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Some Good Heritage News

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  • Some Good Heritage News

    These are interesting times for the heritage community in Edmonton with lots of exciting new initiatives that will help the city reach its published strategic goal of being a place that “preserves, celebrates and supports … heritage, arts and culture.”

    For example, a new Historic Resource Management Plan was approved in May. This plan sets the direction for the Heritage Planning Program’s responsibilities for preserving and interpreting built heritage in the City of Edmonton for the next decade. If anyone is interested, this plan can be downloaded at:

    The Heritage Planning program in Edmonton has changed significantly in the last few years resulting in more designations of municipal historic resources than ever before. There are, of course, significant losses such as the Arlington Apartments, but overall the city’s advances in this area have recently been recognized through the Heritage Canada Foundation’s prestigious Prince of Wales Prize for Municipal Heritage Leadership.

    The Art of Living Plan, prepared by the Edmonton Arts Council, and endorsed enthusiastically by City Council late in 2008, includes eleven very significant heritage recommendations. Once again if readers are interested the Art of Living Plan and the follow-up Implementation Plan, they can be read respectively at:


    The Art of Living heritage recommendations range from encouraging more consistent practices in historical interpretation to dealing with storage issues for city collections. Two of the biggest recommendations, however, are really foundational to moving heritage awareness in Edmonton forward and making Edmonton a leader in this area of heritage activity as well. Citizen groups and city staff have been working hard on these recommendations for the past months and both are nearing implementation.

    The first of these is a recommendation that City Council create a new honourary position of Edmonton Historian Laureate, similar in intent to the Poet Laureate position. City Council’s Community Services Committee has requested that a report from city officials on the practicality of this idea be presented on November 16. This report should be made public on the City of Edmonton website by November 12. If approved, the Historian Laureate position, will recognize the key role history plays in the creation of community identity and remind us all that Edmonton has a vibrant and diverse past that is worth preserving and studying. The hope is that nominations to the position will be opened in January 2010 and that Canada’s first municipal Historian Laureate will be in place by April and hard at work raising awareness of our shared history.

    The Historian Laureate will work with the current Edmonton Historical Board and a new body that is about to come into being – also as part of the implementation of the Art of Living Plan – the Edmonton Heritage Council. This new organization is intended to work much like the Edmonton Arts Council as a broadly based coalition of organizations and individuals with an interest in heritage of all types. The hope is that through this organization archives and museum professionals, built heritage enthusiasts, family and community history buffs – literally anyone with an interest in supporting heritage programs and activities – can find a way to coordinate and promote their efforts. The organization has been carefully nurtured and planned by a broadly based steering committee that has drawn up an organizational structure, goals and objectives, a program plan and other basic requirements to make the idea come to life. All that remains is to ensure the new body has a lively and engaged membership and an effective board and staff.

    The founding meeting for the new organization will take place at 7:30 PM on Thursday November 19 at the Macdonald Hotel. Everyone is welcome to attend and by purchasing a membership they can participate in choosing the first board of this new organization. Memberships can be purchased either at the founding meeting or on-line at

    So if you have despaired of Edmonton’s commitment to heritage preservation and interpretation up to now, take heart. The Prince of Wales Award, Historian Laureate and Edmonton Heritage Council all suggest that heritage is going to play an increasing role in making Edmonton a livable, dynamic and diverse city in the years to come.

    This photograph of a Ukrainian Christmas dinner is a good reminder that heritage value is found not just in buildings or objects but in more intangible things as well, such traditions and a sense of community.

    Check out image here >>

    This photograph of a 1949 community carnival in the Highlands reflects the way a strong sense of community shapes neighbourhoods and creates a shared heritage.

    Check out image here >>

    This photograph of 124 Street in the 1950s is a good example of how heritage can be reflected in streetscapes and the layout of the city as much as in more traditional sources such as museum and archives collections.

    Check out image here >>

    -- Michael Payne
    Last edited by NoreneS; 06-11-2009, 07:20 AM.

  • #2
    Great to hear progress is being made...

    I was beginning to wonder as the Alberta Aviation Museum has heard nothing since the Art of Living was released and had no idea there was even a steering committee.

    We will be there November 19th one way or another.

    Thomas Hinderks
    Executive Director
    Alberta Aviation Museum
    Edmonton Aviation Heritage Society


    • #3
      I'll be there.
      LA today, Athens tomorrow. I miss E-town.