Fear of demolition prompts demand to save Burlington’s favourite building
Published November 21, 2023 at 11:02 am
Public concern over the future of one of Burlington’s favourite buildings has led to a push to protect it from the wrecker’s ball.
The building, located at 400 Brant St., was last known as the Queen’s Head Pub but has a history that stretches back 160 years.
Currently undergoing a renovation to convert the site into another restaurant — reports say it will be a sports bar — fear over the long-term fate of the building is growing as the public believes developers are eyeing the prime downtown location for future condo needs.
At a recent City council meeting staff planner John O’Reilly said the public has been reaching out to his office citing their concerns.
“I’ve never seen this level of interest and concern about the future of a property,” O’Reilly told the meeting.
At the meeting City staff brought forward a proposal that would give the property heritage status to provide a level of protection to the building.
A heritage designation would prevent the building from being altered and is the strongest step a local municipality can use to protect a property from destruction, although that decision can be appealed to senior levels of government.
City councillors decided to delay the designation until next year because many felt there was no immediate need to protect the building as the current owner had not given any indication that it would be torn down.
As well, councillors said the delay is necessary to gather more information from the owner and the public.
Built in 1860 for use as a hotel called the Zimmerman House and later known as the Queen’s Hotel and then the Sherwood Hotel, the building is considered a landmark treasure in Burlington and is recognized as one of the city’s most visible historical buildings. It’s long-term use as a restaurant has also led to a strong connection to the community.
The operators of the Queen’s Head said they were forced out of the building after 20 years when their lease expired with the owner wanting to rent to another business.
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