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Brantford Colborne Block demolition and new Laurier YMCA complex

hawc

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Do the people who live in Brantford care, or just the people who live 100 kilometres away in Toronto?
 

adma

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Well, technically, if you're to crudely blanket-judge thusly, you might as well ask the same about the people who live in Toronto re some of the heritage catastrophes in their midst. And exponentially from there, dismiss all heritage crusades, everywhere, as an overrated special-interest fringe concern--except maybe in super-heritage-nodes like Niagara-on-the-Lake, I suppose...
 

neubilder

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Do the people who live in Brantford care, or just the people who live 100 kilometres away in Toronto?

This is an ignorant argument against preservation.

20 years ago working families living in small communities on Vancouver Island didn't give a damn about the last remaining ancient rainforests in their backyards, arguing that a few more years of jobs was more important than the forests. Today, the only communities that aren't totally depressed are the ones that can offer sustainable activities such as eco-tourism and quality of life because pressure from 'city folk' curtailed some of the destruction.

This stretch of historic fine-grained urban fabric was the largest stretch of intact pre-confederate buildings existing in Canada, one of which was the original office of Alexander Graham Bell. Brantford is plagued with underdeveloped land in the core (parking lots, underutilized 1970's warehouses, fast food chains surrounded by pavement in the centre of town). The sports complex could have been built on any number of sites in or near the downtown core.

The myopic hicks at Brantford city hall responsible for the desecration of their city should have a permanent plaque mounted in their dishonour. These fools changed the course of Brantford's history by gutting it's core, destroying it's potential for revitalization, and reducing it to bland suburban nothingscape.
 
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hawc

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The myopic hicks at Brantford city hall....

Wow. Just wow.

So the smart educated folk from the big city will tell the dumb country 'hicks' what they should do with their town.

It's for their own good though isn't it? We live 100 kilometres away but we know what's best for them.

Here's what your town should look like, in case we ever decide to go for a Sunday drive through it.
 

adma

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Wow. Just wow.

So the smart educated folk from the big city will tell the dumb country 'hicks' what they should do with their town.

It's for their own good though isn't it? We live 100 kilometres away but we know what's best for them.

Here's what your town should look like, in case we ever decide to go for a Sunday drive through it.

Well, given how you've proposed plowing a 400 extension through the Junction and down Parkside to connect with the Gardiner, maybe you should look in the mirror and consider why said "smart educated folk" would tell urban batterers like you where to go...

And believe me: you're no "representative" of Toronto than the Brantfordian so-called "villains" are "representative" of Brantford.
 
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innsertnamehere

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now we are allowed to give advice on keeping their urban block (even if it is too late), but we certainly shouldn't resort to name calling like neubuilder did.
 

ShonTron

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Work has finally started on the new YMCA/Wilfrid Laurier building on Colborne Street. I took this two weeks ago while cycling through on a longer trip between Kitchener and Hamilton.

IMG_6065-002.JPG
 

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innsertnamehere

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To revive this thread - it appears that the desecration of downtown Brantford continues, another block was recently demolished. Colborne Street between 2009 and 2020 looks like it's gone through a war bombing.

2009:


2020:


I just don't understand how a town can let half of it's history disappear over a period of a decade. It's completely mind blowing.
 

Northern Light

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To revive this thread - it appears that the desecration of downtown Brantford continues, another block was recently demolished. Colborne Street between 2009 and 2020 looks like it's gone through a war bombing.

2009:


2020:


I just don't understand how a town can let half of it's history disappear over a period of a decade. It's completely mind blowing.

Nothing replacing what was there on the southside, not even good landscaping...........

The streets are still one-way, the sidewalks are still abysmal................
 

innsertnamehere

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The south side was partially replaced with a new YMCA building, with an extremely bland street presence:

Now:


Before:


The western half of the demolished block remains vacant however. The city is apparently in the process of issuing an RFP for it to be redeveloped only now, a decade after demolition. Believe it or not the City actually expropriated the entire south block of Colborne Street and demolished it themselves in some sort of "revitalization effort" (like an empty lot for a decade is revitalizing).

Brantford's original main retail street has now been almost entirely demolished. Between the old Eaton Centre Mall further east and the more recent developments along this block, only a handful of original buildings remain.

While there has been some new development in downtown Brantford over the past decade, including a satellite campus of Laurier University, the downtown remains probably one of the most depressed in the province, especially for a city the size of Brantford.
 

Northern Light

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The south side was partially replaced with a new YMCA building, with an extremely bland street presence:

Wow that's awful. I mean mind-numbingly stupid awful.

I don't normally critique in that tone.........but that is just beyond redemption.
Its not just that it doesn't fit, or that its bland (both of those though); its that its cold and it that it lacks any real animation for the street..........at all.

Not so much as a garage window that opens to an interior space, or a single coffee shop.

The western half of the demolished block remains vacant however. The city is apparently in the process of issuing an RFP for it to be redeveloped only now, a decade after demolition. Believe it or not the City actually expropriated the entire south block of Colborne Street and demolished it themselves in some sort of "revitalization effort" (like an empty lot for a decade is revitalizing).

Awful though that is, if it spared that block the fate of being another building as badly designed as the Y.............maybe a perverse blessing, of sorts.

Brantford's original main retail street has now been almost entirely demolished. Between the old Eaton Centre Mall further east and the more recent developments along this block, only a handful of original buildings remain.

While there has been some new development in downtown Brantford over the past decade, including a satellite campus of Laurier University, the downtown remains probably one of the most depressed in the province, especially for a city the size of Brantford.

An abject lesson in failure.

Brantford, to my understanding, had the oldest intact row of commercial buildings in the province at one point.
Yet no one contemplated the value of restoration............

Sigh.
 
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MisterF

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It's unlikely that whatever replaces these buildings will generate as much tax revenue for the city either. Lucklily most towns don't treat traditional urban fabric with such aggressive hostility. Something in the water in Brantford?

 

gabe

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The pandemic is killing off what few retail stores remain, I sure hope more of these old histrionic blocks don't come down. I was down there a few weeks ago. What a sad empty downtown. It's reminds me of a dying American rust belt city. And the amount of homeless and people with mental illness i saw downtown was staggering. Not a place i would visit at night.
 

Northern Light

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The pandemic is killing off what few retail stores remain, I sure hope more of these old histrionic blocks don't come down. I was down there a few weeks ago. What a sad empty downtown. It's reminds me of a dying American rust belt city. And the amount of homeless and people with mental illness i saw downtown was staggering. Not a place i would visit at night.

There actually is new density arriving at the edges of the downtown.

I have some hope; but any success here will happen despite Brantford rather than because of it.

****

Abuse of narcotics/opiods is an issue everywhere, better hidden in some places than others, but Brantford does have an inordinate issue.

Though I can't say I ever felt unsafe when visiting.
 

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