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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


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