Alberta Historical Resources Foundation Seeking Board Members

The Alberta Historical Resources Foundation (AHRF) – the primary source of the Government of Alberta funding for heritage projects – is currently accepting applications to fill seven vacancies on the Board of Directors, including the position of Chair.

Founded in 1973, AHRF has evolved into a complex agency that serves a wide range of stakeholders. Board members are appointed for a term of up to three years. Board meetings are held four times a year for approximately 1.5 days. Board members are also occasionally asked to attend heritage events on behalf of the Foundation.

Online applications are preferred. For details on the position profile and to apply online, please visit Job ID is 1035487.

Help us ensure the preservation and promotion of Alberta’s heritage through a competent and vibrant board. Applications will be accepted until May 15, 2016.

Municipal Heritage Projects Receive Support from Foundation

The new year is getting into full swing, and 2015 will see communities across Alberta conserving and celebrating their valued historic places.

This past Fall, several local governments applied for Municipal Heritage Partnership Program (MHPP) Grants from the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation. At the Foundation Board’s November 29, 2014 meeting, five municipalities received funding for strategic heritage planning projects. These initiatives will help to create a meaningful future for key heritage resources.

Municipal Heritage Partnership Program grants were awarded to five communities across Alberta.
Municipal Heritage Partnership Program grants were awarded to five communities across Alberta.

The City of Lethbridge is continuing its heritage planning work with a Phase III project to add information to its Heritage Inventory. This smaller project will evaluate approximately properties from the City’s “Places of Interest” List. Lethbridge received a matching grant of $5, 500 in MHPP funding.

Over the past few years, the Municipality of the Crowsnest Pass has completed Phases I and II of their own Heritage Inventory, documenting and evaluating the communities of Coleman, Frank, and Blairmore. This year, they will be working on the former Village of Bellevue, Hillcrest Mines, Passburg, and the rural area to the eastern-most boundary of the municipality. For this comprehensive project, Crowsnest Pass received a matching grant of $30, 000 in MHPP funding.

Moving up to central Alberta, Strathcona County has long partnered with the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program. They are continuing their Heritage Inventory work with a Phase III project evaluating additional properties from their Places of Interest List. Evaluating a smaller number of priority sites is a budget-friendly way for a municipality to continue its heritage planning work. Strathcona County received a matching grant of $6, 000 in MHPP funding.

The Town of High River, valiantly soldiering on with its heritage work after the catastrophic floods of 2013, applied to continue with Phase III of their evaluation work as well. This Phase will supplement the previous projects, which laid a great foundation for the future. High River received a matching grant of $20, 000 in MHPP funding.

Taking a jog out west, Yellowhead County is doing something different this time around. While the other grant recipients prioritized evaluation work, the County is preparing its first Heritage Management Plan. Having completed a few rounds of Heritage Survey and Inventory work already, the time has come to focus on policy and strategy. Yellowhead county received a matching grant of $20, 000 in MHPP funding.

What these projects demonstrate is the increasing skill and capacity of local governments across Alberta to evaluate and manage their own, top-notch heritage programs. The increasing number of historic places being protected and conserved as Municpal Historic Resources is a testimony to the excellent work being done at the local level – all over Alberta. Congratulations!

Tour of the Peace (Part II)

I previously wrote about the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation board receiving a tour of historic places on the Peace River, during their May board meeting (see Part I). This blog post continues that tour with visits to the St. Augustine Roman Catholic Mission and the Twelve Foot Davis grave site.

The St. Augustine Roman Catholic Mission is located on the grounds of the Peace River Correctional Centre, south-west of the Town of Peace River. The church was once part of a mission established by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, a Catholic religious institute of missionary priests. The oblates sent several waves of missionaries to western Canada during the second half of the 19th century. This church was built in 1894 by the oblate missionaries and brothers who ministered to First Nations and settlers in the area. It was part of the settlement that included farm buildings, a school and a small clinic. The vibrant religious community that lived here came to include members of the Sisters of Providence. In 1978 the site was designated a Provincial Historic Resource. Click here to read the Statement of Significance.

I first saw the church as we came round a small hill. Its size is striking. Even the most modest modern parish church is much, much larger than this tiny church. This church nevertheless housed a large community of worshippers. Entering the church, the other thing that strikes you is how carefully the building has been designed and decorated. You enter under a choir loft and the elaborate, pre-second Vatican council alter is visible against the opposite wall. Small statues of various saints are set upon wall mounted platforms surrounding the altar. Pointed-arch windows line the long-walls. They are simple but nevertheless designed with great care. The oblates efforts were even more impressive when you consider that these buildings were made of wood they hewed themselves.

The church was part of a settlement that included farm buildings, a convent and a school. The missionaries first served the surrounding aboriginal community and starting around 1907 the settlers. The sisters and the oblates ministered to the inhabitants and setters in the area, providing a church, school and makeshift hospital. The SS St. Charles, the fist steamboat on the Peace River, was built here in 1903. As the area was opened to settlement, the missionaries offered assistance to the newcomers who often arrived with very little.

Later, our tour concluded by visiting the Twelve Foot Davis grave site. Henry Fuller Davis was an American-born prospector who came to Canada to prospect during the Cariboo Gold Rush in the early 1860s. Davis earned his nickname (and a small fortune) by filing a claim on a 12 foot wide piece of land between two existing claims in Barkerville, BC. He subsequently began trading along Peace River in competition to the Hudson’s Bay Company.

Davis requested of his friend, Jim Cornwall, that he be interred on a hill overlooking the confluence of the Peace and Smoky rivers. The spot is just adjacent to Greene Valley Provincial Park and offers a magnificent view of the two rivers and the town itself. The Town of Peace River, Northern Sunrise County and Alberta Parks jointly oversaw the recent landscaping of the site and installed interpretive markers (including some interesting audio recordings).

After taking in the breathtaking views, the board went to a reception hosted by the Peace River Museum, Archives and Mackenzie Centre. They met members of the Town of Peace River council and many local history enthusiasts.

The board had a great discussion the next day and made several funding recommendations (which will be announced as soon as they are finalised. We had a great day and I know the board appreciates learning about how historic sites are conserved and appreciated.

Read Tour of the Peace (Part I), which featured the Board’s visit to the Northern Alberta Railway Station and the Shaftesbury Ferry.

Written by: Michael Thome, Municipal Heritage Services Officer

Welcome A-board!

Early this year, the Alberta Historical ResourcesFoundation (AHRF) welcomed six newly appointed members to the Board, strengthening its size to 12 members. Dr. Carolee Pollock, Board Chair, with Larry Pearson, Acting Executive Director, and staff ushered them in with an engaging orientation session held at the Edmonton headquarters in February.

“I am delighted to welcome Geraldine Bidulock, Joe Friedel, Robert Gaetz, Laurel Halladay, Leah Millar and Naomi Nind to AHRF’s Board of Directors.  I really appreciate the good questions and discussion that were generated by our newly strengthened Board,” said Dr. Pollock.

The most recent meeting held in Pigeon Lake in May was an equally engaging assembly as Board and staff gathered for the annual report presentations of the five provincial heritage organizations supported by AHRF (Alberta Museums Association, Archives Society of Alberta, Historical Society of Alberta, Alberta Genealogical Society and the Archaeological Society of Alberta); and the adjudication of applications submitted to AHRF’s grant programs (Heritage Preservation Partnership Program, Municipal Heritage Partnership Program and the Alberta Main Street Program).

Dr. Pollock concluded the meeting by saying, “We are fortunate to have a great diversity of skills and backgrounds among our Board members.  This makes for both good decision-making and lively and interesting meetings. The more the merrier!”

Pictured above: Board of the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation. Back row (L-R): Don Totten, Leah Millar, Geraldine Bidulock, Bob Gaetz, Joe Friedel, Fred Bradley, Laural Halladay. Front Row (L-R): Linda Affolder, Carolee Pollock (Chair), Tom Clark, Hazel Hart. (Missing: Naomi Nind.)

Written by: Carina Naranjilla, Grant Program Coordinator