Friday, November 27, 2009

Save the Red "Antiquities" Building

Are Londoners willing to finally put their money where their mouths are when it comes to heritage preservation? Heritage London Foundation hopes so - they're trying to raise $110,000 to buy the red frame building known as the "Antiquities Shoppe" by the end of the year. The all-wood 1872 building at Wellington and Hill streets in "SoHo" is in danger of demolition if the money can't be raised to complete the purchase by December 31. The current owner says he'd like to save the structure - one of London's oldest frame buildings - but can no longer afford to repair it. The total price to buy and fix up the landmark is $238,000 - a major undertaking Heritage London hopes will come from London citizens and companies.

The problem is, London and Londoners don't have a great track record when it comes to preserving their heritage landmarks - witness the demise of the Brunswick Tavern, Locust Mount, the Sir Adam Beck house, the Talbot block, etc. Although I'd like to remain optimistic, I suspect Londoners will prove either too miserly or just too darn apathetic to contribute their loonies to saving the building, even during this "giving" time of year. Especially people in certain neighbourhoods (I don't want to pick on any places but I'm thinking of one starting with "M") who probably aren't too sure where downtown London is ... Anyway, kudos to Heritage London for making this major effort to preserve a piece of London's past.