Monday, July 27, 2009
Photo: Honda Canada presented a cheque, prior to the start of the Rexall Edmonton Indy, in the amount of $56,021 to Wounded Warriors.ca. To the left of Canadian race driver Paul Tracy is Jerry Chenkin, executive vice president of Honda Canada. To the right is Captain Wayne Johnston, president and founder of Wounded Warriors.ca. (Photo courtesy: CNW Group/Honda Canada Inc.)
Wounded Warriors.ca is much richer today thanks to Honda Canada and Canadian race car driver, Paul Tracy.
Just before the start of yesterday’s Rexall Edmonton Indy race, a cheque in the amount of $56,021 was presented to Captain Wayne Johnston, president and founder of Wounded Warriors.ca.
Money raised at events during the Indy car races in Toronto last week and this past weekend in Edmonton was matched dollar-for-dollar by Honda Canada.
Wounded Warriors.ca is a volunteer, not-for-profit organization founded in September 2006 after a friend of Capt. Johnston’s was injured by a suicide bomber in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Mike McTeague, a Sapper with the Canadian Forces, was flown to a military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany with serious injuries. Capt. Johnston was assigned to be his assisting officer and noticed that injured soldiers had very little in terms of personal items while convalescing in hospital.
Thus, The Sapper Mike McTeague Wounded Warrior Fund (now called Wounded Warriors.ca) was born to help members of the Canadian Forces wounded in action.
The fund pays for a kit for each wounded soldier who arrives in Germany for medical treatment.
The kit consists of a personnel bag, a portable music/DVD player, a supply of DVDs and CDs, a blanket, a jacket, a Team Canada hockey jersey, a flag, and a variety of toiletry items.
In addition, money raised through Wounded Warriors.ca supports the Padre’s Contingency Fund, the Fisher House Endowment and veterans who try to access benefits from the Canadian Government.
To learn more about this program, please click here.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Photo: The interior of the Pantages Theatre in Vancouver. Built in 1908, it is the oldest remaining vaudeville theatre in Canada. In the late 1920s it was converted to a cinema and operated as such until it closed in 1984. It is on the brink of demolition. It is one of several buildings on Heritage Canada Foundation's Top 10 Endangered Places and Worst Loss List. Photo courtesy Patrick Gunn.
If you are thinking about going to Montreal for your summer vacation and want to enjoy some of that city’s world famous smoked meat, don’t go looking for Ben’s Deli – it isn’t there anymore.
It has been relocated – to a landfill. Ben’s was demolished last year to make way for a high-rise boutique hotel.
Ben’s is one of several historic buildings on Heritage Canada Foundation’s (HCF) recently released Top 10 Endangered Places and Worst Losses List.
Unfortunately, the wrecker’s ball is working overtime in Canada.
Carolyn Quinn, director of communications at HCF believes architecture is cultural and one of the reasons they release their Top 10 List every year is to raise awareness of historic properties and get people talking about their importance. After all, visitors don’t come to Canada to shop at Wal-Mart – they can do that at home.
“When Canadians were asked (in a federal government survey) if their heritage was important to them, they overwhelming answered yes,” said Ms. Quinn in a telephone interview from Ottawa. “It just gets a little more complicated when you are talking about property. There are systemic barriers that make conservation difficult.”
Part of the problem is the lack of tough legislation – both provincially and federally, to prevent demolition of historic properties.
“(When you have a building) that is considered of national importance in terms of its heritage and its history, there’s really nothing else that comes with that designation,” said Ms. Quinn. “In fact, Canada is the only G8 country that does not have legislation and financial support to protect its designated heritage buildings.”
Ms. Quinn said the United States and Europe are way ahead of Canada in preserving their historic sites. She believes Canada should revamp the tax system to make it easier for developers to restore old buildings instead of tearing them down.
“In the United States, for the last 25 years there has been a tax incentive at the federal level to entice owners of heritage property to invest in their property,” said Ms. Quinn. “This has spearheaded a whole renovation and rehabilitation industry in the U.S."
Besides legislation and tax breaks, Ms. Quinn believes the public needs to become better informed about the issues.
“We need better education to de-mystify the issues around (having a heritage property),” said Ms. Quinn. “I have heard so many people say that once they have a heritage property, you cannot do anything to it. That is completely erroneous.”
There are success stories – railway stations and lighthouses are now protected by legislation. The birthplace and 100-acre family farm of Sir Frederick Banting (co-discoverer of insulin) is now a cultural heritage site. The municipality of New Tecumseth, Ont, must first approve any alterations to the property.
The HCF is focusing on their upcoming annual conference that will bring together experts from a variety of fields to tackle the questions of how to preserve our architectural heritage while being environmentally sensitive.
“The greenest building is the one that already exists,” said Ms. Quinn. “If you have to tear it down and send it to a landfill, then the green project that is replacing it has been devalued.”
Ms. Quinn said she has talked to many developers who are looking to the past to see the future.
“A lot of designers are now looking at 100 year old buildings to see how they used windows and how they used ventilation systems.”
The Heritage Canada Foundation is a national, not-for-profit organization started in 1973.
To learn more, please click here.