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Current Status

Century Manor is currently closed and is not open to the public. The property has sustained wear and tear without proper maintenance and can be a dangerous site to visit. It is not possible to either visit or tour the Manor at this time, but a driving visit viewed from a distance is a great way to get acquainted.

Demolition by MZO

Demolition by Neglect

 

Century Manor is under the jurisdiction of Infrastructure Ontario, a Crown Agency of the Province of Ontario, which owns and manages the property.  Recently, in 2020, the provincial government imposed a Ministerial Zoning Order on the Century Manor site enabling the government to dictate the future use of the site without input or agreement from the Municipality. It has proposed possible demolition of the structure for the intended development of a new residential subdivision covering 12 hectares.

This order has halted the City’s earlier plan to sell the property to Mohawk College for its expansion, adaptively reusing Century Manor for student housing and facilities.

 

Ministerial Zoning Orders are a very neat little piece of provincial planning, in which the province can hold the land in trust overseeing all development on the land. Subsequently the provincial government can take land and develop it how they see fit circumventing the municipal government and public wishes for use of the land. The current provincial government has used these orders illegally to push for more and more development. John-Paul Danko (Ward 8) termed "the nuclear option," issuing a zoning order allowing single, semi-detached and multi residential buildings as high as 18 storeys. City officials are concerned the province's plan does not consider the city's broader vision for the land.

Since its closure in 1995, Century Manor has been subject to neglect and destruction from “trespass tourism” where unauthorized visitors vanadalize both the interior and exterior. The walls are becoming covered with graffiti and parts of the architectural elements have been stolen.“Trespass tourism” has become popular with a growing internet subculture called “urbexers” -  groups dedicated to exploring abandoned and dangerous off-limits spaces. According to an article by the Hamilton Spectator, the West Mountain residents and visitors report trespassing and vandalism at the asylum to the Ward Councillor at least once a week (Dongen, 2020). The issue is that the mansion may be demolished over liability concerns, such as accidental fires.

 

Infrastructure Ontario is tasked with maintaining the facility but has only boarded up the windows. According to John Paul Danko, there was an uptick in trespass complaints when it was announced that Infrastructure Ontario reneged on the deal to sell to Mohawk. He is urging the provincial government to increase security at the mansion, including adding security cameras. The Council approved this motion to reach out to the provincial facility manager about these safety concerns (Hristova, 2020).

Attention to the urgent need of protecting the landmark was brought to City Council in October 2020. A resolution was passed directing staff to request from the Province’s Regional Facility Manager a plan to apply security measures to better protect the building.  As of January 2021, its future is still in limbo. 

Mohawk College says it is still interested and has told the province "It is our understanding that the recent announcement does not preclude the college from continuing to pursue its goals for growth," the college said in an email. Like the ward Councillor Danko, Mayor Fred Eisenberger was unhappy with the zoning order. "The city has a longstanding vision for the best uses for this site, developed over many years and in consultation with the community,"  (F. Eisenserger Aug. 13, 2020)

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