Oh Great Britain. As if I didn’t envy you enough already. What with your rail network that makes for a seemingly infinite possibility of day trips, distinguished older actors, coloured history, and boy, do you know how to preserve your heritage.
The above is taken from a series of tourism posters Great Britain has put up all around the great city of Toronto. While I’ve seen some negative feedback to them, honestly, I love them. Simple. To the point. Catchy.
Living in Toronto and loving heritage can be a tricky thing. And the more I learn about it, the more I learn how tricky. The protection of Toronto’s heritage is, sadly, sorely lacking.
There’s a shortage of time. There’s a shortage of money.
But there is definitely not a shortage of spirit.
I have been very fortunate to work with the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Culture, the Ontario Heritage Trust, and the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (including their young professionals network NextGen), and I have been so impressed by the energy of the members of the heritage community.
There are too many issues surrounding Toronto’s built heritage to discuss well here in one post. But in my opinion, we can start to meet a lot of the challenges facing Toronto’s heritage simply by increasing awareness. There’s some shock and disappointment whenever another of Toronto’s heritage buildings is demolished (or mostly demolished) to make way for a condo, and there is in fact mobilization before the demolition, but there isn’t enough.
And that’s where you come in. I’m encouraging you to get involved in the online heritage community.
If you’re on twitter, you can follow hashtags like #TOheritage, #TOhistory, and #builtheritage. There’s even a #builtheritage chat once a month. Other good organization to follow are @heritagetoronto, @TOhistoricsites, and @arconserve (the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario’s twitter handle. Disclaimer: I am one of its tweeters).
Not ready to get in to heritage conversations? Tweet a picture of a building you like with any of the above hashtags to any of the above handles (or to me, @indeedemma) with a comment or question, and you might just be amazed at the friendly eager folks happy to chat with you about it. Really. Try it!
Not on twitter? Definitely check out blogs like This Strange Eventful History, Canadian Architecture Speaks, Adventures in Heritage, and UnMuseum. BlogTO and Spacing both do a really great job of showing off Toronto’s great (and sometimes lost) built heritage.
I am also very excited to be speaking at Ignite Culture on the topic of heritage in Toronto on March 9, 2012. Would be great to see you there!
So there’s your quick intro to Toronto’s heritage community. Welcome aboard!