Toronto

Fort York Visitor Centre | ?m | 2s | Fort York Foundation | Patkau

Tewder

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 30, 2007
Messages
5,401
Reaction score
150
Well, Fort York is certainly treated like an isolated afterthought despite being right downtown, sandwiched between a wide rail corridor and an ugly elevated expressway, and cut off from the lake by what was until recently an industrial area.
There is still much that can be done to revitalize the fort. Extending and improving the parkland around it will help provide a green buffer from the encroaching city. This is Fort Erie from the air:



Unlike Fort York the fort above is still on the river but the surrounding park buffers it from the community that has grown around it on the other sides.

Like Fort Henry Fort Erie is in pretty good condition, which is due to Parks Niagara which goes to great lengths to maintain a lot of the historic sites for visitors. Fort York still has original buildings, however, but could be so much more by recreating what has been lost in terms of mounds, ramparts and palisades. Again, Fort Erie:







Moving some other 'lost' heritage buildings to the site can create a heritage node. They may lose in not being in their original locations (which have been lost or compromised anyway) but will gain in terms of increased heritage context and greater accessibility:

Scadding Cabin on the Exhibition grounds is Toronto's oldest standing structure (1794). It has already been moved several times so there is probably less of an argument for keeping it where it is.



..or Stanley Barracks, once part of a large grouping of buildings known as New Fort York could be moved and used as a visitor's centre or interpretation centre/museum of 1812. A plaque could commemorate where it once stood.



Connecting the Fort with the new neighbourhood developing in the area, and better connecting it to the waterfront/lakeshore will help raise the profile of the fort.
 

adma

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 23, 2007
Messages
16,373
Reaction score
1,020
I doubt if many or even any Friends of Fort York would support moving Stanley Barracks in their direction...
 

wyliepoon

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 22, 2007
Messages
2,011
Reaction score
3
I don't like the idea of moving the Barracks either. Moving the Barracks would leave yet another empty lot at Exhibition Place which would most likely be paved for more parking spots. I'd like it left there, since there is potential for the building to be incorporated in the redevelopment of Exhibition Place.
 

Tewder

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 30, 2007
Messages
5,401
Reaction score
150
Wyliepoon, I think I would fear more for its fate being left where it is than being moved to a national historic site/park where people are far more likely to visit the building and appreciate it in some context. Where heritage buildings are concerned the general rule of thumb is that there is safety in numbers. Keeping the Barracks in place to prevent further parking doesn't seem respectful to the building, and freeing the space leaves room for some development there.

I don't believe that any of these options are 'ideal', but heritage preservation is often so much a compromise of giving something up to get something hopefully more important.
 

wyliepoon

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 22, 2007
Messages
2,011
Reaction score
3
^ Sorry if I'm not convinced about the "safety in numbers" theory.

I tend to see the Barracks not as a hindrance to development, but as an opportunity. Instead of moving the Barracks and creating a clean slate for developers to work on, I'd like to see the Barracks stay and force any future developer/designer of the Exhibition Place redevelopment to work around the building creatively, such as to include it in a park or to build a public square next to it. I think architects are more creative given a site with historical context to it than a site with no context whatsoever (such as a greenfield site).

This, I think, is actually keeping with the spirit of the current Fort York competition. You can't move Fort York, but you can always design around it.
 

adma

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 23, 2007
Messages
16,373
Reaction score
1,020
And Stanley Barracks remains as the one surviving reminder of the *New* Fort. So, why not in situ?

Also remember that in scale and construction (stone!), it's far more substantial than *anything* in Old Fort York...
 

Tewder

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 30, 2007
Messages
5,401
Reaction score
150
The original Fort York buildings are the oldest standing in the city (aside from little Scadding Cabin) and are more significant, historically speaking, than the stone building of New Fort York... all of which is moot really in a city that has but a precious handful of buildings of this sort of historic pedigree.

I'm not suggesting that moving a small collection of buildings is necessarily the only 'right' thing to do but i think it's worthy of consideration. I wish I had more faith that any development at the Exhibition Grounds would include New Fort York with the sort of thoughtful consideration we would hope for, I'm just extremely doubtful. Even if this were done I still don't see that it would be a pole of attraction for people, which in Toronto's case, where history and heritage are so undervalued and invisible, is probably the more important objective than any strict respecting of historic location which has already in many instances been largely compromised over time. Old Fort York is the safer bet in a Toronto context (where history and heritage have little value, generally speaking), and stands just about the best chance of filling this role given the significance of the collection of buildings, the national historic site designation, the surrounding parkland that has been set aside and the aready existing political will for its development and refurbishment. Riding this wave, so to speak, will likely bode far better for these few 'lost' heritage buildings than leaving them to fend for themselves... perhaps?
 

ShonTron

Moderator
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 24, 2007
Messages
9,947
Reaction score
2,810
Location
Ward 13 - Toronto Centre
The original Fort York buildings are the oldest standing in the city (aside from little Scadding Cabin) and are more significant, historically speaking, than the stone building of New Fort York... all of which is moot really in a city that has but a precious handful of buildings of this sort of historic pedigree.
Historic Pedigree? Toronto? Really? I know what the solution is!

Fort York needs condos! Is there a Blockhouse (is there a Blockhouse M?) that's expendable?
 

Junglab

New Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 24, 2007
Messages
59
Reaction score
0
New old news... or is that "olds"?

Old news (some 3 months old, to be exact), but it hasn't been reported here, or anywhere, really. Shame, as it sounds like it might be an interesting project. I'm especially tickled about the involvement of Patkau and Gareth Hoskins...

From the City of Toronto website:

May 22, 2009
* Print-friendly version

Competition finalists named for the design of a new visitor centre at Fort York National Historic Site


Five design teams have been selected from a field of 31 to compete in Stage II of the competition to design a new visitor centre at Fort York National Historic Site. The finalists, who submitted their proposals following a Stage I Call for Expressions of Interest, are:
• Baird Sampson Neuert Architects
• Diamond and Schmitt Architects
• du Toit Allsopp Hillier/du Toit Architects Limited
• Patkau Architects Inc with Kearns Mancini Architects Inc
• rawdesign with Gareth Hoskins Architects

During the next stage of the competition, which will be undertaken this summer, the finalists will anonymously submit their conceptual designs for the visitor centre. Designs will be exhibited at a public open house where community members can comment on submissions before the jury selects a winning scheme.

Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone (Ward 19 Trinity-Spadina), Chair of the Fort York Visitor Centre Steering Committee, welcomes the announcement that a new visitor centre for Fort York is today one step closer to reality. "With the upcoming bicentennial commemorations of the War of 1812, now is the time to finally add this important asset to Toronto's cultural arsenal," says Pantalone. "Our city recognizes that Fort York played a crucial role in Toronto's history, and the Fort will continue to educate and engage Torontonians and tourists alike long into the future."

The pre-construction phase of this project includes the design competition process, design development, and all components required to prepare for construction tender. A federal grant, in the amount of $617,000, has been generously provided through the Department of Canadian Heritage Cultural Spaces Canada Program to defray a portion of the pre-construction costs.

The final cost of the visitor centre is estimated at $15 million (including soft costs) and is contingent upon receipt of funds from other orders of government and private sector fundraising through the newly formed Fort York Foundation. If a firm commitment of funding from various sources can be secured, the project will be tendered for construction as early as possible in 2010, with a building completion date of December 2011. This would allow for exhibit installation and commissioning for a June 2012 opening that will coincide with the launch of Toronto’s Commemoration of the War of 1812 Bicentennial program.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. 2009 marks the 175th anniversary of Toronto's incorporation as a city. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contacts:
David O’Hara, Fort York National Historic Site, 416-392-6907 ext. 222, dohara@toronto.ca
Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone, 416-392-4009, Councillor_Pantalone@toronto.ca
 

drum118

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 24, 2007
Messages
13,932
Reaction score
6,274
Location
Mississauga, where cars rule city growth
There will be a Public Meeting to amend the Zoning Bylaw on Tuesday Sept 15 at 10:00 am in Committee Room 1, 2nd floor City Hall
 

interchange42

Administrator
Staff member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 23, 2007
Messages
22,088
Reaction score
16,416
Location
by the Humber
Not that I have any idea of any of the entrant's proposals, but I am excited to see Patkau Architects shortlisted. Their Grand Bibliothèque in Montréal is so good, I immediately perk up seeing their name here.

You can check out their work at patkau.ca
(scroll down to the Grand Bibliotheque, click, and make sure you see some of the interior shots)

42
 

Tewder

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 30, 2007
Messages
5,401
Reaction score
150
This is a 'national' historic site - indeed there may have not been a Canada were it not for Fort York - and the feds are only chipping in $600K to this project. Pretty chintzy if you ask me.
 

Top