Second year class competes in arch engineering competition

APT & National Trust for Canada 2017 Joint Conference

Amielya Gilmore

Willowbank’s Second Year Students, made the journey out to the nation’s capitol for the 2017 APT & National Trust for Canada Joint Conference, held October 11th to 14th. Our team prepared an informative poster and dry-stack arch to compete in the third and final phase of the Student Design Build Competition held by APT. There were three phases to the competition, which we entered into January 2017.

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The Second Year Students with their Arch, (L to R) Alex Krucker, Garrett France-Wyllie, Amielya Gilmore, Bianca Verrecchia, Jasoda Silva, Andrew Bowers.

Phase One, consisted of the students studying a local stone arch and writing a structural report & case study about their findings. We decided to document the Niagara Customs House in Niagara Falls, which was built by Thomas Fuller in 1885, who designed the original parliament buildings. The structure has served many public service purposes, but has been sitting vacant for the last few decades. We received notice that we were advancing to the second phase of the competition just before Christmas of last year and that made the break that much more rewarding. …

Reprinted from The Globe and Mail, May 5, 2017

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The facade of the 1914 school (Dave LeBlanc for The Globe and Mail)

Willowbank School of Restoration Arts may be small, but it punches above its weight: most of the students who’ve graduated have gone on to work on important heritage buildings in Canada and other countries


It’s graduation day at Willowbank School of Restoration Arts in Queenston, Ont.

While the ceremony is still three hours away, the excitement on campus is palpable. Timothy Vine, director of operations, readies hard hats for a visitor tour of the estate built in the 1830s for Alexander Hamilton — the son of one of the founders of Upper Canada. As he rushes around, he’s mindful not to disturb the table containing a tiny plaster army of acanthus leaves in the main room, a room that was enlarged by the Bright family when they took possession of the home in 1934. …

From March 15 to 17th, I had the opportunity to attend and participate in the 2017 Montreal Round Table, Balancing Tourism and Heritage Conservation: A World Heritage Context. The event was organized by Christina Cameron, the Canada Research Chair on Built Heritage (School of Architecture, Faculté de l’aménagement, Université de Montréal). As the United Nations General Assembly has declared 2017 to be the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, the topic of the Round Table was particularly timely.

One presentation I was particularly interested in as the Susan Buggey Cultural Landscape Fellow was Nora Mitchell’s analysis of the role of tourism in the conservation of World Heritage cultural landscapes, or “organically evolved continuing landscapes.” In addition to examining broader trends in rural places such as economic issues, aging populations and youth leaving the area, the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras was presented as a case study of using tourism as a complement to traditional agriculture. …

There’s something hauntingly beautiful about abandoned barns.

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They can sit for many years unused and yet still appear as soulful as ever. Perhaps it is the nostalgia we associate with these structures — recollections, real or imagined of haylofts, harvests and simpler times. We see them still, although decreasingly so, scattered across farmlands as we drive along quiet country roads. These barns, along with other buildings of former times, are slowly disappearing from our rural landscapes, and along with them the stories they can tell. But do they really need to disappear?

Although timber frame barns possess this sentimental and picturesque charm, the reality is that the majority are not being used in modern farming. While they may have once been adequate, they can no longer house new farming equipment, which is significantly larger. Not only is farming equipment increasing in size but so is the size of the farmer’s herds of animals in order to be able to make a profit. Considering this, the fact that fewer and fewer people are farming today, most barns no longer serve a purpose and are left abandoned. …

In conjunction with my Cultural Landscape Fellowship, being a student at Willowbank has provided me with another exciting heritage opportunity: acting as a live-in intern for the City of Hamilton at Chedoke Estate. For my second blog post, I will be examining this site, located on the mountain brow, as a cultural landscape. Its many layers reflect important eras in Hamilton’s history, from Indigenous heritage, a connection with historically significant Hamilton families such as the Southams, to its contemporary ownership by the Ontario Heritage Trust.

Chedoke Estate is currently comprised of an early stone manor house (known as Balfour House) and a coach house located on what had been large picturesque grounds. The property was acquired in 1834 by William Scott Burn, who completed the original manor house in 1836. A significant addition was added in the 1850s and the property had changed hands several times before being purchased in 1909 by Gordon Southam, editor of the Hamilton Spectator. …

Chloe Richer

While beginning my role as this year’s Cultural Landscape Fellow, I had the opportunity to explore a city which was new to me, one which I now call home: Hamilton, Ontario. By chance, the 2016 National Trust Conference, Heritage Rising, was held in Hamilton. I was able to attend the conference and reflect on my new city’s rich heritage legacy, including its Indigenous heritage, a declining industrial sector and a growing creative economy. …

Kitty Mahoney

It was through the confidence of Willowbank and the generosity of an anonymous donor, that I had the opportunity to spend three inspiring weeks with the Prince’s Foundation for Community Building Summer School, in the United Kingdom. Twenty-One days comprised of invaluable instruction, creative discussion, and twenty-one tea spills.

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2016 Prince’s Foundation for Building Community Summer School [Photo: Richard Ivey]

The Prince’s Foundation for Community Building was founded by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales in 1998. The idea, however, catalyzed over a decade earlier around the curation of the 1987 BBC documentary “HRH Prince of Wales: A Vision of Britain.” The film, captured the Prince’s take on the Modern British Architecture of that time*. Today, the Foundation for Community Building serves as both a network and resource for sustainable building efforts on a national and global scale. …

Glass- The main ingredient that makes up glass is silica. There is a combination of other substances mixed with silica, such as potash that are put under high heat to chemically transform the material. Metallic oxide powders are added to alter the colour of the glass, giving us a wide range of colour choices. There are many types of glass, which differ by their manufacturing methods, such as: Cylinder glass, Crown glass, Rolled glass, and Flashed glass.

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John Wilcox

Came- The metal which holds the cut pieces of glass together is called came. …

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Although I wrote a post about this workshop last year, there is still plenty to share. Returning to this workshop is almost like re-watching your favourite movie, you notice things you missed before, understand a bit more and return to it when in need of inspiration.

A small recap: the Fornello project is the ongoing restoration project of an ancient cave site. Its intended purpose is to aid in local cheese production and keep the tradition of shepherding and the slow food movement alive in Southern Italy. It is open to people all over the world and from all backgrounds to partake in. …

Text and photos by Laura Wickett

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This bridge is a hidden secret in Niagara. To access it, you have to know what dead-end street to park on and that there’s a pathway through the bushes. The stonemason who showed it to me grew up living nearby to it, and told me that this feat of stone engineering helped inspire him to do the work he does today.

When I first visited this bridge, I had completed my first year at Willowbank and was working on repointing a limestone church tower. I looked at the bridge with such different eyes than if I had seen it before coming to Willowbank. While previously I would have appreciated the site as a picturesque whole, now I spent time marvelling at the level of craft that went into building a utilitarian train bridge in the nineteenth century. The time spent dressing the stones, the fact that the builders saved the mottled red and white Grimsby sandstone to accent the soaring arches on either side of the harbour. Looking at it up close from the base and being amazed that the mortar still seems sound. …



Crafting a sense of place through academic & hands-on conservation training. HRH The Prince of Wales is our Patron. Queenston, Ontario, Canada

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