Developer Remai Ventures destroys historic Canadian Legion building in Saskatoon; City Council & Meewasin Valley Authority do nothing
“They're losing the last heritage building in the south end of
. It has historical significance because it was built by veterans of the First World War with their own hands. It wasn't a dramatic building. It wasn't spectacular. It wasn't huge, but it was a good-looking building.” Saskatoon
– Victoria Neufeldt, president, Saskatoon Heritage Society
“We try to draw attention to the plight of such buildings. These are fully functional buildings. It could have been converted into another use, whether it be a museum or offices. (But) it doesn’t look like there was a lot of public sympathy in
for it.” Saskatoon
– Al Rosseker, executive director, Saskatchewan Architectural Heritage Society
Developer Remai Ventures Inc. has made good on its promise to destroy the historic Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 63, building located at 315 19th Street East in downtown Saskatoon.
Starting on the building’s west side F. Peters Excavating began demolition on Thursday, June 28, 2007 with the wreckage transported to the landfill.
According to the City of
Designed by legion member and prominent
In Locals salute fallen
Apparently none of the brick was salvaged for reuse in another building. Zwack claims the exterior brick was brittle because of the heating and cooling over the years. He also said it would be “extremely tedious” and time consuming to take the building apart brick by brick without having the bricks shatter.
The destruction of the
The tragic loss of the buildings happened on the watch of Mayor Don Atchison. The City did nothing to stop their demolition, and neither did the Meewasin Valley Authority (MVA).
The MVA is a conservation organization dedicated to conserving the natural and cultural heritage resources of the
Meewasin’s Board of Directors is comprised of three partners: the
Among the organization’s stated goals and principles are:
– To protect the natural and heritage resources of the
– Significant natural and heritage resources should be preserved
The MVA claims it does not have the power to stop demolition. This is debatable since it has bylaw making power that, if used, might have saved either or both buildings. Regardless, the MVA certainly had the power to, at the very least, publicly advocate for the preservation of the buildings but never did. It remained absolutely silent which was likely due in part to politics at the Board level. Nevertheless the organization clearly abandoned its mandate. Its focus became one of interpretation rather than preservation or conservation. The result is that any hope of a tangible and meaningful connection to the city’s past in the South Downtown (now called River Landing) has been lost forever.
(Photos by Joe Kuchta)