About the Society
Our movement for preservation of Canada’s built heritage came together around the 1950s, at odds with growing neglect and destruction of heritage properties and sites across the country. Three decades later governments began to pass laws to provide protection for significant assets. Saskatchewan's Heritage Property Act was passed in 1980 and has since facilitated designation of more than 800 properties and sites across the province by municipal government, community-based organizations, and property owners. Our provincial government also has contributed real dollars to support restoration projects through the Saskatchewan Heritage Foundation.
The Architectural Heritage Society of Saskatchewan was incorporated in 1987 by seven founding groups that wanted a provincial voice and a continuing program of public education. We have published newsletters and magazines and encouraged, enabled and rewarded meaningful conservation and adaptive reuse of historic sites by owners, designers and builders through awards.
The work is not 'done'. People and organizations are still stepping-up today to protect historic properties in Saskatchewan from the wrecking ball. Our provincial government is still balancing priorities. The federal government probably will never introduce tax relief for property owners, that would encourage investment in restoration and reuse. Three out of four Canadians still believe that well preserved historic buildings are important features of the communities they prefer to inhabit. Conservation and adaptive reuse of historic properties means livable neighbourhoods and improved quality of life. Rehabilitation stimulates the local economy, sustains tax revenue, and creates good jobs. And it reuses existing materials, reduces landfill, and avoids the impact of new infrastructure.
Restoration, long-term maintenance, and reuse of heritage properties have not been guaranteed by designation but can really preserve our built heritage for future generations. We want to meet with other organizations and talk about creating a comprehensive resource centre that promotes and encourages restoration. This could provide the information and consultation necessary for help people to plan and carry out projects. The information and expertise exist. The Society already maintains an online directory of heritage professionals on its website which could be a useful for the resource centre project.