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EHC Creation

Heritage Recommendation 1: Create and support an Edmonton Heritage Council in a manner similar to the City’s support of the Edmonton Arts Council and Edmonton Sport Council.

Desired Outcome: A strong and recognized organization that provides a united and wide-ranging voice to heritage issues in Edmonton

Actions: To unify and support the heritage community, give it an advocacy voice and develop programs that are of benefit to the heritage community, the City will create and support an Edmonton Heritage Council. Over a 2-year incubation period, the Edmonton Heritage Council will be guided by the City of Edmonton and the Edmonton Arts Council, and at the conclusion of this period it will have evolved into a unique, self-contained organization, which will have:

  • A membership
  • An independent board of directors primarily elected by the membership with several appointed positions reserved for the City
  • A relationship to the City of Edmonton defined by a service agreement

Milestones / Accomplishments

  • This recommendation is complete
  • Second annual general meeting June 6, 2012.  Have a full board of representation.
  • Edmonton Heritage Council now has charitable status.
  • Development of the Heritage Salons to connect with cultural communities, EHC newsletter, 2012 Percolate Speakers Series, as well as the Herzog on Heritage articles. 
  •  Capital Modern. Produced at the behest of The Edmonton Heritage Council, this site is aninteractive reproduction of the material contained in the publication Capital Modern: Edmonton Architecture and Urban Design 1940-1969
  • Edmonton Maps Heritage- an on line resource of Edmonton’s designated historical buildings.
  • Living Local Arts & Heritage in the Neighbourhood Grants- Grants program with neighbourhood artists, historians and community members to create artistic works and documentary evidence based on the neighbourhood’s history and experience
  • Support to initiatives and working with it’s community partners on community events & projects such as National Day of Healing and Reconciliation, Salon Africa, Historic Festival and Doors Open Edmonton and My Heart’s in the Highlands
EHB Awards

Heritage Recommendation 2: Incorporate some of the Edmonton Historical Board awards into the mainstream of the City’s awards programs

Desired Outcome: Increased recognition of professional heritage activities and persons and the contribution they make to Edmonton.


  • The Edmonton Historical Board has developed several award and recognition programs for heritage in Edmonton.  These awards do not, however, have the profile they deserve
  • It is recommended that the Edmonton Historical Board and Salute to Excellence representatives meet to explore the best placement of heritage awards in existing excellence programs and determine if there is a fit for new Heritage awards within the Salute program.
  • The City of Edmonton’s Salute to Excellence program and Halls of Fame currently honour individuals and organizations in the arenas of arts, sport and community service.
  • Once a location and strategy for such awards is identified, with the Salute program or elsewhere, a working team will develop a plan that will:
    • Define heritage awards categories and judging criteria
    • Determine the selection process
    • Determine how awards will be presented (plaque/ certificate etc.)
  • Additional awards should be considered (as distinct from the Salute to Excellence program), including, for example, a major City “heritage award” that could be presented annually to the persons or organizations that best exemplify the qualities of dedicated heritage activity.
  • Once the Heritage Council is in place a joint committee of the Edmonton Historical Board and the Heritage Council explore ways to:
    • Provide ongoing and stable funding for awards
    • Provide ongoing stewardship of the award

Current Status:

  • The indication is that the Historical Board has determined that it will continue its present awards format for the time being
  • EHC will initiate discussion with EHB and Salute to Excellence by early 2013 to consider integration of some aspects of EHB awards and expansion of heritage-related awards into Salute to Excellence Program.
Issues Dialogue

Heritage Recommendation 3: : Initiate and develop an ongoing structured dialogue with the Province about heritage issues.

Desired Outcome: Unified and more effective positions on heritage issues.


  • An agenda for the creation of an ongoing dialogue with the Province will address cooperation on a number of items, including the Alberta Historic Resources Act, the Royal Alberta Museum (RAM) and the Provincial Archives of Alberta.
  • The rationale for this ongoing dialogue is to reinforce effective communication and working relationships between city and provincial heritage personnel, to identify gaps and synergies in their programs and institutions, to ensure these institutions and programs are adequately supported, and to reinforce Edmonton’s role and profile as the provincial capital.

Current Status:

  • Continuing small partnership with the Province. Have regular contact with key provincial people
  • Work with Province on the new museum. Meetings with the Executive Director of the RAM to discuss programs or exhibit opportunities in the new RAM.
  • RAM representative on the museum strategy committee work and meetings.
Artifact Centre

Heritage Recommendation 4: Recognize the Artifact Centre as a major asset to the city.

Desired Outcome: Preserve and organize the artifacts in Edmonton’s collection.


  • The City’s Artifact Centre required an increase in resources to stabilize the physical environment of the current building or to relocate the collection, and to provide additional staff.
  • Following this first step, a permanent home for this vital collection should be found or built.
  • Such a facility would need to be purpose-built or renovated specifically with the interests of the collection in mind.
  • Exploration of the program needs should consider future needs of a Civic Museum for artifact storage and storage space for the Archives Center as potential elements of a new facility.
  • Review, and update if required, the collections management policy for the Artifact Centre, including policies and procedures on acquisition, de-accession, and standards of care and registration/records to reflect the broad heritage vision of the Art of Living Plan.

Current Status:

  • May 9, 2011 an information report was presented to Community Services Committee (now Citizen Services Committee) which provided a summary of the findings of the Artifacts Center and Archives Storage strategy.
  • Presented at Community Services Committee (now Citizen Services Committee) on May 22, 2012 regarding the opportunities to share archives and artifacts space with other organizations.

Artifacts Center and Archives Storage strategy is positioned in the Capital Budget:

  • $30 million for a new artifact facility,
  • $5 million for a smaller facility at Fort Edmonton.
City Archives

Heritage Recommendation 5: Support the City Archives’ role in archiving private and community records.

Desired Outcome: City Archives is more effective in fulfilling its mandate.


  • The City Archives has a mandate to preserve and make accessible private and community documentary records of enduring historical value.  Ensuring that those records remain preserved and publicly available for future generations, in addition to the corporate records of the City of Edmonton, is a crucial aspect of the City of Edmonton Archives responsibilities.
  • The City should work closely with the City Archivist to address the future storage and program needs, either through the redevelopment and adaptive reuse of space in the Prince of Wales Armouries Heritage Centre or off-site, and to address staff and funding levels at the City Archives especially in addressing issues of processing backlogs of records and the overwhelming challenge of the long term preservation of digital records.
  • It is also important to recognize that some aspects of this responsibility may be taken on by new or already existing community and organizational archives operating in Edmonton.
  • The recently completed Prince of Wales Heritage Centre Space Plan makes archival storage and program recommendations and should be supported.

Current Status:

  • Changes in the formats of the records collected by the Archives (now City documents are created mostly as digital documents) and the preservation strategies for those and legacy materials already in the Archives are being explored with partners within the City best able to support those initiatives.
  • The Prince of Wales Heritage Centre Space Plan was completed in 2009 but indicated that further expansion of the Archives within the Armouries was unsupportable because of the failure of the floor joists.  After considerable remediation to the floors and ceilings, it has been possible to re-introduce office space use for tenants and programming activities within the POWA Heritage Centre. The space needs of the Archives for expansion were integrated into the Artifact Centre and Archives Strategy of 2011 which was unfunded after presentation to the Community Services Committee (now Citizen Services Committee).
  • Currently, the solution of the Archives’ space needs rests with the possible integration of the Artifact Centre (and Archives storage) into the Museum Strategy, in development under the Edmonton Heritage Council awaiting presentation to the Community Services Committee (now Citizen Services Committee) in the fall of 2012.
  • In terms of addressing backlogs and making multi-media materials available to researchers (either City employees or the general public) either would require more staff resources which at the present time are not indicated as priorities within the budget for Programs and Events
Heritage Mgmt Plan

Heritage Recommendation 6: Support the Built Heritage Management Plan.

Desired Outcome: Excellent preservation programs for Edmonton’s built heritage


  • The Built Heritage Management Plan is complete and will be presented to Council in September 2008.
  • The Plan will be implemented by the Sustainable Development Department.
  • The Built Heritage Management and Business Plan's principal focus is on the identification, protection and management of physical structures, most notably buildings.
  • The plan will standardize guidelines and explore greater creativity and initiative possibilities to protect heritage resources.

Current Status:

  • Complete
  • Meet regularly with Heritage Planners with the City of Edmonton. 
  • Hired Laurence Herzog to write articles on the built heritage for the Heritage Council.

Heritage Recommendation 7: Establish a City historian-in-residence program.

Desired Outcome: Expanded appreciation of and perspectives on Edmonton’s diverse histories.


  • The City of Edmonton will institute the position of a City historian-in-residence similar to the poet laureate.
  • Following this first step, a permanent home for this vital collection should be found or built.
  • So as to recognize the rich and complex nature of Edmonton’s heritage, the position should be held by a series of recognized historians from diverse backgrounds.
  • A working team of the Edmonton Historical Board should be established to:
    • Develop terms of reference for the position including the length of term, selection process, core duties, core administrative support and additional civic support required.
    • Determine a call for applicants.
    • Develop a selection jury.
  • Working closely with the City Archives and the Edmonton Historical Board, the position should be housed at the Archives in the Prince of Wales Armouries Heritage Centre.

Current Status:

  • Complete
  • A joint Historian Laureate program committee formed between EHC and EHB, Shirley Lowe selected with her term beginning in May 2012 for a 2 year term.
  • Reported to Community Services Committee in April 23, 2012.
Interpretation Practices

Heritage Recommendation 8: Develop consistent interpretation practices for heritage.

Desired Outcome: More accurate, comprehensive and effective heritage messaging and awareness


  • The City should develop and uphold consistent interpretation practices for heritage.
  • Some of the key issues that should be addressed include:
    • building plaques
    • naming city sites
  • This should be some of the founding work of the Edmonton Heritage Council

Current Status:

  • This recommendation has been identified as an important element to be addressed in relation to the museum strategy
  • No progress on building plaques or naming City sites
Museums Strategy

Heritage Recommendation 9: Develop an overall museums strategy.

Desired Outcome: Better support for museums and a cohesive plan for the development of all museums in Edmonton


  • Once the Edmonton Heritage Council and the City Museum organization and steering committee are established, a working team composed of the key partners mentioned above and selected Community Facility Services staff should be established to develop a city-wide museum strategy. This strategy would address:
    • Role of City museum and other private or government-funded museums in a comprehensive museums strategy
    • Funding
    • Marketing
    • Museum mandate: interpretation and programming
  • An overall City museum strategy would also include the museums and museum activities currently undertaken by the City of Edmonton, including Fort Edmonton and the Artifacts Centre.

Current Status:

  • #9 Develop an overall museums strategy & # 10 City Support for the development of an Edmonton museum- Edmonton Heritage Council is working with the consultant Lord Cultural Resources will develop a strategy for a city museum and a strategy to support museums in Edmonton. Work to be presented at CSC in October 2012.
  • Progress on Heritage Recommendations 9, is linked to Recommendations 10 and 11.
Edmonton Museum

Heritage Recommendation 4: City support for the development of an Edmonton museum .

Desired Outcome: A dynamic, community-driven organization that would interpret large and inclusive themes.


  • Most capital cities in the world have a museum that tells their city story.
  • The City should support the development of a civic museum.  A preliminary assessment has been completed as part of the development of the Art of Living.  The civic museum study calls for: developing strong support for the idea of a City museum as a dynamic, community-driven organization that would interpret large and inclusive themes.
  • Develop a Museum Organization and Steering Committee to develop the Edmonton Museum strategic plan, including
    • Vision and concept
    • Business and capital recommendation and financial plan
    • Governance structure
    • Public involvement plan
    • Consultation with museums community
    • Early outreach exhibitions in order to excite the community
    • Space recommendations – temporary and permanent
    • Marketing and communications
    • Standards of contemporary museum management, including: exhibition/ collection management/ interpretation and education
  • The logical place for this group to operate from would be the Prince of Wales Armouries during the initial planning phase.

This does not preclude being receptive to a suitable building should an opportunity arise.

There is a clear connection to the artifact centre recommendation (Heritage Recommendation #4) and creation of a City museum requires close ties to the supporting artifact collection.

Current Status:

  • Edmonton Heritage Council has undertake a partnership with the City of Edmonton to develop a museum strategy with recommendations, actions and goals needed to achieve a cohesive heritage and museum community within Edmonton.  This includes acknowledged, consistent interpretation standards and practices that can be utilized in future grant programs, along with an artifact collection policy and a vision.
  • Lord Cultural Resources will lead museum strategy which will include an extensive consultation process combined with the report on the Artifacts Centre and Archive Collection Storage to provide a comprehensive and contemporary blueprint for the feasibility and mandate for a future Museum of Edmonton.  Work to be completed by October 2012.
  • Progress on Heritage Recommendations 9, is linked to Recommendations 10 and 11.
Museum Grant

Heritage Recommendation 11: Create and support an Edmonton Heritage Council in a manner similar to the City’s support of the Edmonton Arts Council and Edmonton Sport Council.

Desired Outcome: A strong and recognized organization that provides a united and wide-ranging voice to heritage issues in Edmonton


  • As part of the overall museum strategy, a museum operating grant program should be established by the City as a Community Investment Grant similar to those available to arts and festival organizations.  All eligible recipients would be evaluated using criteria determined by the Edmonton Heritage Council, such as: governance, mandate, community benefit, accessibility and sustainability.
  • This grant program would be in addition to the now-established Community Investment Grant Arts and Museum Facility Grant program which will provide up to 25% of the annual operating expenses directly associated with the cost of running museum buildings (not the programming or content).
  • Currently no centralized City of Edmonton programs exist for this purpose.
  • Grant programs for other types of heritage organizations and personnel should eventually match the various grant programs available to the arts through the Edmonton Arts Council.

Current Status:

  • EHC working on service package proposal to establish community investment program
  • Progress on Heritage Recommendations 9, is linked to Recommendations 10 and 11.

For More Information

Marian Bruin



Fax 780-577-3525

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