Toronto City Hall in need of TLC, councillor says

Trinity-Spadina City Councillor Adam Vaughan (Ward 20) wants the City Hall building to be better maintained.

Speaking in council chambers Wednesday morning, Vaughan proposed reestablishing the Nathan Phillips Square volunteer advisory committee in order to oversee the building’s additions and maintenance.

The value of the city’s citizen-dominated volunteer committees, including the Nathan Phillips Square Advisory Committee, was challenged by Mayor Rob Ford earlier this year in an attempt to cut spending.

This time out however, 33 councillors voted in favour of the proposal: “This building is a significant piece of public heritage,” Vaughan said, adding the building stands as an equal to other symbols of Canadian democracy, such as the federal Parliament Buildings and Queen’s Park.

Vaughn pointed out specific examples of poorly-executed maintenance in the building.

“Look at the scars from the mechanized sweeping that takes place, and the way the wood is scratched all over,” he said.“When you take a look at the way some of the interventions in this building have been staged, I think we’re abdicating our responsibility.”

Don Valley West councillor John Parker echoed Vaughan’s thoughts and told the council: “This isn’t so much a building with some attributes to it. What it really is, is an international monument that serves as an office building where we come to do the city’s business.”

He also noted that the building’s a major tourist attraction. “Remember the countless number of tour busses that come, full of people, who stand and admire all aspects of the building when they come here,” he said.

To get his point across, Vaughan told council a story. A few years ago, he had the opportunity to give a tour of City Hall to the architect of the building’s daughter. Vaughan said that she broke into tears during the tour after seeing the way the building was treated.

The woman, who lives in Toronto, told Vaughan that she couldn’t bring herself to go back to the building. To her, it represented her father’s life, and its current state simply left her disappointed.

“This is not about being fussy about this stuff,” Vaughan said. “This is about protecting our heritage.”