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Century Manor, like many buildings from this period, were constructed with heavy metals and other fabrics that would contaminate the surrounding environment if demolished. A number of plant species would be adversely affected during demolition. Hamilton's ecosystem depends on such native species as the Trembling Aspen, a staple of the Hamilton escarpment and of the Century Manor site. The airborne materials pose a far greater concern as materials like asbestos and arsenic would be threatening to the animal life and residents of the area causing respiratory problems.


New development on land would see the total decimation of a number of ground-nesting birds, squirrels and a multitude of species that live at ground level or below. If managed correctly and the site restored, nature would be free to flourish. The grounds were once full of gardens. Replanting part of the site would be a favourable option for the environment's well being.

Situated on the Niagara escarpment, the Century Manor site is home to a number of native species of flora that benefit our environment including air quality within an urban setting. In this age of global warming, trees purify the air and are essential to ecosystems that depend on them.

Development on the land would result in a number of trees being cut down. These trees are integral to the Niagara Escarpment Biosphere Reserve. There are a variety of species on the Century Manor land both softwoods, hardwoods, from American Beech to Sugar Maple and Black Walnut. A plethora of wildflowers and shrubbery create what could be easily become a meadow landscape for the enjoyent of animals and humans.

Like the plant life of the Century Manor site, the animal and insect life is abundant as well. Being situated on the escarpment but also having a sizeable meadow allows for two ecosystems to harmoniously co-exist - cliff dwelling species and the meadow species. Ground nesting birds such as the Bobolink make the meadow floor its home while Red Tailed Hawks perch on high poles and tops of trees. Other ground species such as the meadow vole, a small borrowing rodent, and squirrels would be endangered by changing their habitat and eradicated completely by clearing the land of all nature. The cliff species such as the turkey vulture and cliff swallow would have to relocate to face competition in a new territory that could already be established by larger birds of prey.

Environmental Significance

Plant and Animal Life and in the Area


Refurbishment of older historic buildings has become in the past twenty years a more cost-efficient way to profit from the site than demolition. A number of studies have concluded that refurbishment yields more energy-efficient buildings with fewer pollution emissions and is a less expensive alternative to demolition and rebuilding. Considering the health of the area, restoration and adaptive reuse is the best solution for the future of this site.


Map below shows Century Manor (East House) location in orange on the grounds of Hamilton Asylum for the Insane.

(Century Manor Research Project, Joseph Gard)


Academic Research

Campagna, Barbara A. "Redefining Brutalism." APT Bulletin: The Journal of Preservation Technology 51, no. 1 (2020): 25-36. Accessed March 10, 2021. doi:10.2307/26920641.

Cassar, May. "Sustainable Heritage: Challenges and Strategies for the Twenty-First Century." APT Bulletin: The Journal of Preservation Technology 40, no. 1 (2009): 3-11. Accessed March 10, 2021.

Harpet, Cyrille. "Metabolism and Major Urban Cycles. Remnants, Materials and Micro Pollutants." Global Environment 10, no. 2 (2017): 315-34. Accessed March 25, 2021.

Jacobs, David E., Salvatore Cali, Alison Welch, Bogdan Catalin, Sherry L. Dixon, Anne Evens, Amy P. Mucha, Nicole Vahl, Serap Erdal, and John Bartlett. "Lead and Other Heavy Metals in Dust Fall from Single-Family Housing Demolition." Public Health Reports (1974-) 128, no. 6 (2013): 454-62. Accessed March 25, 2021.

Makrodimitri, M. (2010). Energy efficient refurbishment of old listed dwellings: The case of Victorian housing stock. Consilience: The Journal of Sustainable Development, 4(1), 33-59

Merlino, Kathryn Rogers. "[Re]Evaluating Significance: The Environmental and Cultural Value in Older and Historic Buildings." The Public Historian 36, no. 3 (2014): 70-85. Accessed March 10, 2021. doi:10.1525/tph.2014.36.3.70.

Power, A. (2008). Does demolition or refurbishment of old and inefficient homes help to increase our environmental, social and economic viability? Energy Policy, 36(12), 4487-4501. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2008.09.022. 

Robiglio, Matteo. The Adaptive Reuse Toolkit: How Cities Can Turn Their Industrial Legacy into Infrastructure for Innovation and Growth. Report. German Marshall Fund of the United States, 2016. 5-11. Accessed March 25, 2021.

Trabucco, Dario, and Paolo Fava. "Retrofit: Confronting the Question of Demolition or Renovation." CTBUH Journal, no. 4 (2013): 38-43. Accessed March 10, 2021.

Verbeek, G. (2011). Renovation versus demolition of old dwellings. Comparative analysis of costs, energy consumption and environmental impact. ARCHITECTURE AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, Proceedings of PLEA 2011.

Weinstein, Ben. "Questioning a Late Victorian "Dyad": Preservationism, Demolitionism, and the City of London Churches, 1860–1904." Journal of British Studies 53, no. 2 (2014): 400-25. Accessed March 10, 2021.
Non-Academic Research 
Bruce Trail Guide to Exploring the Forests of the Niagara Escarpment. (2010). Retrieved from

Guide to the plant life along the Bruce Trail and Niagara escarpment. Gives me an idea of what would be lost to development.
P. (2010). Biodiversity & Me Booklet. Retrieved from

Whats Alive In Hamilton. (2011). Retrieved from

Paling, E. (2020, December 09). What To Know About MZOs, Fords Development Tool That Environmentalists Hate. Retrieved from

You may have never heard of a Minister's Zoning Order and that used to be ok - but not anymore. (2021, February 18). Retrieved from

McNair, A. (2021, February 24). Minister's Zoning Orders – The Little-known Tool for Controlling Urban Sprawl is now Being Used to Expedite Land Development – Blog. Retrieved from

Best, J. (2021, March 05). Ministerial Zoning Order clears the way for 15 affordable housing units: The Bay Observer. Retrieved from

Burak, S. (2012, October 25). Demolishing the Future. Retrieved from

McGreal, R. (n.d.). Raise the Hammer. Retrieved from

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