No announcement yet.

Heritage Matters

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Heritage Matters

    In recent weeks I have discovered connect2edmonton because of my personal and professional interest in Edmonton history. I’ve noticed a lot of guest columns and threads on Edmonton’s history, especially built heritage, and on heritage institutions and organizations, such as the on-going Royal Alberta Museum redevelopment saga. The discussions are lively, enthusiastic, informed and suggest that a lot more Edmontonians care deeply about heritage than we are often led to believe.

    If there is a common thread to these discussions, it is probably a sense that Edmonton does not pay enough attention to the preservation and interpretation of our history, and that there should be more opportunities for ordinary citizens to get involved in helping to identify and protect Edmonton’s character defining buildings, landscapes, artifacts and archival records.

    I have been asked to contribute occasional columns on heritage matters based on my position as City of Edmonton Archivist. In future columns I hope to give the connect2edmonton community a sense of some of the amazing archival and museum treasures of the city. I would also like to share some of my views on buildings and people and events of enduring historical significance to our community. In this first column, however, I would like address at least one way that citizens can influence preservation and interpretation of historical buildings and offer recognition to the individuals and organizations that work so hard to keep our heritage.

    Since 1975 the Edmonton Historical Board has produced and mounted almost 200 historical plaques. Most are located on buildings the city has designated as municipal historic resources, but other buildings felt to be of historical interest because of their associations with significant historical persons or events or their value to architectural history may also be given plaques.

    This year the Board presented nine plaques. The recipients included the Northern Alberta Pioneers and Descendants Association Cabin, the Connaught Armoury and Strathcona Hotel and five modest residential buildings all dating from the initial boom period in Edmonton-Strathcona prior to 1913. The final plaque will be placed on the William Blakey Residence: a fine example of an architect designed house dating from the post World War Two era.

    The plaques on the houses reflect changing ideas about heritage significance in the city. Until recently, most heritage designations were on large public or commercial buildings or the homes of Edmonton’s most prominent business and public leaders that date from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. By broadening our definition of historical significance and heritage value, we can encourage greater public understanding of the richness and diversity of Edmonton’s past.

    To date the Historical Board has also made over 270 recognition awards to individuals, organizations and projects that have contributed to heritage preservation and interpretation in this city. Past recipients include museums, archives, authors, journalists and community activists. This year the Board made four awards. The recipients were Herb Dixon for his work with the Alberta Railway Museum, Bert Yeudall for his work with the Edmonton Telephone Historical Information Centre, Paula Simons for her writing on heritage and museum subjects, and a joint award to Jack and Enid Fitzsimonds for their life-time commitment to volunteer work with historical societies, museums and archives.

    If you have read this far you may wonder how any of this relates to public involvement in heritage and how your ideas on the subject can be heard.

    The Edmonton Historical Board is eager to receive public nominations for plaques and recognition awards. If you know of a building that should be interpreted for its interesting historical associations or for what it reveals about the architectural, social, economic or political evolution of Edmonton, the Board would love to hear from you. If you believe that there is a person, project or organization that should be honoured for a significant contribution to heritage preservation or interpretation in the city the Board would also be equally interested in your ideas.

    To make a nomination for a historical plaque or recognition award, all you have to do is to go to and download the nomination forms. Alternatively, you can call the Edmonton Historical Board at 780-442-1547 to request a nomination package. Nominations close on April 1, 2009 and successful candidates will be contacted by early summer.

    Michael Payne
    City of Edmonton Archivist
    Last edited by ShermanT; 21-01-2009, 02:52 PM. Reason: Added article photos.

  • #2
    Thank You for your contribution
    The City Archives is a gem !
    Still waiting for the Arlington site to be reborn .......


    • #3
      Thank you for a great article.

      "...and a joint award to Jack and Enid Fitzsimonds for their life-time commitment to volunteer work with historical societies, museums and archives."

      I know their daughter Laurel and this award was well deserved from all I have heard about her parents.


      • #4
        Great article and thanks for more attention to heritage



        • #5
          Would you consider posting photo's of any requested heritage buildings that may come up in our topics threads?
          Still waiting for the Arlington site to be reborn .......


          • #6
            Please note that Michael's column will be refreshed today with some fantastic pictures of local heritage buildings.
            Edmonton: Capital of Canada's Bold West!


            • #7
              The images really spruce up not only the opinion, but the overall understanding of the opinion.
              My hope is that you can finally get rid of the anger in your heart, and fill it with peace, compassion, understanding, and a desire to uplift rather than suppress.

              After all, we are all together on this home, this pale blue dot, the "only home we've ever known.”


              • #8
                Great topic, I look forward to seeing more articles about Edmonton's history. Will help us all understand how we got to where we are, and where we are going.


                • #9
                  New Displays Make Civic History Accessible to Edmontonians

                  New Displays Make Civic History Accessible to Edmontonians

                  March 27, 2009

                  Civic history comes alive in a new permanent display unveiled on March 27 at City Hall.

                  Edmontonians can now access their city’s historical milestones at interactive touch-screen kiosks at City Hall, the seat of municipal government. Through archival images and video footage, visitors can learn about the different facets of Edmonton history.

                  “Edmontonians and visitors now have an accessible way of seeing the city’s history come to life. Thanks to extensive use of photos and video, younger generations can learn what makes Edmonton the great city that it is today,” said Councillor Karen Leibovici, who chaired the Council-appointed working group that oversaw the project starting in 2005.

                  City Hall’s new history displays also recognize the contributions made by civic leaders, dating back to Edmonton’s first mayor, Matthew McCauley, who ran unopposed in 1892, 1893 and 1894. Until 1947, Edmonton mayors served one-year terms.

                  Research was headed by James Marsh, editor-in-chief of the Canadian Encyclopedia. Fission Media produced the interactive kiosks; Halkier and Dutton produced the display panels.

                  City Council approved the displays’ concept and funding in July 2007. The project, including programming and production, cost $500,000, which was allocated in the 2008 budget.

                  Images and research information were sourced primarily from City of Edmonton Archives, as well as other Canadian organizations.

                  The City of Edmonton acknowledges the generosity of media organizations for providing archival images and footage: Edmonton Journal, Global Edmonton, CTV, and CBC.

                  For more information:

                  Karen Leibovici
                  Title Councillor, Ward 1

                  Michael Payne
                  Title City Archivist