The City of Kingston says it is still investigating the collapse of a heritage building in midtown on Christmas Day.
The owner of the property says he’s ready to rebuild the limestone structure while a heritage expert says that will be a difficult job. It’s a piece of Williamsville District history now in ruins.
There’s just one wall left of the former Karnosfski Bakery, a heritage-protected landmark and an important piece of the area’s past. Peter Gower is a local historian and author.
“From the mid-1800s on a street, on a road in those days that was the main road out to Toronto,” Gower said, describing the site’s origins. “So anybody travelling by horse, by stagecoach would have gone past here.”
And now, when people go past the Princess Street location, they see a piece of history that collapsed early on the morning of Dec. 25. IN8 Developments, in charge of preserving the heritage building as a part of its adjacent condo development, says it’s going to rebuild.
Darryl Firsten is the president and owner of IN8 Developments.
“The agreement we made with the city by way of our site plan agreement was to deliver this heritage building in good, working, beautiful order on the corner of our property, which adds to the beautiful new building behind it, and that is what we will do,” Firsten said.
Gower admits he’s not a structural engineer says a re-build is possible, but there are still plenty of questions to be answered.
“It’s a challenge. Kingston certainly has the stone masons who can do the work but it won’t be easy,” Gower said. “Normally when you work on a building like this you would take it down carefully, you’d number the stones, you’d clean them up, you’d put them back in the right.
“That’s all impossible, but until we see what he has got to work with we don’t know and let’s certainly hope that he can do something.”
As for Firsten, he says it’s all about safety.
“Our top, top, top priority is public safety and a very close behind secondary interest is making sure we deliver this building as accurately as possible to depict the stories that occurred there on the Karnofski Bakery site for the last 200 years.”
The city of Kingston says it’s still completing its own investigation into what caused the building’s collapse.