City of Saint John
2002 Prince of Wales Prize
The City of Saint John was the 2002 winner of the prestigious Prince of Wales Prize. As Canada’s oldest incorporated city (1785), Saint John has the most intact collection of 19th-century commercial architecture in the country and has persisted in developing effective heritage policies and programs to support the sensitive restoration and maintenance of its historic fabric. The city’s Preservation Review Board was created in 1978 to establish and oversee a program of heritage conservation and rehabilitation, which resulted in the creation of Prince William Street as the first National Historic Site streetcape in Canada. In 1981, the 21-block Trinity Royal district was designated a preservation area by the city. Momentum grew with new partnerships that saw the rehabilitation of several key downtown buildings including the Admiral Beatty Hotel, the Carnegie Library, the Imperial Theatre, and the Market Square complex. In 1987, Saint John established the Grants for Historic Building Preservation Program, which has leveraged $30 million of heritage-sensitive development, that resulted in the designation of the Orange Street and Douglas Avenue preservation areas.
The city provides support to heritage property owners with workshops, one-on-one information sessions, and the city-published series, Practical Preservation Guidelines,that encourages repairs and upgrades over replacement, while saving money and achieving conservation goals. Over 1,500 heritage-sensitive rehabilitation projects over the past 12 years have resulted.