City moves to protect more of its history
Five Calgary buildings, including the former residence of wrestling’s famous Hart family, are in line for historical designation.
If aldermen approve the plan, the historic structures would get special designation protecting them from demolition and major alterations.
For a member of one of Calgary’s best-known families, it is encouraging the former Hart House could be saved.
“It sounds like welcome news to me — if the house gets the renovations and repairs it needs and still be preserved in its original form,” said Ross Hart, the son of legendary wrestling icon Stu Hart.
Other buildings to be designated include the McKay House, President Apartments, Nellie McClung House and the Customs House.
The proposed designations are part of the city’s efforts to protect more of its historical resources.
Historical designation prevents a building from ever being torn down, but it also allows owners to secure funding for rehabilitation under a municipal heritage reserve fund.
There were 14 municipal designations in the city last year, according to Clint Robertson, a heritage planner.
“In the last 10 to 11 months, we’ve increased (the number of historical designations) 25 per cent, which brings it up to 19 or 20,” said Robertson.
Robertson said there’s a list of 15 other buildings that could receive the designations.
Historical structures recently designated include the Eau Claire smoke stack, Hillier Square and Fire Hall No. 1.
The move is cheered by history buffs, who have complained Calgary hasn’t done enough to protect its historic buildings.
“These buildings are physical anchors to the history of the city,” said Bob van Wegen of the Calgary Heritage Initiative Society, who laments the demolition of the Penny Lane building and Curtis Block.
If council approves the plan on July 28, the city will give building owners 60 days to respond.
If there are no objections, it will go back to council for final approval around November.