Posted by: ~KC~ | May 29, 2008

I’m Pissed. Royally.

The roof.

The roof.

The roof is on fire.

We don’t need no water

Let the motherfucker burn.

Burn.

~ Bloodhoud Gang

That was what I heard echoing in my twisted mind when I heard the news yesterday afternoon as one of Canada’s top 10 important endangered historical buildings burnt to the ground yesterday. Alma College, established in 1877, is no more. After more than a century of importance and significance to our culture – she fell to the ground. Shamefully.

Photograph by Jeff Toogood

And it’s disgusting. Suspiciously disgusting and revolting.

I could smell the charred remains still smoldering when I got home last night and continued as I went to bed. Yes, you all now know where I live. Just blocks away from this once magnificent building… in the historical town of St. Thomas, Ontario. And when I finally saw the remains of it, I almost threw up and fought back the tears. It had been burnt to a stone shell.

This town’s municipal government has no concept of preserving our history. They simply waved their hands claiming they can’t afford to preserve such history – without even attempting to seek assistance from Provincial governments or organization dedicated to doing such a thing. After years of campaigning to preserve her – the fire suspiciously broke out on the same day it was to go before Legislature, were the second round of petitions were being presented to stop the demolition of our history.

Our government has yet again failed to do their jobs. Municipal governments failed to ensure the current owners (who have yet to make a statement) to ensure the safety of this building.

The fire comes just a week after the latest agreement between the owner, the city and the OMB in which it was decided the demolition would take place but the building’s structure would be documented and photographed so its front facade could be rebuilt. The process was slated to begin tomorrow” reported on Canoe.ca

What angers me to no end is how Canada has no integrity in preserving our history and landmarks. Why is our government so insistent on sweeping it under the carpet and/or burn it down? This isn’t the first of our endangered historical buildings burn to the ground or destroyed without regard for the preservation of our culture and history.

Have we no pride?

Apparently not.

I am absolutely disgusted.

What’s next?

Our historical Courthouse (literally just up the street from me) that is being rejected as the Ontario Government demands that all Ontario Courts of Justice and Superior Courts be amalgamated into one building. Currently, in St. Thomas, they are in two separate buildings. Instead of using our historical building (established well BEFORE the confederation, the seat of justice for Elgin County since 1853), the Ontario Government wants the town to build a new building. (The owners of the Courthouse offered to donate the building to the City of St. Thomas so that we can negotiate directly with our Provincial government instead of their contracting organization, FHC, setup to do this. Ontario has refused to do anything, and is unlikely to preserve this historical building – another very important part of our history – read here).

On so many levels, I understand why Quebecers fight to preserve their history. And today – I am more than sympathetic to that fight – just not their bigoted tactics.

Today, I am tired. I still have shit that went unresolved with yesterday’s appointment. And yesterday, we lost something even more important than my sanity. We lost, and continue to loose, a huge part of our history.

And big government doesn’t give a damn. I’m ashamed of our Liberal government for failing to keep their election promise to preserve our historical buildings and heritage.

Update: As of today… Alma College has been bulldozed to the ground. The only remaining structure is that of the Church.

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Responses

  1. KC, that sucks. Luckily our town has the backing of one of the richest men and lots of community support and they are revitalizing downtown and keeping it alive. Of course there are still a lot of grumblers, but then again they can get involved if they want.

  2. One thing I TRULY miss from Scotland – and the UK – is the historic buildings. You take it for granted as you walk past them everywhere everyday. I don’t have that privilege anymore and miss it like a lost friend.

  3. What a terrible, terrible loss. I’m so sorry that this beautiful building came down. How do we not know ourselves if not through our past… and what better way to keep that past tangible than with that which was built by blood, sweat and tears? I think you are right to be royally pissed of. Shame on them!

  4. I can’t believe! it’s horrible 😦
    Magui

  5. From an old Alma Girl – thank you for caring and thank you for your outrage.

    I wish I was surprised about all of this.

    Northerngardener

  6. WHY would someone want to tear down a building like that? Why set it on fire?

    See, in the Northwest, there aren’t a lot of old buildings, not like in Europe and the UK. We didn’t have that feeling of history – it’s all strip malls, prefabs, and downtown buildings long since left to go fallow due to the encroachment of Wal-Marts and other big chains. Remember “Animal House”? That parade scene was in my hometown – I watched John Belushi jump from the top of McCoy’s pharmacy.

    Luckily they decided to revitalize the downtown, so in another 80 years it might lay claim to “history” but I doubt that anyone who hasn’t seen REAL history will recognize it for what it is and treasure it.

    Well… shit, KC…

  7. I’ve correct my obvious oversight! *slaps head* Will you ever forgive me? 🙂

    Oh.. and I think you need to put up or shut up about that chocolate thing. (Translation… send me some Canadian chocolate!) LOL

  8. Wow, we must practically be neighbours. I agree it is such a shame.

    Living so close, I was actually home for lunch when the fire started and catching the fire on film in addition to some of the backhoeing that was down later Thursday evening.

    I would never of believed it had I not of witnessed it… just how fast the building was engulfed and the abundance of flame that ensued it.

    My house smelt like a campfire for days.

    Feel free to pop by and say hello at my blog,
    http://noreasonneeded.blogspot.com


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