Effective Heritage Management strategies provide support to any kind of local heritage endeavour.
This is crucial because a community’s identity is firmly rooted in its heritage character, and its claims to uniqueness and individuality—upon which anything from tourism to middle school projects to local pride may rest—depend on how it cares for its heritage resources.
Municipal Heritage Resource Guide
Produced by the Province of Manitoba, the Municipal Heritage Resource Guide provides key information and documents intended to help communities identify and protect their heritage resources in the public interest. Although intended particularly for local governments, much of this information will also be of interest to individuals interested in heritage. Municipal Heritage Resource Guide (518 KB pdf)
Heritage Matters Benchmarks
The Heritage Matters Benchmarks worksheet, produced by the Historic Resources Branch of Manitoba Tourism, Culture, Heritage, Sport and Consumer Protection, is a checklist of best practices for heritage management that can help organizations and communities understand their strengths, identify weaknesses, and develop useful partnerships.
While originally designed for community-wide organizations, it can also provide useful ideas for groups working on specific projects.
Protecting Heritage Sites
Heritage sites are important to communities. Among other things, they link us to our history, inform us about our past, and provide visual diversity and often beauty in our surroundings.
In addition, reusing or continuing to use existing buildings is a better ecological choice than building anew. These sites are worth protecting.
The following entries, designed both for groups and individuals interested in this subject, provide information and guidance about a range of approaches to ensuring that Gimli’s physical heritage continues to play a vital role in the community’s identity.
All buildings—of any age or quality—require routine maintenance to keep their value.
Older buildings may have experienced years of deferred maintenance, and could require historically-sensitive repair work, often called conservation, to preserve and restore their heritage value. The informed building owner will find that a historically-sensitive approach is often no more difficult or expensive than work that might compromise heritage character.
Treatments for historic buildings emphasize retaining and repairing the features of the building that give it its heritage character. These may include such features as exterior cladding materials, woodwork, windows and doors, rooflines and porches, but frequently exclude things like bathrooms and kitchens. Retaining the exterior appearance is probably most important, as dramatic changes to that will compromise the heritage character of the whole neighbourhood.
The Historic Resources Branch of Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism has developed a set of materials that will help you understand and preserve your building’s heritage character.
All of these publications are available at the branch’s website section for Heritage Site Owners.
- The Heritage Buildings Maintenance Manual helps building owners develop a plan for preventive maintenance to keep heritage materials and building systems functioning well. Historic windows are an important factor in a building’s heritage character, and a few simple strategies will make them as weather-tight and efficient as new replacement windows, with the added benefit that most old windows will last nearly forever if well maintained.
- Guidelines for the Repair and Replacement of Windows in Historic Buildings will help you decide whether your windows are reparable, and choose appropriate replacements should they have deteriorated beyond repair.
- Repurposing or continuing to use historic buildings is a good ecological choice, and the Green Guide to Heritage Conservation addresses how best to upgrade your building’s energy efficiency.
- Finally, a major publication developed by Parks Canada, the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Sites in Canada guides building owners in making maintenance and repair decisions that support the site’s heritage value.
Buildings are often the most visible and tangible evidence of a community’s history. They tell the story of everyday aspirations and struggles, of a community’s triumphs and its tribulations, of spiritual life and the daily grind. The more that we understand about the history of architecture, the better we can “read” the buildings that stand today to understand what they can tell us about the people who built them.
The entries below will help interested people in Carman/Dufferin learn more about buildings and architecture, and what those subjects can tell us about our past. The content has been adapted from materials produced by the Historic Resources Branch of Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism. We gratefully acknowledge that partnership.
Heritage activity in the 21st century is a sophisticated endeavour, often accompanied with technical words and terms with very specific meanings.
The following definitions and brief explanations that will help anyone interested in this important work, especially as it relates to the subjects of history, research and heritage.
History is the study, analysis and presentation (usually via a book or article) of a subject, theme, event, person, or site in all its aspects—the good and the bad.
The traditional goal of historical exploration is to explain a subject in all its details and meaning. While heritage is based on history (and historic exploration), it is the result of choices and selections by a community or a group to identify events, people and places that are seen to most effectively sum up or express beloved and revered aspects of the past.
While an operative word for history is exploration, an operative word for heritage is celebration.
Historiography is the writing of history, the study of the development of historical method, historical research, and writing, and any body of historical literature.
These two words are commonly confused, and used interchangeably. Historic refers to events, themes, subjects, individuals, groups that are important or of momentous significance – they define aspects of history. Historical merely means anything that relates to the past; that is, most events, themes, subjects, individuals, groups. Only a few things are truly historic; everything else is historical.
Oral History involves the recording in audio or audio-visual form, and/or the transcribing, of eyewitness accounts of historical events. Historians, folklorists, anthropologists, sociologists, journalists, linguists, and others employ some form of interviewing in their research. Oral history is an important means by which non-academics actively participate in “making history.”
Popular history is a broad genre of historiography that aims at a wide readership, appeals to the layman and general public, and usually emphasizes narrative, personality, and vivid detail over scholarly analysis and interpretation. Some popular historians are without academic affiliation; others are academics or former academics.
Academic histories are a genre of historiography emphasizing scholarly analysis and interpretation intended primarily for a university audience. These histories are undertaken by academics, usually university or college professors.
Although most heritage sites in Canada are buildings, almost anything from a bridge to a mine complex to a traditional meeting-place with no built element at all may be identified as a heritage site.
The term “site” is sometimes interchangeable with the words “resource” and “place:” thus the terms heritage site, heritage resource or historic place are sometimes used interchangeably.
The significance of a heritage subject or issue refers to its capacity to clearly and correctly connect to the people, events or ideas that shaped their time.
For a subject to be considered significant to the community, it would typically have a major connection to a notable theme or person. It is important to note that a subject or individual can be interesting without being significant.
A heritage inventory is a planning tool that identifies all sites of potential heritage significance in a defined area, usually providing as much basic information as possible (date, architect, builder, original owner, original function etc.).
An inventory provides important information to help develop planning intended to make the most of the community’s heritage assets, which is especially important in areas experiencing development pressure.
In addition, an inventory provides the basis for a range of heritage-related activities, from the development of walking tours to determining the most significant sites for further study. It also provides a record of what has been lost in the case of demolition, fire etc.
Assessment is the review of information through the use of standard and judicious criteria to determine whether a theme, subject, issue, individual or group has greater importance when compared to others with a similar claim.
Interpretation involves the careful and creative expression of a chosen historical subject so that members of a community or visitors to a community can completely comprehend and appreciate its significance. Interpretation involves the consideration of audience/reader needs (for facts, information and enjoyment via engaging writing and graphic design) and of historical communication, to ensure that messages are accurate, clear and persuasive. Common interpretative venues include pamphlets, tours, articles and books.
Commemoration involves the selection of a historic subject (person, place, theme, event, etc.) via a rigorous assessment process and then the consideration of appropriate methods and venues to honour and promote that subject. Typical methods for such work include plaques, statues and murals. When the commemorative approach is a plaque it is essential that wording be concise and exact, that key issues be carefully weighed and addressed, and that texts be appropriate and clear.
Heritage is a major factor in establishing the unique identity of any community. As such, it is of importance not just to those who appreciate the aesthetic qualities of older buildings or who want to connect younger generations to their history, but also to the economy.
Good heritage management seeks to preserve and make the most of the community’s best heritage assets, and should play an important role in urban and regional planning by ensuring that development is carried out with reference to heritage character.
A values-based management approach ensures that decisions and actions directed at a heritage site or area will be determined in light of the key reasons for its significance.
Sustainability is a crucial consideration in any kind of planning.
Reusing or continuing to use old buildings is an environmentally sustainable practice, as it keeps materials out of the landfills and saves the environmental cost of producing new ones.
For heritage planning purposes, sustainability also refers to the ability of a project to survive in the long term. This is dependent not only on its ongoing financial security, and, if a building, its physical state, but also on the availability of people willing and able to carry the project forward in the long term.
Designation is the legal recognition that a site is significant to the community and that its owner has agreed to protect it and preserve its heritage character.
Designation is usually the last step in a process that has ensured that a site has major heritage value, that the community recognizes this value, and that the building or site has been deemed sustainable through an examination of financial and technical issues. Very few buildings or sites merit designation, and great care is usually taken to determine whether this option is necessary for the protection or promotion of a site.
Architectural conservation refers to the processes by which the physical integrity of a site, and thus its ability to tell its story, is maintained and prolonged.
Canada recognizes a range of treatments that fall under the umbrella of conservation:
Preservation is aimed at maintaining as much extant historic material as possible, recognizing that buildings undergo alterations and additions through time and that these changes are important parts of its history.
Rehabilitation is considered to be appropriate for buildings that may have experienced more deterioration. While an emphasis remains on the maintenance of historic materials, there is more flexibility about alterations and modernization. Rehabilitation may be applied to a building chosen for adaptive reuse, a process in which the heritage character of the site is retained to the extent possible while it is completely altered for another purpose (e.g. a church becoming an apartment house, or a fire hall reused as a restaurant).
Restoration is generally reserved for particularly important sites, and emphasizes the most significant moment in the building’s history (which may be the time of its construction, or perhaps when an important person lived there), retaining and even reconstructing features dating from that moment and removing later additions. In every case, the building’s character-defining elements are central to the conservation.
Designating Heritage Sites
Heritage sites are vital parts of our past that remain with us in the present.
One way to help ensure that they survive to become a part of the future is by designating them as heritage sites, and there are over 350 such sites in Manitoba, ranging from churches and grand houses to industrial buildings, bridges, parks and natural sites.
Municipally designated sites are considered to have significance to the broader community; this significance may stem from a connection to important people or events, or it may be that a building is a particularly good example of a style or type. Designation is an honour, and signifies that the site owner is committed to maintaining the site’s condition and integrity so that it may continue to play its role as a bearer of memory in the community.
The following information should be consulted before considering designation, and if a site owner has any questions they are encouraged to contact the Carman/Dufferin Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee for further information.
Various grants are available to groups or individuals for heritage-related projects.
If you have a site with heritage designation, you may be eligible for a Designated Heritage Building Grant. These are not intended for routine maintenance or upgrades, but rather are designed to help with projects that are directly related to repairing or restoring the heritage character of a building.
The Heritage Grants Program supports a range of heritage projects, excluding capital or operating funds.
It is always advisable to consult with the MHAC (contact the R.M. office) if you are considering undertaking your own grant proposal for a heritage project—the MHAC has the background and experience that can help you define and refine your project.
You can learn about this grant at Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism’s grants page.
Commemorating Historic Resources
The intangible qualities and claims that define a community’s past are often not readily evident to members of the community or to visitors, but may be made accessible through interpretation and commemoration.
The lives of notable individuals and the events and activities that shaped the course of history are, however, essential aspects of our heritage, and necessary for any place to help define its identity. It is important that individuals and groups undertaking this kind of work do so with the highest standards possible, and with the kind of up-to-date approaches that define heritage activity in the 21st century.
The following entries, designed both for groups and individuals interested in this endeavour, provide information and guidance about a range of approaches that will ensure that our history and heritage continue to play a vital role in the community’s identity.