Chris Andreae

205 South Street, Richard B. Harrison Park


Hello, my name is Chris Andreae. I have worked as a heritage planner in Ontario. At the moment I am standing at the South Street entrance of the Richard B. Harrison Park. Until the mid-1980s, the London Soap Company was located on this property.

I read about the Soap Company in the Free Press, asked if I could go and take a look. I got permission to go in and look around and spend an afternoon looking at an operation. And then the fire came and then that was the guiding action that then led us to try and remember the site since it was physically no longer going to be there.

Structurally, it was an industrial building of the period. It was brick wall, timber frame, large windows. On the exterior, it would look like an awful lot of other buildings. It’s what went on inside that was what made it really unique and distinctive, the soap manufacturing process.

And I always think that the best monument is the one that makes you curious. I go down every five or six years just to look at it and think about what was there. Like why on earth is this iron and granite thing in the valley. And I think that that’s the most important thing that it can convey now is that somebody will get curious and want to know why this thing is there. You know people are putting up monuments for other reasons but where you can’t preserve the site, the structure, at least for heaven’s sake commemorate it in a way that will make people curious.