Heritage Marker Unveiling in Peace River

The Municipal District of Peace No. 135, which has been celebrating its centenary in 2016, hosted the unveiling of the two latest Provincial Heritage Markers on August 24. The first marker details the rich history of the region’s fur trade and the competition between the Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Company, as well as the crucial participation of First Nations people as trappers and provisioners. The second marker highlights the history and growth of agricultural settlement in the area at Shaftesbury Settlement. The unveiling was attended by Leah Miller, Board Member of the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation, who brought greetings from the Board and Minister of Culture and Tourism, Ricardo Miranda.

Leah Miller, Board Member of the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation at the unveiling of the Shaftsbury Settlement Heritage Marker.
Leah Miller, Board Member of the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation, at the unveiling of the Shaftesbury Settlement Heritage Marker.

The Shaftesbury Settlement marker was installed at the St. Augustine’s Mission Site in September 2015, while the Peace River Fur Trade marker was installed at the site of the McLeod’s Fort Cairn on Highway 684 in December 2015. The Provincial Heritage Marker Program promotes greater awareness of the provincially-significant people, places, events and themes that have defined the history and character of our province. The public plays an important role in the program, and we welcome applications from groups or individuals who want to propose topics and locations for future markers, including our popular urban/trail-sized markers, suitable for placement in towns, parks, and other locations with pedestrian traffic. For more information about the program, please visit our website.

New Peace River Fur Trade Heritage Marker at the site of McLeod's Fort Cairn on Highway 684 in the Municipal District of Peace No. 135.
New Peace River Fur Trade Heritage Marker at the site of McLeod’s Fort Cairn on Highway 684 in the Municipal District of Peace No. 135.

Written By: Allan Rowe, Historic Places Research Officer

Mount Lougheed and Wind Mountain

One of the most recognizable mountains in the Canadian Rockies is Mount Lougheed. Located approximately 15 kilometres southeast of Canmore, this majestic 3,150 metre (10,335 ft.) mountain is named for Sir James Alexander Lougheed. However, Lougheed is not the only name the mountain has had. In fact, it is not even the first mountain in the area to bear the name Lougheed. The story of how the mountain became known as Mount Lougheed is interesting.

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Mount Lougheed from the Trans-Canada Highway, August 2011. The entire massif is known as Mount Lougheed. The large, central peak is likely the feature named “Windy Mountain” by Eugene Bourgeau in 1858. The prominent peak furthest to the right is Windtower Mountain. The peak known today as Wind Mountain is the distinctly pointed peak visible on the horizon at left side of the photograph.
Source: Larry Pearson, Historic Places Stewardship Section, Alberta Culture and Tourism.

In 1858, Eugène Bourgeau (sometimes spelled Bourgeaux), a botanist with the Palliser Expedition, accompanied James Hector up the Bow Valley towards what is now Canmore. Bourgeau named many of the mountains and lakes along the way. Bourgeau was struck by the way the clouds swirled around one particular peak. James Hector, in his account of August 11, 1858, noted that Read more

Romanian Settlement in Alberta

One of the latest additions to the Provincial Heritage Marker collection details the history of Romanian settlement in Alberta, starting with the first Romanian pioneers to settle in the province in 1898, Ikum Yurko and Elie Ravliuk. The earliest Romanian settlements in Alberta were concentrated in the east-central part of the province, where communities such as Boian flourished in the early twentieth century. New Romanian-Albertan communities emerged in the late 1920s as the children of the first generation began to move to other parts of the province in search of land and new opportunities. By the 1950s the province’s Romanian population was predominantly Canadian-born, but Romanian culture, traditions and language still flourished in Alberta.

New Heritage Marker installed in June 2015 on Highway 45 east of Willingdon.
New Heritage Marker installed in June 2015 on Highway 45 east of Willingdon.

The marker was installed on Highway 45 east of Willingdon in June 2015. The Provincial Heritage Marker Program promotes greater awareness of the provincially-significant people, places, events and themes that have defined the history and character of our province. Topics relevant to the history of immigration, settlement and ethnic history has been an important part of the program since it was first launched in 1955. The public plays an important role in the program, and we welcome applications from groups or individuals who want to propose topics and locations for future markers, including our popular urban/trail-sized markers, suitable for placement in towns, parks, and other locations with pedestrian traffic. For more information about the program, please visit our website.

Written By: Allan Rowe, Historic Places Research Officer

Alberta’s New Heritage Marker – Raymond Stampede

Visitors to this year’s Raymond Stampede got to learn more about the fascinating history of the event with the installation of the latest Alberta Historical Resources Foundation heritage marker. The marker details the history of the event – the first of its kind held in Alberta – dating back to 1902, when prominent rancher Raymond Knight decided to organize a skills competition for local cowboys and ranch hands. The success of the Raymond Stampede inspired the organization of similar events across Alberta, with a growing range of events and prizes that attracted more and more competitors. Held in dozens of communities across the province each year, rodeos have long been significant cultural events in Alberta that strongly reflect its great agricultural heritage.

Raymond Stampede's new heritage marker.
Raymond Stampede’s new heritage marker.

The marker was installed on June 25, 2015 at the site of the Stampede in Raymond Knight Memorial Park. The Town of Raymond applied for the development of the heritage marker through the Alberta Heritage Markers Program. The program was established in 1955 to promote greater awareness of the historic people, places, events, and themes that have defined the character of our province. The program brings Alberta’s dynamic history alive through heritage markers placed at roadside pullouts, within parks, and in other community locales.

Written by: Allan Rowe, Historic Places Research Officer

Ancient Origins, Modern Marvels in Drumheller

Visitors to the Town of Drumheller can now learn more about the history, geology and natural resources of the community with the installation of a new Alberta Historical Resources Foundation Heritage Marker. Combining text with contemporary and archival photographs, the marker describes how the forces of nature shaped the area’s striking landscape and left the region rich in the two resources that would define Drumheller’s future – coal and dinosaur fossils.

Heritage Marker along Highway 9, north of Drumheller.
The Drumheller Heritage Marker up-close (Courtesy of Stefan Cieslik, Historic Resources Management Branch).

It was coal that first attracted the attention of railway and mining investors, who established a townsite to support the booming coal industry. By the end of World War One, the Drumheller region was one of Canada’s leading coal producers. The area also caught the imagination of fossil hunters, who flocked to the region from 1910 onward in search of fossils like the massive Albertosaurus skull unearthed by Joseph B. Tyrrell in 1884. The abundance of dinosaur bones made Drumheller a natural home for the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, one of the world’s leading facilities for the research and presentation of prehistoric life.

The marker was installed on November 20, 2014, along Highway 9, one-and-a-half kilometers north of the Town of Drumheller. The Town of Drumheller applied for the development of the heritage marker through the Alberta Heritage Markers Program. The program was established in 1955 to promote greater awareness of the historic people, places, events and themes that have defined the character of our province. The program brings Alberta’s dynamic history alive through heritage markers placed at roadside pullouts, within parks and in other community locales.

Written by: Allan Rowe, Historic Places Research Officer.

New Heritage Marker Unveiled in Big Valley

On Friday, August 1, 2014 another heritage maker was unveiled to join the family of over 70 provincial markers located throughout Alberta. Situated in Big Valley, the heritage marker profiles the early history and architectural significance of a prominent local landmark – the St. Edmund’s Anglican Church.

The unveiling of the St. Edmund’s heritage marker coincided with the Big Valley centennial and homecoming celebrations that took place August 1 – 3, 2014. L to R: Gail Knudson, Mayor of Big Valley; Asaph Johnson, Village Councillor; Brenda Manweiler, Historic Places Research and Designation; Lois Miller, Village Councillor and Director, Big Valley Historical Society; Trudy Spence, Secretary, Big Valley Historical Society
The unveiling of the St. Edmund’s heritage marker coincided with the Big Valley centennial and homecoming celebrations that took place August 1 – 3, 2014.
L to R: Gail Knudson, Mayor of Big Valley; Asaph Johnson, Village Councillor; Brenda Manweiler, Historic Places Research and Designation; Lois Miller, Village Councillor and Director, Big Valley Historical Society; Trudy Spence, Secretary, Big Valley Historical Society

St. Edmund’s, valued by residents of Big Valley as an important part of their heritage, was constructed in 1916 through local donations and a $500 contribution from English citizen Caroline Leffler. Leffler offered the donation to the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Calgary to establish a church in an area of his choice. Big Valley was selected and the church was constructed on the crest of the valley, visible from miles away. Still today, St. Edmund’s Anglican Church stands as a significant community landmark.

In 2002 St. Edmund’s was designated a Provincial Historic Resource for its associations with the town’s history as a railway boomtown and as a very good example of modest Gothic Revival architecture. St. Edmund’s was first painted blue in 1974 for Big Valley’s initial homecoming – 40 years ago!

The Big Valley Historical Society applied for the development of the heritage marker through the Alberta Heritage Markers Program, which is funded by the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation. Historical society members and local residents are excited about the heritage marker as it will help to celebrate the provincial significance of the church and increase awareness for this important historic place.

The Alberta Heritage Markers Program promotes greater awareness of the historic people, places, events, and themes that have defined the character of our province. The program brings Alberta’s dynamic history alive through heritage markers placed at roadside pullouts, within parks, and in other community locales.

St. Edmund's_FINAL

Written by: Brenda Manweiler, Manager of Historic Places Research and Designation

Manager of Historic Places Research and Designation Program Leads Diverse Identification, Research, and Protection Efforts

As Manager of the Historic Places Research and Designation Program, Brenda Manweiler heads what may be the unit with the greatest variety of responsibilities within the Historic Resources Management Branch. Brenda joined the branch as a Municipal Heritage Services Officer in 2009, after working for museums, British Columbia’s Heritage Branch, and Parks Canada. She has been in her current position since April 2013.

Brenda Manweiler, pausing for a moment during a busy day.
Brenda Manweiler, pausing for a moment during a busy day.

She now heads a six-member team of historians and heritage specialists. The unit’s primary role is administering the Provincial Historic Resources Designation Program (described below). But there’s much more!

In addition, her group provides ongoing advice on how best to address the impact on historic structures (that are not designated) in cases where they may be affected by development in Alberta. This is part of an integrated regulatory function that Alberta Culture administers for the preservation of historic resources.

Members of her staff provide research services to many of the historic sites operated by the Historic Sites and Museums Branch of Alberta Culture. Their services help, for example, to develop exhibits at these sites.

The Historic Places Research and Designation Program also works closely with the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation. The unit’s staff evaluates applications for Heritage Awareness, Research, and Publication grants submitted to the Foundation’s Heritage Preservation Partnership Program.

Creating Heritage Markers

As well, this unit is responsible for the Foundation’s Heritage Markers Program. This program supports the development of heritage markers that promote awareness of the historic people, places, events, and themes that have defined the character of the province. The markers are ideally sized for placement within parks, along trails or sidewalks, and in other community locales. Once the topic of a new marker has been selected, unit staff members develop the text, select photographs, and are responsible for coordinating the design, fabrication, and installation of the markers.

The unit includes the coordinators for two other programs, as well:

What kind of historic places are “out there” in Alberta?

The Coordinator of the Alberta Heritage Survey Program oversees a database of information about non-archaeological historic resources across the province. The Alberta Heritage Survey was established in the mid-1970s, has information dating back to 1971, and is being continually updated. Entries about individual resources include photographs, details of architectural characteristics, history, designation status, and location. This information comes from heritage surveys of neighbourhoods or building types, many of which have been commissioned by municipal governments and conducted by consultants and heritage groups. Today there are almost 100,000 individual resources documented on a searchable online database.

How do Geographical Features Get Names?

The Coordinator of the Geographical Names Program manages the process to formally name geographical features in Alberta. Names are chosen in accordance with international standards and guidelines, with preference usually given to names that have a demonstrated local and/or historical usage. The coordinator’s work includes communicating with governmental organizations from the municipal to international level, disseminating geographical names information from both popular and scholarly sources, maintaining records, and conducting related field and archival research. All this leads to making a recommendation on a name to the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation board and the Minister of Alberta Culture.

How do places get designated?

The Historic Places Research and Designation Program’s largest responsibility, however, is the Provincial Historic Resources Designation Program, which identifies, evaluates, and designates those historic resources that are most significant to the province as a whole. Resources eligible for consideration include structures, archaeological sites, palaeontological resources, and other works of humans or nature that are of value for their historic, cultural, natural, scientific, or aesthetic interest.

Once a resource is designated, its owner cannot destroy, disturb, alter, restore, or repair it without written approval from the provincial government. But the owner gains tangible benefits, including access to conservation grants and technical advice, and the intangible benefit of knowing that a valued property will be preserved and protected into the future. Currently there are some 360 sites protected as Provincial Historic Resources in Alberta.

Owners or advocates interested in obtaining heritage designation for a property often start by contacting Brenda for advice. She’ll ask questions to determine if the property is eligible for consideration, and to gauge whether designation should be pursued at the provincial or municipal level, or both. Occasionally one of the branch’s Heritage Conservation Advisers will make a site visit to answer property owners’ questions and assess the potential eligibility of their property for designation.

Once an application is received, Brenda administers the evaluation process. The Designation Committee, made up of her staff plus staff of the Heritage Conservation Advisory Services unit, meets about every six weeks to confirm the eligibility of new applications and to monitor the progress for sites currently under study. The Designation Committee works to determine if the site has heritage significance (according to five specific evaluation criteria), and a Heritage Conservation Adviser studies the site to determine if it retains enough integrity to communicate that significance. Much archival and onsite research is required to complete an in-depth evaluation. If the committee recommends designation and that is approved at a higher level, the owner is informed and his or her support is obtained, a designation order is signed, and the site is listed on the Alberta Register of Historic Places, an online database of all designated historic resources in Alberta.

Benefits of Designation

Why would owners want their properties designated? Brenda explains: “They believe that they have a property that’s of significance. They want to keep it around so that future generations can enjoy it and benefit from it, so that it can continue to be a part of the communities that they live in. Also, the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation provides conservation grants to property owners of designated resources, which serves as a fantastic incentive for people to conserve their property for the long term.”

There have been about five new applications since Brenda started in her position nearly a year ago, so she estimates that five to ten per year would be the norm. Her team is currently working through the evaluation process for approximately twenty sites.

So Brenda’s job involves lots of paperwork and administrative management. But she never loses sight of what it’s all for: “So many people work in this field because they feel passionately about the buildings, and I’m certainly no different there,” she says. “But for me, so much of it comes down to the people: the applicants, the owners, the community members. The public is so passionate about the sites that they so want to see conserved. I love being able to work with the public to help them reach their goals of contributing to a legacy for Alberta.”

Written by: Kerri Rubman.