I took these photographs on Friday October 11, 2013. This monument had never been sand blasted in its 84 year history.
The Vespra Boys is made up of three very different materials: granite field stones, concrete mortar and marble.
Each material has it’s own much different properties such as porosity, hardness, strength, etc.
One of the key heritage preservation principles is to try to do no harm. Start with the mildest, least destructive means to the stated, justifiable end.
I was told that the Ministry of Natural Resources considers any of their buildings that are over 50 years old to be “heritage” and extreme caution must be taken. I do not know if those standards apply to community cultural assets that they have legal stewardship for.
Over the years, objects as well as people acquire character. Patina is a much-valued characteristic by many people that appreciate things that have endured. In stone, sand blasting destroys this highly-prized protective layer; the earned look and feel of a well-worn artifact. The cold-hard facts are that etched monuments will likely have more structural problems in the future than if it were more gently treated. The Ontario Heritage Trust talks of The Conservation Cycle.
Sand blasting is known to radically alter the appearance, life and strength of materials. it is the most aggressive form of abrasive cleaning and is usually the last method used.
Silica sand appears to be the material used against the Vespra Boys centotaph. There are chips of mortar and stone all over the grass.
Sand blasting is classified as a form of abrasive blasting.
Abrasive blasting is the operation of forcibly propelling a stream of abrasive material against a surface under high pressure to smooth a rough surface, roughen a smooth surface, shape a surface, or remove surface contaminants. A pressurized fluid, typically air, or a centrifugal wheel is used to propel the blasting material (often called the media). The first abrasive blasting process was patented by Benjamin Chew Tilghman on 18 October 1870.
There are several variants of the process, such as bead blasting, sand blasting, sodablasting, and shot blasting.
Background: At a meeting at the site arranged by Ontario Parks Zone Manager Mr. Ken Lacroix this summer, I opposed the use of chemicals being applied and then having it power blasted with high pressure water. This elicited a very strong reaction by a representative of Ian Taylor’s, Friends of Springwater Park. I was not informed of any plans to alter the monument although I take Minister David Orazietti at his word when he said he appreciates my interest in the park.
Mr. Taylor appears to be taking credit for this “restoration” project on his Facebook page (see Sept 29th). He also thanks his good friends Patrick Brown Barrie MP, Ms. Nancy Bigelow, Ken Lacroix, Park Superintendent Scott Thomas, Monument Restoration Ltd., Barrie Legion 147 and Elmvale Legion 262.
CFB Borden, the Department of National Defence, Springwater Township and City Barrie Heritage Committees, Camp Nibi grandmothers/occupiers or the families of the 18 WWI dead appear not to have been consulted, accommodated or included in his thanks.
I have asked the Ministry of Natural Resources to secure the site and not allow any further work until more is known about some may consider a pre-meditated assault on heritage on what is claimed to be protected Ontario land.