The City’s heritage preservation programs won a prestigious national award in late 2009.
The Heritage Canada Foundation awarded the Prince of Wales Prize for Municipal Heritage Leadership to the City of Edmonton in November 2009.
Prince Charles presented the award to Mayor Stephen Mandel and the City’s heritage planners, Robert Geldart and David Holdsworth, at a special ceremony on November 4, 2009.
Edmonton is only the second western Canadian city to receive this award, given to municipalities demonstrating a strong and sustained commitment to the conservation and preservation of their historic places.
“The awards jury was most impressed,” says a congratulatory letter to the City, “by the array of bylaws, incentives and programs which the City has developed to protect and enhance its heritage buildings and historic neighbourhoods.”
“This is a really exciting moment for our city,” says Mayor Mandel. “We’re extremely honoured to receive this national recognition for our efforts to preserve, protect and understand our past. And to receive the prize personally from His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, makes this very special.”
Mayor Mandel emphasizes that he is proud that the City’s work on heritage issues was recognized at a national level.
“We’re a relatively young city and in recent years, we, as a community, have developed a greater appreciation for the importance of our architectural history,” says Mandel. “Identifying and preserving our built heritage has become a greater priority for the City of Edmonton.”
In 2008, City Council adopted a municipal cultural plan (known as The Art of Living) which includes 11 recommendations on heritage preservation. In spring 2009, the City approved the Historic Resource Management Plan.
These steps were in addition to the already existing Historic Resource Management Program with its inventory of over 600 historic properties, of which 84 are designated as Municipal Historic Resources. The city also has one of the most generous financial incentive programs in the country to help owners protect, restore and rehabilitate heritage buildings.
“The City of Edmonton is an innovator in heritage preservation,” says Tim Marriott, Vice-President of the Edmonton & District Historical Society, the organization that nominated the City for this award.
“These important innovations will not only serve to protect historic buildings, but also put heritage issues at the centre of Edmonton’s public consciousness.”