oldcourthouseWM 1

- by Micheline Mann

Saving, managing and keeping viable our architectural inventory is important for a number of aesthetic and economic reasons.

Try listing five places that you think more of are worth visiting: Venice, Rome, Paris, Barcelona, England, New York? as well as others. All of these locations have strident and sensitive protection policies

that regulate and control the preservation of their heritage buildings thereby creating some of the most desirable cities for visiting.

Visitors bring money and money attracts businesses which in turn keep communities economically feasible.

More importantly, however, evidence shows that in places where heritage buildings are preserved and protected, the value of surrounding real estate skyrockets. It's a simple matter of supply and demand. Older buildings are a very limited commodity. They are precious and we just don't have that many.
Take the Distillery District in Toronto for example. A derelict section of Toronto now preserved through salvation and repurposing. Rental space in this district is lucrative and vacancies are scarce. Tourists flock to the area.

Another such example is a vast old factory complex at Richmond and Spadina, bought by the Zeidler family in the mid-90s when property wasn't worth much. Margie Zeidler had a vision of a home for artists and it was because of her success with that project that the developers of the Distillery District had the courage to take on such a big project as the Distillery. Each saved building lends importance and continuity so protecting more of them makes sense too.

Any town or city's intact heritage is something special that other communities covet. Owen Sound residents should embrace that which is rare and unique here and find ways to capitalize on it so that the whole community benefits. Each time we salvage and repurpose a building such as the jail/courthouse, we set ourselves apart from communities who strive to blindly replace the irreplaceable with mundane, international (as opposed to local), corporate, retail homogenization. It's a terrible process where every place looks like every other place.

When our unique heritage is all gone, why would new businesses, residents and visitors come here? What would anybody come to see?

photo credit: Wil McReynolds




CopyRight ©2015, ©2016, ©2017 of Hub Content
is held by content creators