Tuesday, August 29, 2006

"SASKATOON LEGION HALL LOSES OUT TO DEVELOPMENT" from Hēritage – The Magazine of the Heritage Canada Foundation, Spring 2006

Hēritage – The Magazine of the Heritage Canada Foundation
Volume IX, Number 2 Spring 2006

Heritage Headlines
Page 62


A local developer’s plans to build a luxury hotel and spa in downtown Saskatoon will swallow up the historic Royal Canadian Legion Hall.

Built in 1929 by veterans of the First World War and equipped with one of the last horsehair dance floors in Saskatchewan, the hall has no official designation or protection as a heritage site. It is the last remaining building on the future River Landing site where developer Remai Ventures will build its riverfront complex.

“Unfortunately, the Legion building will be demolished, but the 1929 cornerstone and the Legion coat of arms plaque will be incorporated into a memorial to the building,” said Remai’s director of real estate, Curtis Zwack.

The Saskatchewan Architectural Heritage Society (SAHS) sees the demise of the Legion building as another prime example of big development showing little or no consideration for built heritage.

“This building was erected with the sweat equity of First World War veterans. They hand-dug the basement,” noted Al Rosseker, SAHS executive director. “One has to wonder if there isn’t any room on this expansive riverbank for development without sacrificing the Legion hall.”

The extensive multi-million dollar River Landing project has already swallowed up the Gathercole building and old electrical buildings.

The sale of the building was approved at a veterans’ meeting last fall which was attended by 61 of an estimated 250 members, 49 of whom voted in favour of the deal. “It breaks my heart to sell the building, but…the reality is that we don’t have the money to pay the bills,” said Branch president John Davidson.

The City of Saskatoon developed the master plan for the phase I riverfront in 2003 and the provincial government provided $4 million in capital funding to begin the redevelopment project.

The StarPhoenix, Saskatoon, Sask., 02/02/06 and 02/28/06.


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