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today's picture - aerial Fort York & Environs

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  • James Yaworsky
    Today s picture is by way of contrast to the plan of Fort Detroit that it replaces. All trace of Fort Detroit - other than a few plaques - has been
    Message 1 of 10 , Apr 2, 2007
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      Today's picture is by way of contrast to the plan of Fort Detroit that
      it replaces.

      All trace of Fort Detroit - other than a few plaques - has been
      obliterated.

      As we can see from today's photo, Fort York has survived. The bottom
      of the picture is south, towards nearby Lake Ontario - which used to
      lap at the Fort's walls until a lot of infilling occurred.

      In the northeast corner of the photo can be seen the small park that
      is a former burial ground for the Fort. It has the Allward monument
      that has been featured in the past on the website. Allward is the
      designer of the Vimy Ridge Memorial in France that is about to be
      rededicated later this week (90th anniversary of the WW1 battle coming
      up shortly). The "Old Soldier" monument is a masterpiece of a very
      significant artist in Canadian history.

      The interesting contrast between 1812-era Detroit (nada left) and
      Toronto (quite a bit left, at least as regards the Fort) is perhaps
      easily explained. Fort Detroit was right "down town" and was razed in
      the early 19th century to allow for expansion of the City. Fort York
      was west of the town of York proper - cited to cover the narrow
      channel leading in to the harbour. So the proper comparison would be
      with Baltimore's Fort McHenry. Both were out of the way of direct
      expansion of their City's cores.

      As can be seen, Fort York is surrounded now by freeways and railway
      tracks. The railway tracks run down a slight valley where Garrison
      Creek used to flow. The tracks might have saved the Fort, because
      they provided a barrier to the city's expansion, which was west to
      their (and the Fort's) north.

      So - were the citizens of the future "Centre of the Universe" more
      farsighted than those of Detroit? Seems not. At least, not in the
      19th century, when stuff like old Forts were generally not deemed
      worthy of preservation, especially if they blocked "progress". By the
      time Fort York really came under developmental pressure, sensibilities
      had changed and its 20th century defenders were able to successfully
      beat off the "developers'" assaults. It seems inconceivable that it
      will ever now be deliberately destroyed.

      It's a fortuitous combination of developmental circumstances that have
      done the trick and created a great opportunity for Toronto to further
      polish up its gem!

      Jim Yaworsky
      Moderator
    • Ian Gardner
      Yes and no. As recently as the early 60 s when the Parking Lot (aka Gardiner Expressway [note the different spelling; no relation to moi :-) ]) was being
      Message 2 of 10 , Apr 2, 2007
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        Yes and no. As recently as the early '60's when the Parking Lot (aka
        Gardiner Expressway [note the different spelling; no relation to moi :-)
        ]) was being built, the plan was that what appears as a jog in this
        higher-elevation image of the site (http://tinyurl.com/29uf8k) was to go
        right straight through the middle of the grounds. The preservationist
        sensibilities are unfortunately a relatively-recent phenomenon.

        Ian

        -----Original Message-----
        From: WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com [mailto:WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com] On
        Behalf Of James Yaworsky
        Sent: April 2, 2007 9:02 AM
        To: WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [War Of 1812] today's picture - aerial Fort York & Environs

        [snip]
        By the
        time Fort York really came under developmental pressure, sensibilities
        had changed and its 20th century defenders were able to successfully
        beat off the "developers'" assaults. It seems inconceivable that it
        will ever now be deliberately destroyed.

        It's a fortuitous combination of developmental circumstances that have
        done the trick and created a great opportunity for Toronto to further
        polish up its gem!

        Jim Yaworsky
        Moderator



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • James Yaworsky
        Please note I said the 20th century defenders were able to successfully beat off developer attacks, which implies that there have been a few... Unfortunately,
        Message 3 of 10 , Apr 2, 2007
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          Please note I said the 20th century defenders were able to
          successfully beat off developer attacks, which implies that there have
          been a few...

          Unfortunately, there will always be an element in our society that
          thinks itself "progressive" and that anything "old" is worthless...
          just as there has always been an element that is "preservationist".
          The question is, where lies the balance of power to set the agenda?
          In Detroit, 1820's, "developers" were in the driver's seat... In
          Toronto, the balance shifted on to the "preservationist" end of the
          scale at some point in the 1900's.

          Closely related is the debate between those who think a place like
          Fort York can be respectfully "polished up" and become an even greater
          tourist attraction and cultural asset, and those who think spending
          more money on such a site is merely to waste same...

          The debate is often (always?) a very local one. Look at
          Niagara-on-the-Lake vs. Amherstburg in terms of trying to maintain
          streetscapes etc... I've heard that an element in Niagara-On-The-Lake
          is very anti-tourist, and there are some in the Town who think that
          Fort George is just a nuisance that takes up a lot of valuable real
          estate.

          Those of us who chose to be involved in such matters should probably
          realize that a certain amount of compromise, and being realistic in
          our plans, will probably achieve the greatest results. Change is
          inevitable - the challenge is to channel it along appropriate lines...

          It struck me that the best part of the plans outlined for Fort York
          was the emphasis given in demonstrating the economic benefits to be
          accrued to the entire community by the tourist aspect, and the
          community educational benefit. An approach that just spoke to the
          "sacred nature of the site" would probably not be as compelling to the
          decision-makers...

          Jim Yaworsky
          41st

          --- In WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com, "Ian Gardner" <igardner@...> wrote:
          >
          > Yes and no. As recently as the early '60's when the Parking Lot (aka
          > Gardiner Expressway [note the different spelling; no relation to moi :-)
          > ]) was being built, the plan was that what appears as a jog in this
          > higher-elevation image of the site (http://tinyurl.com/29uf8k) was to go
          > right straight through the middle of the grounds. The preservationist
          > sensibilities are unfortunately a relatively-recent phenomenon.
          >
          > Ian
          >
          > -----Original Message-----
          > [snip]
          > By the time Fort York really came under developmental pressure,
          sensibilities had changed and its 20th century defenders were able to
          successfully beat off the "developers'" assaults. It seems
          inconceivable that it will ever now be deliberately destroyed.

          > Jim Yaworsky
          > Moderator
        • Ian Gardner
          Mind you, there s still the Hummers-not-History set, even today. There s an element in the City of Toronto government who d be pleased as Puck to build the
          Message 4 of 10 , Apr 2, 2007
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            Mind you, there's still the 'Hummers-not-History' set, even today.
            There's an element in the City of Toronto government who'd be pleased as
            Puck to build the Front Street Extension which would pass just to the
            north of the Fort site, effectively boxing it in even more and making it
            even less approachable than it is at present. I don't mention this to
            this international list as a way of introducing local Toronto politics
            to people who'd (not unreasonably) care a whit about them but rather to
            remind all and sundry that the things and reminders that we cherish and
            value can't be taken for granted.

            The Barbarians will ever be restless at the gate, awaiting distractions.


            Mind you, now that I think about it, the Barbarians have been at the
            gate before. For those of you familiar with the Fort, the bridge on
            Garrison Road over nothing in particular located here
            http://tinyurl.com/3yobtg
            used to span the tracks of the Toronto, Grey and Bruce which continued
            on to a terminus at Simcoe Street on the waterfront. A dead-end of rails
            were there as recently as maybe 10 years ago (even though the line had
            been swallowed up by the CPR in 1883.

            http://home.primus.ca/~robkath/railtgb.htm

            That said, I'm one for mindfulness nonetheless.

            Ian

            -----Original Message-----
            From: WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com [mailto:WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com] On
            Behalf Of James Yaworsky
            Sent: April 2, 2007 11:42 AM
            To: WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [War Of 1812] Fort York & Environs - defenders and developers

            Please note I said the 20th century defenders were able to
            successfully beat off developer attacks, which implies that there have
            been a few...

            Unfortunately, there will always be an element in our society that
            thinks itself "progressive" and that anything "old" is worthless...
            just as there has always been an element that is "preservationist".
            The question is, where lies the balance of power to set the agenda?
            In Detroit, 1820's, "developers" were in the driver's seat... In
            Toronto, the balance shifted on to the "preservationist" end of the
            scale at some point in the 1900's.

            Closely related is the debate between those who think a place like
            Fort York can be respectfully "polished up" and become an even greater
            tourist attraction and cultural asset, and those who think spending
            more money on such a site is merely to waste same...

            The debate is often (always?) a very local one. Look at
            Niagara-on-the-Lake vs. Amherstburg in terms of trying to maintain
            streetscapes etc... I've heard that an element in Niagara-On-The-Lake
            is very anti-tourist, and there are some in the Town who think that
            Fort George is just a nuisance that takes up a lot of valuable real
            estate.

            Those of us who chose to be involved in such matters should probably
            realize that a certain amount of compromise, and being realistic in
            our plans, will probably achieve the greatest results. Change is
            inevitable - the challenge is to channel it along appropriate lines...

            It struck me that the best part of the plans outlined for Fort York
            was the emphasis given in demonstrating the economic benefits to be
            accrued to the entire community by the tourist aspect, and the
            community educational benefit. An approach that just spoke to the
            "sacred nature of the site" would probably not be as compelling to the
            decision-makers...

            Jim Yaworsky
            41st

            --- In WarOf1812@yahoogrou <mailto:WarOf1812%40yahoogroups.com> ps.com,
            "Ian Gardner" <igardner@...> wrote:
            >
            > Yes and no. As recently as the early '60's when the Parking Lot (aka
            > Gardiner Expressway [note the different spelling; no relation to moi
            :-)
            > ]) was being built, the plan was that what appears as a jog in this
            > higher-elevation image of the site (http://tinyurl.
            <http://tinyurl.com/29uf8k> com/29uf8k) was to go
            > right straight through the middle of the grounds. The preservationist
            > sensibilities are unfortunately a relatively-recent phenomenon.
            >
            > Ian
            >
            > -----Original Message-----
            > [snip]
            > By the time Fort York really came under developmental pressure,
            sensibilities had changed and its 20th century defenders were able to
            successfully beat off the "developers'" assaults. It seems
            inconceivable that it will ever now be deliberately destroyed.

            > Jim Yaworsky
            > Moderator



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • spikeyj@crosslink.net
            On Mon, 02 Apr 2007 15:42:14 -0000 ... I think the two things that led to Toronto s preservationist attitude in the first half of the 1900s were the centennial
            Message 5 of 10 , Apr 2, 2007
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              On Mon, 02 Apr 2007 15:42:14 -0000
              "James Yaworsky" <yawors1@...> wrote:
              > Toronto, the balance shifted on to the "preservationist" end of the
              > scale at some point in the 1900's.

              I think the two things that led to Toronto's preservationist attitude
              in the first half of the 1900s were the centennial anniversaries of
              various sites, and the Depression, which led to the creation of a
              number of public works preservation jobs.

              Spike Y Jones
            • Dale Kidd
              ... have ... And polish it they shall, if their plans prove out. They have numerous new construction projects planned over the next several years, with the
              Message 6 of 10 , Apr 2, 2007
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                --- In WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com, "James Yaworsky" <yawors1@...> wrote:
                > It's a fortuitous combination of developmental circumstances that
                have
                > done the trick and created a great opportunity for Toronto to further
                > polish up its gem!


                And polish it they shall, if their plans prove out. They have numerous
                new construction projects planned over the next several years, with
                the intention of recreating several more of the fort's c. 1812
                buildings. If all goes well, and the funding all comes through as
                expected, we can look forward to a wonderful showpiece by the time he
                bicentennial of the American attack rolls around in 2013.

                Now if only we could figure out a way to reflood everything south of
                the fort so that we can reenact the landings to it's west properly.
                (It's not like we really NEED any of what's down along that waterfront
                anyway.....)

                ~Dale
              • Colin
                Jim Wrote I ve heard that an element in Niagara-On-The-Lake is very anti-tourist, and there are some in the Town who think that Fort George is just a nuisance
                Message 7 of 10 , Apr 2, 2007
                • 0 Attachment
                  Jim Wrote

                  "I've heard that an element in Niagara-On-The-Lake
                  is very anti-tourist, and there are some in the Town who think that
                  Fort George is just a nuisance that takes up a lot of valuable real
                  estate."

                  A couple of years back the USS Constitution Marines organized an event
                  (eneded up being smaller than it should have been) to bring attention
                  to the fact that parts of the Battlefield at Sackets HArbor were
                  planned for waterfront housing. One parcel has since been claimed by
                  the "Battlefield Common" housing developement the other parcel, where
                  many from the battle are buried is still in danger.
                  While about town the first evening there we ended up at the Sacket
                  Harbor Brewery(Highly Recomended. There we found ourselves in
                  presence of the prospective developers and friends. I do not recall
                  all that was said by them but one thing has stuck with me.
                  "Its only bones...What good are they now?" If it had not been a "lady"
                  sayng such a thing we may have had to visit the county courthouse in
                  the subsequent months.
                  There were many other comments like that one and I nearly lost it a
                  number of occasions. But since then it had been sadness and not anger
                  when hearing about these things. Towns and cities do not realize how
                  a well preserved historical attraction can be, in trhe long run, FAR
                  more lcrative to the town than more cookie cutter condominiums and
                  houses.
                  Colin Murphy
                  1812 Marine Guard
                  USS COnstitution
                  USMCHC
                • ronaldjdale@netscape.net
                  In the case of Fort York, the property was granted conditionally to the City of Toronto by the Department of Militia and Defence with a reversionary clause.
                  Message 8 of 10 , Apr 2, 2007
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                    In the case of Fort York, the property was granted conditionally to the City of Toronto by the Department of Militia and Defence with a reversionary clause. If Toronto does not continue to preserve this National Historic Site, it will revert to the Crown.

                    Interestingly, it was the fervour over the pending demolition of the fort in 1909 that launched the Federal Governments National Historic Site programme--conceived between 1911 and 14 and delayed until after the war in 1919.

                    The approach that something is worthy of preservation because of its historic significance does not ring well in many decision-makers' ears but the argument that there will be economic benefits through the cultural tourism industry and its trickle down effect will normally get more attention.

                    Ron

                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: igardner@...
                    To: WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Mon, 2 Apr 2007 3:23 PM
                    Subject: Semi OT RE: [War Of 1812] Fort York & Environs - defenders and developers


                    Mind you, there's still the 'Hummers-not-History' set, even today.
                    There's an element in the City of Toronto government who'd be pleased as
                    Puck to build the Front Street Extension which would pass just to the
                    north of the Fort site, effectively boxing it in even more and making it
                    even less approachable than it is at present. I don't mention this to
                    this international list as a way of introducing local Toronto politics
                    to people who'd (not unreasonably) care a whit about them but rather to
                    remind all and sundry that the things and reminders that we cherish and
                    value can't be taken for granted.

                    The Barbarians will ever be restless at the gate, awaiting distractions.

                    Mind you, now that I think about it, the Barbarians have been at the
                    gate before. For those of you familiar with the Fort, the bridge on
                    Garrison Road over nothing in particular located here
                    http://tinyurl.com/3yobtg
                    used to span the tracks of the Toronto, Grey and Bruce which continued
                    on to a terminus at Simcoe Street on the waterfront. A dead-end of rails
                    were there as recently as maybe 10 years ago (even though the line had
                    been swallowed up by the CPR in 1883.

                    http://home.primus.ca/~robkath/railtgb.htm

                    That said, I'm one for mindfulness nonetheless.

                    Ian

                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com [mailto:WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com] On
                    Behalf Of James Yaworsky
                    Sent: April 2, 2007 11:42 AM
                    To: WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: [War Of 1812] Fort York & Environs - defenders and developers

                    Please note I said the 20th century defenders were able to
                    successfully beat off developer attacks, which implies that there have
                    been a few...

                    Unfortunately, there will always be an element in our society that
                    thinks itself "progressive" and that anything "old" is worthless...
                    just as there has always been an element that is "preservationist".
                    The question is, where lies the balance of power to set the agenda?
                    In Detroit, 1820's, "developers" were in the driver's seat... In
                    Toronto, the balance shifted on to the "preservationist" end of the
                    scale at some point in the 1900's.

                    Closely related is the debate between those who think a place like
                    Fort York can be respectfully "polished up" and become an even greater
                    tourist attraction and cultural asset, and those who think spending
                    more money on such a site is merely to waste same...

                    The debate is often (always?) a very local one. Look at
                    Niagara-on-the-Lake vs. Amherstburg in terms of trying to maintain
                    streetscapes etc... I've heard that an element in Niagara-On-The-Lake
                    is very anti-tourist, and there are some in the Town who think that
                    Fort George is just a nuisance that takes up a lot of valuable real
                    estate.

                    Those of us who chose to be involved in such matters should probably
                    realize that a certain amount of compromise, and being realistic in
                    our plans, will probably achieve the greatest results. Change is
                    inevitable - the challenge is to channel it along appropriate lines...

                    It struck me that the best part of the plans outlined for Fort York
                    was the emphasis given in demonstrating the economic benefits to be
                    accrued to the entire community by the tourist aspect, and the
                    community educational benefit. An approach that just spoke to the
                    "sacred nature of the site" would probably not be as compelling to the
                    decision-makers...

                    Jim Yaworsky
                    41st

                    --- In WarOf1812@yahoogrou <mailto:WarOf1812%40yahoogroups.com> ps.com,
                    "Ian Gardner" <igardner@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Yes and no. As recently as the early '60's when the Parking Lot (aka
                    > Gardiner Expressway [note the different spelling; no relation to moi
                    :-)
                    > ]) was being built, the plan was that what appears as a jog in this
                    > higher-elevation image of the site (http://tinyurl.
                    <http://tinyurl.com/29uf8k> com/29uf8k) was to go
                    > right straight through the middle of the grounds. The preservationist
                    > sensibilities are unfortunately a relatively-recent phenomenon.
                    >
                    > Ian
                    >
                    > -----Original Message-----
                    > [snip]
                    > By the time Fort York really came under developmental pressure,
                    sensibilities had changed and its 20th century defenders were able to
                    successfully beat off the "developers'" assaults. It seems
                    inconceivable that it will ever now be deliberately destroyed.

                    > Jim Yaworsky
                    > Moderator


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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                  • Mark
                    ... event ... attention ... by ... where ... recall ... a lady ... in ... a ... anger ... how ... FAR ... You struck a nerve with this one. Stuff like this
                    Message 9 of 10 , Apr 2, 2007
                    • 0 Attachment
                      --- In WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com, "Colin" <usmarine1814@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Jim Wrote
                      >
                      > "I've heard that an element in Niagara-On-The-Lake
                      > is very anti-tourist, and there are some in the Town who think that
                      > Fort George is just a nuisance that takes up a lot of valuable real
                      > estate."
                      >
                      > A couple of years back the USS Constitution Marines organized an
                      event
                      > (eneded up being smaller than it should have been) to bring
                      attention
                      > to the fact that parts of the Battlefield at Sackets HArbor were
                      > planned for waterfront housing. One parcel has since been claimed
                      by
                      > the "Battlefield Common" housing developement the other parcel,
                      where
                      > many from the battle are buried is still in danger.
                      > While about town the first evening there we ended up at the Sacket
                      > Harbor Brewery(Highly Recomended. There we found ourselves in
                      > presence of the prospective developers and friends. I do not
                      recall
                      > all that was said by them but one thing has stuck with me.
                      > "Its only bones...What good are they now?" If it had not been
                      a "lady"
                      > sayng such a thing we may have had to visit the county courthouse
                      in
                      > the subsequent months.
                      > There were many other comments like that one and I nearly lost it
                      a
                      > number of occasions. But since then it had been sadness and not
                      anger
                      > when hearing about these things. Towns and cities do not realize
                      how
                      > a well preserved historical attraction can be, in trhe long run,
                      FAR
                      > more lcrative to the town than more cookie cutter condominiums and
                      > houses.

                      You struck a nerve with this one. Stuff like this really peeves me
                      off. There are too many in our "modern times", that have no sense of
                      historical or heritage pride, meaning how we are able to lead the
                      lives we do now, because of those that gave of themselves in the
                      past. It seems that everything in our times, comes down to the
                      almighty dollar, no matter what the cost, even to the preservation
                      of our heritage. NOTL wouldn't be, if it wasn't for Fort George, in
                      the past or now.
                      When it comes to even the thought of digging a cemetery in the name
                      of developement, that comes down to just a total lack of respect.
                      But again, there is a lot of that in our modern times. Hmmmm .. if
                      you or I decided to go digging in a known burial spot or cemetery, I
                      believe that would be called desecration, but where money is
                      involved to the "big pockets", well then, it's OK.
                      More and more, people seem to forget about our heritage rich past,
                      and the events and persons that got us here. To think about it,
                      Paris could be Canada's capital, or we could be waving the Stars and
                      Stripes as our flag, or we could even be doing the goose step. Those
                      words are NOT meant to be prejudice or offenceful, just that things
                      could have turned out quite differently in the past, if not for
                      those that gave of themselves. To forget or be ignorant of history,
                      is only asking for history to repeat itself in the future.

                      My 2 cents worth .... Mark
                    • Dale Kidd
                      ... To forget or be ignorant of history, ... You nailed it, sir... that s why many of us reenact! ~Dale
                      Message 10 of 10 , Apr 3, 2007
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                        --- In WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com, "Mark" <markrf@...> wrote:
                        To forget or be ignorant of history,
                        > is only asking for history to repeat itself in the future.

                        You nailed it, sir... that's why many of us reenact!

                        ~Dale
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