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Back In Time: Re-Visiting Historical Waterloo Region
#11
(07-14-2015, 11:22 PM)panamaniac Wrote: I have no memory of wailing and gnashing of teeth when the Waterloo hall came down.

And yet ... was the Kitchener city hall really more worthy of preserving?  Personally, I don't see the big difference in aesthetics.
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#12
(07-14-2015, 11:31 PM)tomh009 Wrote:
(07-14-2015, 11:22 PM)panamaniac Wrote: I have no memory of wailing and gnashing of teeth when the Waterloo hall came down.

And yet ... was the Kitchener city hall really more worthy of preserving?  Personally, I don't see the big difference in aesthetics.

To be honest, I was never a big fan of the old Kitchener City Hall, but yes, it was far more impressive a structure than was the Waterloo Town Hall ***.  Limestone vs brick, larger, and with that impressive front staircase and portico.  With hindsight, I wish that Kitchener had attached a modern annex to the old building.  Had it been saved, it would have made a terrific home for KWAG if it weren't still the seat of the City.  I always find it funny how almost everyone today sees the demolition of City Hall as a huge mistake, blaming the powers of the day, and conveniently overlook the fact that the Oxlea project was approved in a municipal referendum.

By the way, the old Post Office that can be seen in another of the earlier pictures was another sad loss for Kitchener - if only they had known that Benton St didn't actually need to be widened, it might still be standing today.

*** I assume you are referring to the 1920s building that was demolished to build Market Square and not the 19th century building that preceded it.
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#13
(07-14-2015, 11:40 PM)panamaniac Wrote: I always find it funny how almost everyone today sees the demolition of City Hall as a huge mistake, blaming the powers of the day, and conveniently overlook the fact that the Oxlea project was approved in a municipal referendum.

To me that is part of the problem. Why is this a decision to be put to referendum? We elect representatives to study the issues and make informed decisions on our behalf.

Imagine a doctor telling you: I'm unsure if you have gastritis or stomach cancer, so we are putting it to a referendum so you can vote on what you have.
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#14
(07-14-2015, 11:31 PM)tomh009 Wrote:
(07-14-2015, 11:22 PM)panamaniac Wrote: I have no memory of wailing and gnashing of teeth when the Waterloo hall came down.

And yet ... was the Kitchener city hall really more worthy of preserving?  Personally, I don't see the big difference in aesthetics.
The concept of the preservation of architecture for the future was never something talked about in public because no one really cared about heritage until about the 1990s (my best guess).  Cities or towns didn't have funds or a willingness to preserve. I am not a big proponent of what most people call heritage buildings or architecture but I truly wish the Kitchener City Hall had been saved.

We went  every year I can remember to see the most amazing Christmas manger scene (see right side of the photo).

As you can see here Kitchener City Hall was a masterpiece of external architecture (built in 1924).

Kitchener City Hall decorated for Christmas

100-160 King St E, Kitchener, ON N2G 2K8, Canada

1 January 1947



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Waterloo Library Archives:
The “old” Kitchener City Hall was designed by Kitchener’s own W.H. E. Schmalz, architect , and opened in 1924. Facing King St. E. just east of Frederick St., it replaced the Town Hall built in 1869 on the same general site. It was demolished in 1973 to make way for the “Market Square” retail centre and parking garage at the corner of King and Frederick Streets. The clock tower was removed and now stands in Victoria Park. The City Hall was always elaborately decorated at Christmas and public carolling was common during the Christmas season. This photo shows the City Hall decorated for Christmas, 1947. The cenotaph can be seen at the left.
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#15
(07-16-2015, 10:28 PM)MacBerry Wrote: The concept of the preservation of architecture for the future was never something talked about in public because no one really cared about heritage until about the 1990s (my best guess).  Cities or towns didn't have funds or a willingness to preserve.

Stratford had a battle in the early 70s in response to plans to demolish their own city hall and replace it with an office tower - a plan quite similar to the plans in Kitchener and Waterloo. In Stratford, preservation won.
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#16
(07-17-2015, 01:37 AM)mpd618 Wrote:
(07-16-2015, 10:28 PM)MacBerry Wrote: The concept of the preservation of architecture for the future was never something talked about in public because no one really cared about heritage until about the 1990s (my best guess).  Cities or towns didn't have funds or a willingness to preserve.

Stratford had a battle in the early 70s in response to plans to demolish their own city hall and replace it with an office tower - a plan quite similar to the plans in Kitchener and Waterloo. In Stratford, preservation won.

In Stratford's case, the plan was to build a hotel. The plan fell through when the powers that be concluded that Stratford did not have a need for a large, year-round hotel since the primary clientele, the Festival crowd, was seasonal.

In Waterloo's case, the City was written off as in poor condition and too small for the growing City.  Around the same time, the Waterloo Market building and the Fire Hall were also demolished to make way for the new WPL main branch as well as the extension of Dupont Street.
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#17
(07-20-2015, 11:27 AM)nms Wrote: In Stratford's case, the plan was to build a hotel. The plan fell through when the powers that be concluded that Stratford did not have a need for a large, year-round hotel since the primary clientele, the Festival crowd, was seasonal.

Quoting from "Stratford: Its Heritage and Its Festival":

Quote:In 1964, a suggestion by Mayor C. H. Meier that city hall should be demolished for a new development that would accommodate a hotel for tourists as well as city hall offices began an argument that took several years to resolve. In 1969, when the council agreed to demolish the late Victorian landmark, six women in Stratford spearheaded the "Save the City Hall League" and approached the council with a petition to retain the building. This issue was not resolved until 1972, when the developer finally withdrew from the discussion and the city hall was spared.

I have a hard time believing that public opposition played no role here. And regardless, I was responding to a claim that the public didn't care about heritage before the 90's. Stratford itself certainly makes plenty of reference to the battle to save city hall.
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#18
More from Waterloo Library archives: The Kitchener Memorial Auditorium and Knollwood Park Armories 1951

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Waterloo Library comment:

"The Kitchener Memorial Auditorium was built in 1950 on East Ave. in Kitchener. This aerial shows the almost-completed structure beside Knollwood Park, a former military training camp. In the foreground new housing is going up."
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#19
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I do not own these images
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#20
Talk about destroying the character of a building in the last photo pair.
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