Owner of Bradley-Craig barn wants to move it to Munster

Bradley-Craig Barn, October 2015. Photo by Barry Gray.

(Photo: Bradley-Craig Barn, October 2015.  Photo by Barry Gray.)

On Monday, the City of Ottawa’s Built Heritage Sub-Committee will consider an application to dismantle the landmark Bradley-Craig barn on Hazeldean Road and move it 20 kilometres away to Saunders Farm in Munster.

City staff have recommended that the committee refuse the demolition application.  The barn and the land are owned by Richcraft. (The brick farmhouse would remain “as is” under the developer’s plan.)

A report prepared for the landowner argues that moving the barn to Munster is a better option than rehabilitating it at its present site.  The report says that the barn is “out of context” in its present location, surrounded by retail developments.

“At Saunders Farm, the barn can be recognized as a significant part of Ottawa Valley history. Saunders Farm is in Goulbourn Township and is located in close proximity to the original site of the Bradley/Craig barn. The structure’s architectural integrity will be preserved, there would be public access, and a more appropriate setting compared to the commercial development of 590 Hazeldean Road,” says the report prepared by Commonwealth Historic Resource Management.

The city’s planning staff disagrees.  In their own report to the committee, they say that “moving the barn to a farm-inspired tourist attraction will neither improve its heritage value, nor allow its history within the context of Goulbourn Township to be fully understood.”

The city staff report includes comments from councillor Shad Qadri, who says he supports the relocation.

“Ideally I would like to see the barn stay in the current location, however I believe that moving the barn will provide the best preservation for the structure. As it stands today the barn appears to be falling apart and under the current City by-laws regarding heritage buildings it does not require any improvements to the building to assist with the condition of the structure. I feel at Saunders Farms the barn will be well maintained and I hope would permit the public to enter the barn which would allow for the sharing its history for many generations to come… Instead of leaving the barn in the current location and hope that it does not come to further disrepair; I feel a better solution to retain the heritage of the building would be to have a plaque installed at the house to note the heritage importance of the barn and advise individuals they may visit the barn at Saunders Farm,” wrote Qadri.

Heritage Ottawa says it is “adamantly opposed” to granting a permit to demolish the barn.

“Not only is it an outstanding example of its kind, but it is intimately tied to the historic development of the area in which it stands. Its context is just as important as its architecture and the technological advance it represented,” they said in a statement included in the city staff report.

“To move its pieces to a heritage zoo is inappropriate. The designation of these two structures was an integral part of granting the zoning for redevelopment of the surrounding land in 2010. A requirement to preserve some of the heritage and history of the area that is undergoing such substantial new development was far from unreasonable.”

The farmstead – including the barn and farmhouse – received heritage designation in 2010 for its cultural heritage value.  Both structures date to the 1870s. A description from the city report:

“…an excellent and rare example of a 19th century dairy barn. It’s large size, heavy timber framing with mortise and tenon joinery, and monitor roofline with clerestory windows are characteristic of dairy barns constructed during this period. The barn was constructed by well known local barn builder John Cummings with the help of the community.

The barn is associated with the Bradley Craig farmhouse, a Gothic Revival style brick farmhouse constructed by the Bradley family in the 1870s. Together with the farm yard, they are an excellent example of a late 19th century farm complex. The farmstead is associated with the theme of agriculture which was the dominant economic activity in Ontario in the late 19th century.”

You can read the city staff report and the landowner’s report on here…

The heritage committee will consider the application to demolish and move the barn at their next meeting on Monday, November 9.

More to come….


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7 thoughts on “Owner of Bradley-Craig barn wants to move it to Munster”

  1. I have to laugh at the excuse: ‘The report says that the barn is “out of context” in its present location, surrounded by retail developments’.

    I submit that it is the retail developments – and the houses the builder would prefer be there – that are “out of context”.

    I also find it strange that Mr. Qadri supports moving it. Is this his personal opinion, or that of the constituents he represents?

  2. The experts are going to hang me for this, but…
    This “barn” looks seriously worn out and isn’t really very attractive or interesting. It looks like a large shed. I can’t imagine “restoring” this without replacing just about every plank, plus the roof.
    I can imagine preserving something noteworthy but this doesn’t scream memorable architecture in my opinion.
    Who’s paying for this move, and might it not be less costly and safer to build a replica made from all new materials, if people are so desperate to preserve an old feel. Or design something new and interesting, that has elements of old farming architecture.
    What would be upsetting is if tax payers will pay for a move+restoration and then Saunders using that enhance their bottom line. Please tell me that that is not the case. If Saunders wants to pay for this for their project, great. It’s a free world, but don’t do this on my dime.

      1. Is Saunder’s sure they want this old building? It’s a 140 year old building (predating any building codes) with rotten materials. You can’t simply “move” it. Unscrew two old pieces of wood, and try inserting a new screw, not the same bond at all. They’d have to just about build a new one using the old form as a model. Which parts can *actually* be “reused”? You’d have to improvise all kinds of brackets and patches and band-aids, unless you’d replace entire beams of wood. And if you in essence build a new structure out of new materials, you’d only be preserving a portion of the plank of the outside. That’s only a “move” for bragging rights. It’d be a new building pretty much. Then why not build a totally new one – but making it look exactly like the old one? I highly doubt trying to “recycle” the materials will save any money.
        Does a “recycled” building need frequent checkups because ultimately it can’t be trusted like a new building can? Many people visit Saunder’s Farm (a really awesome place by the way)…

  3. I love this barn. It is beautiful and has so much character. I always think it’s sad when old barns are torn down. I think it should stay where it is. Maybe have it upkept a little more. The best city’s in the world have the old within the new. It what gives a place more character. Let’s keep a little of our farming history with the new.

  4. I think that Richcraft knew that there would be problems with the structure when they purchased the property and knew the historical significance of it. What are the costs to dismantle and move as opposed to the cost to save it? I know of at least one Stittsville entrepreneur who has a business case to create something in there should it be renovated.

  5. Please re-read the above comments made by Councillor Qadri. Particularly this one:

    “As it stands today the barn appears to be falling apart and under the current City by-laws regarding heritage buildings it does not require any improvements to the building to assist with the condition of the structure”.

    Then read this excerpt from this January article about his update to the Goulburn Township Historical society:

    “Qadri says last year he had a conversation with the owners of Saunders Farm about relocating the barn to their property in Munster, but that’s unlikely to happen. Moving the barn from it’s current location would diminish its heritage value, and may not be permitted given its heritage status.

    Qadri also told the GTHS that structurally, the barn is in excellent shape.

    ‘I have yet to see a nail or piece of metal or a hinge poking out inside,’ he said. ‘It is solid. The outside boards are deteriorating but the inside structure is very solid.’

    He’d like to see the barn re-modelled so that a combination of small businesses can operate inside, for example medical offices.”

    I’m wondering why he has changed his mind about both the barn’s structural condition, and how that it should now be moved.

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