Recent articles

Meaford's Sykes Street Development - the facts
A local business and downtown building owner's perspective on Sykes development
Already gone. What we've lost forever, and how it can happen again.
Cherished places worth fighting for
Pillars and Pediments – Musings on the advantages of heritage preservation
Recipe for a livable community
What is heritage conservation? A brief overview
Why heritage preservation is good for business in Meaford




What Meaford is doing about heritage
Meaford's Official Plan and other important documents
Meaford heritage success stories







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Pillars and Pediments – Musings on the advantages of heritage preservation

By Mary Solomon

"Looks can be deceiving"
According to the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, heritage value comes in many forms. Heritage significance can be the design value, historical association or contextual importance or all three. A heritage architectural gem is often a diamond in the rough. Peter Roos of the Newport Restoration Foundation comments that poverty preserves – many historical buildings have “accumulated crust of centuries of neglect, their true faces completely obscured”. Criteria and standards for establishing significance exist at all government levels.

"New versus restored"
The argument to build a new building versus restoring a heritage building is well known in Meaford as part of the debate around the restoration of Meaford Hall. Construction preservation has several advantages over new construction:
The decision-making process for new versus restored building must include a feasibility study which identifies the cost-benefit, purpose of the building, the heritage/cultural significance and the implications of the decisions on the neighbourhood and community. (National Trust for Historic Preservation).

"Historic preservation is economic and community development"
Donovan Rypkema (1999) in a speech on Smart Growth to the Audubon Society of New York related heritage preservation to economic and community development. Meaford’s economic development strategy’s tourism pillar recommends heritage designation and a focus on culture. Heritage Tourism is popular with Canadians with 2.6 million out of 23.3 million Canadian adults being described as heritage tourist enthusiasts and in 1999, $3 billion was spent by Canadians on cultural tourism. (www.restoringheritage.com)

Economic development and preservation:
(Rypkema, 1999)

Property values are positively affected by protecting heritage buildings. Dr. Robert Shipley at the University of Waterloo found that the sale of designated properties is as good as or better than the market trends and the value of heritage properties are often resistant to market downturns. (Shipley, 2000).

An added benefit to restoration of heritage building is leverage. In Newport Rhode Island, the preservation of some buildings attracted homeowners in the area to fix up other homes resulting in the revitalization of entire neighbourhoods. (Foley, MacLeish, Roos, 2010)

In Australia, the adaptive reuse of heritage buildings enables the past to be preserved and ensure viability for the future. "Historic buildings give us a glimpse of our past and lend character to our communities as well as serve practical purposes now." (Australian Government, Dept. of Environment and Heritage 2004)

Community is more than economics. Meaford is dedicated to wellness and wellbeing. The municipality is an active partner on the Grey Bruce Healthy Community Partnership. Preserving heritage buildings, neighbourhoods and landscapes contribute to a healthy community:
Heritage Preservation is not an option. It is required for any community to be vibrant. It is integration of the past with the future. Doris Duke, who is responsible for much of the colonial restoration in Newport expressed that heritage preservation "should improve the texture of the community – not alter it."

In Meaford we have been gifted with great heritage buildings and neighbourhoods, and it is our responsibility to ensure their survival for future generations.
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