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As the diploma program in Heritage Conservation at Willowbank is approaching its 10 year anniversary, we will be hosting a photo exhibit that helps to appreciate the beauty of heritage in our communities. The exhibition will be held at Willowbank on February 27, 2016 Every place we encounter presents itself in different forms: what it is, what it was and what it could be. The theme of this exhibition, "Raw and Reimagined" explores these perspectives of place through photography. Our initial introduction to a place is in its rawest form. We can see its current state: as a school or hospital, former industrial site or someone's home. At the same time we also see its layers, the remnants of what it once was. "Raw" calls for photos that capture a place as is, when it is initially experienced, whether it is in use or abandoned. Submitted images can focus on the beauty held within and the story told by the place. Photos can range from those that capture the feel of a whole space or can narrow down to the stories told by specific details (a window frame, a door, or a person interacting with the space etc). Appreciating what a place was, and is, frames our initial experience. We can choose to focus on its current state, or begin to imagine its potential for new uses, new stories and new experiences. The "Reimagined" calls for images that bring that potential to life by taking an existing space and using a traditional form of photo/image manipulation to help a viewer see how a space can take on a new shape and tell a new story. Other ways to convey this are also acceptable. Be creative! Submissions can be sent as JPEG files to tfelicetti@students.willowbank.ca Submission Deadline: February 1st 2016 Email Questions and Submissions to: tfelicetti@students.willowbank.ca
city scape
Photo Credit: Jonathan Castellino
Photo Credit: Jonathan Castellino

Happy Holidays

Sending you the warmest of the Season's Greetings all of the Willowbank Students and Staff!

Over $7,000 dollars raised for Bright Parlour Cornice Restoration

We have currently $7,320 of our overall goal of $20,000 on The National Trust for Canada’s initiative This Place Matters. If you are still looking for a gift for the person who has everything, consider a donation to our Bright Parlour plaster restoration at thisplacematters.ca.

Holiday Party

Staff and students hosted a Holiday Party before the students left for December break. Thank you to everyone who contributed food and items to the silent auction. We raised over $600 from our silent auction!

Willowbank Alumni covered in National Trust Blog

Walter Furlan (Class of 2015) was featured in a recent National Trust blog post entitled: "When the Fix Isn't Big and Small is Beautiful" about urban regeneration in Hamilton, Ontario.

Niagara-On-The-Lake Santa Claus Parade

The weather was great, spirits were high and the atmosphere was festive at the annual Santa Claus Parade. Students and staff came out to celebrate the kick off to the Holiday season and topped off the thirst-inducing day of parading with a few rounds at the pub. A great time was had by all!

Spotlight on Alumni

As part of our continuing feature on graduates this month we introduce you to: Nigel Molaro (Class of 2015). One of our newest graduates, Nigel is currently in Ottawa at Watson MacEwan Teramura Architects, where his primary focus is the preservation of two towers of Parliament's Centre Block. He is a liaison between various disciplines in the project that involves rehabilitating the iconic sandstone, and introducing steel reinforcement inside the 100-foot towers. While on the scaffold, he has been fortunate to see some of Willowbank's faculty associates at work. From a more cultural perspective, Nigel has also been on a team creating values-based design principles for the rehabilitation of the whole building, set to begin in 2018. For him, it's a return to Parliament Hill, where he once worked at the centre of Canada's political life. Nigel continues to be involved in Willowbank, serving on a committee of its board of directors, as well as in the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, where he is a member of its College of Fellows, and he continues to pursue he is special interests in mid-20th century architecture and places of worship.
St. Alfred's Church
Nigel stands in front of St. Alfred's Church, St.Catharines - part of his third year project on Mid-Century Modern Churches in Niagara.

Our Willowbank Hoodies and Toques are still available - the Santa Claus Paraders can attest to their coziness.

Hoodies: blue with white lettering, available in unisex sizing: S - XL. Available with embroidered lettering = $60; or with printed lettering = $40. Toques: blue with white lettering, one size = $15. email willowbank@willowbank to reserve your size and pick up in the New Year.
Santa Claus Parade
Students and staff warm and cozy in their Willowbank hoodies and toques at the Niagara-On-The-Lake Santa Claus Parade.


  • January 6, 2015 - The Willowbank Centre Presents: Interactive Storytelling about Complex Spaces: A discussion with Practical Examples - Introduced and moderated by Evan Wexler. Evan is a visual journalist specializing in innovative and immersive forms of storytelling for PBS Frontline. The evenings presentation and discussion will focus on upcoming works on India and South Sudan.
  • Fan of Photography? Third-year student Theresa Felicetti is planning an upcoming photo exhibit entitled "Raw and Reimagined". The Exhibit will explore how we conceptualize place - as they are and as they could be. For more information about submissions or to be the first to know about the dates of the exhibit join our Facebook page or contact tfelicetti@students.willowbank.ca.

Winter is on its way…

Lloyd Johnston and students
Students gather around Blacksmith Lloyd Johnston during a week long introduction to the fundamentals of blacksmithing.
With this warm fall it is hard to believe that winter is almost here and that the Fall semester is almost over. After three months packed with masonry, carpentry and field trips, the students will be heading home for a well-deserved winter break in December.

Support for the Bright Parlour Plaster Restoration continues to grow!!

We have currently raised $2,840 of our overall goal of $20,000 for our first ever online crowdfunding campaign on The National Trust for Canada’s initiative This Place Matters. A big thank you to everyone who has already donated! At the outset RBC Canada pledged to match 50 cents for every dollar raised and has recently upped the ante - announcing that they will match dollar for dollar the amount raised! We have 88 days left in our campaign - and we hope you’ll help us reach our goal! Visit thisplacematters.ca to support this restoration! As a lead up to this restoration, we hope to hold our Spring Lecture Series and a design charrette in April and May 2016, which will focus on just what the restoration of the Bright Parlour will look like - we will announce lecturers as they are confirmed - keep apprised of all of our upcoming events through this website.

Alumni and Student Mixer

At Willowbank we are appreciative of our larger alumni network - and this past month we held an alumni and student mixer to help introduce our current student body to our amazing and successful alumni. We had a great turnout and students got to hear about the successes of our alumni and the impact they are making in the heritage field.  Thank you to everyone who contributed food for this great event!


First year students spent a week learning the fundamentals of blacksmithing and as part of our mandate to foster public education on traditional skills, Willowbank held a public blacksmithing workshop on October 31st with Lloyd Johnston and Lisa Langdon at our lower campus. The workshop was a hit; the class focused on the philosophy and basics of blacksmithing and drew participants from the Niagara area and Toronto.

Grimsby Beach Field Trip

Our students are lucky to have great instructors who work in the field - and are often taken out onto job sites, historic buildings, and exciting neighbourhoods to witness heritage in action. Second year students were able to visit the Grimsby Beach neighbourhood with Willowbank faculty associate and Grimsby planner, Michael Seaman for a tour of the colourful neighbourhood. Students heard about the history of this former Methodist campground from a local historian and were able to discuss the planning tools that could be used to ensure the waterfront neighbourhood’s protection and evolution. Fun facts: Like the Niagara-On-The-Lake Chautauqua neighbourhood and Chautauqua, New York, Grimsby Beach is characterized by the small tent lot sizes, narrow roadways and campground feel unique to these wonderful sites. The Grimsby Beach site was the first of these Methodist campgrounds and features a grove of designated trees from the original campground.

Centre Director Lisa Prosper presents at Cultural Heritage Symposium

Joining esteemed panellists from across the heritage field, including architects, planners, archaeologists, curators and authors, Centre Director, and Faculty Associate, Lisa Prosper presented on the Cultural Landscapes panel.  Lisa spoke to the ecology of place that is fostered when a cultural landscape approach is taken in assessing our heritage places, stating: "Rather than limiting our understanding of cultural heritage to discrete tangible heritage resources, what if we also thought of cultural heritage as the everyday ecology of places that is the amalgamation of all that we do in places, how places look and feel, the complex history of places, the economy of places and the representation of places understood in relation to the physical features, or absence of features, both natural and man made in a given geographical area. Cultural landscapes provide this conceptual framework for understanding the ecology of places as an integrated whole." - Lisa Prosper The Ontario Heritage Trust's Cultural Heritage Symposium was held to help inform the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport's Culture Strategy. The public has until December 8th to comment on the new strategy - you can add your voice at ontario.ca.

Annual General Meeting of the Willowbank Board of Directors

On November 20th, 2015 the Willowbank Board of Directors met for the Willowbank Annual General Meeting. Willowbank is happy to announce that Vikki Broer has accepted the position of Chair of the Willowbank Board of Directors! Willowbank thanks our outgoing Board President Dr. Christina Cameron for her time spent leading the board. Willowbank also extends many thanks to the following outgoing board directors: George Dark, Richard Moorhouse, Donna Scott, Robert Skerker, Sandy Smallwood and Chris Wiebe. As part of conforming to new non-profit legislation in Ontario, our Board of Directors will now consist of a maximum of 11 directors that will be supplemented by advisory committees. Willowbank welcomes its new Board of Directors: Stephen Bedford (Secretary), Emily Bright, Vikki Broer (Chair), Clinton Brown, Elaine Eigl, Michael Howe (Treasurer), Patrick Little, Dr. Elizabeth Oliver-Malone, Brad Nixon, Frank Racioppo.

Spotlight on Alumni

As part of our continuing feature on graduates this month we introduce you to: Elaine Eigl (Class of 2010). Elaine currently works for the City of Mississauga as a Heritage Coordinator - a position that came out of her membership with the City's Municipal Heritage Committee. In her role Elaine undertakes research in support of heritage designations, ultimately helping to write designation by-laws and cultural heritage assessments. She is currently working on her first Heritage Conservation Easement Agreement - a project that encapsulates the Willowbank approach to facilitating heritage conversations - as Elaine helps to mediate the voices of many City departments from Planning to Parks, and Legal to Real Estate. Elaine has sat on the Willowbank Board for the past 3 years. She was the first Alumni to sit on the board and has sat as the Chair of the Capital Advisory Committee. She is also an active member of the Mississauga South Historical Society and Heritage Mississauga.

Willowbank Hoodies and Toques - On sale now!

Haven't started your holiday shopping yet? Look no further! On sale now our Willowbank Hoodies and Toques are the perfect gift for all your family and friends (and maybe yourself, too!). Hoodies: blue with white lettering, available in unisex sizing: S - XL. Available with embroidered lettering = $60; or with printed lettering = $40. Toques: blue with white lettering, one size = $15. Give us a call at (905) 262-1239 to reserve your size - they will be available for pick up on and after December 3rd. hoodietoque


December 3, 2015, 6-7PM - "Build or Rebuild: Transformative Change by Design" - A public Lecture with Jean Carroon - Tickets are $25 and space is limited. Jean Carroon is a Willowbank faculty associate and Principal of Design, Preservation and Sustainability at Goody Clancy Architects in Boston. Her innovative book - Sustainable Preservation: Greening Existing Buildings was published in 2010. DONATE NOW