Thursday, July 29, 2004

You could easily call this the Summer of Destruction in Saskatoon.  I can't think of a time when more large buildings have been under demolition.  I've already mentioned the old Hudson Bay parkade coming down.  The site is now nothing more than a big hole full of rubble.  Nearby another commercial building has just been knocked down over the past few days.  Located on 23rd Street by the City Transit bus mall it had contained various businesses over the  years, but had largely been empty in recent times.  The city ended up with it when the previous owner defaulted on his taxes.  Its been claimed that the bus mall has screwed things up for that building, but frankly I think there was something more than that going on.  In any case the city decided to demolish it because it was not only empty but suffering from some sort of mold problem. 

Then there's the Gathercole building by the river.  A former technical college in more recent years it had served as headquarters for the Saskatoon Public School Board.  Lots of folks, for reasons that really don't resonate with me(the building has never had any real appeal to me, it looked like an old box), wanted the building preserved.  But the consensus amongst city planners and others was that it should be knocked down to make way for the long planned and still nebulous South Downtown redevelopment project.  And so down it goes.  Of course things might have gone a bit differently if the tv series Body & Soul, filmed here in Saskatoon, including in the Gathercole,  had been successful.  Starring current garden products spokesman and miniseries favourite Peter Strauss it was filmed in 2002 for the US PAX Network, but was cancelled after 9 episodes were filmed.  Given how minor league of a channel PAX is the series must have done really poorly.  At the time production began the folks behind the series were optimistically talking about as much as a four year run.  Of course no one will have much luck marketing a series if they don't make lofty predictions.

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