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File photo by Tony Veltri
Back where it started
Pictured above is the initial press conference held Oct. 29, 2004 in front of the Banting homestead, where the fight to protect the property from being sold was launched.

Council enacts bylaw to designate Banting homestead a heritage site

Posted November 13, 2007

The 100 acre birthplace and family farm of Sir Frederick Grant Banting is now a cultural heritage site after councillors last night approved the bylaw enacting the designation with its associated protection of the property from any alterations without municipal approval.

It comes three years and a month after the fight to preserve the Banting homestead was launched against its owner, the Ontario Historical Society Foundation (OHSF); a battle which drew supporters from across the globe, and made its way into Parliament and the Ontario Legislature.

In October 2004, the foundation, which was bequeathed the property by Edward Knight Banting in 1999, backed out of a tentative agreement that would have severed the property into a 70/30 acre split, with the OHSF retaining the right to sell the 30 acres - New Tecumseth would have had first right of refusal. The foundation pursued options to sell the entire property to residential develoment interests when last year they had accepted an approximate $2 million offer to purchase from Solmar Homes, a residential developer, with plans to only preserve five acres containing the buildings and farm house.

New Tecumseth moved to designate first 70 acres, then upgrading that to the entire property which the OHSF appealed to the Conservation Review Board. A two-day hearing was held in September, about three weeks ago returned a set of recommendations in favour of the Town's position.

"The Conservation Review Board of Ontario recommends to the Council of the Town of New Tecumseth that there is sufficient cultural heritage value or interest in the property known municipally as 5116 Sir Frederick Banting Road Banting Homestead in the Town of New Tecumseth to proceed with designation of the entire acreage of this property under section 29 of The Ontario Heritage Act as amended in 2006," according to the bylaw.

The review board's decision, while not binding, cannot be appealed. The next avenue would be the courts. At this post, it remained unclear what the foundation will do with the homestead property.

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