At a Press Conference on Tuesday Oct 9, Thomas Fairfull, President and CEO of FSD Pharma had a ribbon cutting ceremony as he announced the start of work on “converting the historic Certo building … into a heritage museum and on-site dispensary. The Certo building is an important part of Cobourg’s history and the Company intends to preserve this unique building.” But they are seemingly not interested in local media, only “national media with media credentials” were invited – so the photo below was taken later in the day. Mayor Brocanier and Mayor Elect John Henderson were at the ribbon cutting but MP Kim Rudd was not although she was invited. The Certo building on the old Kraft property was originally slated to be demolished, but a year ago, Diane Chin, President of the Architectural Conservancy Ontario, Cobourg branch, asked council to deny the demolition permit and designate the building as having Heritage value.
Alison Torrie Lapaire was the Town’s Heritage Planner at the time and she reported to Council:
In my opinion, the subject property meets numerous criteria for designation under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act, and as prescribed by O.Reg. 9/06. The site is culturally significant because of its design and physical value, historical and associative value, and contextual value. The subject property is an example of a well-designed early 20th century industrial building complex with associated buildings that is a local landmark.
Council denied the demolition permit and the building was designated and now the work to clean it up and preserve it has started. Presumably that includes making it fit for human habitation – see the link below on the reasons for demolition.
Security at the William street gate denied me access to the property but the building is near Ontario Street so can be viewed from there. Although photos of workers were also denied, I managed to see that workers are indeed on site and cleaning the inside from the back door. The photo at right is of the front which looks the same as it did a year ago (see links below). The original estimate to fix it was approx. $500,000.
It seems that Fairfull wants to turn the problem into an advantage and make the place a destination. He said he thinks it’s important for his company to support heritage in the Town. I’d suggest that if he wants to make it a museum and dispensary, he needs to make access easier than it is currently. Security is strong off William Street (as it should be) – maybe for the public access to the Museum/Dispensary they’ll bypass that tight security and provide access off Ontario Street.
The Press release quoted Fairfull:
“The former Certo building was the first in the British Empire to make commercial grade pectin that was sold under the product name of ‘Certo’ and is estimated at over 100 years old. The property is listed on the municipal heritage register as a property of cultural heritage value.
“Today, we also begin construction of our flagship on-site dispensary, an important component of our business plan as we sit on the brink of adult-use legalization on October 17, 2018 . The Company is preparing in earnest for sales of our high quality, indoor grown and pharmaceutical grade product, which will be available for sale shortly.”
At the ribbon cutting, Fairfull said that it will take 6 to 8 weeks before the dispensary opens. He’s assuming that the Town will allow a dispensary at that location – Council has until January 22, 2019 to decide on where cannabis stores will be allowed in the Town – if at all. Although Gil was supportive, he won’t be on the Council which makes the decision. But it’s my understanding that there won’t be any retail sales in Ontario (apart from online) until April 1, 2019.
- Demolition planned for Kraft Heritage Building – 19 September 2017 – Includes photos of the state of inside the building and details of the state of the building.
- ACO looking at moving Certo Building – 2 October 2017 – At this meeting, Diane Chin asked for the building to be certified as Heritage.
- Certo Building Demolition on Hold – 18 October 2017
- Cobourg to Hold Public Meeting on Cannabis Stores – 7 October 2018
- Official FSD Pharma Press Release – 9 October 2018