Heritage Toronto mayoral debate Monday August 30

WHAT: Heritage Toronto mayoral debate
: St Lawrence Hall, 3rd floor in the Great Hall at 157 King Street East (at Jarvis)
: Monday, August 30th at 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Here’s a new spin on all the mayoral debates that have been occurring over the last few months, one where Toronto’s built heritage is discussed. In this angry season (or fake-angry season) who could be angry over heritage? As we’ve seen over and over, because the city doesn’t have a properly functioning heritage policy, and the designation of heritage buildings has a historically long backlog, things can get quite angry from time to time. Many of the buildings — older ones and our modern buildings, which are most at risk — we think are safe, may not be. Even the Ontario Legislature at Queen’s Park isn’t protected (though if Toronto didn’t tear it down during the Mike Harris years, it’s probably going to stay up now). Let’s see what the candidates will do about keeping Toronto’s good stuff intact while allowing it to grow at the same time.

On Monday, August 30th, Heritage Toronto and the Toronto Historical Association will host a public mayoral debate at St. Lawrence Hall to discuss the state of heritage in Toronto in 2010. The debate will be moderated by former Chief Planner for the City of Toronto, and Adjunct Professor of City Planning at the University of Toronto and Ryerson University, Paul Bedford.

Heritage Toronto and the Toronto Historical Association have run a series of community consultations throughout the city which will result in a report of what Torontonians see as significant issues relating to heritage preservation. The information collected through the consultations and public input will be used to develop a heritage report card, with key issues being raised at the debate. The report card will also be accessible to the public and media in the fall.

Issues raised so far at the consultations include a lack of: staff resources and funding that the City provides toward heritage conservation; understanding and education of our decision makers and senior levels of municipal and provincial government on the heritage designation process and; sufficient tools, such as strong protective statements in the City’s Official Plan that will ensure heritage conservation is caught early in the development process.

Candidates that have been confirmed for the event include Rocco Achampong, Rob Ford, Joe Pantalone, Rocco Rossi, George Smitherman and Sarah Thomson. The public will be able to submit questions for the candidates.

The debate and report has been made possible through the support of the McLean Foundation and the Howard and Carole Tanenbaum Family Charitable Foundation.