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Winter Term is upon us

Willowbank Students 2016
Second year class preparing for François Leblanc's Contemporary Layers class presentations. Students were asked to design a contemporary intervention for a historic site. Students produced a set of design drawings, a model and present their design rationales. Their sites included the former Michigan Central Railway bridge site and the train station area in Niagara Falls, the former Laura Secord School in Queenston and the old Firehall in Thorold.

Students and staff returned from our Holiday break refreshed and well-rested for a jam packed winter term.

January Classes

January saw first year classes in everything from building code reviews to design charettes, from metal conservation to heritage carpentry. The first years finished off January with a three year class from mason Carol Jackson, who had students laying bricks and stone and trying their hands at different pointing techniques.

Second year students had are equally busy this semester as they finalize the statements of significance for their Conservation Management Plans (CMPs) and begin to pen their recommendations for the sites they are working on: the Woodland Cultural Centre, the Cave Springs Conservation Area and the East Seneca United Church. While managing the writing of their final CMP reports and presentations, second year students continue with classes which have included a Contemporary Layers and Design Aesthetics class with François Leblanc and Conservation in Developing Countries with Lori Anglin.

Lisa Prosper Departs as Willowbank Centre's Director Continues involvement in teaching and associate roles

Lisa Prosper
Lisa Prosper, former Director of the Centre for Cultural Landscape

Willowbank wishes to announce that Lisa Prosper will soon step down as Director of the Centre for Cultural Landscape. A champion for Willowbank, Lisa will continue in the roles of Centre Associate and Faculty Associate. The Centre's founding Director, Lisa has cultivated its voice in the conservation field over the past four years. She has been integral in defining Willowbank's approach to cultural landscapes, and in creating a dialogue with diverse audiences of theorists and practitioners. Her involvement in the School's diploma program has also made a lasting contribution to the curriculum. In leading the Centre, Lisa's accomplishments include convening public lectures in Queenston, Hamilton and Toronto; addressing audiences in Canada, the US, Europe and Asia; establishing a working partnership with the World Heritage Institute in Shanghai; contributing to publications; and, establishing a student fellowship in cultural landscape. Her contributions while at the Willowbank Centre were recently recognized in her election to the scientific committee on cultural landscapes of the International Council on Monuments and Sites, and to the Royal Canadian Geographical Society's college of fellows. Lisa will be pursuing new opportunities in cultural landscapes within her areas of expertise at the intersections between nature, culture and indigenous perspectives. She will continue to inspire Willowbank's diploma students and broader audiences alike in her new teaching and associate roles. A search for the Centre's new leadership will be undertaken in 2016.

Lecture Series: Telling Heritage

Willowbank's Centre is pleased to present the Winter Lecture series: Telling Heritage. Our theme this year centres on the stories we tell and how our heritage places are shaped by our cultural narratives. Our guest speakers will include: Keith Blades, Masonry Conservator; Dale Jarvis, Storyteller and Folklorist; Daniel Millette, Indigenous Architecture and Planning Specialist; Julian Smith, Architect and Dean of Faculty; Lee Maracle, Sto:Loh Storyteller and Author; and, Mark Laird, Landscape Architect and Conservator. Lectures will run throughout the winter term and tickets are $25 per lecture or $120 for all six.

Juliana Glassco: Notes from a Third Year Student Intern

One of our third year students, Juliana Glassco, has been working at the UNESCO offices in Paris for her third year internship. This remarkable opportunity has provided Juliana with a first hand experience in the world of International Heritage. Juliana's experiences have covered projects relating to World Heritage property management and conservation; Historic Urban Landscape-based planning approaches, defining and identifying urban heritage, Heritage and Environmental Impact Assessments, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. While in Paris, Juliana has been fortunate to meet with both theorists and practitioners in the conservation fields including heritage architects, and traditional French stonemasons as well as attending the Annual Heritage Expo. On her list of must-dos before her tenure is up in Paris, is to visit the Chateau de Guedolon, a new castle that is being built using medieval construction techniques. Juliana came to Willowbank with a background in anthropology and public history and was our 2014-15 Susan Buggey Cultural Landscape Fellow. She will be exploring the opportunities for remaining in Europe after her internship at UNESCO finishes in March.

Spotlight on Alumni: Ashleigh Bell

Ashleigh Bell, Class of 2013, is currently with the Tourism & Culture division of the City of Hamilton where she coordinates capital projects on municipally-owned cultural facilities, museums and historic sites. Outside of her full-time position, Ashleigh is involved with a number of community and professional organizations, including the Hamilton Community Land Trust and the Hamilton-Burlington Society of Architects, for which she has coordinated two educational series on conservation discourse. She also teaches Architecture in Canada and Architectural Styles courses with first years and Historic Interiors with second years in the Diploma program. Ashleigh came to Willowbank with a background in contemporary interior design. After a few years of working in commercial firms across Canada, she had become frustrated with common building practice, feeling that industrial consumerism and pop sensationalism all too often corrupts designers and builders to forget our fundamental human need for beauty in our environment. Ashleigh’s family roots in rural Nova Scotia have instilled in her a deep respect for historic places, traditional building crafts and architecture that exists in harmony with natural landscape. Her desire to focus on sustainable, conscious design that reflects these values led her to the Heritage Conservation program, which in turn has allowed her to finally integrate her personal philosophies with professional design and project management work.

Upcoming Events


Willowbank Presents – Telling Heritage: A Lecture Series

Click on the links below to purchase individual lectures with PayPal.  


Keith Blades
Keith Blades
FEBRUARY 6, 2016 ~ 5PM Reif Hall MASONRY CONSERVATION OF HISTORIC BUILDINGS KEITH BLADES, MA Conservation Studies, University of York, England. Keith will speak to past  projects in his lecture, giving us insight into the pitfalls and joys of conserving stone and what stone can tell us about our heritage.  
Dale Jarvis
Dale Jarvis
FEBRUARY 21, 2016 ~ 5PM Reif Hall SAFEGUARDING OUR LIVING HERITAGE: NOTES FROM NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR DALE JARVIS, Intangible Cultural Heritage Development Officer for the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador by day; Storyteller, Folklorist, Author by night.  
Daniel Millette
Daniel Millette
FEBRUARY 26, 2016 ~ 7PM Reif Hall **This lecture has been rescheduled to April 6** ARCHITECTURE OF RENEWAL: INDIGENOUS ARCHITECTURAL LANDSCAPE OF CANADA DANIEL MILLETTE, MA, PH.D., Adjunct professor at Carleton University. Daniel explores how we remember our past through the intersection of colonial architecture and planning with traditional indigenous designs.  
Julian Smith
Julian Smith
MARCH 5TH, 2016 ~ 5PM, Reif Hall CRAFTING STORIES AND PLACES JULIAN SMITH, Architect, Planner, Philosopher, Placemaker, Dean of Faculty at Willowbank. Julian will explore how we tell our stories through the places we inhabit and how the rituals that give our places meaning must be given equal billing with the artifacts we conserve.  
Lee Maracle
Lee Maracle
MARCH 28TH, 2016 ~ 7PM, Reif Hall RECALLING WHAT WE WERE TRICKED INTO FORGETTING: CONFEDERATION AND COLONIZATION OF OUR MEMORIES. LEE MARACLE, Sto:Loh Storyteller, Grandmother, Author and Traditional Cultural Director, University of Toronto. A book signing will follow Lee’s talk. Lee’s recent books include Memory Serves and Talking to the Diaspora, will be available.  
Mark Laird
Mark Laird
MARCH 30TH, 2016 ~ 5PM, Reif Hall BEFORE AND AFTER A NATURAL HISTORY OF ENGLISH GARDENING: REVISITING A REVISIONIST HISTORY OF THE PICTURESQUE. MARK LAIRD, Landscape Architect, Conservator, Teacher, Historian, Author. A book signing will follow Mark’s talk. Mark’s recent book: A Natural History of English Gardening will be available.

$25 per lecture, click on the links above for more information

$120 for all six.

Space is limited.

For more information, or to reserve your tickets: 905.262.1239 ext. 21 or willowbank@willowbank.ca


Willowbank is located at 14487 Niagara Parkway, Queenston, Ontario


Liz was the finest friend of Willowbank. Inspired by Laura Dodson’s vision for a School at the Willowbank Estate both Liz and her husband Nick volunteered at fundraising events such as Willowbank’s Lecture Series, Jazz Festivals and soirees. With Dave and Rosamund Hennessey, Liz and Nick even spent many hours groundskeeping the Willowbank estate’s 12 acres. Liz was inspired by Willowbank’s heritage architect and former Executive Director, Julian Smith and was a great friend to his wife Betsy Smith. In 2008, Liz was invited on to the Board of Directors as Chair of the Friends of Willowbank, which she had helped to create—almost single-handedly—and which she ran for many years. This corps of dedicated volunteers and supporters turned out for all the public events and carried the word about this wonderful and exceptional place. Liz loved Willowbank - and took her great affection to all her friends - a myriad of friends, and not just in this town but all over the world. If you were a friend of Liz, you were a Friend of Willowbank. Beyond her loving care and support for her children and grandchildren, her philanthropy also included the grandmothers (nyanyas) of the Stephen Lewis Foundation in Kenya. She faced Nick’s sudden death and later her own illness with courage and resolve. A generous and passionate person, her spirit will continue to inspire all of us here at Willowbank. Liz Ikonikov