Well known heritage consultants Elana Zysblat and John Atkin have recently completed an evaluation of the significance of Shakesides, the Comox residence of Hamilton Mack Laing. Elana and John are experienced heritage consultants, well-known in British Columbia for their engagement with communities, leadership in public programs and tours related to local heritage topics, historical research, and in producing publications and presentations of historical material.
This evaluation has resulted in a formal Statement of Significance (SoS) for Shakesides. The SoS is basic information required for an objective assessment of the heritage value of a building. The template for Statements of Significance was created by the federal Historic Places Initiative (HPI) as a succinct and consistent format to express the heritage values of places that matter to Canadian communities. An SoS, in its simple, non-technical language, is ?a declaration of value that briefly explains what a historic place is and why it is important”.
Research included a detailed site visit on July 26, 2016, consultation and correspondence with local residents, the Comox Museum and Archives, Laing?s biographers and acquaintances, former residents of the house and a wide range of historical and current resources about the property, as listed in the reference section of the SoS.
Comox resident Gordon Olsen engaged the consultants for their expertise in the field of Heritage. “The Town of Comox Councils, past and present, as the trustees of the Mack Laing Trust, have thus far demonstrated no inclination to assess the decades Mack spent in Shakesides. What was he doing for those 32 years? Did he accomplish anything during that period? Devoid of any curiosity of his activities, the trustees did not consider the heritage significance of Shakesides,? says Olsen.
This SoS is an affirmation that Shakesides is of national importance. Thanks to the research of Elana and John we now know that for certain.
Indeed this document demonstrates that Shakesides is an important part of Canada’s national heritage assets; this, together with the engineering report by Harold Bates (P.Eng) shows that Shakesides not only can, but should be saved for the enjoyment of future generations.
Read the SoS: shakesides-statement-of-significance-august-23-2016