'Saving Places' from coast to coast

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Crew of new reality show to attempt to save dilapitated, historic buildings in B.C., Ontario, N.L.

Architectural rescue missions involving three coveted but crumbling heritage buildings in B.C., Ontario and Newfoundland will get a primetime spotlight next month as TV's home-renovation trend takes a historical turn.

History Television has ann-ounced plans to air a trio of reality-style documentaries in June chronicling efforts to save B.C.'s century-old Church of the Holy Cross, the 19th-century home of famed Ontario landscape artist Homer Watson and a tiny, "sacred" post office with deep roots in community life on Newfoundland's Fogo Island.

"Saving Place," a new reality show on History Television, will document a crew as they try to save historical buildings in danger of collapsing, including the old post office on Fogo Island. - Submitted photo

Architectural rescue missions involving three coveted but crumbling heritage buildings in B.C., Ontario and Newfoundland will get a primetime spotlight next month as TV's home-renovation trend takes a historical turn.

History Television has ann-ounced plans to air a trio of reality-style documentaries in June chronicling efforts to save B.C.'s century-old Church of the Holy Cross, the 19th-century home of famed Ontario landscape artist Homer Watson and a tiny, "sacred" post office with deep roots in community life on Newfoundland's Fogo Island.

The series was created by Toronto-based PTV Productions in co-operation with the Ottawa-based Heritage Canada Foundation, the main national advocacy group for preserving historic buildings.

Financed partly by the Canadian Television Fund and the Rogers Cable Network Fund, the series - called "Saving Places" - "isn't just about the sentimental feelings for old-fashioned architecture," the creators say.

"It's about the conflict, egos, headaches and high stakes of saving a piece of irreplaceable history from the wrecking ball."

In 2008, the Church of the Holy Cross in Skatin, B.C., was named by Heritage Canada Foundation as one of the country's 10 most endangered historic buildings. The all-wood building, erected on a layer of rocks in 1905 by native craftsmen, was deemed at risk of falling without a major rebuilding effort.

"After a century of spring flooding, the Lillooet River has taken a toll on the church's foundation, and a major flood in 2003 left cracks and shifting," the "Saving Places" website reads.

"This monument to native art and faith is in grave danger. Without a new foundation, it is at high risk of collapsing."

Homer Watson House, in Kitchener, Ont., was built in the 1830s and served as the painter's home for about 50 years. But the building's unique window design had caused damaging leaks and other problems threatening its key heritage features.

And the post office in the Newfoundland town of Tilting was a gathering place for generations before falling into disrepair and being relegated for use as a storage building.

"In 'Saving Places,' we meet three national heritage buildings, all in danger of being lost forever without a serious restoration, and the local communities who don't want to lose them," writer-director Gail Gallant, who also produced the series, said in Wednesday's announcement.

The premiere episode on the B.C. church airs at 7 p.m. ET and PT on Saturday, June 12, followed by the Tilting Post Office on Fogo Island on June 19 and Homer Watson House on June 26.

Organizations: Church of the Holy Cross, Canada Foundation, Homer Watson House Canadian Television Fund Rogers Cable Network Fund B.C. church Tilting Post Office on Fogo Island

Geographic location: Ontario, Newfoundland, Fogo Island Ottawa Skatin Lillooet River Kitchener

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Recent comments

  • Ken
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    These are important places that deserve to be saved and reused.

  • Robert
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    Sounds like good news for the people of Tilting.

    I trust the 'good' people of Portugal Cove/St. Philips see how things can get done. Instead of fighting over the Anglican church like a bunch of unruly children.

  • Ken
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    These are important places that deserve to be saved and reused.

  • Robert
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    Sounds like good news for the people of Tilting.

    I trust the 'good' people of Portugal Cove/St. Philips see how things can get done. Instead of fighting over the Anglican church like a bunch of unruly children.