ACO pushes to save Globe 0
An artist's rendition of what a restored Globe Hotel could look like.
COLLINGWOOD — The local branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario say they've found a way to preserve one of the oldest examples of architecture in town.
According to a news release from the group, the Mountain View Hotel — which was once known as the Globe Hotel, with its origins going back to 1865 — is actually two buildings fronting Huron and Hurontario streets.
The oldest part of the hotel they say can be preserved from the wrecking ball; the building is slated for demolition should the province approve purchasing the land in order to widen that section of Huron Street to five lanes.
The ACO bases its position that the hotel is in two sections on a 'bird's eye' view map of Collingwood drawn in 1875. The map shows that the building is in two sections, and is even labelled as such.
The ACO says the Huron Street portion could be demolished, while the section on Hurontario could be preserved. That would allow for the fifth lane.
"When I was doing the research, I realized there is an absolute gem of a building buried under all that stucco," said ACO member Steve Redman, who researched the origins of the building for a recent ACO presentation on turn-of-the-century hotels in Collingwood.
Redman said another clue to how the building was constructed lies in the balcony once graced the Hurontario side; a photo from 1893 shows it only goes across the section identified as a separate building in the 1875 map.
The municipality's 2012 budget identified the purchase of the property in order to widen Huron Street as a priority for this year; according to municipal budget documents, staff had proposed to buy the property for around $1 million, with another $400,000 to demolish the building, and $500,000 for road widening and engineering.
As the road is a provincial highway connecting link, the intention is to get 90% of the funding from the Ministry of Transportation, while the municipality's share would come from reserves and development charges.
Because of the position of the building, Huron is narrowed to four lanes at that section; the road approaching from the east and west is five lanes.
"There's plenty of room for a lane, and Collingwood would still have a section of the old Globe hotel," said Redman.
The building was purchased by local developer Larry Dunn in 2004; the bar operation closed several years ago, and in 2009, residents in the building were evicted because of health and safety concerns.
The fire department ordered the building to be boarded up after citing a number of issues, including an inoperable fire alarm, breach of fire separations, inoperable emergency lighting, inoperable fire extinguishers, and inadequate exit signs.
There has also been the suggestion there are significant mould issues within the structure.
"There's no such thing as a building that's too far gone — it's just a question of how much money you want to put into it," said Redman.
There has been a hotel on the site since the mid-1850s; the first building was the site of a meeting of local residents intent on Collingwood separating from then-Nottawasaga Township.
A second hotel, the Globe, was built on the property in 1865 by John Rowland after a fire reportedly destroyed the original building. It was expanded in 1895 to the building that is there today.
Redman says the research indicates the original building fronting Hurontario Street may have been built in 1865, and the second section fronting Huron Street was built in 1872; the third section built in 1895, east of the second section and fronting Huron, was designed by renowned Collingwood architect Fred T. Hodgson.
The town's heritage committee declined to comment on the future of the building, as it lies outside of the downtown heritage district boundaries.
However, Redman says the public response he's had, from staffing the ACO booth at local art shows, has been in favour of preserving the building.
"I've been surprised how people are disappointed with the prospect of that building being torn down," said Redman.
According to the news release from the ACO, a preliminary review of the impact of the building's demotion suggests there is a compromise that would bring "significant economic benefits to the town," as well as save an important historic building.
"While ideally the entire building should be preserved, a compromise option would see the preservation of this original 1865 portion of the building," the release states. "This red brick building — which would face Hurontario Street — is the only commercial building with a strong mid-nineteenth century architectural style. The rest of the main street is built in the late nineteenth century style. While this proposal would only save 25% of the entire building, it would allow for the preservation of the oldest original section.
"This building is adjacent to the heritage district and its restoration would undoubtedly increase the value of the main street. This is our last opportunity to preserve an authentic part of Collingwood’s history on our waterfront."
"It seems to me there's too much fake 19th-century architecture at that intersection," said Redman. "If we tear down the Mountain View and put up another fake (historic-looking) building, that will be the breaking point… we would just look like a tacky tourist area."
Is the former Mountainview Hotel worth saving?