Save the Robert McLaughlin House from Demolition by Neglect
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Save a significant piece of Oshawa’s history, the historic Robert McLaughlin House is at risk of being demolished.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- Sign this petition before March 29th.
- Overcome the doubt — it can be done.
- Spread the word. Invite others to sign the petition. Together we can make a difference.
- Send an email to Oshawa Council to advance what could be an exciting legacy plan before the Monday March 29th Council Meeting. Send your email to both firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com
On Monday, February 22, 2021 Oshawa Council voted to refer the request for a demolition permit for 195 Simcoe St. to Heritage Oshawa, the advisory committee to Council on built heritage. Heritage Oshawa met on Thursday February 25, 2021 and are recommending that Oshawa Council designate the Robert McLaughlin House as a property of cultural heritage significance under the Ontario Heritage Act. 195 Simcoe N was the home of Robert McLaughlin, patriarch of a family that had tremendous economic impact on the growth of Oshawa. It is one of the early homes constructed on Simcoe Street North which reflects Oshawa's early settlers and the beginnings of development in this part of the City.
By signing this petition you send a strong message to Oshawa City Council that demolition by neglect of this historic property is not an answer and that heritage designation is appropriate.
This house on Simcoe Street was the home of Robert McLaughlin, a visionary community leader and businessman who founded the McLaughlin Carriage Company in the mid 1800s. Of the four Oshawa homes he lived in, this is the only one that remains. The “McLaughlin Motor Car Company Limited” was incorporated with his son, Sam (R.S.) McLaughlin, eventually leading to the founding of General Motors of Canada. Oshawa has benefited from their philanthropy ever since.
Cities all around the world celebrate founders and innovators, those true pioneers of their time who made a difference in their community. It is for us to preserve structures that represent our collective heritage. As our city grows and develops, our history becomes even more important. Evidence of that past disappears when we are left with no physical structures to celebrate and connect with.
We are living in ‘virtual’ times, so let's come together now to fight to keep some of the treasures that make our city unique.
The owner of 195 Simcoe who is requesting demolition has failed to comply with the City’s Property Standards Orders. He has left the hole in the roof open and exposed the building to rain and snow. Lack of enforcement of the property standards by-law is another issue.
The property owner should not be rewarded for lack of maintenance. This is a dangerous precedent. The City does have authority to do repairs when an owner is not compliant with an Order. If the owner does not replace the tarp on the roof to prevent further deterioration, the City should use its authority to secure the building.
It’s important to note that any repairs or protective action performed by the City would be charged to the owner of the building. Unfortunately, when an owner is intent on making the case for a building being unfit, it is not uncommon for this kind of demolition by neglect to occur.
It is a heritage house…our heritage. The house needs repairs from years of damage and neglect, and it’s up to us to work together to save this part of Oshawa’s history. It can be restored to continue the incredible legacy of the McLaughlin family. Some possibilities could be:
- A Hospice for palliative care
- A legacy project to celebrate the City’s Centennial year in 2024
- Accommodation to support families caring for hospitalized cancer patients or patients receiving cancer treatments
Oshawa has several landmark buildings that had fallen into disrepair, but were brought back to life:
- The downtown Regent Theatre was slated and prepped for demolition. The City designated the Regent and received an Ontario Heritage Grant to repair the roof. It is now home to Ontario Tech University.
- Pinewood, on Centre St S, the original Children's Aid building, was slated for demolition. It is now incorporated into the rehabilitation centre for Lakeridge Health.
- Many called for demolition of the Genosha Hotel downtown, which is now wonderfully repurposed as luxury apartments called 70 King.
These buildings are part of the fabric of Oshawa, as is The Robert McLaughlin House at 195 Simcoe St. N.
This is about much more than saving an old house. This is about moving into the future with a creative, planned alternative that will serve the community while honouring our roots.
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