Heritage Village, Vineland, Ontario

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The Village Developers

The initial development of Heritage Village was the brain child of land-owner Frederick Short of Vineland, as a Bicentennial project to honour the 200 years of Mennonite settlerment.   The concept was then sold to Developer Werner Heinrichs and his brother, architect Victor J. Heinrichs (Toronto)..  The initial concept was a self-contained classic village, not  restricted to retirees but able to accomodate both young families and retirees with facilities to handle all stages of life and a mix of homes, from single-family, to townhouse to apartment and finally to assisted living.



John Hawley,(photo left) a resident of Niagara-on-the-Lake since 1991, was in charge of Heritage Village while President of Heritage Village Vineland Ltd. when the Heritage Club was turned over to the residents.  John was assisted by his wife Elizabeth, an interior designer, to which we likely owe the elegance of our clubhouse. Now as President of Traditional Neighbourhood Developments Inc. Mr. Hawley, recognized that our Village reflected New Urbanism, an architectural movement, launched circa 1982. Our community was an early example of what is also called Traditional Neighbourhood Development (TND), in contrast to the post-war architecture of Conventional Suburban Development (CSD) which gave us suburban sprawl, strip-malls, big box stores and other artefacts of the automotive culture.  The new concept is retrograde: back to sustainable development and integration of urban, rural, retail and topography into traditional towns, more friendly to people. 

In 1996, Mr. Hawley attended a course at The Seaside Institute, Seaside, Florida, birthplace of New Urbanism : “The Techniques of Town Planning”  taught by Andrés Duany, of Duany Plater-Zyberk, and Robert Davis, the developer of Seaside and founder of The Seaside Institute in 1982. Seaside is an 80 acre pedestrian-scaled beach town of 489 dwellings and 76 shops, that became the prototype for the New Urbanism movement based on rediscovered traditional town planning.    

After putting the finishing touches on Heritage Village, John Hawley partnered with local land-owner Bud Wright (photo, on right) a retired Hamilton stock broker.  They   hired Andrés Duany and his team to engage local townsfolk in development of a master plan for a TND called The Village, at the entrance of Niagara-on-the-Lake.  After Bud Wright passed away in 2007, Hawley joined forces with Brookfield Homes (Ontario) Limited to finish the 50 acre project, wich includes an adjoining retirement  complex. The three story seniors’ residence will be run by Chartwell, operator of Chateau Gardens in NOTL.  

The Village townhouses  The Village sign

 The Village, still under construction (in 2010), required approval of new zoning bylaws because of radical departures from standard subdivision zoning. The results won the 2009 Ontario Home Builders Association “Project of the Year”.

John Hawley

 Hawley (photo) and his company, are members of the Seaside Institute and The Congress for the New Urbanism.  Such  thinking has strong support from  our future king Charles, HRH the Prince of Wales.  Prince Charles as head of The Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment is sponsoring numerous New Urbanism projects in England.  Heritage Village as a proud forerunner, is in good company.


  Further Reading:

 Chat Bridger, "New urban community wins standing ovation",Buffalo News, B16,Nov.27, 1998.

Pat Brennan, Picture Perfect, The Toronto Star,Section N,  June 14, 1997.



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