The Trethewey House Remaining Relevant and Sustainable During a Global Pandemic

Operated by the Heritage Abbotsford Society, the historic Arts and Crafts style Trethewey House Heritage Site has been an important community place for decades; but when the pandemic struck, the Society knew they would need to act fast to mitigate the impact on their financial sustainability.

So, the small team of passionate history experts at the Society did what so many did in 2020: they pivoted. That meant tapping into seeking advice and expertise through the National Trust’s Launch Pad Coaching Grants, and developing creative programming ideas and new partnerships, including the Trethewey House virtual tour with On This Spot, an app that features guided walking tours through historic places.


Photo: Heritage Abbotsford Society

Recently restored to circa 1925, Trethewey House graces a site that also features the Sylvia Pincott Heritage Garden and several other notable buildings, including the Carriage House, Joey’s Playhouse, and the Upper Sumas Train Station.

Fortunately, the Heritage Site was not affected by the floods that devastated regions of British Columbia in late 2021, although the extreme weather conditions have on several occasions forced the Society to close its doors to the public in the interest of safety.

Despite the recent challenges it has faced, Trethewey House and the surrounding structures continue to help Abbotsford’s residents and visitors (both in person and remotely) explore the community’s roots and find answers to their questions about heritage and conservation.

The Society is celebrating its 53rd year of stewardship this year, demonstrating that historic house museums can remain relevant and sustainable – even during a global pandemic.

Pre-restoration. Photo: Heritage Abbotsford Society

Cover photo: Built by J.O. Trethewey (owner of the Abbotsford Lumber Company) in 1919-1920, Trethewey House is operated by the Heritage Abbotsford Society.