Outstanding Heritage Initiatives at 2023 Governors’ Awards
At our national conference this past October in Ottawa, the National Trust for Canada’s board of Governors recognized nine exemplary initiatives through the annual Governors’ Awards. The awards honour contributions to community, identity, and sense of place deserving of national attention. The 2023 winners highlighted the changing nature of the heritage field and recognized initiatives and organizations that are leading the country in demonstrating the social and environmental benefits of heritage conservation.
Reside and Raising the Roof Canada
Reside and Raising the Roof Canada were presented with this Governors’ Award for their commitment to affordable housing and environmental stewardship in the renovation of vacant or under-utilized spaces, and their commitment to providing hands-on training in renovation to those at risk of homelessness. In Winnipeg’s north end, Reside is converting a vacant commercial property into housing for Indigenous families and youth and is training and employing 35+ people through the project.
O’Brien Farm, Newfoundland
The Learning Centre at the O’Brien Farm in Newfoundland is an example of how heritage places can address contemporary needs, in this case by teaching and practicing sustainable food production and preserving and using original buildings, while sharing the story of Irish settlement in St. John’s through the example of the O’Brien family. Executive Director Aaron Rodgers accepted the award.
This award recognizes the continued commitment of Indwell to develop affordable housing through adaptive reuse of existing buildings. Indwell provides supportive housing to over 1,000 households in Southern Ontario through programs in Hamilton, Waterloo Region, London, Mississauga, Simcoe, St. Thomas, and Woodstock. Director of Projects and Development, Graham Cubbitt, accepted the award.
Edmonton Queer History Project, Alberta
This Governors’ Award was presented to the Edmonton Queer History Project for their efforts to document and share stories of queer life in Edmonton over the past half century. And further, to recognize their advocacy work to educate and spread awareness of the contributions of the queer community to the City of Edmonton.
Entremise was presented this award for their ongoing efforts to preserve heritage buildings and provide opportunities for community organizations to utilize transitional spaces in vacant buildings. Entremise Project Director, Francis Durocher accepted the award.
Southern Prairie Railway, Saskatchewan
The Southern Prairie Railway were presented with this award for their successful initiative to save the train station, the tracks, a historic passenger car and a locomotive to create a sustainable railway experience that shares the beauty and diversity of the southern Saskatchewan prairie. Carol Peterson, a lead volunteer from the Southern Prairie Railway accepted the award.
Chinese Canadian Museum, British Columbia
This award was presented to the Chinese Canadian Museum for their continued efforts to recognize Chinese History in BC and Canada and for the successful opening of Canada’s first national Chinese Canadian Museum in Vancouver. The Executive Director of the organization, Melissa Lee accepted the award.
Canadian Museums Association
Presented to the Canadian Museums Association (CMA) for their Moved to Action report. The report is a sweeping review of existing policies and a collection of bold new commitments produced in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #67. The report is part of a national review of the relationship between Canadian museum policies and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Jeff Ward and Grant Anderson, members of the CMA Reconciliation Council, accepted the award on behalf of the CMA.
Next Great Save
Between October 2022 and February 2023, the Next Great Save competition generated excitement in communities, raised awareness and awarded prize money for projects to protect, adapt, renew or improve heritage places for the future. Some 200,000 votes were cast across the country and $65,000 in cash prizes was won by 3 communities. The project grew awareness of the significant role that heritage places play in communities across Canada, showcasing 10 finalists as gathering spaces, visitor centres or cultural hubs.
The Board of Governors also recognized Ecclesiastical Insurance, a longstanding National Trust sponsor and a charitable organization themselves, who saw the Next Great Save as a fitting way to celebrate their 50th Anniversary in Canada, but also an opportunity to do good for heritage places.
The members of the Bill C-23 Working group
Thanks go to the following: Dinu Bumbaru, Catherine Bell, Emma Lang, Christina Cameron, Chris Uchiyama, Leslie Maitland, David Flemming, Katherine Spencer Ross, Marc Denhez, Theodora Samiotis, Shannon Day, Heather MacLellan, Alex Rodriguez, Kyle Schole, Michael Greguol, Lucas Roque, Kenneth Holyoke, Maryssa Barras, Andrew Waldron, Mathieu Dormaels, Rebecca Jansen, Kisha Supernant and Karen Aird.