Where Urban Meets Rural: A Survey of Strathcona County

Over a hundred sites later, Strathcona County has completed a Municipal Heritage Survey. From residential and commercial buildings to churches, schools, agricultural buildings and cultural landscapes, the County has documented a wide range of potential historic places located in all its urban and rural corners.

(IMG00387-20121017-1934.jpg) Attendees at the Brookville Community Hall open house. Historic Resources Management Branch 2012
(IMG00387-20121017-1934.jpg) Attendees at the Brookville Community Hall open house. Historic Resources Management Branch, 2012.

Strathcona County is located directly east of the City of Edmonton and to the west of Elk Island National Park. With 126,620 hectares and a population of 92,490, Strathcona County is one of the more populous municipalities in the Edmonton area. It is also one of the few specialized municipalities in Alberta. This classification is designed to accommodate the unique needs of a municipality that contains both an urban centre and a large rural area. Approximately seventy percent of Strathcona County’s population lives in Sherwood Park (an urban service area) while the remaining thirty percent of the population is divided between eight hamlets (Antler Lake, Ardrossan, Collingwood Cove, Half Moon Lake, Hastings Lake, Josephburg, North Cooking Lake and South Cooking Lake).

This mix of urban and rural places and spaces provided a diverse array of potential historic places. The one hundred and sixteen sites documented were photographed and geographical, historical and architectural details were recorded. Over the coming months, the gathered information will be placed on the Alberta Heritage Survey database.

Throughout the project, area residents were invited to learn about the initiative and to provide additional information on the documented sites. Special open house events were hosted by the County and input was encouraged during various community events (i.e. Senior’s Week Celebrations, Josephburg Chicken Supper, Wilderness Centre Fall Open House). I attended an open house at the Brookville Community Hall on October 17, 2012. At this event I witnessed a high level of community interest; a large number of area residents attended and they were all very keen to ask questions.

Interested in learning more about this project? Read these articles from the Sherwood Park News:

“Heritage sites pin-pointed”

“Survey names historic sites”

If your municipality would like to complete a municipal heritage survey or a different municipal heritage planning project, please visit our Municipal Heritage Partnership Program website or contact MHPP Staff.

Written by: Brenda Manweiler, Municipal Heritage Services Officer

It’s a new year!

Copy of Copy of Front Cover 1

MHPP Funding Deadlines (2013)

The Municipal Heritage Partnership Program (MHPP) provides cost-shared funding opportunities to Alberta municipalities for the identification, evaluation and management of local historic places. Municipal Heritage Services staff are also available to provide guidance and training to Alberta municipalities for the successful identification and conservation of local historic places.

Funding proposals from municipalities are accepted on an on-going basis. These proposals are then reviewed by the board of the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation.

2013 MHPP funding deadlines:

  • January 25, 2013
  • April 12, 2013
  • August 9, 2013
  • November 1, 2013 

If you would like to learn more about MHPP funding opportunities, or discuss project ideas please contact MHPP staff.

The Alberta Historical Resources Foundation also supports a range of community and individual heritage initiatives through the Heritage Preservation Partnership Program.

Written by: Brenda Manweiler, Municipal Heritage Services Officer

Blog posts will resume January 3rd

To read a festive blog post, check out: St. Nicholas Peak, written by Ron Kelland.

Heritage along the Highway

Yellowhead County: Municipal Heritage Survey and Inventory

A municipal heritage survey of approximately 300 sites and a municipal heritage inventory project to evaluate 30 surveyed sites for eligibility, significance and integrity have been keeping the highways and byways of Yellowhead County busy. Throughout 2011 and 2012, heritage consultants and local heritage enthusiasts have been exploring, identifying and learning about the history and heritage of one of Alberta’s largest rural municipalities – Yellowhead County.

The Cadomin Photo Studio was documented in the Yellowhead County Municipal Heritage Survey and is currently be evaluated as part of the County's inventory project.
The Cadomin Photo Studio was documented in the Yellowhead County Municipal Heritage Survey and is currently being evaluated as part of the County’s inventory project.

West of Edmonton, Yellowhead County is located along Yellowhead Highway 16. It encompasses 7,012,000 acres stretching from the Pembina River in the east to the Jasper National Park gates in the west. Travellers that frequent this section of the Yellowhead Highway are likely familiar with the Towns of Edson and Hinton and, of course, the iconic Rocky Mountains. What might be less familiar is that alongside these Highway 16 destinations and nestled off into the north and south of this transportation corridor are reminders of a long and varied history. Trapping, logging, farming, coal mining and more recently oil, gas and tourism have all impacted the development of what is now Yellowhead County. Various structures, cultural landscapes and buildings located in the hamlets of Evansburg, Wildwood, Robb, Cadomin and Brule (amongst others) retain glimpses of this diverse history.

Miners cabins, ranches, hotels, industrial remains, barns, schools, churches, a pool hall and a water tower exemplify the range of potential historic places documented and evaluated in Yellowhead County’s heritage survey and inventory projects. Throughout 2011 and 2012 an extensive but not exhaustive survey was completed. Upwards of three hundred potential historic places located in all corners of the County were photographed and geographical, architectural and historical information was recorded for uploading to the Alberta Heritage Survey database.

Currently, thirty of the three hundred surveyed sites are being evaluated to determine if they possess significance – in other words – why are the sites important to area residents? Did they have a lasting impact on making the community what it is today? The sites will also be evaluated for integrity to ensure they still possess the ability to communicate their significance. The results of this analysis will be written up into Statements of Significance and Statements of Integrity. Yellowhead County staff, combined with the services of a heritage consultant and the County’s Heritage Advisory Board, will see this project through to completion.

Yellowhead County Heritage Advisory Body Back L-R: Gary Conger, Shawn Berry, Brian Broughton, Pat DiMarcello. Front L-R: Cheryl May (Heritage Coordinator), Marshall Hoke (Chair), Debbie Charest (Director of Community and Protective Services).
Yellowhead County Heritage Advisory Body – Back L-R: Gary Conger, Shawn Berry, Brian Broughton, Pat DiMarcello. Front L-R: Cheryl May (Heritage Coordinator), Marshall Hoke (Chair), Debbie Charest (Director of Community and Protective Services).

The municipal heritage survey and the inventory project will allow applicable municipal staff, councillors and residents to better understand the older places that make their communities unique and vibrant. Essentially, these projects will serve as a foundation for establishing a local heritage conservation program and will contribute to sense of place and community identity.

Written by: Brenda Manweiler, Municipal Heritage Services Officer

Thank you! Success despite Snow!

Municipal Heritage Forum 2012

Last week, on November 8th and 9th, the sixth annual municipal heritage forum was held at the Glenbow Museum’s Conoco-Phillips Theatre. Nearly 85 attendees from rural and urban municipalities gathered to discuss issues and opportunities associated with the local conservation of historic urban landscapes.

We thank all those that made the trek to Calgary through adverse winter driving conditions. Your enthusiasm and participation was inspiring.

Stay tuned for detailed Forum updates!

Future blog posts will feature Julian Smith’s keynote address, the municipal show and tell presentations and the full range of presentations provided during the concurrent breakout sessions. In the meantime, please enjoy some photographs from the various sessions:

Matthew Francis, Manager of Municipal Heritage Services, welcoming attendees.
Concurrent Breakout Session: How Cultural Landscapes Build Strong Communities
Municipality Show & Tell: Medicine Hat Heritage Resources Committee
Stephen Avenue Walking Tour
Concurrent Breakout Session: Using the Standards and Guidelines
Group Photo (Friday, November 9, 2012)

Written by: Brenda Manweiler, Municipal Heritage Services Officer

Register for Municipal Heritage Forum 2012

November 8th and 9th, Calgary

One week left before registration closes!

Municipal Heritage Forum 2012 is the annual opportunity for municipal leaders interested in the conservation of locally significant historic places. If you are a municipal heritage planner, heritage advisory board member or councillor we encourage you to sign up today!

Why should you attend?

– Our keynote speaker, Julian Smith, Executive Director of the Willowbank School of Restoration Arts, will explore the theme Place Matters! by sharing his perspectives on places and spaces.

– Concurrent breakout sessions will offer opportunities to learn about developing and implementing municipal heritage conservation programs. Topics include:

  • the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada;
  • the integral role of geographical place names in conserving local and provincial heritage;
  • aboriginal heritage;
  • funding programs offered by the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation; and
  • meet and discuss your ideas, questions and concerns about municipal heritage conservation with Municipal Heritage Services Officers Michael Thome and Brenda Manweiler.

– Several of Alberta’s municipalities with active heritage conservation programs will present aspects of their programs. Learn firsthand how local heritage is being conserved!

Interested in attending?

DOWNLOAD: Municipal Heritage Forum 2012_Agenda and Registration Form

Written by: Brenda Manweiler, Municipal Heritage Services Officer

Prior Preparation and Planning

Municipal Heritage Planning in the Village of Holden

Members of the Holden Heritage Resources Committee at the 2011 Municipal Heritage Forum

In 2011 the Village completed a combined Municipal Heritage Survey and Inventory but decided that before designating any Municipal Historic Resources it would be best to develop a “recipe” for a successful local heritage conservation program. In January of 2012, the Village of Holden began work on the plan. Village staff and the Holden Heritage Resources Committee, with the services of a heritage consultant, have developed a draft plan appropriate to the Village’s needs and objectives. Elements of the plan include:

  • a policy outlining the designation process and eligibility requirements;
  • a procedure for reviewing requests to alter Municipal Historic Resources; and
  • a template bylaw for Municipal Historic Resource designations.

On Tuesday, October 16, 2012 the Village hosted on open house, inviting the owners of properties that had been documented and evaluated in the Municipal Heritage Survey and Inventory project, and any other interested residents. The attendance numbers and interest exhibited revealed an engaged community. Congratulations on a successful open house!

Cost-shared funding assistance for this project was provided by the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program (Alberta Historical Resources Foundation). If your municipality is interested in developing a municipal heritage conservation program please contact Municipal Heritage Services. 

Written by: Brenda Manweiler, Municipal Heritage Services Officer

A Vibrant Culture Summit – Arts, Heritage and Redevelopment

Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo 

On Thursday, September 20th I was invited to participate in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo’s Vibrant Culture Summit up in Fort McMurray. Attended by approximately 85 area residents and culture enthusiasts, the event sparked conversation about how to enhance local culture.

The day began with a keynote presentation by Gord Hume. As a former municipal councillor and author, he spoke about cultural planning, creative cities and how culture – when combined with economic, social and environmental factors – can produce dynamic, sustainable communities. Three panel discussions and various roundtable questions completed the day.

Attendees listening to my presentation on heritage conservation.

Panel One featured the City Centre Area Redevelopment Plan. Attendees were able to glimpse the sights and sounds intended for a revitalized City Centre. The arts and other cultural pursuits are central components in the plan.

Panel Two served as an update on the creation of Arts Council Wood Buffalo. Established in February 2012, the Arts Council will work with regional arts organizations to strengthen and promote arts in the area.

Panel Three was all about HERITAGE! Jack Peden, Vice President of the Fort McMurray Historical Society, spoke about early river travel in the region, which is a significant aspect of Fort McMurray’s history as the confluence of the Athabasca River and the Clearwater River is located in town. He also featured some of the restored vessels that now call the Fort McMurray Marine Park Museum home.

As the Municipal Heritage Services Officer responsible for working with the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, I was also asked to be part of the panel. I provided a brief introductory presentation on heritage conservation and engaged the attendees in a game of “Is this a historic place?” Through discussion and laughter, it was determined:

  • yes, a historic place can be a 1960, 45 unit apartment building (i.e. Valleyview Manor in the City of Edmonton);
  • yes, a historic place can be a 1966 Safeway Store (formally recognized as a historic place by the City of Vancouver); and
  • yes, a historic place can also be a 160’ steel hangar built in 1953 and located at CFB Cold Lake.

These and other places, despite being relatively “new” and void of boomtown facades, ornate columns or other elements of traditional architecture can still be historic places. Historic places can be pretty or gritty, modern or traditional, modest or ornate, representative or symbolic…. Historic places reflect a community’s evolution – they help to tell the story of how a community has evolved into its present form. It is through the conservation of these varied places that a community’s unique identity is celebrated, enabling the community to be some place, somewhere as opposed to any place, anywhere.

I was very pleased to speak at the Vibrant Culture Summit. I appreciated the opportunity to learn about the cultural successes and challenges occurring in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo thereby allowing me to better understand the region’s varied heritage.  As a Municipal Heritage Services Officer I spend much of my time travelling Alberta meeting with municipal heritage stakeholders. Typically, these meetings are specific to heritage conservation as I advise municipal administration in their development of local heritage conservation programs, present information to councils on our Municipal Heritage Partnership Program, or provide specialized training on municipal heritage surveys, inventories and management plans to Heritage Advisory Bodies. Occasionally – and quite happily – I get the opportunity to speak to a wider range of community stakeholders, and be reminded that heritage conservation is but one aspect responsible for enabling vibrant and sustainable communities. Thank you, Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, for offering me one of these opportunities!

Written by: Brenda Manweiler, Municipal Heritage Services Officer