McClure-Lafferty House, Harris Corners, Mississauga

Dan Chalykoff Heritage Consultancy Project

I carried out a Peer Review of a Heritage Impact Assessment. This lovely gothically influenced house on a vegetally mature lot sits in the midst of a professional office campus telling passersby what was here 150 years ago. It was kept by an inspired enterprise but was subsequently sold. The new owners didn’t want to bear the cost; so, tear it down and put up a much more lucrative slab office building like the hundreds of thousands of such anonymous buildings all over the world. Some of my argument follows:

In broad terms, the issue at the heart of the heritage valuation of the McClure-Lafferty House is contextual significance. The Heritage Impact Assessment under review holds that the subject house does not complement the commercial-professional zone in which it now finds itself. An alternate interpretation, congruent with Ontario’s Provincial Policy Statement and Mississauga’s Official Plan, is that the tenant with tenure is the subject house and that the relationship between the new buildings and the house has been inverted: the province and the city clearly state that the retention of significant heritage resources adds to the cultural wealth of our places – regardless of whether those places are for work, recreation, domestic or mixed uses. As such the original tenant of the subject area, the McClure-Lafferty House, must be viewed as primary and the commercial buildings as secondary. In short, proposed projects should defer to existing properties deemed culturally significant.

Keep your fingers crossed; the house is still standing.