Attention MHPP Applicants!


Though I can’t imagine what could be more riveting than reading about administrative procedure, I’ve been told that some people might not feel the same way. So since not all our blog posts can be nail biters I will have to ask folks to bear with me on this one. This post might be a bit dry but it does include important information about the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program (MHPP) for interested applicants.

Those of you who have applied for Municipal Heritage Partnership Program (MHPP) funding for a survey, inventory or management plan in the past will likely have visited the MHPP website to obtain information about the grant categories, funding parameters and suggested application information. I am pleased to report that we now have all the information necessary to put together your MHPP grant application available as a Guideline document. This handy reference outlines the three grant categories and details the policy and procedures around the funding process, including eligibility requirements, application deadlines, in-kind contributions and timelines as well as an application checklist. You can access a copy by clicking here.

I encourage those of you looking to apply under one of the MHPP grant categories to use the Guidelines as a point of reference. Here is a summary of the highlights:

  • Applicants must be municipal governments
  • There are no application deadlines – applications will be presented at the next applicable quarterly meeting of the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation for consideration
  • The decision on the grant application will be made by the Alberta Historical Resource Foundation
  • Funds are allocated through a grant agreement between the municipality and the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation
  • Payment is issued over the course of the project as outlined in the grant agreement and is payable upon receipt of an invoice from the municipality
  • The municipality must contribute a minimum of 50 percent of the project costs, of which half may be in-kind contributions
  • In-kind contributions include volunteer time, staff time, donated professional services and materials, office space, use of telephone/fax/computer/internet services, donated materials and supplies
  • Final reporting requirements will be outlined in the grant agreement

Please contact Matthew, Michael or myself with any questions you may have about the MHPP grant application process. For those of you who actually read this far, well done! If it weren’t for Internet copyright issues I would reward you with a picture of an adorable puppy.

Written by: Rebecca Goodenough, Municipal Heritage Services Officer

MHPP and AMSP Application Dates Set for 2014

MHPP logo

The Municipal Heritage Partnership Program and the Alberta Main Street Program do not have formal deadlines for grant applications.


To maximize flexibility for communities, program staff receive applications from interested municipalities on a ongoing basis throughout the year. That said, since MHPP projects are funded by the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation, it is convenient for stakeholders to coordinate their applications with meetings of the Foundation’s Board, which generally take place on a quarterly basis. This allows time for staff to review applications and prepare recommendations for the Board, and for the board members to review materials in advance.

Please note that the Heritage Preservation Partnership Program does maintain formal deadlines, of February 1st and September 1st of each calendar year.

At the Nov. 29-30th meeting of the Foundation, the Board established its meeting schedule for 2014, which in turn gives us the requested dates for submission of MHPP and AMSP grant applications.

  • For the February 21-22 meeting in Olds, submit by January 27th.
  • For the May 9-10 meeting in Fort McMurray, submit by April 14th.
  • For the September meeting 12-13 in Pincher Creek, submit by August 18th.
  • For the November 28-29 in Edmonton, submit by November 3rd.

If you have any questions about MHPP or AMSP applications, please feel free to contact us.

Written by:  Matthew Francis, Manager of Municipal Heritage Services

Municipal Heritage Partnership Program Grants

Helping Alberta’s municipalities identify, evaluate and manage locally significant historic places.

Alberta’s municipalities are now working on plans and budgets for 2014. I’d like to remind municipal stakeholders responsible for heritage about the grant programs offered through the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program (funded by the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation).

The Municipal Heritage Partnership Program offers three types of grants to help municipalities conserve locally significance historic places.

A municipality can apply for funding to complete a heritage survey. A survey gathers basic information about a municipality’s potential historic places. There are many articles on RETROactive describing survey projects municipalities have undertaken using these grants.

A municipality can also apply for funding to inventory historic resources. An inventory lists places that are locally significant, evaluates them to decide exactly why they are significant and creates the documentation needed to designate these as Municipal Historic Resources. You can also peruse RETROactive posts on municipal inventory projects that our partner municipalities have worked on.

A municipality can also apply for funding to develop a heritage management plan. A management plan helps the municipality conserve significant historic places, the highlight of which is policy on the designation of Municipal Historic Resources. You can read about different municipal heritage management plans on RETORactive as well.

The grant application consists of a written project proposal, which must include a budget. The foundation may award a grant that can cover up to half the cost of the project, up to certain maximum amounts.

M.D. or County City Town Village
Survey $30 000 $30 000 $20 000 $10 000
Inventory $30 000 $30 000 $20 000 $10 000
Management Plan $20 000 $20 000 $15 000 $7 500

The next grant deadline will be early in 2014, but it’s never too early to begin planning a project. You can learn more about the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program grant program by visiting the cost sharing page on the website.

If you’re thinking of undertaking a heritage conservation project, please contact us. We’d be happy to help you plan your next project.

Written by: Michael Thome, Municipal Heritage Services Officer.

Flood impacted owners get extension for heritage grant applications

Alberta Historical Resources FoundationRegular readers of RETROactive will know that owners of designated historic resources listed on the Alberta Register of Historic Places are eligible to apply for matching grants for approved conservation work.

The regular deadlines for owners of designated properties to apply for these grants are February 1st and September 1st. That means that the next grant application deadline is fast approaching!

But this year, for many Albertans, has been very different.

We know that many historic places have been seriously affected by flooding. In addition, some municipalities which have been severely impacted have had to push back scheduled processes, which, under normal conditions, would have already seen new Municipal Historic Resources designated.

As a result, the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation has extended its upcoming deadline for applications for Historic Resource Conservation grants, for flood-impacted applicants only. Applications from owners of flood-affected, designated historic properties will be received until September 30, 2013. In addition, flood-impacted properties that have been formally evaluated and are currently in the process of being considered for Municipal Historic Resource designation, but may not have completed the process, will be deemed as eligible, and are also encouraged to apply.

So, the application deadline has been extended for properties that:

  • have been directly impacted by flooding
  • are included on a formally adopted Municipal Heritage Inventory, with a Statement of Significance
  • have been issued a Notice of Intention to designate as a Municipal Historic Resource by the applicable municipality

The regular funding deadline of September 1, 2013 still applies to all non-flood-affected properties.

“Owners of historic buildings and sites that have been impacted by the severe flooding in northern and southern Alberta are still in the midst of recovery,” said Alberta Culture Minister Heather Klimchuk. “With the many challenges they are facing, extending the application deadline will ensure they will still have the opportunity to apply for grants to assist in their conservation efforts while allowing municipalities to complete their designation processes.”

If you have any questions relating to the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation’s grant programs, and the upcoming grant deadline, please contact Carina Naranjilla, Grants Program Coordinator at (780) 431-2305 or by email:

If you have any questions relating to the Municipal Historic Resource designation process, please feel free to contact Matthew Francis, Manager of Municipal Heritage Services, at (780) 438-8502 or by email at

These numbers are toll-free by first dialing 310-0000.

The Alberta Historical Resources Foundation gives a financial boost to Alberta’s heritage

Nearly $1.3 million in funding awarded to help Albertans conserving and interpreting our heritage.

Alberta Historical Resources FoundationThe Alberta Historical Resources Foundation awarded nearly $1.3 million in support of 71 heritage projects through two grant programs. A scholarship was also awarded. This funding will be directed at applications submitted in February 2013 for the spring adjudication cycle.

Sixty-six projects will receive funding through the Heritage Preservation Partnership Program. This program provides financial assistance to individuals, municipalities and organizations working on projects that preserve or interpret Alberta’s heritage through conservation, heritage awareness, publications and research grants and scholarships.

Five municipalities will receive funding through the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program. These funds assist municipalities in identifying, evaluating, protecting and conserving locally significant historic places.

For a complete list of the projects funded please take a look at this Government of Alberta Information Bulletin. You can also find a complete list of grant recipients here.

It’s always interesting to see the range of projects Albertans are working on. This grant cycle brought forward a range of projects from all over Alberta. I look forward to seeing the applications submitted on September 1, 2013 for the next evaluation cycle.

Written By: Carina Naranjilla, Grant Program Coordinator, Alberta Historical Resources Foundation

We’re Cracked!

The Challenge of Fixing Foundation Flaws 

Foundation Problems (minor)Every building has a foundation, whether it’s above ground or below ground, concrete or wood.  A foundation is the first building element constructed and therefore it is very important to get it right.  Any errors or flaws will manifest, either relatively quickly for a major mistake or over time for a subtle error.

In Alberta, most heritage building foundations are poured-in-place concrete.  Some foundations are comprised of concrete blocks while others are comprised of a mixture of masonry units (i.e. fieldstones, cut stones and brick).  Now and again flaws such as cracks and spalling (the breaking or splitting of surface layers) manifest themselves.  It is not recommended to ignore these deficiencies as, depending on their severity, they can be repaired fairly easily.  If left unrepaired, the severity will increase.

Some foundation flaws/cracks are inevitable and often show up early once the building is finished and the full weight of the structure is at rest.  Others appear once the structure above and the ground beneath have fully settled.  Depending on the ground composition and the depth of the foundation (foundation depths vary, such as a full basement vs. a crawlspace), these settlement cracks will vary in size.  And finally, some cracks will suggest that something is wrong with the foundation but if addressed in a timely manner may still allow a reasonable/affordable correction to be implemented.

Foundations can also be damaged by water and seasonal frost heaving.  To minimise this damage, ensure that the grade slopes away from the building with sufficient drainage to move the water away.  Frost protection can be achieved by embedding the ground with high-density foam insulation to prevent the frost line from going under the foundation if it is less than four or six feet (1.2 metres or 1.8 metres) or by underpinning the foundation to a depth greater than the frost level in the area (this is usually at least 1.8 metres in Canada, which is one of the reasons why we tend to have basements).  If one has to dig that far down to protect the foundation against frost then one might as well as make it a usable space.

The Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada  contains a number of sections related to the conservation and repair of foundations: check out the general recommendations of “Structural Systems” (4.3.8) under “Guidelines for Buildings” and for material specific information read about “Masonry” (4.5.3) and “Concrete” (4.5.4) under “Guidelines for Materials.”  Depending on the type of structure and level of intervention, other sections of the Standards and Guidelines might also need to be reviewed.

The following images summarize some of the types of foundation cracks and the potential solutions that might be proposed:

Type of crack: Minor – surface only, usually located at higher stress points.
Type of crack (minor): surface only, usually located at higher stress points.
Proposed Solution: Minor  - Concrete patching, parging or an injected filler product
Proposed solution (minor): concrete patching, parging or an injected filler product.
Type of crack: Medium - showing signs of structural failure and weakness such as spalling.
Type of crack (medium): showing signs of structural failure and weakness such as spalling.
Proposed Solution: Medium - Containment – pour new foundation wall against the old to stop the structural failure.
Proposed solution (medium): containment – pour new foundation wall against the old to stop the structural failure.
Type of crack: Significant - structural failure has occurred and structure becoming increasingly unstable.
Type of crack (significant): structural failure has occurred and structure becoming increasingly unstable.
Proposed Solution: Significant - Full foundation replacement.
Proposed solution (significant): full foundation replacement.


  • Minor and some medium types of cracks can usually be repaired by foundation specialists.
  • Some medium and all significant level cracks will require the services of a structural engineer.
  • Due to the specialty of the mixes and structural nature of foundations it is best to seek certified and experienced masonry/concrete professionals to help resolve the situation.

Ultimately, foundations perform a crucial function for our buildings.  Whatever problems occur they will begin to transfer to the rest of the structure if they are not addressed.  For designated provincial and municipal historic resources the costs incurred to address these issues, whether they be minor, medium or significant (including any engineering costs), would be eligible for grant funding through the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation’s Historic Resource Conservation program.

Written by: Carlo Laforge, Heritage Conservation Adviser.

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.

All Aboard! Big Valley Canadian Northern Railway Station Celebrates 100 Years

Canadian Northern Railway Station, Big Valley

At one time, more than 800 communities in Alberta had a train station. This is no longer the case. Fewer than 10% of Alberta’s train stations remain today, and even fewer continue to serve their original purpose. The Canadian Northern Railway Station at Big Valley – designated a Provincial Historic Resource in 2005 – is one of those few. Train excursions run regularly from Stettler to Big Valley, often with the mighty 6060 Steam Locomotive (also a Provincial Historic Resource) in the lead.

The Big Valley CNoR station in 2011

The Big Valley CNoR station received a restoration grant from the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation this year, just in time for its 100th birthday. The Canadian Northern Society is planning a big party in honour of the centenary on Saturday, September 29. Check out the poster! Make sure your visit includes the roundhouse, which was designated along with the railway station. Another site worthy of note in Big Valley is St. Edmund’s Anglican Church – the Blue Church at the top of the hill – which was designated a Provincial Historic Resource in 2002.

The Big Valley CNoR station in 1979 (79-R0375-27)

Sixteen other train stations have been designated Provincial Historic Resources. They are at Camrose, Claresholm, Didsbury, Empress, Fort Saskatchewan, Heinsburg, High River, Lethbridge, Meeting Creek, Paradise Valley, Peace River, Red Deer, Sexsmith, Smoky Lake, Strathcona (in Edmonton), and Vegreville. The stations at Beiseker, High River, Red Deer and Strathcona have also been designated by their respective municipalities. Additional recognition for Alberta train stations has come from the federal government, which has declared those at Banff, Empress, Hanna, Jasper, Lake Louise, Medicine Hat, Red Deer and Strathcona to be Heritage Railway Stations.

Written by: Dorothy Field, Heritage Survey Program Coordinator

A Boost to Heritage Projects: Alberta Historical Resources Foundation Awards Grants

The Alberta Historical Resources Foundation has just announced funding of over $1.4 million to 72 heritage projects through two of its grant programs.

  • The Heritage Preservation Partnership Program provides financial assistance to individuals and organizations for initiatives that preserve and interpret Alberta’s heritage through conservation, heritage awareness, publications and research grants as well as scholarships.
  • The Municipal Heritage Partnership Program provides opportunities for municipalities to access funding assistance, expertise and networks to help them establish or maintain existing municipal heritage conservation programs.

Read the funding announcement: Government of Alberta information bulletin.

Check out the full list of recipients.

Written by: Carina Naranjilla, Grant Program Coordinator

AHRF Grants Awarded

The Alberta Historical Resources Foundation’s (AHRF) Heritage Preservation Partnership Program has recently awarded total grants of over $630,000 to support projects for historic resource conservation, heritage awareness, publications and research projects and scholarship.

The Brazeau Collieries Minesite Provincial Historic Resource in Nordegg recently received a conservation grant from the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation.

With an allocation from the Alberta Lottery Fund, AHRF is the Government of Alberta’s primary window for heritage preservation funding.  To learn more about who has benefited from this program, click here.

Written by: Carina Naranjilla, Grant Program Coordinator