Awards highlight heritage awareness

Submissions are being accepted for the 11th annual Red Deer Heritage Recognition Awards, which is introducing a lifetime achievement award this year.

Submissions are being accepted for the 11th annual Red Deer Heritage Recognition Awards, which is introducing a lifetime achievement award this year.

“We have so many people in this community that have spent their whole lives working on heritage awareness projects or helping people restore old buildings, securing heritage funding, written books, working in the schools. … People absolutely passionate for heritage,” said Janet Pennington, the heritage community development co-ordinator with the city.

“It’s to celebrate people like that.”

The awards focus on heritage conservation within Red Deer and Red Deer County. Since the awards’ inception in 2002, when the old Canadian Pacific Railway bridge was recognized, 39 individuals and projects have been honoured for work on heritage buildings and sites, as well as efforts undertaken for overall heritage awareness and education.

Last year marked the first time there was a recipient for the under 25 category for non-professional youth who demonstrated an ongoing commitment to heritage preservation. The award went to the North Red Deer Centennial Postcard Project, a creative campaign from the Riverside Meadows Community Association and Grade 5 students at Fairview Elementary School and Koinonia Christian School.

Other prominent projects recognized over the years include the Holy Trinity Anglican Church at Pine Lake, Red Deer’s Old Court House, the Markerville Icelandic Library and the Danish Canadian National Museum and Gardens.

Additionally, local history buffs who have made a difference and were presented awards include Red Deer historian Harlan Hulleman, college history instructor John Tobias (awarded posthumously) and Mary Fink, a longtime member of the Heritage Preservation Committee who spearheaded efforts to safeguard the Cenotaph on Ross Street.

Only four awards were handed out last year as there were only four submissions. The awards were cancelled in 2012 due to a severe lack of entries. The committee in charge of the awards say they hope to never see a repeat of that again.

“I hope for a great crop of entries this year,” Joe McLaughlin, chair of the Heritage Preservation Committee, said at the awards’ official launch ceremony at the historical Cronquist House on Monday morning. “There are so many who deserve recognition; especially with the centennial events, there’s been some tremendous heritage preservation work done. … The requirements for an entry are very precise but they are not particularly difficult and we will help anyone who needs it in filing out the forms.”

Submissions that do not win will be kept on file and considered again for the award over the next three years, added Don Hepburn, a member from the Central Alberta Historical Society.

Work on buildings or sites in the entries cannot be more than six years old. Self-nominations for the leadership and lifetime achievement awards are also accepted.

There are six categories in total and submissions will be accepted until 3 p.m. on April 30. They can be submitted online, via mail or in person to the city’s Cultural Services Centre at 3827 39th St. Plaques will be presented at a ceremony sometime in September.

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