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

Concurrent Breakout Sessions at Municipal Heritage Forum 2012

Municipal Heritage Forum 2012 (November 8th and 9th) will feature a broad range of concurrent breakout sessions designed to inform and inspire. 

DOWNLOAD: Municipal Heritage Forum 2012_Agenda and Registration Form


Julian’s Top Ten (Thursday and Friday)

Keynote speaker Julian Smith will describe his “Top Ten Favourite Places in Canada,” and why they are significant and meaningful. Come gain a new sense of perspective on spaces and places from our resident expert, and enter into a conversation about heritage values – both local and global. 

Building a Heritage Community (Thursday only)

Calgary’s heritage community gathers at the “Community Heritage Roundtable” to socialize, hear snappy presentations, and share information on heritage issues.  Run on no budget by a volunteer committee from a spectrum of heritage-related groups, quarterly events routinely attract more than 100 people, and the Roundtable has developed a contact list of more than 700 emails. Learn how this forum, now in its sixth year, is a gateway for people to connect with heritage, an incubator of heritage initiatives and a “force multiplier” for heritage advocates. Get inspired to start a heritage forum in your community! 

Connecting Homeowners and Heritage: Century Homes Calgary (Friday only)

Century Homes Calgary is an incredibly successful grassroots project that engages people to celebrate houses constructed during Calgary’s first big building boom, which peaked 100 years ago.  Inspired by If This House Could Talk”, a similar project first created by residents of Cambridge, Massachusetts, it attracted over 500 participating households in its inaugural summer of 2012. Owners and residents of century-old houses sign up to display a specially designed garden flag, research the history of their homes, and create and display home‐made signs telling their part of Calgary’s story during Historic Calgary Week. Legacy projects are planned that will leverage the huge network of heritage home owners and advocates.  Find out how this participatory heritage project can be replicated in your community!

Using the Standards and Guidelines (Thursday and Friday)

The Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada are a key tool used in making conservation decisions and alteration approvals for historic places. This classic presentation by Tom Ward, Manager of Heritage Conservation Advisory services is packed with examples and practical know-how. If you have not had training in the “S&G’s” before, this is your chance! If you have, you may just learn something new by attending.

Q & A with Municipal Heritage Services Staff (Thursday only)

Municipal Heritage Services staff – Michael Thome and Brenda Manweiler – will be available to talk with you about whatever municipal heritage issues are on your mind. Want to find out how to conduct a Municipal Heritage Survey? Ever wondered why your community should have a Municipal Heritage Management Plan? Come with your questions! 

Place Names Matter (Thursday and Friday)

Geographical names, or toponyms, serve an integral role in our society. On a practical level they provide reference points, allowing us to easily orient ourselves within our surroundings. However, geographical names are more than just labels on maps; they are a cultural legacy. They can tell us about our history and the values of previous generations. They can reveal trends in exploration and land settlement, resource use and cultural development. They provide us with a sense of both place and time. How we name places and what names we choose for them offer a glimpse of the values held by previous generations and they are a sacred trust that will inform future generations about our values. Join Ron Kelland, coordinator of the Alberta Geographical Names Program as he explains why place names are important, how names are adopted and what can be done to preserve our geographical naming heritage. 

What all municipalities should know about Aboriginal Heritage in Alberta (Thursday and Friday)

Did you know that Alberta Culture, through the Historic Resources Management Branch has a specific program area that works with Aboriginal communities to help preserve and protect their cultural heritage sites? Aboriginal Consultation Advisor Valerie Knaga will be available to give you all the information needed to increase your awareness of how this program area may be able to assist communities. 

Heritage District Learning Lab – It Happened on “Church Street” (Thursday and Friday)

Are you interested in heritage districts or areas? The City of Edmonton is working on creating and defining a unique heritage district in the inner-city. Come hear Heritage Planner David Holdsworth showcase the unfolding process behind the “Church Street” project. 

“Money, Money, Money!” – AHRF Grants 101 (Friday only)

Let’s face it, it takes resources to properly steward historic places. The Alberta Historical Resources Foundation has a number of funding programs and categories, which can help support heritage work. Grants Program Coordinator, Carina Naranjilla, will walk you through the Foundation’s grants and answer your questions.

A World Class Heritage Experience – The Historic Clay District (Thursday and Friday)

Medalta, Medicine Hat’s Historic Clay District is a National Historic Site of Canada and a Provincial Historic Resource. It is also a museum and increasingly a world-class destination in its own right. Hear from Executive Director Barry Finkelman about how Medalta is leading the way in cultural tourism for historic places.

Interested in attending Municipal Heritage Forum 2012?

DOWNLOAD: Municipal Heritage Forum 2012_Agenda and Registration Form

Prepared by: Brenda Manweiler, Municipal Heritage Services Officer

Registration for Municipal Heritage Forum 2012 is now open!

Place Matters!

Municipal Heritage Forum 2012

November 8th and 9th, 2012

Glenbow Museum (Phillips-Conoco Theatre), Calgary, AB

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

Municipal Heritage Services staff at Municipal Heritage Forum 2011 in Edmonton.

Our keynote speaker, Julian Smith, Executive Director of the Willowbank School of Restoration Arts, will draw upon his heritage conservation work in Canada, France, India and the United States to help us understand why Place Matters! Several of Alberta’s municipalities will present aspects of their heritage conservation programs for discussion and several heritage professionals will provide breakout sessions on various topics.

DOWNLOAD: Municipal Heritage Forum 2012_Agenda and Registration Form

We look forward to seeing you in Calgary!

Written by: Brenda Manweiler, Municipal Heritage Services Officer

Keynote Speaker Announced!

We are pleased to announce that the 2012 Municipal Heritage Forum keynote speaker will be Julian Smith, Executive Director of the Willowbank School of Restoration Arts in Queenston, Ontario. Julian has many years of experience as an architect and scholar focused on heritage conservation. He recently advised the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) on the development of recommendations for Historic Urban Landscapes. Julian’s wide-ranging experience makes him the pre-eminent person to speak about our theme, “Place Matters!”

To learn more about Julian and some of the innovative and significant projects that he may speak about at our Forum, check out the brief biography that is posted on the Willowbank website: 

About Julian Smith:

Julian is an architect, conservator, scholar and educator. He is internationally recognized for his contributions to the field of heritage conservation in general, and to cultural landscape theory and practice in particular. After a childhood in Montreal, Quebec; Delhi, India; and Cambridge, Massachusetts, he did undergraduate work at Oberlin, graduate studies with Kevin Lynch and others at MIT, and a certificate in preservation planning at Cornell. He worked in the contemporary design field with Peter Eisenman at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in New York City, and later returned to India to do research on cognitive mapping of historic town centres in South India. He moved to Canada and eventually became Chief Restoration Architect for the National Historic Sites program, a position he held for six years. He then established his own architectural and planning practice, and also founded and directed the graduate program in Heritage Conservation at Carleton University. He became Executive Director of Willowbank in 2008. Julian has been responsible for design and development work involving significant cultural sites in Canada, the U.S., France, Italy, India, Sri Lanka, and Japan. Among his projects are the restoration of the Vimy Monument in France, the Aberdeen Pavilion in Ottawa, and the Lister Block in Hamilton, and master plans for the Parliament Buildings in Toronto, the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa, and a new campus for a historic college in south India. He has also developed policy documents for a variety of federal and provincial agencies in Canada, and has been Canadian delegate to UNESCO for the drafting of the new international recommendation on Historic Urban Landscapes. His use of a cultural landscape framework allows him to move across the boundaries between architecture, landscape and urban design. Julian is architectural advisor to the Trustees of Queen’s University, a past member of the Advisory Committee to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, and a frequent contributor to international forums. He is a recipient of Heritage Canada’s Gabrielle Léger Award and the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario’s Eric Arthur Award, both recognizing lifetime achievement in the heritage conservation field.

Interested in hearing Julian speak? If you are a municipal heritage stakeholder (i.e. municipal staff member, heritage advisory board member, councillor) look into attending our Municipal Heritage Forum on November 8-9, 2012 in Calgary. Detailed information about the Forum will follow shortly.

Written by: Brenda Manweiler, Municipal Heritage Services Officer

Alberta Legislature Building and South Grounds Designated a Provincial Historic Resource

Photo: Courtesy of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta

On Sunday, September 2, 2012, during the Legislature Building’s centennial celebrations, Premier Alison Redford announced that the Legislature Building and portions of its south grounds have been designated a Provincial Historic Resource.

As explained in the Government of Alberta’s official news release, “the Alberta Legislature Building is an example of Beaux-Arts architecture popular in North America between 1895 and 1920. The south grounds that have historically served as a recreation area also contain archaeological resources associated with the Hudson’s Bay Company’s Fort Edmonton.” To read the complete news release, click here.

Check out the following photographs from the centennial celebrations:

Photo: Courtesy of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta
Photo: Courtesy of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta
Photo: Courtesy of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta
Photo: Courtesy of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta

Written by: Brenda Manweiler, Municipal Heritage Services Officer

Capturing the Spirit

Throughout the last few years the Municipal District of Spirit River No. 133 has supported the work of area volunteers that were looking at, listening to and learning about the history of the area. Older buildings, significant sites and places that have passed beyond recognition were identified and researched by these individuals. In essence, through history and heritage, the “spirit” of the M.D. of Spirit River was being uncovered.

Interested in building upon the great work already completed, the M.D. of Spirit River decided to explore opportunities provided through the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program.  Eager to begin evaluating sites for significance, but mindful of wanting to establish a successful heritage conservation program, the M.D. of Spirit River Council first established a Heritage Resource Committee (an advisory group of area residents that will support the M.D. with its heritage program).  After receiving orientation from Municipal Heritage Services staff (me!), and with having submitted a successful funding proposal to the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program (funded through the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation) the M.D. and the committee is ready, eager and committed to further identify the “spirit” of the M.D.

Over the course of the next year, a combined Municipal Heritage Survey and Inventory project will be completed. This project will see various sites within the municipality documented in a formal survey so that the information may be included in the Provincial Heritage Survey database. As well, approximately 10 sites will be evaluated for eligibility, significance and integrity, making them potential candidates for Municipal Historic Resource designation.

As the project progresses I hope to post updates on this blog. Stay tuned!

If you have questions about how your municipality can participate in the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program, please contact Municipal Heritage Services staff.

Written by: Brenda Manweiler, Municipal Heritage Services Officer

A Big Rock and a Colliery?

Whenever I travel Alberta for business I try to return to the office with fodder for future blog posts. As the last instalment from my April 2012 business trip, today’s blog post will feature the Big Rock Erratic, near Okotoks and the Leitch Collieries, in the Crowsnest Pass (near Burmis). Both sites are formally protected as Provincial Historic Resources and can be found on the Alberta Register of Historic Places.

Other blog posts stemming from my April travels include:

For those of you wondering if I only write about southern Alberta – don’t worry! At the end of June I will be travelling up to the MD of Opportunity. I wonder what kind of northern Alberta fodder I will discover….

Big Rock Erratic

Located off Highway 7, ten kilometres southwest of Okotoks, the Big Rock Erratic is, well, BIG! Measuring 9 metres high, 41 meters long and 18 meters wide, it is the largest rock in the Foothills Erratic Train. Essentially, some 10,000 years ago when the glacier covering the area melted, this rock and others were left behind – far from their mountain origins. Despite erosion, it still serves a huge landmark on the flat prairie.

One interesting feature of Big Rock is the large split down the middle. As shared on our Alberta Culture website, a Blackfoot story describes not only how this may have happened, but why bats have squashed-looking faces:

One hot summer day, Napi, the supernatural trickster of the Blackfoot peoples, rested on the rock because the day was warm and he was tired. He spread his robe on the rock, telling the rock to keep the robe in return for letting Napi rest there. Suddenly, the weather changed and Napi became cold as the wind whistled and the rain fell. Napi asked the rock to return his robe, but the rock refused. Napi got mad and just took the clothing. As he strolled away, he heard a loud noise and turning, he saw the rock was rolling after him. Napi ran for his life. The deer, the bison and the pronghorn were Napi’s friends, and they tried to stop the rock by running in front of it. The rock rolled over them. Napi’s last chance was to call on the bats for help. Fortunately, they did better than their hoofed neighbours, and by diving at the rock and colliding with it, one of them finally hit the rock just right and it broke into two pieces.

When driving along Highway 7, this site is difficult to miss. A large parking lot accommodates travellers and interpretive signs explain the science behind the rock’s presence. To read more about this site, click here.

Note: Quartzite is slippery to climb and although it is hard, pieces can break off in climbers’ hands. Please do not climb the rock, as tempting as it looks. Also, there are aboriginal pictographs on the rock, and these could easily be damaged by climbers. Enjoy the beautiful colours, textures and feel of the rock, but stay on the ground. Please help us protect this Provincial Historical Resource for others to enjoy.

Leitch Collieries

When established, in 1907, Leitch Collieries was one of the largest and most ambitious mines located in the Crowsnest Pass. Initially, a washery and tipple were erected along with railway connections to the CPR. By 1910 a total of 101 ovens were installed. A manager’s residence and a combined powerhouse/round house were also built on site. In an area immediately west of the Collieries, the town of Passburg grew. Ultimately, the coal mined at the Collieries turned out to be of poor coking quality and only five of the 101 ovens were used. Poor quality and economic hard times resulted in the company ceasing its operations in 1916. Most of the buildings in Passburg were relocated to Bellvue (another mining community in the Crowsnest Pass).

Both a Provincial Historic Resource and a Provincial Historic Site, Leitch Collieries is managed by the Government of Alberta as an interpreted historic site. At this site (located just east of the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre on Highway 3), visitors will find the remains of the tipple, powerhouse, coke ovens and manager’s house. Walking paths and interpretive signs allow visitors to explore the buildings and learn about the Collieries operations. The site is staffed from May 15 to Labour Day (10:00am to 5:00pm). After hours, and for the remainder of the year, the site is self-guided.

Unfortunately, my visit to Leitch Collieries was very brief. I quickly walked through the site and photographed some of the ruins. The next time you drive through the area consider pulling off the highway – spend some time wandering the remains and learn about an aspect of Alberta’s coal mining history. To read more about this site, click here.

Written by: Brenda Manweiler, Municipal Heritage Services Officer