Heritage at the Prince

Today and tomorrow the annual Municipal Heritage Forum is being hosted at the Prince of Wales Armouries, in Edmonton. This impressive building was constructed in 1914-15 as the Edmonton Drill Hall. In 1979 it was designated a Provincial Historic Resource and in 2004 the City of Edmonton designated it a Municipal Historic Resource. The facility currently serves as the Prince of Wales Armouries Heritage Centre. The current tenants include:

City of Edmonton Archives

Edmonton Heritage Council

Telephone Historical Centre

Loyal Edmonton Regiment Military Museum

Edmonton Arts Council

To learn about the historic significance of the Prince of Wales Armouries please click here.

Written by: Brenda Manweiler, Municipal Heritage Services Officer

Lacombe: An Evening of Heritage

Back L-R: Donald Luxton, Peter Bouwsema (Councillor), Jason Haggkvist. Front L-R: Kelsey Van Grinsven, Laura Pasacreta, Marie Péron, Andrea Becker, Sean Stroud, Kirstin Bouwsema

It’s been a busy few weeks for friends of heritage in the City of Lacombe. On Friday October 14th, I led a workshop on values-based management for members of the city’s Heritage Steering Committee. The City of Lacombe, with the advice of the committee, will soon begin evaluating several historic places for heritage value.

Then, on Thursday October 20th, the City of Lacombe hosted an “Evening of Heritage”. About 80 residents listened to several presentations and afterwards had many great questions. Over the course of the evening:

  • Laura Pasacreta, of Donald Luxton and Associates, updated the community on the progress of the ongoing heritage inventory;
  • Donald Luxton, Principal of Donald Luxton and Associates, showed the audience how to maintain and repair a historic wood-frame window; and
  • David Holdsworth, a Heritage Planner with the City of Edmonton, spoke about Edmonton’s municipal heritage conservation program.

The City of Lacombe began working with MHPP in 2008. Since that time, the entire community has been surveyed and the heritage steering committee has identified well over 100 places that deserve further study. Since 2009, Lacombe has been steadily evaluating these sites to determine which have sufficient value to the community to warrant Municipal Historic Resource designation.

Not content to simply evaluate historic places, the “Evening of Heritage” marks the first step in Lacombe’s efforts to develop municipal polices to protect and conserve locally significant historic places. The event was a great way to introduce the community to the idea of heritage conservation.

We congratulate Lacombe’s ongoing efforts to conserve locally significant historic places, or at least we plan to just as soon as we catch our breath …

Written by: Michael Thome, Municipal Heritage Services Officer

Lecture Series: Rutherford House Provincial Historic Site

Have you ever been curious about Rutherford House?? 

What is the history behind this provincial historic site? 

Who was Rutherford and what did this man do that was so important? 

How did this house become protected and why? 

What about the architecture of the house? 

Is it Edwardian, Jacobethan, or Queen Anne Revival?

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Rutherford House, we have asked our colleagues to help us answer these questions and more.  Join us in Edmonton for a mini lecture series at Rutherford House Provincial Historic Site, take a tour of the house and enjoy some tea and fresh baked cookies.

Sunday, October 16, 2 pm; Rutherford House:  A House, a Family, their Community and Times

Presented by Ron Kelland, Historic Places Researcher and Geographical Names Program Coordinator

Sunday October 23, 2 pm; Conserving Rutherford House

Presented by Larry Pearson, Director of Alberta’s Historic Places Program

Sunday October 30, 2 pm; Achnacarry: Designed for a Purpose

Presented by Dorothy Field, Coordinator of the Alberta Heritage Survey

PROGRAM FEE: $5.00 per person / includes lecture, tour of the house museum, along with tea and home baked cookies.

For additional details, please click here: Rutherford House Mini Lecture Series, 2011. For location information, please click on the attached map.

Pre-registration required by calling (780)427-3995 or (780)427-0357.

High River Heritage Work off to a Great Start!

Back in August, we announced on this blog that the “cool little town” of High River was one of four communities to be approved for funding from the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program. Over the next year High River will be completing a Municipal Heritage Inventory project. Shortly after the funding announcement, I met with Town staff in High River, and since then the community’s heritage planning efforts have gotten off to an excellent start.

Over the Summer, a key staff appointment was made by the Town. Vidya John, a new member of the Planning and Development Team, and High River’s new Heritage and Cultural Planner, will lead and guide the Town’s Heritage initiatives. Vidya brings with her a background both in the arts, as well as in urban planning – a stellar combination to help a community create a future for its historic places.

One of the key assets to any community in carrying out a project like a Municipal Heritage Survey or Inventory is a Heritage Advisory Body, or “H.A.B,” for short. This group, which may otherwise be known as a “Committee,” “Board,” “Commission,” “Group,” or “Team,” is formally appointed by a municipal council, and provides strategic advice to Council on heritage-related matters.

The Sheppard/Maccoy House, located in the Town of High River, is a designated Municipal Historic Resource.

On September 26th, High River’s Town Council approved the creation of a Heritage Advisory Board, which will provide community-based advice on the Inventory project. Soon the HAB members will be selected and High River’s Heritage conservation work will be off to a great start with their Heritage Inventory project.

Great job, High River!

Written by: Matthew Francis, Manager of Municipal Heritage Services

Note: The Alberta Register of Historic Places lists both Provincial Historic Resources and Municipal Historic Resources located in High River. Click here to read about these sites.

Strathcona Collegiate Institute, Edmonton

When the Calgary & Edmonton Railway arrived at the south bank of the North Saskatchewan River in 1891, the C & E immediately subdivided a townsite which it named South Edmonton.  Being at the end of steel, the community steadily grew throughout the decade until, in 1899, it was incorporated as the Town of Strathcona with a population exceeding 1,000.  As with Edmonton to the north, Strathcona grew rapidly in the wake of the Klondike gold rush, and, in 1907, it was incorporated as a city with an estimated population of 3,500.  Edmonton, however, was destined to grow at an even greater pace when the Canadian Northern and Grand Trunk Pacific Railways arrived there in 1905 and 1908 respectively, giving this city a direct rail link to eastern Canada.  With most major industries concentrating their operations in Edmonton, Strathcona became more of a residential district, a phenomenon encouraged by the decision of the provincial government, in 1908, to locate a provincial university just to the west of this city.  From this point on, Strathcona would be billed as the University City.

In the spring of 1908, the buildings of the new University of Alberta had yet to be designed let alone constructed.  There were, however, a growing number of high school graduates who wanted to attend university right away.  As a result, the University’s Board of Governors approached the Strathcona Public School Board for the use of a portion of a new high school which was then nearing completion on Lumsden (84th) Avenue and Duggan (105th) Street.  The new 125’ x 77’ school had been designed by the architectural firm of Johnson & Lines to become the largest and most sophisticated high school in Alberta.  It was being built by the firm of Thomas Richards at what would turn out to be a cost of about $100,000.  This was on the site of the earlier Duggan Street School, with additional land acquired by the School Board to the west to accommodate the larger facility.

The cornerstone of the new facility had been laid by Premier Rutherford himself on 18 October, 1907.  Rutherford, from Strathcona, was also the Minister of Education for Alberta.  When it was officially opened by Lieutenant-Governor Bulyea on 17 February 1909, at a ceremony attended by about 600 people, the institution was officially designated the Strathcona Collegiate Institute, in recognition of its initial post-secondary role.  The main floor was to house 71 high school students in four classrooms, while the 2nd floor was taken over by the University.  This included four classrooms to accommodate 47 undergraduate students, the office of President Henry M. Tory, and the University Library.  The third floor was made over into an auditorium with a stage, while the basement provided room for both a boys and a girls gymnasium. Read more

Rediscovering a Lost Art

On September 24, 2011, the Lacombe and District Historical Society hosted an event celebrating the designation of the Lacombe Blacksmith Shop as a Provincial Historic Resource.  Situated just off the City of Lacombe’s historic downtown, the blacksmith shop opened more than a century ago and is a tangible reminder of an essential craft during Alberta’s early settlement period. Present at the celebration was a veteran blacksmith and his young apprentice. Using traditional tools to shape modern creations, these two men embody the remarkable continuity between the historic identity of blacksmithing as a utilitarian settlement craft and its emerging face as a specialized form of artistry serving both ornamental and functional needs.

Read more about this event and the Lacombe Blacksmith Shop Museum by clicking here.

Learn more about this Provincial Historic Resource by visiting the Alberta Register of Historic Places.

Written by: Matthew Wangler, Manager of Historic Places Research and Designation Program

Is it a historic place, resource or site? What’s the difference?

Some of the words we use to discuss heritage conservation can be confusing. The related but distinct terms historic place, historic resource and historic site are often misunderstood. Sometimes, people will talk of historic sites when they mean historic resources, and make reference to historic places when the place is not formally historic. Confused? I shall clarify:

Historic Place is the generic term used throughout Canada to reference “a structure, building, group of buildings, district, landscape, archaeological site or other place in Canada that has been formally recognized for its heritage value.” Each province and territory has separate legislation regulating the identification, evaluation and management of historic places. Therefore, each province uses a different term to describe a designated or protected historic place. For example, in Manitoba they are called Heritage Sites and in Saskatchewan, Heritage Properties. 

Brooks Aqueduct is a historic place designated as a Provincial Historic Resource and is operated as a historic site.

Alberta’s Historical Resources Act uses the term Historic Resource. A Historic Resource is defined as a historic place valued for “its palaeontological, archaeological, prehistoric, historic, cultural, natural, scientific or esthetic interest”. The Government of Alberta may designate a historic resource as a Provincial Historic Resource and a municipality may designate a historic resource as a Municipal Historic Resource. Designated historic resources may not be repaired, altered or destroyed without written approval from the designating authority.

A Historic Site is a historic resource owned or leased by the Government of Alberta and managed by the Historic Sites and Museums Branch of Culture and Community Spirit. These sites are interpreted through public programming, signage and exhibits. Stephansson House and Brooks Aqueduct are examples of historic sites.

So, if you ever find yourself talking about an old place ask: “What do I really mean? Has it been formally recognized by the Government of Alberta or a municipality?” Perhaps you are talking about a formally recognized historic resource.

Written by: Brenda Manweiler, Municipal Heritage Services Officer