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A sad end for the historic Preston Springs Hotel

January 2021

On the last day of 2020, demolition began on the historic Preston Springs Hotel, an iconic landmark, in Cambridge, Ontario. The abandoned hotel stood at the corner of Fountain Street and King Street, in what was formerly the Village of Preston, for 137 years. It’s now just a memory.

Empty since 1990, when the long-term care facility that was its last incarnation closed, the abandoned building went through many owners and re-development plans that never came to fruition, all the while deteriorating as the years went by.

Despite having a historical designation, the deterioration had become so bad that in January 2020, Dennis Purcell, the Chief Building Official for the City of Cambridge, issued the current owners, Haastown Holdings Preston Inc., an “Order to Remedy an Unsafe Building,” which called for the immediate demolition of the building. While the order was temporarily suspended in June 2020, it would ultimately prove to be too late to save the historic hotel.

Unfortunately, this was a classic case of demolition by neglect, a practice of allowing a building to deteriorate to the point that demolition becomes necessary or restoration becomes unreasonably expensive. Many people have opined that the time to save the building was 10 years ago.

The name Paul de Haas and the Haastown Group should be enshrined forever in the Cambridge Hall of Shame

The Architectural Conservancy of Ontario’s Cambridge chapter has expressed a desire for a full independent inquiry of how the demolition was allowed to happen.

A sad and unnecessary end for a historic hotel, dating back to the early days of the Dominion of Canada.


Read my article about the hotel, written just four months before it was demolished:

Sources: https://www.kitchenertoday.com/local-news/former-cambridge-mayor-supports-inquiry-into-demolition-of-the-preston-springs-hotel-3235095, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preston,_Ontario, https://www.cambridgetimes.ca/opinion-story/9868209-cambridge-s-preston-springs-hotel-must-come-down/?fbclid=IwAR1xJzzq07sFsx5TPhz1fIheRCkPAnbMoT6AeC2HV7Nk7iJvF-0_KNBeglk, https://www.cambridge.ca/Modules/News/index.aspx?feedId=fc267bd0-13d9-4323-89c1-0e49d8309478&newsId=2646ea0c-9546-406a-97e8-2bfa0aa1b155.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/a-sad-end-for-the-historic-preston-springs-hotel/

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