Building Storeys: Making Heritage Relevant

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Jane Jacobs said "New ideas need old buildings", but that is a difficult message to get across to a generation that likes shiny new things. It is often difficult to get the message out about the value of heritage buildings. That's why Heritage Toronto, a city agency that "works with the citizens of Toronto to advocate for, preserve, and promote a greater appreciation for our city's rich heritage" collaborates with Toronto photographers to create Building Storeys. They give the photographers access to places not usually open to the public, and then exhibit the work. And not in any ordinary gallery, of which the city has quite a few; they mount the show at the artsy hipster Gladstone Hotel on the hottest street in town.

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For example, Sean Galbraith got into the Hearn Generating Station, an old coal-burner on the waterfront that is being slowly converted into a film studio that nobody wants since film industry fled back south.

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Rick Harris got into the Island Filtration Plant; nobody has got into these facilities since much of our wonderful public utilities buildings were closed to the public after 9/11 and the City found it convenient and cheap to keep it that way.

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So while Toni Wallachy was able to get in to take this picture in our fabulous art deco RC Harris water filtration plant, nobody else can any more. When it comes to public architecture, the terrorists have won.

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