At the heart of what we now call Calgary, the confluence of the Bow and Elbow Rivers was the gathering place for Indigenous peoples for thousands of years. We respectively acknowledge that our city’s post-contact, built heritage and cultural landscapes occupy the traditional territories of the Treaty 7 peoples (the Blackfoot Confederacy, the Stoney Nakoda and the Tsuut’ina First Nations), and the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3.
Heritage Inspires YYC is a volunteer collaboration of….
Heritage Inspires YYC arose from the recognition that development pressures are eroding Calgary’s largely unprotected heritage resources. It acknowledges that enabling growth of a more compact city, by adding density and providing a variety of housing types, must be balanced with the retention of heritage character.
This campaign aims to raise awareness of our heritage resources and distinctive character areas that date from the late 19th century to the mid 20th century. It asks Calgarians to cherish our architectural heritage, streetscapes, parks and public spaces. And it responds to a need to advance our appreciation of the value that historic neighbourhoods contribute to our economy, environment, and social wellbeing.
Destruction of heritage is not progress. Planning policies that retain heritage support a more sustainable city by helping to reduce landfill waste and emissions from new builds. This campaign asks Calgarians to be bold and to imagine repurposing more of our heritage buildings into incubator hubs, meeting places and affordable housing.
Events that triggered Heritage Inspires YYC…
In January 2019, Victoria Park’s Enoch Sales house (ca. 1904), then owned by Calgary Municipal Land Corporation, burnt to the ground despite multiple plans to save and repurpose it over the past decade. The loss of Enoch house sparked an outcry and it became a symbol of Calgary’s failure to protect its heritage. The site is now a parking lot.
In 2020 residents of Inglewood organized a far-reaching campaign to oppose new tower projects that they felt threatened the heritage character of the neighbourhood and would alter the vitality of its historic main street. Despite the recognition of Inglewood as a “Special Character Area” in 1991 and its Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) that “encourages new development to respect and reflect the history of the area,” towers more than twice the height allowed by existing bylaw were approved by the City. This event illustrated a deep divide between community values, development projects and Council decisions.
The City of Calgary is adopting a new approach to area planning. The goal is to realize 50% of future population growth in Developed Calgary by 2069. The policies drafted to support the multi-community area plans are providing the foundation for a new bylaw for low-density residential districts. As the city reforms the Planning System to add significant density, this has been an opportune time to introduce new policies to protect heritage.
New city policies, considered “wins” for heritage residential areas, were adopted in July 2020. An increase to the Historic Resource Conservation Grant was approved in November 2020. To support the rollout of the new heritage policies, a Windshield Survey was commissioned by the City in 2019-20, which identified some 4000+ heritage assets across 26 communities. Calgarians for Heritage Districts collaborated with the City to review the survey for completeness and accuracy by mobilizing a team of some 70 community volunteers. The next step is to engage with property owners to garner support for policy implementation in their neighbourhoods.
Heritage Inspires YYC supports the growing momentum for heritage planning in the strategy to create a more compact, liveable and sustainable city. This campaign encourages all Calgarians to be inspired to speak up for heritage as important City Council decisions come forward in 2021, to engage in their Local Area Planning process, and to support further protections for heritage districts.
Heritage belongs to everyone!
This project is made possible through a grant from the Alberta Real Estate Foundation.
The Alberta Real Estate Foundation invests in real estate policy, research, practices, and education that strengthen Alberta’s communities. The Foundation’s revenues come from the interest earned on public money deposited in real estate brokers’ pooled trust accounts. Learn more at www.aref.ab.ca.
City of Calgary, Tourism Calgary, Calgary Film Centre, Calgary Municipal Land Corporation, Williams and Harris Shared History Centre (Calgary Public Library), Glenbow Western Research Centre (University of Calgary), On This Spot Enterprises Inc, Melanie Cooper Photography, Michael Grimm Photography, The Strategic Group, Christina Hagerty (Re/Max Realty) and many volunteers
An incredible team of passionate volunteers contributed hundreds of hours on research, photo sourcing, video locations, writing, graphic design, web site development, uploading, and social media to realize this project. Thank you!
Shelley Anderson, Olivia Breytenbach, Cory Brown, Lisa Buck, Joni Carroll, Lorna Cordeiro, Phil Dack, Kamran Dadi, Tarra Drevet, Doloris Duval, Chris Edwards, Kristen Elford, Sarah Frolick, Marcel and Marilynne Hebert, Maureen Hodgan, Katarina Hoven, Reuben and Irene Huber, Catherine Hughes, Tracey Johnson, Michael Jones, Erin Joslin, Cynthia Klaassen, Jackie Kleiner, Mike Kurtz, Deb Lee, Phil Levson, Fung Ling, Juliana and Kristi Nelson, Kye Oneill, Bevelyn Park, Karen Paul, Sabrina Pennetta, Kate Reeves, LJ Robertson, Kerri Rubman, Carolyn Ryder, Jane Sanden, Harry Sanders, Linda Sharp, Lindae Stokes, Halyna Tataryn, Susan Tyrrell, John van Sloten, Eva Wecki, Gerald Wheatley, Marilyn Williams, Rick Williams, Terry Wong, Roy Wright, Allan Zakrison
Thanks to the City of Calgary Heritage Planners, Heritage Calgary, and the Historic Resources Management Branch of Alberta’s Ministry of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women for vetting content on Public Policies for heritage.