Cathy Hay recipient of this year’s Heritage Perth Architectural Conservation Award
By Dianne Pinder-Moss
For Cathy Hay, it is “an absolute privilege” to operate a business in the Town of Perth.
“I am very honoured to be in this town,” the owner of Hay Design told members of Perth Town Council after being honoured for her efforts over the past year in preserving one of the town’s heritage buildings.
Hay Design is the recipient of the 2016 Heritage Perth Architectural Conservation Award in the Buildings category. Timed to coincide close to Ontario Heritage Week (Feb. 16 to 21), the award presentation took place at Tuesday night’s (Feb. 23) regular meeting of Perth Town Council.
Three nominations were reviewed by the Municipal Heritage Advisory Panel (MHAP) and Heritage Management Advisory Panel (HMAP) in the Building category with Hay Design being recommended to council for recognition.
There are two other award categories – Landscape and Education (related to heritage awareness) – but no nominations were received for either this year.
This is the third year for the award program, which was created by town council in 2013 after the establishment of the Downtown Perth Heritage Conservation District.
“We wanted to pay tribute to people that were doing ongoing maintenance and preservation of their properties,” Karen Rennie, Heritage Tourism Manager for the Town of Perth, explained in a telephone interview on Tuesday afternoon.
In the case of the newest award recipient, Hay was recognized for the heritage restoration work that was undertaken to the two-and-a-half-storey rubble stone building at 63 Gore St. East, on the southeast corner of Gore and Colborne streets, she purchased in early 2015. That included a significant repointing of the façade, painting with appropriate heritage colours and the installation of a new roof.
The building, which in its earlier years housed the Bathurst (Perth) Courier remains “a significant, mid-1800’s commercial structure,” Deputy-Mayor John Gemmell said prior to presenting the award. “In height, materials and massing, it anchors the north end of the business block in the centre of downtown Perth.”
For Hay who opened her interior design studio and furnishings and décor store at this location in April 2015, she is honoured to receive the award.
“I’m very grateful to the heritage committee, and the BIA is incredible here,” she told the HomeTown News afterwards.
The objective of the award program, according to its Statement of Purpose, is “to recognize, promote or otherwise encourage excellence in heritage conservation” in Perth.
And Rennie believes the program has been “very successful” in this regard, noting that a lot of work is being done within the Façade and Signage Improvement Funding Program of the Downtown Perth Community Improvement Plan. Through the façade improvement program, businesses and property owners who qualify are eligible to receive a matching grant, valued at one-third of their capital cost to a maximum of $5,000, for any improvements they wish to make to the exterior of their buildings.
As an indicator of the interest in the program, Coun. Judy Brown reported at Tuesday’s council meeting that, while the deadline for the first intake of the 2016 program isn’t until Friday, there had already been a lot of applications. So many in fact that, if all come to fruition, the $25,000 allocated in the budget for this purpose would be entirely spent and more would be required.
“There’s that much interest in it,” she stated.
Last year, an Architectural Conservation Award in the Buildings category was presented to Ron Corvari and Carol Nelder-Corvari for the heritage restoration work they undertook to their property at 77 Gore St. East, also known as The McMillan Building.
“It is a small way we can pay tribute to these property owners for their hard work,” Rennie said of the award program.
Hay believes it is important to maintain the town’s architectural heritage.
“The historical buildings is what makes the town such a beautiful place,” she noted. “The architecture in this town is absolutely incredible….That’s why I decided to open a new business here.”