Wednesday, December 19, 2012

City-sponsored heritage program wins national award

Lindae Stokes and Cynthia Klaassen accept a Governor General’s Award on behalf of the Century Homes Calgary organizing committee from the Right Honourable Governor General David Johnston. Photo courtesy of MCpl Dany Veillette, Rideau Hall ©Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Canada represented by the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General (2012).
Century Homes Calgary has been hailed as a major success by Calgarians since the program ran this summer, but now it has been recognized by the Governor General of Canada!

The volunteer organizers of the program were recently awarded the 2012 Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Community Programming. The Governor General’s History Awards are the top honour an organization can receive in the field of history and heritage.

Century Homes Calgary asked residents of homes built during Calgary’s first building boom – which peaked in 1912 – to research the history of their home and create a display about it on their property. Participating homes were then mapped on a website so that interested Calgarians could visit them during Historic Calgary Week. In total, 508 historic homes in 30 different communities participated.

“We wanted to increase awareness and appreciation of Calgary’s heritage homes by engaging the people who live in them. The number of people who signed up to do research and display their love of their Century Homes with signs and banners was overwhelming,” said Cynthia Klaassen, co-chair of the organizing committee and President of the Calgary Heritage Initiative Society, one of the main organizations involved in the program.

The Century Homes Calgary organizing committee involved a number of community organizations and sponsors in the program, including The City of Calgary’s Heritage Planning team, City Council’s Strategic Initiative Fund, the Calgary Public Library, and the Calgary Heritage Authority.

“Century Homes Calgary stood out because of its significant impact on the community, both in terms of the number of participants in the project, as well as the number of those who will benefit from the legacy of the research in future years,” said Joanna Dawson,  Community Engagement Coordinator of Canada’s History Society, the organization that administers the award.

Members of the Century Homes Calgary program team were presented with the award by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnson, Governor General of Canada, in Ottawa last week. Plans are already underway for the 2013 Century Homes Calgary tours this summer.

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