Heritage Sure Does Gets People Talking

Last night, I attended an event organized by the local branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario about the Wilson-Ingram farmhouse, a north-end heritage asset on the brink of an uncertain end.  It was billed as an opportunity to “celebrate” and “explore ways to secure its future.”

It certainly was that.  With well over 50 people in attendance, the event began with a slideshow of historic and current images of the Wilson-Ingram farm property.   The show was choreographed by David J. Knight, a professional archaelogist, who grew up on the northern edge of the city and friend of the Ingram family who lived on the property until 2006.  Many of the historic photos were supplied to him by the Ingram family, which he compiled and set to an earthy and echoing sound track featuring cicadas, crickets and cows.

Knight’s visual and audio gift was followed by a presentation and active discussion on one possible future vision of the farmhouse as a community centre.  Ben Barclay, who led the creation of K-W’s REEP House project, described a vision of what he has done in the past to convert historic homes (in worse or similar condition to the Wilson-Ingram farmhouse) into showpiece demonstrations of energy retrofits.  He further described how such a home could host “community enterprise” uses and announced that the Trillium Waldorf school has already submitted a letter expressing interest in leasing space.

All in all, it was a positive and interactive event.

You would never know it by the Guelph Mercury coverage the next day.   Here’s the link to the Mercury article.   Headline:  “Farmhouse’s former owner says it’s not worth saving”. 

Normally, I would post the article link and leave it at that.   But I am more keenly aware of how the media reports things during an election year, and 2014 just happens to be one.   The coverage of the ACO event by the Mercury was a great illustrative example of how to create a headline on an issue of political interest.    Heritage demolition is one of those issues that gets people riled up, for and against.

Balanced reporting is essential to balanced debate. 

Journalism is the balanced reporting of facts and public and/or expert opinion on an issue.  Editorials offer the personal musings and perspectives of the reporter.

Consider the following:

  1. Jack Ingram, who sold the property for development, was NOT in attendance at this event. *
  2. Jack’s brother’s wife and her two daughters WERE in attendance, and are supportive of a renewed life for their former home. *
  3. Jack rented the house to his brother and his family who lived in it for over 35 years until 2006 (not 2001 which keeps being  reported). *
  4. Three city councillors were in attendance, one who supports demolition and two who support retention and reuse.  Which one was quoted in the article?

* Source:  David J. Knight, who presented at last night’s meeting.

In response to a tweet I sent out this morning expressing my disappointment on the biased coverage, Mercury reporter Chris Herhalt responded “Yes, the ambiance of the evening is *far* more important than what everyone thinks about what ought to be done”  and… “and we reported on, at length, the most developed plan for the farmhouse’s future, which was presented that night.”

“Everyone”?  “At length”?    I must be missing something.


Wilson Farm: An Evening of Celebration and Creative Thinking

Guelph citizens never cease to amaze me…here’s a great upcoming event for anyone interested in our heritage and why it’s important to try to save what we have left…  LP


7 pm 

at the eBar downtown Guelph (2nd floor Bookshelf)

Wilson Farm ACO David Knight poster pdf

With music, stories and aerial photographs, archaeologist
and musician David Knight will help celebrate and start a
conversation about the historic Wilson farm.

The fate of the farmhouse has been the subject of heated
debate in Guelph – find a new use for it or demolish it.
David and his band-mates Scott Morrison and Ben
Grossman of the Kazoo musical group will provide the
music and participants will provide the conversation to
explore future possibilities for the farmhouse.
Ben Bradley, project manager of the REEP design team, will
show how the Wilson farmhouse can become a sustainable
living showroom.
Come, join in and discuss your ideas – let’s celebrate the
Wilson farmhouse and explore ways to secure its future.


Presented by the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario.  For more information, call Susan Ratcliffe at 519-831-0995.

It’s official! I’m on the ballot….

Today, I signed all the official forms to stand as a candidate to represent Ward 5 in the 2014 Ontario municipal elections. My past two terms have been incredibly rewarding and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the constituents of my ward to make our city the best in the country.

I want to thank all of my supporters in the past, present and future. Specifically, thanks to my family: my children (Brad, Lyndsay, Bryan and Doug) and my husband Craig, and my parents Darlene and John Caron, and mother-in-law Anne, who have all been a solid foundation of support and encouragement to me over many years.

Thank you also to my many friends, neighbours and colleagues, who not only encouraged me to enter politics many years ago, but have also held me accountable. Sharing your thoughts, questions, and your experiences with city services — and yes, even challenging me from time to time — have provided me with a wider perspective of views and ideas.

I look forward to serving Ward 5 for another term and humbly ask for your support once again.



Ice Storm Clean Up Still Underway

City Public Works and Forestry staff are still working diligently to clean up after the ice storm. Removal of tree branches from residential neighbourhoods is ongoing. Thank you for your continued patience and understanding. The ice storm hit our urban forest harder than the two previous wind storms during the summer. It is estimated that it will take 6-8 weeks to clear all the downed branches.

More information here: http://guelph.ca/2013/12/cleanup-underway-aftermath-storm/