Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Hollowing Out of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

The CBC is an important national democratic institution. People fight and die for international and national democratic institutions---Radio Free Europe, a free press, the Internet, Wikipedia, YouTube...
A law created in 1991,"The Broadcasting Act" legalizes the sale, give away, transfer and destruction of billions of dollars worth of CBC real estate, transmission towers, memorabilia, broadcasting equipment, furniture, paintings and hundreds of thousands of vinyl records. And the "arms length" Crown corporation is allowed to keep the money from the sale of publicly-owned property. 

 A few years ago, a public auction was held at the broadcasting headquarters in Toronto; items auctioned off included a portrait of Sir John A. Macdonald, furniture from the sets of television programs and memorabilia. 
When I read about the auction  I phoned Library and Archives Canada; I was told that Library and Archives Canada does not have the mandate to proactively save recordings, furniture, paintings, etc. that are owned by the CBC.
Whatever happened to all the vintage television programs? In 2005, Canada's National Broadcaster planned to sell all the radio and t.v. archives to the BBC. Why would the Brits be interested in Front Page Challenge, Quentin Durgens M.P., the Forest Rangers, the Juliette Show, Anne Murray specials, Hockey Night in Canada, The Tommy Hunter Show, Ian and Sylvia, This Hour has Seven Days, Don Messer's Jubilee...

Glenn Gould spent a lot of time at the Jarvis Street Complex in Toronto, and recorded many of his albums at the in-house studio. The Jarvis Street Complex is long gone. I appeared on the television program "Take 30" in 1979, and I vividly remember the beautiful building and the massive parking lot. Naturally, high rise condos were constructed on the parking lot:
Order-in-Council - Grant approval for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
(a) to sell some 4,898 square metres of land at 263 and 303 Mutual Street in Toronto, Ontario, to Context Real Estate Inc. and
(b) to convey another 4,970 square metres of land at 354 and 372 Jarvis Street in Toronto, to the National Ballet School, for a nominal sum. (Approved June 26, 2000.)
Former CBC property on Jarvis Street in downtown Toronto. "Take 30" was filmed in the red brick building on the right, which can barely be seen.

High rise condos were built on CBC land on Jarvis Street and Mutual Street in Toronto,including the Radio City condominiums. Meanwhile, a Hong Kong developer built TV Tower 1 and TV Tower 2 on the Crown corporation's property in downtown Vancouver.
CBC land and buildings in Montreal,Quebec are being privatized.The Crown corporation plans to rent office space from the new owner of Maison Radio-Canada, and 2,200 new housing units will be constructed on the land.
The redevelopment of Maison Radio-Canada in Montreal.
I have always been a passionate viewer and defender of the CBC, and it distresses me to see the hollowing out of a highly-respected national institution. In the year 1970, I enrolled in a provincial correspondence course entitled "Business Organization and Principles". Nine years after writing the following paragraphs, I appeared on the t.v. show "Take 30":

The CBOT building at 250 Lanark Avenue in Westboro, Ottawa was divested in 2002.
CBC executives already earn six figure salaries, why do they find it necessary to sell off the very foundations of Canada's publicly-owned broadcaster? If I were the head of a Crown corporation, I would guard the Crown assets with my life, if necessary. That's the difference between a gatekeeper, and someone who is appointed to a Crown corporation and sells the real estate and movable property.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Chateau Laurier Hotel in Ottawa is for sale.

You are responsible for this, Marathon Realty and CN Real Estate. Canada's railway hotels should never have been privatized and sold to Fairmont Hotel's and Resorts. Who knows what will happen to this irreplaceable landmark---will it be demolished (the CPR bulldozed the Royal Alexandra Hotel in Winnipeg) or converted into condos?
John Lennon and Yoko Ono stayed at the Chateau Laurier Hotel in 1969, and their song "Give Peace a Chance" was recorded at another CN property, the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal. Renowned photographer Yousuf Karsh and his wife lived in the Chateau Laurier from 1980 until 1998.

The Chateau Laurier Hotel was a National Historic Site in 1979:
Heritage Conservation Background Report, City of Ottawa. (From: The downtown Ottawa Public Library on Laurier Avenue.)
.I would not be surprised if the Chateau Laurier is sold to the government of China. The Chinese government couldn't care less about China's architectural heritage---ancestral tombs, 600-year-old Taoist temples and hutongs (ancient courtyard houses) were destroyed, and replaced with apartment and office towers and shopping centres. Why would a foreign government or a Wall Street investment firm care about my country's history.
The Chateau Laurier; Dominion Buildings; one thousand lighthouses; the Kingston, Collins Bay and Dorchester penitentiaries; CN Tower and Conference Centre should be placed on a Deathwatch---killed by:
1.) Privatization
2.) Apathy
3.) Weak to non-existent heritage laws.
4.) Insatiable greed.
The Walmart Tower in Toronto.(Photo from Smart Canucks.)
Major's Hill Park is directly behind the Chateau Laurier, and the park is currently owned by the National Capital Commission. I truly believe that:
1.) The National Capital Commission will sell Major's Hill Park to the family dynasty, foreign billionaire or investment fund that eventually buys the Chateau Laurier. High rise condos were constructed on land directly behind another CNR hotel, the Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg, Manitoba:
Apartment towers behind the Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
 The Canadian Tulip Festival can longer afford to lease property at Major's Hill Park and Commissioners Park, because the National Capital Commission hiked up the rent; and the City of Ottawa is rezoning Queen Juliana Park at Dow's Lake, see the petition "Stop the rezoning of Parks to Condos, Queen Juliana in Little Italy."
2.) The Conference Centre, directly across the street from the Chateau Laurier, will also be sold. There is a reason why the National Capital Commission is trying to acquire the Conference Centre. In 1967, the Crown corporation was prepared to demolish the Conference Centre.
 As I have mentioned before, I was a cleaning lady at the former Grand Trunk Railway Station in 1981-1982.; a tunnel connected the GTR statiion to the Chateau Laurier. A tunnel also connected the Prison for Women in Kingston,Ontario to the Kingston Penitentiary; the Royal York Hotel to Union Station in Toronto; and the Fort Garry Hotel to Union Station in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

A federal judicial inquiry should be convened, to investigate Marathon Realty and CN Real Estate. An inquiry would stop, or at least delay, the sale of the Chateau Laurier, Chateau Montebello and the Fairmont Empress in Victoria, British Columbia. The investigation should focus on:
-the 1880 agreement between Canadian Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald and the CPR, whereby the government of Canada gave the railway $25 million dollars and 25 million acres of land, on the condition that any land not needed by the CPR would revert to the Crown, the people of Canada.
-the 1988 acquisition of CNR hotels by Canadian Pacific Limited.
- Union Station in Toronto, which is now owned by the City of Toronto. Union Station, a National historic Site of Canada, is currently being "selectively demolished."
-the sale of railway lands in Toronto to developers. "Harbourfront" is a federal Crown corporation that was established in 1972 to save the lakeshore from rampant condo development.
-the Provincial Capital Commission in Victoria, BC. Several CPR properties were transferred to the Crown corporation, including the Crystal Garden and the CPR Steamship Terminal Building. The provincial government of BC plans to sell 100 provincially-owned properties to reduce the deficit.

Never-before-seen photos of Canadian Governor General Roland Michener and Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau at CFB Petawawa.


Friday, July 12, 2013

1969 photos of HMCS Bonaventure


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Government of Canada real estate deals.

The winners and losers when federal property is privatized:
 Prince al Waleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia; Carl Icahn of New York City; multinational corporations,  the National Capital Commission; Canada Post; the CBC; Canada Mortgage and Housing...
Ordinary Canadians, who collectively own the billions of dollars worth of Crown property that is being sold through Orders-in-Council.

CFB Rockcliffe in 1983. From: "1984-1985 Federal Property Profiles-National Capital Region". The book can be found in The Ottawa Room, Ottawa Public Library at Laurier.
3. In 1998, the National Capital Commission attempted to buy the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa for a dollar. (See the Ottawa Citizen article "Behind closed doors; With no one allowed to watch and listen, members of the National Capital Commission ponder making deals with Nortel, battling El Nino and buying the Experimental Farm for $1 dollar." by Tom Spears, the Ottawa Citizen - 24 August 1998.)

The Experimental Farm in Ottawa:
A Privy Council Order-in-Council that resulted in the sale of Farm land in February of  1988. (The Order-in-Council books can be found at Library and Archives Canada on Wellington Street in Ottawa.)

Canada Place in Vancouver, British Columbia.