Heritage advocates in Edmonton are making the case that building preservation can not only beautify the city but make economic sense.
A new report commissioned by the Edmonton Historical Board says heritage properties in the city provide significant long-term return on investments for buyers and generate a greater return on taxpayer dollars.
“There’s been nothing like this before for Edmonton,” researcher and author Shirley Lowe says. “We modelled the report on one which was undertaken by the city of Savannah in Georgia. We added in environmental metrics which we felt were an important part of the picture here.”
Currently, Edmonton has 38 recognized heritage neighbourhoods, comprising 6 per cent of the city’s land area.
“Much of the city’s early pioneer buildings were torn down during the boom times,” explains Ms. Lowe, who is herself a heritage advocate. “We consider Edmonton’s current economic slowdown to be a good time to make our case.”
“Rather than saying ‘stop tearing down our heritage buildings,’ we recognized that we need to change our language around this to be heard,” she continues. “We needed to make the argument about economics and the environment. We needed to make it about numbers, not sentimentality.”
These are revolutionary times for industrial heritage in Toronto and other cities across Canada.
Victorian masterpieces, plainer early 20th-century buildings and former factories are being adapted for use by artists, technological entrepreneurs and pioneers of new ways of working that did not exist when they were built.
But that's the way with heritage: built for new ideas in the past, ready for new ideas in the present - and the future.
In 1961 Jane Jacobs published The Death And Life Of Great American Cities, which includes what might be her most famous lines: "For really new ideas of any kind... there is no leeway for chancy trial, error and experimentation in the high-overhead economy of new construction. Old ideas can sometimes use new buildings. New ideas must use old buildings."
The "new ideas" she listed seem quaint today: neighbourhood bars, foreign restaurants, pawn shops, studios, galleries, stores for musical instruments and art supplies.
But Jacobs was on to something.
If she were writing Death And Life today, her list might include technologies and new ways of working that are transforming Toronto's former factories into centres of "post-industrial industry" - places like 401 Richmond.
WRITTEN IN STONE: A Look at Traditional Stone Masonry and Early Calgary Quarries
Join us March 30th for a free evening of learning and networking at our 4th Heritage Trades Roundtable. Meet some of the people who preserve and maintain the buildings and structures we love. From lintels to monumental buildings, develop an appreciation of traditional building methods and materials that endure.
Early masons, stonecutters & quarries in Calgary – Marilyn Williams, Heritage Roundtables steering committee
Bringing to life an historical quarry: the Glenbow quarry – archaeologist Shari Peyerl
Stone masonry today, using traditional methods for repair and restoration – Shawn Thibault, Ravenstone Masonry and Conservation Inc.
And more – brief talks on the importance of traditional mortars, restoration of Old City Hall
There will be an opportunity for discussion, and time before and after the talks to enjoy refreshments, visit display table and expand your heritage network.
Date: Thursday, March 30th
Time: Doors open at 6:30pm, presentations begin at 7pm
Cost: Open to the public and free of charge!
The CHA had an opportunity to tour the King Edward Creative Hub & Arts Incubator in South Calgary on March 1.
cSPACE King Edward is located at 1720 – 30th Avenue SW in the vibrant, arts-friendly, inner-city neighborhood of South Calgary near Marda Loop. The LEED Gold renovation of the 1912 building will provide approximately 41,000 s.f. dedicated, below-market space for creation, production, exhibition and performance available for long-term leasing. A contemporary new addition – built where an original wing was removed in the 1970s – will add another 6,300 s.f. of flexible space for short-term coworking desks, event and meeting room rental and shared community space. Phase 1 of the project, the historic building, opened in January 2017.
The following sites were evaluated or re-evaluated for addition to the Inventory of Evaluated Historic Resources in January and approved by the CHA at the February board meeting.
Barnhart Apartments (1929) – 1121 6 ST SW (Beltline)
Re-Evaluated as a City Wide Historic Resource
The Barnhart Apartments is one of the finest examples of Tudor Revival-style architecture in the city (Style Value, City Wide Significance) As one of the finest apartment houses in the city when completed in 1929, the Barnhart Apartments recall the area’s status as a choice residential neighbourhood at that time. (Symbolic Value, Community Significance) Given the building’s highly distinctive architecture, prominent location and corner siting, the property is a community landmark. (Landmark Value, Community Significance)
Healy Apartments (1912) – 1411 Centre ST SW (Beltline)
Evaluated as a Community Historic Resource
It is a good example of an apartment building designed in the Classic Revival style, characterized by its symmetrical appearance; buff-coloured brick exterior, substantial cornice with dentil detailing; and arched front doorway. (Style Value, Community Significance) The Healy Apartments recalls the housing boom in Beltline during the pre-War years, when the demand for housing in Calgary was severe, and is one of few remaining residential buildings reflecting the historical residential character of the area. (Symbolic Value, Community Significance)
Reconciliation Bridge (1910) – 4 ST East
Re-evaluated to address name bridge change
It is a representative example of a Parker Camelback through-truss, steel bridge, which was the most frequently used design for bridges built in Calgary from 1905 to 1912. It is the third oldest of four surviving examples of this type of bridge in Calgary. (Design value – Community Significance) It marks an ancient crossing of the Bow River used by the First Nations as part of the Old North Trail and from 1885-88 the primary Bow River Ferry crossing; it perpetuates this historic transportation route. (Symbolic value – City Wide Significance) Historically this bridge crossing allowed Calgary to be a distribution centre for a hinterland north of the Bow River following the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway. It remained part of the primary highway route north from Calgary to Edmonton (via highway No. 2) until the Deerfoot Trail was constructed in the late 1960s (Symbolic value – City Wide Significance) As a component of the street railway route, it is one of three historic crossings of the Bow River which enabled the expansion of Calgary’s urban area north of the river during Calgary’s early Twentieth Century boom (1909-13) and subsequently enabled the extension of the system to Tuxedo Park and was part of a loop which followed Edmonton Trail, 16th Avenue and 10th Street NW via the Hillhurst (Louise) Bridge. (Symbolic value – City Wide Significance) It is a landmark due to its long-standing and integral function as a primary transportation link. It is distinctive in appearance and it’s a ‘gateway’ feature to both Bridgeland – Riverside and downtown Calgary (Landmark Value – community Significance)
Sarah Meilleur is a born and raised Calgarian, with a passion for heritage. Sarah was a key member of the Century Homes Calgary committee, a 2012 project that won the Governor General’s History Award for Community Programming. In her working life, Sarah has spearheaded the digitization of historical Calgary photos in her former role as the Customer Service Manager of the Humanities, Community Heritage and Family History Department at Calgary Public Library. She is currently the Director of Service Design, leading creative change at Calgary Public Library. In her spare time she enjoys travelling the world and marveling at the history and heritage of other cultures.
Sarah has served as a member of the Calgary Heritage Authority since 2010 and is the Chair of the Governance & Human Resources Committee.
Jim Cullen has consulted in strategic and business planning, human resources management and facilitation since 2003. His career spans nearly three decades in human resources and general management in the corporate and non-profit sectors and includes leadership of strategic and business plans with numerous Canadian museums, historic sites and non-profit organizations. Jim holds an Honours Business degree with distinction from the University of Western Ontario, completed the Getty’s Museum Management Institute program in 2002 and is a Certified Human Resources Practitioner.
Jim has served as a member of the Calgary Heritage Authority since 2011
Calgary Heritage Events
Below is a listing of heritage events happening throughout the city. We are always happy to include the events of other organizations in our monthly newsletters. We only ask that you have them to us by the end of each month. Events can be sent to email@example.com.
Chinook Country Historical Society AGM (tickets required)
Tuesday March 28 - 5pm Location: Danish Canadian Club, 727 11 Ave SW
Stories from the Glenbow with Doug Cass Director, Library and Archives
Glenbow houses many rare books, letters, photos and documents. How were they acquired? Do we have our own Indiana Jones at Glenbow? Doug Cass will share acquisition stories such as how Glenbow came to acquire an 1871 Pacific Scandal document.
The Commonwealth Association of Museums is holding a pre-roundtable tour of indigenous heritage sites in Southern Alberta June 19-20, an Indigenous Heritage Roundtable June 21, and an international symposium on Heritage and Nation Building June 22-23, 2017.
Explore the role of museums and heritage organisations in creating and promoting a national identity with colleagues from throughout the Commonwealth during Canada’s sesquicentennial year.
The Commonwealth Association of Museums is a Canadian not-for-profit corporation that supports museums and museum workers throughout the Commonwealth, with a focus on Commonwealth values, such as human rights and social justice, and the UN sustainable development goals.
For further information visit our website, or to volunteer on the local arrangements committee contact the Secretary-General Catherine C Cole in Edmonton at CatherineC.Cole@telus.net.