‘TIS THE SEASON!!.. Yes, January has come and gone and with its passing the last of the New Year’s resolutions are all but consigned to the trash bin. One resolution we hope you have not discarded is your commitment to the history and heritage of Toronto. With preservation issues swirling about the halls of power, the anticipated influx of tourists for international events and the ,sadly, general lack of knowledge among the public, as they go about their busy schedules in the face of the ‘economic downturn’ , the need to preserve and promote the unique legacy that is Toronto’s past is more important than ever.
As volunteers we need to be creative and innovative and, moreover, supportive of individual and group efforts to keep our natural, built and cultural heritage in the minds and hearts of the people. Keeping our history and heritage alive unequivocally adds quality of life to the city, economic benefit through tourism and a vision of the city’s past as it moves toward the future.
Here is our chance to keep our resolution and to benefit from its results as we move into 2015 and, once more, bring to the wider audience, the wonderful aspects of our city that make it a great place to live and grow.
Putting your ideas out there and working with fellow T.H.A. member groups can and does bring about change. Don’t let your resolve falter as we move through this year.
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DISSIN’ THE GAMES
Much has been written about the padded expenses of the Games executives, the cost overruns and the faulty estimates of costs, the debate over disruptions in traffic and the expected difficulties in moving around our, already crowed metropolis. More than likely, there will post mortems ad nauseam over whether it was all worth it and, if the left behind infrastructure actually is of benefit to the city. We’ll leave that for the pundits and analysts to hash out over endless lattes.
What we do know is that the Pan Am/ParaPan Games are here and will be a force to reckon with through late June, July and August, if not into September. We are seeing some smaller events and activities being postponed or cancelled, others affected in minor ways. The T.H.A. has received concerns from some of its member groups of how the Games are ‘hurting’ some of their scheduled efforts. We are making our concerns known to those we can reach.
BUT, the reality is that large numbers of tourists will be coming into the city and be looking for more out of their experience than just sitting in various sports arenas watching athletes. We’ve all heard the comments that restaurants and theatres and other venues will benefit from the ‘ overflow’.. The task for us is how do the T.H. A. Groups benefit from this influx. Publicity and promotion is important and there is, or will be, access to the Pan Am/Parapan Games Media office for ‘community groups’ so that the3 events and activities may be distributed to the 3,500 accredited media who are showing up to cover the events and talk up the multitudinous amenities and unique sites in Toronto. We need to be on that band wagon. Media releases, handouts, brochures, links to websites, contact lists.. all of these and more are required from the T.H.A. groups who wish to reach out and tap into that curiosity from those ‘ outside of Toronto’... T.H.A. is contacting officials and will be following up with various partners on strategies and we encourage any member group with information to alert the T.H.A. and share this knowledge with fellow members. We need to let everyone know there is more to the city than the AGO, ROM and the ‘ cultural events’ of the Ballet and Symphony, magnificent as they are. T.H.A. and the communities and groups it represents are pretty awesome, too.
RED CARPET TIME
At this time of the year, we are flooded with Awards Galas and Red Carpet parades of stars, movers and shakers. The speculation on this year’s Oscar winner is rife throughout the ‘entertainment media’. Well the T.H.A. is not immune to this syndrome. We, too, have our own Unique Special Award opportunity and you, the members, get to decide who takes a bow.
We are looking for nominees for the Peggy Kurtin Memorial Award for Heritage Excellence in 2014 – your choice for the best T.H.A. member group who excelled in promoting the city history and heritage in the past year. Let us give a great big pat on the back and ‘ way to go’ thumb s up to one of our own for their efforts in 2014 in bringing public attention to our city’s unique history.
We are looking for nominees for the President’s Award for dedicated service to city heritage in 2014 – your choice for the best individual T.H.A. person who worked tirelessly on behalf of Toronto’s heritage and who, in the great scheme of things, would otherwise be lost in the hurly burly of the ‘game’. Here’s your chance to tap a fellow T.H.A. member on the shoulder and say ‘ Good on Yer!’..
Let us have your nominations before March 31. Just send a paragraph or two outlining your reasons for the nomination and any other relevant information to : firstname.lastname@example.org
Awards will be presented at the T.H.A. AGM to be held in late April. Time and place will be announced shortly by e-mail, on the website and twitter and other means. Pick your winners and plan to be at the AGM..
SPEAKING OF WHICH
The Annual General Meeting of the Toronto Historical Association will be held in April. Date, Time and Location to be announced soon. Keep your last week of April open and we will have the details out as soon as possible. As always your presence is expected. The T.H.A. operates at your behest and on your behalf and provides a strong link and forum to other community efforts, politicians and governments at all levels and promotes the City of Toronto’s natural, built and cultural heritage and reaches out to the wider public on initiatives that impact city heritage. Your support is important.
But, beyond your attendance at the AGM, we need you to be actively involved. The opportunity to network, cross promote, speak up on important issues and matters and support your own community efforts is all before you in the T.H.A.
There are vacancies on the Board and some of our stalwart board members are reluctantly stepping away after many years of service. Here’s your chance!.. Member groups need to put forward candidates from their organizations to represent them on the Board and to help promote, not only their little piece of the city, but the city-wide ongoing endeavour to protect its history. Nominations may be made to the Board of Directors through: email@example.com Please provide a 150 word précis of the nominee and contact information. Speak Up!
But first...Pay Up...Yes, it’s that time of the year.. Annual Dues for T.H.A. membership are required. Membership for 2014/15 expires on March 31 and you don’t want to be an April Fool by not being back in the good books for 2015/16. Renewal/Application forms and other pertinent information on the T.H.A. registration process and other material can be found on the link on our website. We will be sending out notification reminders to the T.H.A. contact list and official mailing addresses provided by member groups.
If your information is not current in our files, if you have changed contacts, e-mail addresses, websites or delegates have changed, now is the time to let us know!!
You can’t be ‘a presence’ in the world today without reaching out to people by Social Media. And the T.H.A. has waded into the waters as best we can [ always looking for tech savvy types to help boost our profile ]. While Twitter gives us an opportunity to alert the wider public of recent events, upcoming issues and other activities relevant to heritage, it is not a forum for detailed information. It is great for promoting and public awareness and we are always in need of material to post... send us your Tweets! Links! Likes! And Follow Us!.. it all helps.
We can, with our website post detailed articles on city heritage and we encourage, nay beg, member groups to write articles on aspects of their community history. People, places, events, significant features and structures within their bailiwick, anything that speaks to the history of the city, big and small, that can offer the wider reading public insight into some interesting fact or feature of Toronto.. Nothing is more satisfying for a reader than to say they learned something new and Toronto’s history still has plenty of stories to tell.
Here is your chance to exercise your inner Blogger, to see if you are the next Hemingway to speak up about your part of the city. We need stories and insights into Toronto. Send us your scribbles – up to 2000 words [ photos properly credited may accompany the article ] Post to: firstname.lastname@example.org
You’re at the keyboard reading this..open a new tab and start typing!..
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As always there are many activities and issues that rise up across the city, some impact a building, a street, perhaps a small area of the city, but, eventually, all have a ripple effect and bring heritage, for good or ill, to the attention of the general public. The T.H.A. tries, with its limited resources and volunteer efforts, to cover as many of these endeavours on behalf of the member groups and the interests of heritage in general. Here are some of the latest involvements.
This is the new name for the mouth of the Don River redevelopment at the Keating Channel. Like many efforts it is a multi-year undertaking and dependent on public/private partnerships, the critical mass of attention from interested stakeholders and local community input. The T.H.A. has been one of those interested parties from the early stages of the issue and has attended meetings and spoken out regarding the value of preserving salient heritage features, structures and areas and our concerns over respectful reuse of buildings and other heritage facilities. This is an ongoing issue which will be developed; it is anticipated, over some 20 years. No doubt the plans and proposals now promulgated will change over time and the T.H.A. is following these and adding input where we can. Right now on the site are a number of heritage designated structures among them a large marine warehouse and a fine old early 20th century fire hall. Continue to follow the T.H.A. website for further updates.
The city, in its policy of zoning reappraisals and development issue, is conducting s study for the Official Plan of street areas/corridors in the downtown along Jarvis/Sherburne and such. T.H.A. is attending the information sessions and asking questions where appropriate on the matter. This is an early stage public input opportunity. We would welcome any of the T.H.A. groups affected by this to step up and advise on specific concerns. Communication is key.
This venerable structure is back in the news. U of T has announced a new proposal for redeveloping this site. A multi-story structure which would include the requisite condo residences and an added feature that , supposedly, mitigates loss of this unique facility in its present form, a museum of Jewish Heritage for the ground floors. While T.H.A. welcomes museums and the promotion of the city’s vibrant cultural diversity, it is sad to contemplate the loss of one of the last and dwindling astronomical features in the GTA... The Dunlop Observatory remains a sore spot on that horizon.
Ex Place Hotel
While it may be a bit premature to say the ‘finishing touches’ are being placed on the boutique hotel sandwiched between the former automotive building and the Stanley Barracks, the building is slated for an official opening in September of this year. The structure is to feature a glass floor that exposes the early military archaeology of the ‘ new fort’ from 1841, in part, and will, it was previously announced, exhibits and displays in the lobby of Toronto’s early history, mostly of the War of 1812 and 1837 Rebellion ears [ as currently outlined ]. Again, anything that promotes and enhances heritage is welcomed.
Behind the scenes, however, is the hotel’s commitment to the adaptive reuse of the Stanley Barracks itself. As part of its lease agreement with the city and other landlords, the hotel is to present by 2016, a formal proposal for the active use of the building. The T.H.A. has been actively pursuing this and has had previous conversations with hotel representatives, though this has been at some remove of late. We continue to speak out, where possible, on this matter.
On a related front, we continue to monitor the developments surrounding BMO field, the NBA practise facility and other issues on the Ex grounds that will impact on the archaeological issues and heritage features present there. One large concern is the replacing of over 500 parking spaces that will be lost to the new developments.
A possible Good News issue:
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the ‘new’ Toronto City Hall. And, while the news out of the square revolves more around the cost overruns and pace of redevelopment, this is an event that should be celebrated. Some T.H.A. member groups and others in the city community have been petitioning the powers that be, to do something to acknowledge this milestone and help boost the profile of this unique city feature. Complications exist over funding in an austerity ear and, of course, any public display naturally gravitates to the summer when, of course, the Pan Am Games overshadows everything else.
The T.H.A. continues to try and move this idea along. It would be a shame not to celebrate the City Hall and square which those Trekkers out there will recall appeared on twice on Star Trek [ both the original series and TNG!].
Hope springs or, should we say: live long and prosper?
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Check out the many events at the City of Toronto Museums by going to: www.toronto.ca/museum-events.
Mississaugas of the New Credit
On February 18, 19, 20, the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, are holding an Historic Gathering – sure to be oversubscribed so registration is required – presenting a overview of the heritage and legacy of the community and tribe. This is a great chance to see and hear about the original settlers of Toronto. More than worth the drive to Hagersville.
Full details and registration forms and other information can be found on the:
Community History Project:
On Saturday February 20 and 27, from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., CHP will be hosting knitting workshops. Every Saturday in February, 11:30am-12:30pm, 1-2pm, and 2:30-3:30pm, our docents Marilyn Spearin and Catherine Watts (experienced grandmothers!) will be at the museum to help with your knitting! Join us for yarn fun! $15 per person for the hour’s consult includes tea/tour.a . The Tollkeeper's Cottage Museum is at the intersection of Bathurst and Davenport. Join us for yarn fun! $15 per person for the hour’s consult includes tea/tour.
Send us an email to let us know which time you'd like. Maximum three people per time slot.
Riverdale Historical Society
On February 24, 2015, 6:00 pm the Riverdale Historical Society is a presenting John Goddard, author, magazine writer and former Toronto Star reporter specializing in little-known wonders.
Join John Goddard, author of "Inside the Museums: Toronto's Heritage Sites and Their Most Prized Objects", as he illuminates Toronto's early history through its small heritage museums.
Place: St. Matthew's Clubhouse, 450 Broadview Avenue at Langley
Admission $4/free to RHS members
Town of York Historical Society
Every March 6, the Town of York Historical Society and Toronto's First Post Office hold an event to honour the anniversary of Toronto's incorporation. Each year, in the historic ballroom at St. Lawrence Hall, we highlight some aspect of the city's past. This year marks Toronto's 181st birthday.
This year, TYHS is presenting a play, “The Postman”, which is the story of Toronto's first African-Canadian postman, Mr. Albert Jackson. The play starts at 7:30pm.
Tickets $35 at Toronto's First Post Office, 260 Adelaide Street E.
On Sunday, March 8, at 2pm, Heritage York presents a talk by Alix Aylen (along with bike and tent). The talk is titled “Living the way of the bicycle”. Admission is free.
At Lambton House, 4066 Old Dundas Street, York.
Toronto Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society
The Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society is pleased to announce that registration is now open for the following family history courses and workshops in the winter of 2015:
For program details, speaker biographies and information on how to register for these events, visit torontofamilyhistory.org/learn/courses.
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City of Toronto:
We continue to direct you all to the excellent city of Toronto website for cultural and heritage events at the city museums. This excellent site offers plenty of activities and opportunities for T.H.A. members and the public to enjoy city heritage.
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York Pioneers and Historical Society
The York Pioneers and Historical Society is investigating the process of digitizing its journal archives. If you or your historical society has any experience in this area to lend advice, or have been considering undertaking a similar project, please contact us at email@example.com
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Working together, bringing Toronto’s past into the future
P. O. Box 67, Toronto’s First Post Office, 260 Adelaide Street East, Toronto M5A 1N1