Saturday, March 03, 2007

Saskatoon's historic downtown Legion Building treated poorly by StarPhoenix and developer Remai Ventures Inc.

Treatment of city's heritage indicates shameful disrespect

The StarPhoenix

Friday, March 02, 2007

The articles, Saskatoon Legion auction precedes move and First World War veteran dead at 107 (SP, Feb. 23) illustrate the disrespect and shamefully low priority we place on heritage.

While developer Remai Ventures contemplates demolishing the downtown legion building, one of Canada's last remaining veterans of the First World War, Lloyd Clemett, died in Toronto. There are now but two left of Canadian veterans of the Great War.

The legion building in Saskatoon is unique in that it was built by local veterans and is considered a memorial to those who served and perished in the First World War. It was designed by prominent Saskatoon architect David Webster.

The branch says the building has significant provincial importance, yet Remai is determined to tear it down and save only the legion coat of arms plaque and 1929 cornerstone. The rest will presumably end up as landfill. How this is showing due regard to our city's history?

The legion building was recently included in the Heritage Canada Foundation's top 10 list of endangered Canadian places. The SP failed to report this. In fact, not one media outlet from Saskatoon called the foundation to follow up on its Feb. 19 news release. This is disgraceful.

The SP continues to peddle the ridiculous notion that the building is “crumbling” and will cost $2 million to restore, yet won't say where the figure comes from or what it includes. The SP seems to have more sympathy for the boarded up and abandoned King George Hotel. It never mentions, though, how much that building will cost to fix.

You can bet things would be different if the legion building weren't on River Landing.

Barb and Jack Nankivell

©The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2007


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