unfortunately 1970s re-interpetations of what might have been there but do not manage the charade very well.
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  #111  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2018, 7:22 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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I believe the more accurate statement is that the various attempts made to "enhance" Argyle St were largely a waste of money and I stand by that. It was vibrant before the blacktop was painted like an argyle sock or replaced by paving stones, and it is just as vibrant now. HRM's war on the private vehicle has meant it is now useless for that purpose although the true believers continue to post shots of delivery or service trucks intruding upon what they perceive as their own private plaza. Where they expect to get their burgers and nachos from without such deliveries remains a mystery. The long-term will tell if the businesses there survive once the weather turns cold and stormy, and people are not wandering around as much.
That's not an "accurate statement". It is only your opinion.

You focus too much on the extremes of social media (maybe you should spend less time on social media and actually go to the places you complain about?). Any time I visit the area I see lots of people walking (or wheeling, for those in chairs) about enjoying the pedestrian-friendly streets, not complaining or taking photos of delivery trucks. Most people understand the realities of life - like businesses need to have delivery access - but it doesn't mean that they don't have the ability to enjoy the area just the same.

There are already businesses that have survived there long-term, and there have been restaurants that have turned over a lot (common in the restaurant industry, if you pay attention). I don't see how anybody could reason that having a nicer street could affect businesses that are entertainment or service-based in a negative fashion.



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What old buildings? Please identify some memorable stone or masonry buildings with architectural detail that would stop visitors in their tracks which have been removed from Argyle St.. The answer is that there were none. Halifax is not a city that ever had very many of those. Aside from the old stone church where TD Canada Trust now resides I can think of none. It was always a very workmanlike city with wooden buildings of minimal character for the most part. You are making a false analogy comparing it to Old Montreal.
The answer is that there were several masonry buildings on Argyle Street, and more ornate/elegant ones in the lower streets (like Granville and Hollis), which housed the centre of business and government.

Halifax was well-off financially early on until the shift of business to upper and lower Canada sometime in the 1800s, but it has always been a centre of military, shipping, other marine-based industries (for obvious reasons), and its history is very rich and interesting. Different from New York, Toronto, Montreal, Chicago, etc. etc. in that things were done on a smaller scale and in a way that's more or less unique to Halifax, but we shouldn't want to be or try to be those cities. I already covered this previously.

Montreal is used as an example because I recently visited there and was impressed by how much care has been given to preserve their structures and to create a vital space that people want to visit - not to say that we are the same as Montreal (though someone123 has pointed out that there were actually many similarities). The concept of respecting their heritage and protecting its structures is very much alive there, and is part of the culture - it would be a great example for us to follow, if we could get our heads out of our asses for 5 minutes.

But, you want examples of stone and/or masonry buildings on Argyle Street that have been torn down, so here's a few. Maybe not as ornate as other cities (or other areas of Halifax), but definitely typical of Halifax. If you expand your search for images outside of Argyle Street, there is no trouble to find some buildings that fit your qualifications that have been torn down.

Source of below photos

These were all on Argyle Street:








Just because it's not made of stone, a building can still have an interesting/significant history. The wooden structure next to the Saint Paul's rectory building (that was torn down in the 1980s) in the photo above, is currently home to the Auction House - a brief history at the link below:
http://www.auctionhousehalifax.com/our-story/

The same goes for the building which currently houses the Five Fishermen:
https://www.fivefishermen.com/history/

For that matter, your disdain for wooden structures is without base. One of Nova Scotia's strong points has been its wooded structures, largely feeding off the heydays of wooden shipbuilding, which was quite large in this province back in the day. It is the major reason that Lunenburg is a UNESCO world heritage site:
https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/741

But... I realize this will be wasted on you because Lunenburg doesn't have the equivalent of Penn Station...

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Certainly what has occurred in Quebec is indeed all about federal money. They receive an endless river of it.
Speculation

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I am not sure I want my municipal property taxes being routed to preserve old run-down buildings of dubious architectural value just because they are old (if there ever were any).
There's way more to it than that, but someone123 and other posters have already presented enough material that you have glossed over sot there's no point in going much deeper than this.
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  #112  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2018, 7:32 PM
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Which have been preserved, though most of them had difficulty finding a viable use as commercial operations due to the design of Granville Mall itself.
Take a walk down Sparks Street in Ottawa and try to understand that the concept of a pedestrian mall like Granville can work. It is much longer than Granville, and is incorporating residential and office to the mix. When I was there, I found it to be a very nice place to walk and enjoy, along with many others who were likewise taking advantage of the space.

What has worked against Granville is that the north end is cut off by Cogswell, so pedestrian traffic doesn't follow that route so much, and that the streetside presence has been taken away, with only a few shops/restaurants accessible to the public still remain. Goodlife has taken away much of the west side of the street, and access to Scotia Square has been cut off. On the east side of the street, NSCAD had taken over most of the street so there was not much to draw the public in.

Maybe after Cogswell is removed there will be a chance for it to revitalize.

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Many of the Historic Properties buildings are unfortunately 1970s re-interpetations of what might have been there but do not manage the charade very well.
Which wouldn't have been necessary had the city not cleaned out the area in the 1960s due to poor foresight and lack of understanding as to the importance of our heritage.
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  #113  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2018, 7:41 PM
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I think the Granville area in Halifax suffers mostly because of Cogswell and because it was turned into a 9-5 office district in the 1970's.

We are starting to see more mixed use development in that area and the local resident population is returning. At the same time, areas like Barrington and Argyle have become more vibrant. When Cogswell is redeveloped and people start to live in that area I think the Historic Properties area will become livelier.
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  #114  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2018, 8:05 PM
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The Power Cottage is an unfortunate example to use as it was wildly, ridiculously, extravagantly expensive project with absolutely no limits to what tax dollars were spent. A lovely but unused building that still has not found any real purpose except to shw how HRM likes to throw around money. We cannot preserve things without regard to cost.

The examples you cite that were victims of the urban renewal of the 1960s are typical of what occurred in many large cities at the time and were unfortunate losses in some cases. But it is not germane to what we are discussing, which is what is happening now.
While we're on the topic, the Power Cottage is a prime example of the evils of neglect. Had the building been maintained properly over the years, the pricetag to bring it back would not have been nearly as much. Halifax was only paying to fix their own previous mistakes of mismanagement. At least they had the sense to save it and not just tear it down like many others in the past.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-...tion-1.4542238

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The brick building, with its rounded windows and gleaming copper, is now arguably one of the most striking historic buildings in the city. But time — and lack of maintenance — had taken its toll before the exterior was restored.

A 2014 city staff report listed it as being in the worst condition of all buildings owned by the municipality in 2013.

When crews tackled the exterior work beginning in 2014, they found rotten wood, mould, asbestos and a beetle infestation. The basement floor even gave out partway through the project.
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  #115  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2018, 10:20 PM
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Barrington Place was stripped of its storefront retail (Now a health club fronting the street). This should never have happened. It used to be so much more vibrant with Peddlars Pub...
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  #116  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2018, 10:40 AM
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Barrington Place was stripped of its storefront retail (Now a health club fronting the street). This should never have happened. It used to be so much more vibrant with Peddlars Pub...
One presumes their business fell (as has that of many other boozatoriums, in fairness) and the spot was no longer profitable.
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  #117  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2018, 2:18 PM
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I agree, but I think having a health club there was a poor choice for foot traffic.
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  #118  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2018, 7:06 PM
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I agree, but I think having a health club there was a poor choice for foot traffic.
Well, in the pub's heyday the corner space was occupied by Pier One Imports, which was almost always empty and I'm sure did little for foot traffic either.
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  #119  
Old Posted Aug 5, 2018, 3:38 PM
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  #120  
Old Posted Aug 23, 2018, 4:04 PM
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