Whenever possible, heritage preservation should involve more than just turning old stuff into museum pieces. A notable example from St Catharines is The Keg on Glendale Avenue, which occupies the Cotton Mill Building. Reusing old structures for new uses is called adaptive reuse.
Can you imagine if the original Welland Canal (Google Maps) were transformed from its semi-abandoned state into the centrepiece of an attractive, human-scale neighbourhood? I’ve been looking at pictures of European urban canals on Flickr; its an exciting prospect.
I don’t usually post my flights of fancy (not a single post on the possibility of light rail in St Catharines) but this would really be something, wouldn’t it?
Urbanizing the canal’s edge accomplishes at least two important things. First, neighbourhood infrastrucuture is more likely to be maintained through the decades than some overgrown ruins seen only by joggers and your more adventurous breed of dog walker. Second, it is an opportunity to build a really spectacular infill neighbourhood. Who needs greenfield sprawl when you can live beside a freaking canal?
Now I’m going to go breathe into a paper bag until I calm down.