Building Stories Podcast: Mary Webb Cultural & Community Centre

Friday, December 6, 2013

Mary Webb Cultural & Commuity CentreWATERLOO, December 6, 2013 – On Monday, December 9, 2013 the ninth episode of the Building Stories Podcast series will be released. The episode will feature the Mary Webb Cultural & Community Centre in Highgate, Ontario.

Functioning as Highgate United Church for most of its life, the building was transformed by an enthusiastic group of volunteers into Mary Webb Centre in 2010. In the podcast Louise Scott tells the history of the church and the story of Mary Webb Gosnell, the centre’s namesake, and how Mary Webb helped form the beginning of the church congregation in 1834. Louise also tells the story of how the building was successfully converted into the performance space, art gallery and community centre it is today.

Sharon Gosnell Alliet, Ticketmaster of the Centre and a descendent of Mary Webb, and music director Peter Garapick are also interviewed in the podcast. They speak about some of the musical performances including tenor John McDermott, Steven Page formerly of the Bare Naked Ladies, and Windsor Symphony Orchestra members.

The podcast will be available to listen to on the Building Stories website at under the ‘Publicity’ tab. It will also be attached to the Building Stories entry for the Mary Webb Centre, a featured location on the website’s home page.

The first eight episodes of the podcast series focused on the London Life Insurance Building in London, Victoria Hall in Cobourg, Keefer Mansion in Thorold, the Stratford Historical Plaque Program, Victoria Jubilee Hall in Walkerton, Camp 30 in Bowmanville, the Guelph Civic Museum, and the Maclean House in Toronto. They are also available to listen to on Building Stories.

The Mary Webb Centre is also one of the many historic buildings included in a book that the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario has released to celebrate their 80th year. Titled “80 for 80: Celebrating Eighty Years of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario”, the book tells the stories of 80 buildings that the ACO has saved or helped saved. It is now available for order on the ACO’s website at

Building Stories is a website and mobile application that enables Canadians to take a direct role in identifying important community heritage assets. Building Stories is an incredible new on-line resource making thousands of original documents, photos and historical records available online from a wide variety of communities. The website engages the public in a way that has never been done before to help explain the importance of heritage in communities across Canada.

Dr. Robert Shipley, Director of the Heritage Resources Centre, states, “Through being able to use the inventory tool in a web-based and interactive way, it will allow communities and individual citizens to take a direct and active role in identifying the significant and valued structures that make up such a vital part of the country’s heritage assets. There has never been anything like this and the result will be to magnify and expand both interest in, and understanding of our built environment.”

Currently, the website includes entries from every province and territory in Canada. Building Stories will continue to grow into new communities as new collections and archives are added to the fully searchable database. Individuals  are encouraged to comment on existing listings and contribute their own sites with stories, memories, digital artifacts, and photographs.

Building Stories has been developed by the Heritage Resources Centre (HRC) and the Computer Systems Group, both at the University of Waterloo, and the Centre for Community Mapping (COMAP).

The development and creation of The Building Stories Podcast series have been made possible by the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario and the Government of Ontario. The podcasts have been written, produced and hosted by Amy Barnes, a Heritage Consultant from Cambridge, Ontario.

For more information please contact:

Melissa Davies
Building Stories Project Manager
Heritage Resources Centre, University of Waterloo

519.888.4567 ext. 36921