Civic affairs reporter Annalise Klingbeil spoke to Josh Traptow, the executive director of the Calgary Heritage Authority, on the latest episode of The Confluence podcast. This is an edited and condensed version of their conversation about all things heritage in a city with a reputation for bulldozing its past — listen to episode 15 of The Confluence podcast for the entire interview.
Q: Can you tell me more about the work the Calgary Heritage Authority does?
A: We’re an advisory board to the City of Calgary, specifically council and the mayor and city administration on heritage-related matters. We maintain the inventory of historically-evaluated sites, which is a list of all the heritage properties in the city. There’s over 800 on that list. We also promote and educate Calgarians on their heritage. I’m the one sole staff member of the Heritage Authoirty. The board is made up of 12 volunteers appointed by city council.
Q: What is it about heritage that interests you?
A: I’m a third-generation Calgarian, both my grandfathers were born in Calgary and so were my parents. Calgary has always been my home. One of my grandfathers had a sign shop in Inglewood for a large number of years — Taylor Signs. They were probably one of the last remaining sign shops that hand-painted things. My other grandfather was a firefighter, so has stories of the old fire halls and fires. It was largely just the stories that I heard growing up and the interest that I had that landed me in this job.