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Heritage register too late to save several historic buildings

By: Darren MacDonald - Sudbury Northern Life

 | May 16, 2014 - 12:19 PM |
The Maki Building is one of the historic structures being considered for heritage status protection under the city's Downtown Master Plan. Supplied photo.

The Maki Building is one of the historic structures being considered for heritage status protection under the city's Downtown Master Plan. Supplied photo.

Cities have been able to list sites on register since 2005

With the addition of two more sites – the Copper Cliff fire station on Serpentine Street and the David Street Water Treatment Plant -- Greater Sudbury's Heritage Register will soon include nine historic buildings.

But as noted by Ward 7 Coun. Dave Kilgour at the planning committee meeting May 12, many historic buildings have been lost over the years, since the idea of giving them legal protection is relatively new.

“I think there's a feeling that we started this about 40 years too late,” Kilgour said.

If confirmed by city council later this month, the fire station and water plant will be added to the municipal heritage register. The register is a list of buildings in Greater Sudbury with significant historical value, giving them legal protections should a landowner want to demolish them.

Both structures are city owned, but adding a privately owned property to the register means the owner must give the city 60 days notice before any demolition of any building or structure on the property takes place.

Efforts to protect historic buildings in Sudbury gathered steam in 2005, when the province amended the Ontario Heritage Act to allow municipalities to keep a register of historic properties.

It was too late to save structures like the Nickel Range Hotel, which was demolished in 1976. The Elm Street site was built in 1914, and, according to Library and Archives Canada, was where King George VI and Queen Elizabeth stayed for their June 1939 visit to Sudbury, the first time a reigning monarch had visited Canada.

More recently, references to the hotel were made in “Mucking the Drift,” the play by Sudbury's Matthew Heiti about miners from Cape Breton coming here in the 1930s to work and play baseball.

Other historic structures that have been demolished include the Cochrane Block, built in 1903 at the corner of Cedar and Durham streets, and demolished in 1974.

It was built by Frank Cochrane, who, according to the “Inventory and Guide to Historic Buildings in Sudbury,” realized that a community founded on mining, lumber and railways would “provide an insatiable demand for hardware supplies.”

Cochrane would become mayor of Sudbury, was a member of provincial cabinet and the federal cabinet under Prime Minister Robert Borden.

The King Edward Hotel, built in 1905 at the corner of Elgin and Larch Street, was demolished and is a parking lot today. The Capitol Theatre was built in 1930 on Cedar Street and, after gaining new life as a bingo hall, was mostly torn down in 2005.

However, not all historic structures that have been torn down are missed: the Ash Street Water Tower, built in 1948, was torn down two years ago. Rusted and in disrepair, the tower was no longer in use, and the city spent $191,000 tearing it down.

For more on historic buildings in Sudbury, go to


Buildings already on the city's heritage register:
-Church of the Epiphany on Larch Street
-Flour Mill silos on Notre Dame Avenue
-Bell Mansion, where the Art Gallery of Sudbury is located
-CP Rail Station on Elgin Street
-St. Anne Rectory, Beech Street
-The Belanger homestead, on Notre Dame Street in Azilda
-Capreol Railway Station, Bloor Street, Capreol

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Darren MacDonald

Darren MacDonald

Staff Writer


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