I’ve asked the Town to clarify the meaning of the word “removal”.  

Sometimes I am not quite as au fait with Canadian English as I should be.

An Information Report posted on the Town’s website last week tells us we could see the “removal” of the oldest house in Newmarket from the site on which it has stood for the past 206 years.

Does “removal” in this context mean re-location or demolition?

For years, the old house had been allowed to gently rot away (see below right) but, more recently, we were encouraged by talk of restoration.

Information Report 2018/9 now updates councillors on the progress of the planning application by Forest Green to redevelop the old cemetery lands at 16920 and 16860 Leslie Street. The proposed development has been in the works for years, morphing along the way. We are told:

“The current proposal includes 321 Townhouse dwellings on both public and private roads, parkland, stormwater management pond, protected forested area and various buffers and walkways.

“Some major changes to the current plan from previous submissions are the removal of the proposed 4 storey apartments, enlargement and relocation of the public parkland including a visual and physical link to the woodlot, enlargement of the stormwater facility and the removal of the Historic Bogart House proposed to be replaced with a memorial along Leslie Street.” (My underlining.)

We read the developer is proposing “major changes”.

Demolition can safely be viewed as a major change.

On the other hand, relocation, flagged up years ago, would not necessarily fall into the same category.

Now, ominously, I read that the historic Bogart House is proposed to be replaced with a “memorial”. Hmmm. Don’t like the sound of that at all. It's a bit final.   

In August 2015 councillors were told this historic home would be preserved and restored and physically moved “southerly to the corner of Leslie Street and Bogart Mill Trail”.

John Bogart House

Constructed in 1811 for John Bogart, a Quaker pioneer from Pennsylvania who operated a saw mill and grist mill on the creek near the house. One of the earliest dwellings extant in the Newmarket area and is an example of the second dwelling constructed by pioneers having been preceded by a log structure. Two-storey frame dwelling, clad in narrow clapboard, which rests on a stone rubble foundation. Simple vernacular dwelling constructed only nine years after the area was settled, is one of the few reminders that Bogarttown was a significant centre in the early nineteenth century. The John Bogart House is designated under the Ontario Heritage Act by By-law 1987-40.

It is the intent of the developer to preserve and restore this important heritage home and retain as residential dwelling accessed from a road internal to the plan. The house would be moved southerly to the corner of Leslie Street and Bogart Mill Trail.

So, is the old house to be moved or removed?

Is there a difference in meaning? Or am I being ridiculously pedantic?

Is the developer seriously proposing to demolish an historic house dating from 1811 – one of the first two storey residential buildings constructed north of Toronto.

If so...

Words fail me.

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Note: Demolition of a designated building requires the approval of the Council.

Update at 9.30am on 7 February 2018. The Town has confirmed the developer wants to demolish the Bogart House. The Town will be posting further details on its website later today.

Update on 11 February 2018: In 2016 a 200 year old brick house was demolished in Whitchurch Stouffville - a few miles from Bogart House - on the grounds it was unsafe.


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