North Waterloo Region
ACO - North Waterloo Region has existed since 1980, serving the north area of Waterloo Region, including the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo, and the townships of Woolwich, Wellesley and Wilmot
The objectives of the North Waterloo Region Branch are in keeping with those of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario. They include promoting the preservation of buildings of architectural and/or historic importance, holding events such as workshops and tours to stimulate interest in the built and natural heritage of our area, and publishing literature of interest about our organization and the community at large.
The Branch fulfills these objectives through workshops, the Branch Newsletter and the provincial ACO journal ACORN as well as by participating in provincial ACO meetings and working with other heritage groups with similar goals.
The executive of the Branch has followed developments of new heritage conservation districts in our communities, issues concerning downtown and uptown redevelopment, and the impact of a light rail system on built and natural heritage. Through the development of better communications with the various levels of government, the Branch, along with other heritage groups, expects to be able to offer comment on proposals affecting heritage structures and landscapes.
Branch Executive for 2016-2017: President and Representative on ACO Council - Marg Rowell; Treasurer - Amanda Stellings; Secretary - Peter Walberg; Education Coordinator - Susan Burke; Branch Representative on the Waterloo Regional Heritage Foundation - John Clinckett; Membership Coordinator - John Arndt; Social Convenor - Catherine Eby; Members-at-Large - Charlotte Woodley, Susan Mavor; Past President - Kae Elgie.
Newsletter Editor - Deb Westman
2017 Meeting Schedule for ACO Ontario
January 30, 2017 to December 30, 2017
Schedule of Executive and Council Meetings for 2017. Please open the attached pdf to see the full schedule. This document will be revised periodically as dates and locations are confirmed.
ACO Celebrates Heritage at Queen's Park
Visits with Ontario MPPs
February 27, 2017
Following on last year's successful meetings with 24 MPP's, once again Architectural Conservancy Ontario representatives will be at Queen's Park to talk about why, even with a stronger Ontario Heritage Act, we are still losing our heritage. This will be the third Heritage Week MPP Day when knowledgeable ACO members take time to approach parliamentarians at Queen’s Park with the purpose of reinforcing the importance of heritage to the province. This year’s visit will be held on February 27th, immediately after Heritage Week. Our volunteers are doing our part, but we could use some help plugging the policy and legislative loopholes that cost us important community landmarks.
ACO EXPRESSES SUPPORT FOR BILL C-323
Bill establishes tax credits for rehabilitation of historic properties
ACO supports Private Member's Bill C-323, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act (Rehabilitation of Historic Property), which will receive second reading in the House of Commons on February 10. This bill will establish a tax credit for expenses related to the rehabilitation of a historic property. It also establishes a tax deduction for the capital cost of property used in the course of such a rehabilitation.
ACO IS SEEKING A TREASURER
VOLUNTEER COUNCIL (BOARD) POSITION
Do you have a financial background and a commitment to preserving our built heritage? ACO’s Council Executive currently seeks a qualified individual to join the Provincial Council (Board) and to assume the role of Treasurer of the organization.
Culture Strategy for Ontario
ACO stresses need to build heritage into the Culture Strategy Program
In September the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport (MTCS) announced a new initiative, the development of a Culture Strategy for Ontario. A series of Town Halls are planned to get our views. Click on this item to learn more.
MP Peter Van Loan Proposes Tax Credits for Heritage Properties
National Trust for Canada is organizing Response
MP Peter Van Loan has introduced a Private Members Bill proposing Income Tax Credits to assist private owners of heritage property with restoration costs. This is good news for heritage, whether or not it passes as widespread support for the initiative may result in either passage or a similar bill from government. National Trust for Canada is organizing heritage organizations across the country. ACO's Policy Committee will be developing a formal response from ACO.
Governor's House & Gaol in Kitchener
November 3, 2011
North Waterloo Region
In July 2011 journalist Greg Mercer wrote an article of interest in the Waterloo Region Record titled Where to Find some Peace and Quiet in which he outlined some of the best places in the Region to find a retreat from the busy bustle of our urban landscapes and our hectic lives. Here is a description that Greg provides for the Waterloo County Gaol Garden, a millennium project coinciding with the restoration of the Governor’s House and Gaol on Queen Street in Kitchener beside the main Branch of the Kitchener Public Library and across from St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. Many NWRB-ACO Members are Friends of the Governor’s house and Gaol and/or are volunteers here during Doors Open Waterloo Region. “If this was what jail was like, then most people wouldn’t mind being locked up. This public garden was built in 2000 in the restored jail courtyard off Kitchener’s Queen Street. It’s a tiny place, but often empty, surrounded by thick stone walls that lock out the city, and is entered through an arched doorway. Pick one of three benches and admire the central fountain, shrubs, vines, roses and other flowers that make an old jail yard seem surprisingly pleasant. Once slated for demolition, the garden’s granite, iron work and stone make the courtyard seem indestructible now.” Joyce Arndt writes that “the Friends of the Governor’s House and Gaol selected the theme of a Victorian garden in a vernacular style for the County Town of Berlin. Wendy Shearer of the Wendy Shearer Landscape Architect Limited won the contract for her innovative design. Six unique garden areas have numerous trees, shrubs and perennials and showcase decorative ironwork, granite and stone – all typical reminders of the Victorian era. Colours, scents and textures of blooms and foliage create an ambiance of peace and relaxation. As well, the Gaol Garden demonstrates a mindfulness of low maintenance and water conservation. Although ten years have passed since the installation of the garden, the original vision of Wendy Shearer and the Friends is still evident in the garden’s beauty.”
Reflections on the Grad House at the University of Waterloo,r, November-December 2011)
November 3, 2011
North Waterloo Region
Sometimes concerns over the retention and reuse of existing buildings grow into tragedies that are completely avoidable. So it is with the old farm house on the campus of the University of Waterloo known as “The Grad House.” Originally the residence of the Schweitzer family, the last people to till the soil here, the house now stands as the only reminder of what preceded the grand new University that sprouted first in the 1950s and has now blossomed into a leading educational institution. For almost 40 of the University’s 60 years, however, the Grad House had a different function. It was here that students gathered with their professors to pour over lab results, debate the great issues of the day and socialise. It was here that having successfully defended their theses grad students repaired with their friends and families to celebrate. It has become one of the few truly indigenous institutions of the University of Waterloo. UW now rightfully aspires to become not only a national but an internationally recognized seat of learning. However, no university ever reached greatness while forgetting its past and its humble beginnings. No university ever destroyed its way to prominence. If current rumours are correct the University of Waterloo intends to neglect the maintenance of the Grad House, allow it to deteriorate, destroy it and use the space to build yet another somewhat characterless structure. The notion is that some new concrete space in modern block will house a student club. But you can’t replace atmosphere, tradition and warmth and once lost you can’t replace memories. It might be that the sort of disregard for tradition and destruction of meaning that the demolition of the Grad House would signal will stand in the way of UW noble aspiration. You can’t have a future without a past. You can’t have a past without respect for its symbols and its home.
Barra Castle, 393 Queen Street South, Kitchener - R.I.P.
October 3, 2010
North Waterloo Region
Barra Castle was built by Molly Marquette built 1930, and, it is claimed by some that she modeled it after her childhood home in Russia. The structure is a rare local example of neo-Gothic architecture with crenelated parapets and a gothic arched entrance way. To the 1980s, it was prestigious place to live. Former residents described the castle’s interior in glowing terms. Some apartments had up to 2000 square feet of living area. There were Moorish archways, tiled bathroom floors, old sinks and tubs, sunrooms, hardwood floors, high ceilings, original trim and detailed wooden banisters in the stairways. [To view exterior and interior photos google “barra castle kitchener.” ]
Pioneer Tower, 300 Lookout Lane, Kitchener, Waterloo Region
October 24, 2009
North Waterloo Region
The Doon Pioneer Tower is a National Historic Site, administered by Parks Canada. It is located at 300 Lookout Lane in Kitchener (Region of Waterloo), and can be reached from the Pioneer Tower Road, west from Highway 8 about one kilometre north of Highway 401. The Tower was erected on one acre of land located on the old Betzner homestead, chosen in part because of the existence of the old pioneer graveyard. It was built by the Waterloo County Pioneers' Association, formed in 1923, as a memorial to the early Mennonite-German pioneers, who migrated to the area in 1800. The monument is constructed of field stones in a Swiss style. Constructed in 1925-26, the Tower was designed by Toronto based architect William Langton.