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Parkside School

Dundas Driving Park Road
Dundas  Ontario

Current  
Owner:  
  City of Hamilton
 
History:     Another Mid-Century Monument hits the dust. Parkside High School is gone

In 1960, Parkside High School won both National and International awards for design and innovative use of materials. The swooping curve of the entrance was created with a revolutionary method for precast concrete panels with exposed stone. As the BBC, CBC and Netflix producers send their locations managers out to find Mid-century modern sets, Dundas, through the works of the City of Hamilton, is tearing down its best Mid-Century school because of a comedy of errors.

First the Ontario School Board (OSB) decided that small local schools in Dundas and West Hamilton should be gradually torn down and replaced by a huge, central school, accessible by bus. The idiocy of that decision is outside the boundaries of this article. So, without noticing that it was an incredible piece of architecture, the OSB left Parkside High School to rot and then closed it. By law, the OSB must offer any land for sale to either the local or the provincial governments before it is handed over for open bidding to the public.

In 1998, the Harris government took a vote of all the citizens in Dundas, Flamborough, Ancaster and Waterdown to see if they wanted to become part of the City of Hamilton. An incredible 95 percent of the populace voted against this, but it seems the vote was rhetorical. Dundas was eaten up by Hamilton. Now, the major decisions concerning Dundas are made by 13 councillors, 12 of whom do not live in Dundas.

Dundas has become a destination of choice for people who want to live in a small house or apartment in a very well preserved and maintained small town. Consequently, developers from out of town have been successful in proposing buildings, and sometimes building structures, that exceed the ideal proportions and destroy the downtown core. Population growth in Dundas has outpaced growth in other communities, but there is still money to be made.

In an effort to keep out the high rise developments on a prime piece of downtown parkland, our Dundas Councillor proposed that the City of Hamilton buy the property. Land was needed to preserve the grave yard, and this quick thinking at least saved the park and its beautiful view of the escarpment from being obliterated by High Rise Hell.

No one noticed that the front portico of Parkside High School has long been considered one of the architectural icons of Dundas. No Conservation Plan or salvage plan was ever done. The Hamilton Heritage Committee was apparently not involved or not interested. Two or three small groups proposed that the building be converted into condominiums and civic space, but this might have taken time and money. Hamilton just wanted the problem gone.

With two weeks until the start of the demolition, our Dundas Councillor, on my request, is asking for quotes to remove the sweeping portico intact. Anyone who has a need for such a beautiful piece of work can contact me. A few of us are trying to work on stalling tactics as the portico is just adjacent to a circular driveway that is to be preserved. If anyone would like to pay to have this portico moved to their location, or, better, has an idea on how to stall this process and leave it ‘in situ’, I am all ears.

Shannon Kyles


 
What  
can you  
do to  
help:  
  Another Mid-Century Monument hits the dust. Parkside High School is gone In 1960, Parkside High School won both National and International awards for design and innovative use of materials. The swooping curve of the entrance was created with a revolutionary method for precast concrete panels with exposed stone. As the BBC, CBC and Netflix producers send their locations managers out to find Mid-century modern sets, Dundas, through the works of the City of Hamilton, is tearing down its best Mid-Century school because of a comedy of errors. First the Ontario School Board (OSB) decided that small local schools in Dundas and West Hamilton should be gradually torn down and replaced by a huge, central school, accessible by bus. The idiocy of that decision is outside the boundaries of this article. So, without noticing that it was an incredible piece of architecture, the OSB left Parkside High School to rot and then closed it. By law, the OSB must offer any land for sale to either the local or the provincial governments before it is handed over for open bidding to the public. In 1998, the Harris government took a vote of all the citizens in Dundas, Flamborough, Ancaster and Waterdown to see if they wanted to become part of the City of Hamilton. An incredible 95 percent of the populace voted against this, but it seems the vote was rhetorical. Dundas was eaten up by Hamilton. Now, the major decisions concerning Dundas are made by 13 councillors, 12 of whom do not live in Dundas. Dundas has become a destination of choice for people who want to live in a small house or apartment in a very well preserved and maintained small town. Consequently, developers from out of town have been successful in proposing buildings, and sometimes building structures, that exceed the ideal proportions and destroy the downtown core. Population growth in Dundas has outpaced growth in other communities, but there is still money to be made. In an effort to keep out the high rise developments on a prime piece of downtown parkland, our Dundas Councillor proposed that the City of Hamilton buy the property. Land was needed to preserve the grave yard, and this quick thinking at least saved the park and its beautiful view of the escarpment from being obliterated by High Rise Hell. No one noticed that the front portico of Parkside High School has long been considered one of the architectural icons of Dundas. No Conservation Plan or salvage plan was ever done. The Hamilton Heritage Committee was apparently not involved or not interested. Two or three small groups proposed that the building be converted into condominiums and civic space, but this might have taken time and money. Hamilton just wanted the problem gone. With two weeks until the start of the demolition, our Dundas Councillor, on my request, is asking for quotes to remove the sweeping portico intact. Anyone who has a need for such a beautiful piece of work can contact me. A few of us are trying to work on stalling tactics as the portico is just adjacent to a circular driveway that is to be preserved. If anyone would like to pay to have this portico moved to their location, or, better, has an idea on how to stall this process and leave it ‘in situ’, I am all ears. Shannon Kyles