New social media series to highlight Municipal Historic Resources
Lethbridge was incorporated as a town in 1890 and as a city in 1906, which for a municipality is relatively young by comparison to many areas of the world.
Despite our overall youth as a city, we do have an array of historic places. Those protected by the City of Lethbridge are called Municipal Historic Resources. Through preservation efforts, we currently have 29 Municipal Historic Resources, with 13 of them located in Downtown Lethbridge.
Starting today, ahead of Heritage Day on Monday, August 7, and running throughout the next year, we will feature a series of posts every second Friday to showcase each of these resources. Follow our social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to see more. For each of the Downtown locations, we will also include a short video featuring Belinda Crowson, City Councillor and President of the Lethbridge Historical Society, showcasing some fun facts at each stop.
“The history of any community is largely centred around its people and places, so having our Municipal Historic Resources program is of vital importance,” says Crowson. “Sadly, we have lost many great buildings due to a variety of reasons throughout the years. We owe it to our current generation as well as future generations to preserve these buildings as they are important pieces of our history.”
Two of Downtown’s Municipal Historic Resources, the Manie Opera Society and Bow On Tong buildings, were heavily damaged by a fire earlier this year. The Bow On Tong has already been demolished and the Manie Opera Society is also scheduled to be demolished.
The Provincial Historical Resources Act empowers Alberta’s municipalities to protect and conserve historically significant places. Municipal Historic Resource designation protects these significant places, ensuring that they are not altered haphazardly or destroyed. Once designated, a Municipal Historic Resource remains the property of the registered owner. Designation does not alter how a property can be used. Law prohibits physically altering (or demolishing) a Historic Resource without the municipality’s written permission. The designation is registered against the title for the property, ensuring that future owners and interest holders understand that the place is designated.
Balancing these additional responsibilities, owners of designated Municipal Historic Resources may apply to the Province for annual matching grants of up to $50,000 to assist with the conservation of their property.
Property owners can apply to the City to have their property identified and protected as a Municipal Historic Resource. More information on the Municipal designation process can be found here. Do you think your building should be protected by the City as a Municipal Historic Resource? To learn more, view the Historic Resources Brochure.
“We are certainly looking to the public and those who may be interested in pursuing historic designation to please reach out to us,” says Ross Kilgour, Senior Community Planner. “We are aware of many more buildings in our community that could fit into this program, so we are hoping this new showcase series on social media will gather some interest.”
In addition to the Municipal Historic Resources, Lethbridge has 16 Provincial Historic Resources (several sites have both Municipal and Provincial designation). The city is also home to four Federally-listed National Historic Events and one National Historic Person. See the full list on our website here. Although the Fort Whoop-Up National Historic Site of Canada (the original site) is closely associated with Lethbridge, the site lies just outside the City boundary to the south.
The City of Lethbridge’s Heritage Management Plan (HMP) sets the overall approach and strategic goals for the City’s Heritage work. The HMP was updated in 2023 to better represent, celebrate and protect Indigenous heritage in our community and region, as well as other under-represented perspectives including those of women, visible minorities and other equity-seeking groups.