Trust Questionnaire: Ali Piwowar

Made famous by writer Marcel Proust, the Proust Questionnaire is said to reveal one’s true nature. We asked a National Trust member to complete our own version of the Proust Questionnaire to get to know them a little better.

My home base is in: Ottawa, ON (but I’m originally from Regina, SK).

My occupation: Intern Architect. I am currently working with Heritage Conservation Services at the Government of Canada. I am also Principal at The Heritage and Design Company – a creative enterprise focused on re-imagining heritage buildings in small communities across Canada.

I care about historic places because: They all tell a story. These stories create the tangible and intangible cultural heritage that give historic places value and meaning for past, present, and future generations.

A historic place that matters to me is: Wooden crib grain elevators. While it’s not just one place, the historic wooden grain elevators across the Canadian Prairies tell an incredible story about early settlement life on the Prairies. They have so much tangible and intangible cultural heritage associated with them. The fact they are quickly disappearing in the face of shifting agricultural technology makes the ones that still stand even more important! I have a special place in my heart for the grain elevators in Indian Head, SK.

The place that every Canadian should see at least once in their life is: The Canadian Prairies! I know that’s general, but there is so much to see and experience in the province of Saskatchewan. Driving on the Trans-Canada Highway doesn’t count as “seeing” the prairies – get off the highway! Drive the grid roads from one small town to the next using the grain elevators as place markers. Don’t forget to pay attention to the sky. Saskatchewan is aptly named the “Land of living skies.” You’ll know what I mean once you’ve experienced it.

My idea of “heritage” is: Anything with a story! It may be a building with a formal designation but more often than not, I find heritage value in unique buildings or landscapes as I meet new people.

Photo by Sharpshooter Photography