It’s a game of push and pull.
City council will lease the Capitol Theatre building from the Farhi Developments and convert the interiors into civic offices, yet three London council members and the city’s planning department suggested Dan Dencev seek a demolition permit for the Brunswick Hotel.
He didn’t ask for a demolition permit until that possibility was suggested to him. Dencev wanted the hotel removed from a list of buildings considered priorities for heritage designation – which cost him a sale to someone who wanted to redevelop the site.
The hotel and bar is basically London’s performing arts centre and cultural incubator. Bands rent rehearsal space in the upstairs rooms. That musical role gives the building cultural value, one of four criteria used to designate heritage properties.
Nice illustration of The ‘Wick, Doug.
Butch will be glad to know I got the right building this time.
The Brunswick Hotel is one of the few remaining historical, heritage designated buildings remaining in downtown London, suffering, as did all the others, from loneliness. It is isolated amongst parking lots – sticking up like the last tooth in the mouth. Pretty standard.
My grandfather found work and eventually settled in London. Two sisters were watching the Armistice Day parade – so the story goes – out of a second floor balcony window when the conversation started – which led to the courtships, which led to the marriages.
From The London Free Press story on August 12th:
“It went up two years after the railway arrived in London in 1853, a time of brief but explosive growth with dozens of small hotels and rooming houses hastily built to handle the men who came to the city looking for work. With a tavern downstairs and likely an informal brothel upstairs, the Brunswick would have been buzzing with activity until the railroad boom burst in 1857. London’s population dropped by one-third in a year and many businesses went broke. But the Brunswick persisted. It has survived since, even as grander hotels fell, and has few contemporaries left. Eldon House is older and there are buildings along Thames Street from the same era. City staff have recommended granting the demolition permit because of the building’s poor condition and because past demolitions have left it an orphan from the mid-eighteenth century.”
1. Unfortunately, the Brunswick is not desingaed under the Ontario Heritage Act.
2. The bit about an informal brothel is likely bunk. The proprietors of the establishment over the years ran a pretty clean machine, otherwise they would have had the police on them like hair on a gorilla.
Make that not “designated.”
Hey, I guess that’s why I’m not a reporter :-)
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