The ongoing struggle to save local historic buildings has been a persistent issue in the city of Stratford. Back in the 1960s, the city hall, which is now designated as a historic building, almost faced demolition. Presently, preserving historic buildings remains a daunting challenge. In April 2023, Stratford’s city council made a closed-door decision not to designate the city’s first general hospital as a historic building. This decision is another example of the council’s dubious reputation, formerly awarded as “Canada’s most secretive municipality in 2021” (https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/london/stratford-city-council-code-of-silence-awards-1.6355119).
The status of Avon Crest, a historic building, is currently in jeopardy due to demolition requests made by the building owners who have always intended to demolish the structure. While there have been talks about replacing the building with long-term care facilities provided by Revera, no signed agreements or announced plans on building capabilities, dimensions, or completion dates have been made at this point. Revera, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP), is one of Canada’s largest operators of seniors’ residences and long-term care homes. It owns or operates dozens of properties across Canada, major holdings in the United States and the U.K., with a portfolio of seniors’ apartments, assisted living, and long-term care homes (https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/crown-corporation-long-term-care-homes-revera-1.5584098).
Although the city has beautiful and well-maintained historic architecture, there have been numerous instances of “throwing away” the city’s uniqueness to the destructive grasp of developers.