Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Developer who tried to save Downsview hangars killed in plane crash

A heritage developer who once had hopes of saving two airplane hangars at Downsview Park has been killed in a plane crash.
Paul Oberman, president of Woodcliffe Landmark Properties, was flying in a private four-seat plane with another man over Maine the night of Tuesday, March 7 when they hit an ice storm.
The other man was airlifted to a hospital in Quebec City after the crash.
In December 2009, Oberman spoke to The Mirror about his hope of saving the historic hangars so they could be used for private aircraft in the Greater Toronto Area and to house an aviation museum.
He had noticed the Second World War-era hangars were in the initial stages of being demolished as he was driving along Allen Road.
"They are important to our heritage. It would be a shame to lose them," Oberman, a pilot, said at the time.
"They played an important role in our war efforts."
With the help of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, Oberman began lobbying the federal government to save the hangars.
However, they were torn down about a year ago when Downsview Park and the Department of National Defence could not reach a deal.
Oberman was no stranger to saving Toronto's history.
His notable restoration projects included the Gooderham Flatiron building and the Summerhill LCBO store. He was in the process of redeveloping Market Square near the St. Lawrence Market.

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