Retrofitting historic buildings isn't easy. Look no further than the age it's taken for Toronto to bring its Maple Leaf Gardens into the future.
The Maple Leafs may be dead, but long live Maple Leaf Gardens. According to the terms of an innovative plan announced Tuesday, the 78-year-old Carlton St. Cavern will soon be reborn as a supermarket and university athletic facility
Several floors will be added along with underground parking. The exteriors will be cleaned up and the building generally returned to the land of the living.
Shopping, parking, amateur skating...hmm. Well, it ain't the NHL, but it's better than an empty shell.
The pace of change often catches us unawares and before we know it, that century-old hotel, Woolworth's department store or once-hallowed hockey rink is no longer suited for its original purpose.
But what to do with these old buildings? Knock them down, like Hamilton did with its old Town Hall? Sit back and watch them decay, like we're doing with the Lister block today?
No. Our history is too important to tear away. It defines who we are, who we were and where we've come from.
But the future is all that matters, and it's what we do with our old relics that determines what that future will be.
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