Meet our new Municipal Heritage Services Officer

Hi everybody,

Rebecca G_2013.11.14 (1)My name is Rebecca Goodenough and it is a real pleasure to introduce myself as the newest member of the Historic Places Stewardship team. I have read the bios of Historic Places staff on RETROactive with much interest over the past few years, wondering if (sigh) I might ever have such an amazing job. So it is with much excitement and a lot of humility that I introduce myself as the new Municipal Heritage Services Officer. I look forward to meeting a many of you over the coming months.

Unlike many of my colleagues, I came to the field of heritage conservation more recently and the majority of my education and work experience has been within the world of land use planning. I have worked in both the private and public sectors in British Columbia and Alberta. Most recently, I worked for Strathcona County as a Planner.

My interest in heritage grew from personal curiosity. I read books and took every opportunity to attend a course, lecture, meeting or conference related to heritage. The more I learned, the more I became a believer that heritage conservation is a means to achieving a great many of the long-term goals that planners and other community builders try to achieve through their day-to-day work: sustainable development, building a sense of place, quality in design, local economic development. All of these goals and more I believe are achievable through building a culture of respect for our past.

While with Strathcona County, I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to complete a Professional Specialization Certificate in Heritage Conservation Planning through the University of Victoria. This program provided me with a strong foundation in the principles and practices of the field. I also helped to establish Strathcona County’s heritage program, which included participation with the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program.

I hold degrees in Political Science from the University of Alberta and in Northern and Rural Community Planning from the University of Northern B.C. In my spare time, I enjoy participating in a few activities (at a very pedestrian level) including running, cross-country skiing and playing the piano. And, of course, I am still reading and attending those courses, lectures, meetings and conferences because there is always so much to learn!

I hope to bring my experience working with a range of communities and my understanding of municipal processes to my work with the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program and Alberta Main Street programs. More importantly, I look forward to meeting all you advocates for local heritage out there and hearing about the significant places in your communities.

Written by: Rebecca Goodenough, Municipal Heritage Services Officer.

Meet our new Historic Places Research Officer

Allan Rowe
Allan Rowe, 2013.

Greetings everyone,

My name is Allan Rowe, and I am the new Historic Places Research Officer. Following the example set by my colleagues, I’m taking a moment to introduce myself.

I am originally from British Columbia, born in White Rock and raised in the beautiful Okanagan Valley. Halfway through my grade twelve year, I made the fateful decision to change my upcoming college major from computer information systems to history, and I haven’t looked back. I completed my BA in history at the University of British Columbia in 1994, and followed up with a Public History Diploma at Simon Fraser University. It was during that time that I got my first taste of heritage work as a summer student at a small British Columbian museum. In my case, it was the Elphinstone Pioneer Museum (now the Sunshine Coast Museum and Archives) where I spent the summer of 1996 answering tourists’ questions about The Beachcombers (we were located just up the road from Molly’s Reach – apparently The Beachcombers was a huge hit in Japan).

Unable to find permanent work in the heritage sector, I spent two tedious years working in corporate cell phone distribution (ugh), until the muse of history called me back to service and I received my MA in Canadian History from SFU in 2000. I then moved to Edmonton to pursue my Ph.D. at the University of Alberta, and during my time as a graduate student, I was fortunate enough to work with Historic Places Stewardship on several occasions, mostly working on heritage markers and assisting with the Alberta Heritage Survey Program. I finished my Ph.D. in history in 2008 and taught Canadian, Irish and American history, most recently at Keyano College in Fort McMurray. Though I enjoyed my time as a history instructor, I have always been fascinated by the heritage sector, and I was thrilled when I was given the opportunity to join the Historic Places Stewardship team in Edmonton.

On the personal side of things, I am blessed with a great wife and three amazing daughters, whose own interests range from bird-watching to dog-sledding to Shakespeare. I enjoy cooking (with mixed success) and continuing to learn as much history as possible. I remain a staunch Vancouver Canucks fan, and I welcome everyone’s scorn and derision.

I’m excited to join the team and I look forward to meeting everyone in person.

Written by: Allan Rowe, Historic Places Research Officer.

Meet our new Conservation Adviser

Sandy’s Been Everywhere, man …

Sandy hard at work
Sandy hard at work

Hi, I’m Sandy I am the new Heritage Conservation Adviser in the Historic Places Stewardship Section. While new to Alberta’s Ministry of Culture, the field of Cultural Resource Management is not new to me.

I have worked for the City of Ottawa as a heritage planner; for the Heritage Canada Foundation as Medicine Hat’s Main Street Coordinator; was the Built Heritage Project Officer for Jasper National Park; and; the Parks Canada National Historic Sites Cost-Sharing Coordinator for Alberta and British Columbia. I was most recently a heritage resources and community planner with the Parks Canada Agency. Amongst my duties in that position I was the Federal Heritage Building Review Office Coordinator all of Western and Northern Canada.

My work with Parks Canada saw me working in massively diverse geographical areas from Waterton Lakes National Park in the far south west corner of the province to Sheep Creek Warden’s Station located in the middle of Ivvavik National Park in the far north and, from Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba right across the prairies through the Rocky Mountain National Parks to Vancouver Island. The heritage buildings and properties that I was dealing with included everything from small wardens’ cabins in the remote back country of the Rocky Mountains National Parks; privately and publicly owned residential, commercial and institutional heritage buildings in national parks and national park communities, and; buildings and structures located at national historic sites. The variety and types of heritage buildings was endless and, when combined with their specific geographic locations, the experiences were all highly memorable.

My education has provided me with an understanding of historic place conservation and management. I hold a Bachelor of Arts Degree, in Canadian History and Urban and Regional Geography, from the University of Victoria; a Masters of Environmental Design in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Calgary where I specialized in heritage planning, and; a Masters of Arts in Conservation Studies (Historic Buildings) from the Institute of Advanced Architectural Studies, the University of York, England.

You will find me to be a very personable person who is highly supportive of colleagues and who enjoys a team-based collaborative work environment. I am truly excited and absolutely thrilled about working as a Heritage Conservation Adviser and look forward to meeting new colleagues, and getting “out in the field” with the owners of designated properties.

Written by: Sandy Aumonier, Heritage Conservation Adviser.

I Defend Heritage. Literally! …Who am I?

Well, not literally! Though I have driven an armoured personnel carrier while employed by a museum, I do not make a habit of using military force to ensure heritage is protected. Who am I? My name is Brenda Manweiler and like my colleagues (Carlo Laforge, Michael Thome and Ron Kelland) who have posted brief biographies, this post will introduce ME!

For those of you who do not know me, I work as a Municipal Heritage Services Officer for the Historic Places Stewardship Section of Alberta Culture and Community Services. I provide guidance, support and training to municipalities in all corners of Alberta so that successful local heritage conservation programs may contribute to the liveability and vitality of Alberta’s communities (check out our website: Municipal Heritage Partnership Program). As well, I administer this blog and coordinate content for our Facebook page and Twitter feed. Between blog posts and business trips I revel in how fortunate I am to be employed in a field that I am passionate about and how great it is that I get to travel throughout this beautiful province.

But what did I do before I landed this gig? The short of it is that I worked in heritage for the federal government, another province, an international museum, and also for municipalities and non-for-profit organizations – but the long of it? Well… for fifteen years I have been working to protect heritage (in one form or another). In 1997 I accepted my very first heritage job as a summer student at the Maple Ridge Museum – I was hooked! As a born and raised Maple Ridge, British Columbia resident (Maple Ridgian?), who was fascinated by history and “old things” since childhood, working at the Maple Ridge Museum was like a dream come true. During summers off from completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from the University of Victoria, I worked at a number of Vancouver-area museums (i.e. Pitt Meadows Museum, New Westminster Museum and Archives). After completing my BA I was fortunate to find continued employment in the heritage field. I worked at the Langley Centennial Museum, the BC Farm Machinery and Agricultural Museum and the Surrey Museum and Archives. At these community museums I completed a range of collections management projects or administered education programs for young children.  …Yes, I know how to churn butter, do laundry with a scrub board and complete “heritage” crafts. (Hmmm…I can also drive tractors! You never know what you will learn while working at a museum!!)

When presented with an internship opportunity at the National Army Museum in Waiouru, New Zealand, I could not say no. For six months I worked as the Assistant Curator of their Social History Collection. As a civilian within a military environment I was able to take advantage of many unique opportunities – yes, I really did drive an armoured personnel carrier, and yes, I also successfully completed a civilian version of a firearms qualification exam. Despite all this training, and “Officer” being part of my current job title, let me repeat myself – I do not use (or condone) military force to ensure heritage is protected!  🙂

Upon returning to civilian life, I decided it was time for another return – I went back to school! I completed a master’s degree in Canadian Studies (with a specialization in Heritage Conservation) from Carleton University. While studying in Ottawa I also worked part-time for the City of Ottawa as a Commemorations Coordinator – have you ever tried to complete an inventory of ALL the commemorations in a city of nearly one million people, and the nation’s capital at that? After graduating did I then settle down and obtain my current job? Nope. I spent some time working for the Province of British Columbia’s Heritage Branch as a Community Heritage Officer (very similar to my current job) and then returned to Ottawa for a couple years and worked for the Parks Canada Agency with their Historic Places Program Unit (a.k.a. Canadian Register of Historic Places).

Bouncing back and forth across the country confirmed for me that home is in western Canada. I have been living in Alberta (Edmonton) for the past two and half years (ever since starting my current job as Municipal Heritage Services Officer) and am very pleased to be here. Alberta is beautiful, diverse and rich in heritage!

My career path, thus far, has taken me from conserving a community’s artefacts to helping conserve communities and their significant places. The focus of these approaches may be quite different, but the common threads of community identity, connection to place and community passion is what makes it so pleasurable to work within the heritage field. When not working I train to be a life-long athlete. My sport? Living a healthy and active life. I run, bike, do yoga and enjoy most all other athletic pursuits that involve spending time outside (when it is not -30). Photography is also an interest of mine so a camera bag is often slung over my shoulder. Driving home to BC each summer and photographing mountains has proven to be one of my annual highlights.

But enough about me! Regularly scheduled programming (a post about historic places) will resume shortly. If you have any questions about the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program or other programs offered through the Historic Places Stewardship Section please post a comment below and I will ensure that the appropriate colleague responds.



Meet the Names Guy

For all of you looking forward to learning something new about the wonderful and exciting world of geographical names, you may be disappointed by this post. Today you get to learn about me.

Taking the cue from two of my colleagues (Carlo Laforge and Michael Thome), who have introduced themselves in their own introductory posts; I have elected (been pressured) to do the same.

My name is Ronald Kelland, but most people call me Ron (actually, my family calls me Ronnie, but please don’t do that). I started working for the Government of Alberta on December 1, 2007 as an intern with Athabasca University’s Heritage Resources Management Program. While taking online classes with the university, I did research and some administrative tasks for the Historic Places Designation Program. This mainly consisted of researching the history of buildings and other cultural sites for designation as Provincial Historic Resources. Most of my duties consisted of writing Statements of Significance for these resources to explain why they are valued. Of the ones I have written, my favourite ones are the Canadian National Railways Locomotive 6060, the Northern Defence Radar Station near Cold Lake, and the Sunnyslope Sandstone Shelter (say that five time real fast!) near Three Hills. In July 2009, I left the intern program and became a proud member of the public service. It was at this time that I also became the Coordinator of the Geographical Names Program. In this position I research the origin and meaning of Alberta’s place names and I evaluate proposed new names for geographical features and advise the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation in their deliberations and decision-making on these names.  I also maintain the Alberta Geographical Names Database and other records about Alberta’s naming heritage. In December 2010, I assumed the role of primary historian for the Rutherford House Historic Site and Museum, researching the history of the house and the Rutherford family and using this information to aid in developing interpretive displays.

Prior to my current job, I worked for the Alberta Legislature Library. I was a researcher and writer for the book The Mantle of Leadership: Premiers of the North-West Territories and Alberta, 1897-2005, part of The Centennial Series (a four-volume set of books published by the Legislative Assembly of Alberta). Once that project wrapped-up, I worked as a researcher and report writer for the Committees of the Legislative Assembly, primarily the Public Accounts Committee and the Standing Committee on Government Services.

I was born in St. John’s and I still feel a strong connection to Newfoundland. I was raised in Alberta (primarily Red Deer) and have a great appreciation of the heritage and history of this province. I have been able to use my connection to both Newfoundland and Alberta to great advantage, successfully completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in History at the University of Calgary in 1998 (for which I concentrated on Western Canadian history) and a Master of Arts degree in History at Memorial University of Newfoundland in 2001 (for which I concentrated on Newfoundland’s history). Apparently one graduate degree was not enough to satisfy me, so I entered the Master of Library and Information Studies program at the University of Alberta, which I completed in 2010.

In my personal life I am married to an incredibly patient and understanding woman (I think that one has to be patient and understanding to be married to a historian – we do tend to go on about our work and research). We have three great kids (a five year old boy and three year old twin girls), making us a very happy, but very busy family. In my spare time I like to read (voraciously), cook (reasonably well), sing (badly) and play computer games (probably too much). I also build model cars and planes and am about to embark on a model railroading project in my garage (if it ever warms up again).

Back at my job, my priorities over the next year are to begin travelling the province more and meeting with local history groups and societies, spreading (and hopefully receiving) information about Alberta’s place names. I am also working on making the Alberta Geographical Names Database publicly available through the internet.

I welcome any inquiries about our province’s place names. So, if you ever wanted to know why we call that lake, creek, mountain or whatever by such-and-such a name, or if you are interested in proposing a name for a geographical feature, please feel free to get in touch with me or drop a comment into our blog. I hope that I will hear from many of you over the upcoming months.

Ron Kelland

The Not So New Municipal Heritage Services Officer

A few days ago we introduced our newest colleague, Carlo Laforge. Doing so, our editor realized that many regular contributors to RETROactive were never introduced to our readers. So, without further ado, allow me to introduce … myself.

I started working for the Government of Alberta’s Historic Resources Management Branch in the spring of 2008. I was assigned to the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program and have been busily helping Alberta’s municipalities identify, protect and conserve locally significant historic resources. My work has given me the privilege of traveling all over Alberta to visit municipalities large and small, urban and rural. I’ve talked with municipal councils, facilitated workshops for council-appointed Heritage Advisory Bodies and discussed Municipal Historic Resources designation with municipal staff and property owners.

Back at the office, I have managed the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program’s grant agreements with municipalities. I am also responsible for processing nominations to list Municipal Historic Resources on the Alberta Register of Historic Places. I also prepare training material for municipal staffers on how to evaluate and protect historic resources (like the Managing Historic Places Designation Guide).

Before returning home to Alberta, I worked at the Government of Saskatchewan’s Heritage Conservation Branch for four years. I conducted historical research in support of the Provincial Heritage Property designation program. I also wrote several Statements of Significance for Municipal Heritage Properties listed on the Saskatchewan Register of Heritage Property and the Canadian Register of Historic Places.

I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree with a combined major of English and History from the University of Calgary and a Master of Arts degree (history) from the University of Saskatchewan. In my spare time … I have hobbies.

If I haven’t met you in person yet, I look forward to doing so.

Michael Thome

New Heritage Conservation Adviser

Greetings stewards of Alberta’s heritage,

I am a new Heritage Conservation Adviser working for the Historic Resources Management Branch at the Ministry of Culture and Community Services.  Having just moved here from New Brunswick, I am looking forward to learning more about Alberta’s distinct heritage and adapting my architectural knowledge to help you conserve it for future generations.

Carlo assessing the foundation of the main barn located on Minister’s Island Provincial Heritage Place, New Brunswick.

Prior to my current position, I was a Project Executive for the Government of New Brunswick’s Heritage Branch.  I provided technical advice on conservation methods based on the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada. I worked with government owned sites and processed applications for historic designations under the New Brunswick Heritage Conservation Act.  Before working in heritage, I dealt with Building Codes and Capital Maintenance issues as an Architectural Technologist for the Community Colleges and Employment Counselling Offices in New Brunswick, and as an Operations Coordinator for a property management firm in Ontario.  These experiences have enabled me to see both sides of the coin in terms of the challenges faced in maintaining and upgrading our historic resources, while at the same time conserving heritage values for the future.

I hold a Bachelor of Arts and Honours degree in the combined majors of Art History and Architecture from Carleton University, as well as a diploma in Architectural Technology from Algonquin College.  In my job experience I also obtained certifications as a Professional Technologist and as a Qualified Building Code Official.  From a heritage perspective, I also represented New Brunswick in the review of the second edition of the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada and provided examples for a Parks Canada study on how the Building Code can affect or is applied to heritage buildings.

Leaving my family, friends and colleagues in New Brunswick and Ontario wasn’t a very easy decision, but I am certain that the new experiences I will have in Alberta will make me glad that I did.

Best regards,

Carlo Laforge

NOTE: Carlo will be responsible for serving the Edmonton Region. Please click here to view a map of Alberta showing the areas serviced by all of the Heritage Conservation Advisers.