Guest post by Andrew Yarmie of the Heritage Engagement Group. See this article as a slideshow at the Kamloops Library or watch it on our YouTube channel.
February 15-21st is Heritage Week here in British Columbia. Every year Heritage BC develops a new theme for Heritage Week that serves as a call to action to preserve our heritage during the entire year. This year the theme is
Where do you find heritage?
The Kamloops Heritage Advisory Committee was established in 1979 to advise Council on matters pertaining to heritage. Subsequently called the Heritage Commission its philosophy was to ensure that the heritage of the City is preserved and to promote public awareness. It is now called the Heritage Engagement Group. Its duties include making recommendations to Council respecting the recognition or designation of heritage buildings, structures and lands as well as formulating heritage policies for City Council.
Heritage Designation and Recognition Programs
To encourage the preservation of our City’s heritage plaque programs were established to recognize residential and commercial buildings as well as public structures. To date there are 127 properties that have plaques. They can be viewed online by searching on the City of Kamloops website.
There are ten buildings and structures officially designated as heritage properties by City Council and are legally expected to maintain their heritage appearance. Municipalities may offer incentives like tax exemptions to encourage owners to designate their building. Examples include Stuart Wood School, the Old Court House, & the Inland Cigar Factory.
Heritage Recognition Program
The majority of buildings that have been awarded a plaque come under the Heritage Recognition category. Here there are no legal restrictions. It is a strictly volunteer program and is based on the individual owners’ desire to preserve the heritage of their commercial building or residential home.
Interested in what it takes? Learn more about this program on the City of Kamloops website.
When a building qualifies to be part of the Heritage Recognition program this plaque is placed on the exterior of the building and it is then entered on the City’s heritage inventory as an officially recognized building. A historical record of ownership is established and maintained.
The Importance of Heritage
Historic buildings provide aesthetic depth of character to a city. Heritage is an essential part of our culture. When we know where the community has been and how it developed, it improves the quality of life. People gain a sense of pride from living in a community that is preserving its culture.
Heritage Centenary Plaques
Special plaques have been designed to commemorate buildings that are 100 years old or more. To date, eighteen commercial and residential houses have received plaques and more are to be recognized in the future. View all the properties online at City of Kamloops Heritage Buildings. Here are a couple examples:
776 Pleasant St.
This is an example of a foursquare rectangular plan, hipped roof house with leaded glass windows and a verandah with square columns. These features are characteristic of the Edwardian style of the 1900s.
215 Seymour W.
The Slavin House was built in 1897 and is characterized by its turret roof and finial.
In 2018 four mid-20th century Modernist houses designed by Kamloops architects were given plaques:
Another major project that the Commission undertook was the Downtown Cultural Heritage Walking Tours. They have become a very popular way for residents and tourists to learn about the history of Kamloops. Print off a copy of the tour brochure from the City of Kamloops website and get walking!
Another tour was developed for the North Shore with 18 Cultural Heritage plaques placed throughout the Tranquille corridor, Brocklehurst and the airport. Pick up a copy of the tour brochure at the library or see it online.
Enjoy Heritage Week
Heritage is yours to discover and it is here all year long. Check out the brochures online, visit the displays at the Kamloops & North Kamloops libraries, or go for a walk & discover the history of your interesting city.