A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

[URBAN NOTE] “Preservation of Honest Ed’s sign part of new movement, ‘sign-ism:’”

Edward Keenan’s column in the Toronto Star about the impulse behind the preservation of the Honest Ed’s sign reminds me of what others have called “façadism”. On the whole, I think I prefer this impulse: If we can salvage something, why not?

There are good and bad examples, just as there are beautiful and hideous buildings of every vintage, but, on the whole, I like it.

Yes, sometimes I’d prefer that a whole building, or collection of buildings, be adapted and used anew in something close to its original state, such as is the case (in the extreme) of the Distillery District.

But, just as often, the blend of old and new on one site shows a city evolving: for example, the old bank building that houses much of the Hockey Hall of Fame inside BCE place.

Sometimes, things should be preserved, such as a museum (Hello, Casa Loma!). Sometimes, they can be reused for a new purpose (Come on down, Old City Hall!). But where there are good reasons to redevelop, sometimes it’s just worth preserving a fragment of what was there, as a kind of memento.


Written by Randy McDonald

February 9, 2017 at 9:15 pm

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