Buildings, structures, landscapes, historic districts and other places of heritage value – are crucial to our understanding and appreciation of the identity and character of our communities.
Heritage can and must foster best practices in diversity and accessibility. By reducing the many different types of barriers that keep people from enjoying heritage and feeling safe, then lives will be enriched.
When heritage responds to diversity and accessibility challenges, it becomes inclusive. This is possible for even the smallest of heritage organizations and is reason to celebrate.
“Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today and we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration, our touchstone, our reference point, our identity.” ~ UNESCO
By conserving and celebrating these places, we contribute to the future of our communities. Conservation and preservation of historic places is an important part of maintaining healthy communities across the province.
British Columbia’s heritage includes historic places across the province, providing a ‘sense of place’ and contributing to our province’s unique identity. Learn more about heritage conservation if you’re a:
- Local government representative
- Heritage conservation enthusiast
- Tourist or historic site visitor
- Teacher and/or student
- Property owner
Heritage is a broad concept that is not easily or universally defined and touches on a wide range of places and experiences. It encompasses any aspect of the past that citizens continue to value and is vital to individual and community identities.
Heritage includes tangible, physical remnants of the past as well as society’s intangible values, beliefs, customs, and traditions. These can take the form of stories, language, place names, music, dance, food, ceremonies, or anything we do that is part of a tradition extending into the past.
What We Heard: Outcomes of Provincial Engagement on Cultural Heritage
Heritage Branch, part of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport (TACS) since April 2022, supports and facilitates the conservation of heritage values on the land base in B.C. through policies, programs, stewardship of provincial sites, and partnerships.
As a response to public engagement with the heritage sector between 2018 and 2020, Heritage Branch has released a report which provides a summary of the engagement that has taken place, synthesizes the recommendations received and identifies key commitments that will guide the Branch’s work in the coming years.
Download: What We Heard - Outcomes of Provincial Engagement on Cultural Heritage (PDF, 7mb)
Provincial Historic Places Recognition Program
The Provincial Historic Places Recognition Program seeks to identify and acknowledge historic places for their diverse heritage values, with a goal to tell a more complete story of the people, places and events that have contributed to the development of British Columbia. This, in turn, broadens our awareness of the richness of the province and strengthens our connection with provincial identity. The program provides a formal mechanism through which the more complete narrative of the provincial story can emerge.
Places formally recognized under Section 18 of the Heritage Conservation Act are added to the BC Register of Historic Places, and are featured online as a cultural heritage map layer available through the web links below.
Since the initial project cycle completed in 2015, 115 historic places have been recognized under the Program, often bringing into focus lesser known stories of people, events and places that have contributed to British Columbia as we know it today.
This project was a partnership between the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development’s Heritage Branch and the Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat’s Francophone Affairs Program.
During the project cycle, three Heritage Values Workshops were held, as part of community engagement. More than 120 nominations were received, representing 111 different places with connections to Francophone culture and history in British Columbia. Following evaluation, 23 of these nominations were determined to be historic places of provincial significance. As well, the project delivered a comprehensive context study, produced in both French and English.
The BC Heritage Branch recognizes the financial support of the Province of British Columbia and the Government of Canada through the Canada-British Columbia Agreement on Official Languages for French-language Services.
Le BC Heritage Branch reconnaît le soutien financier de la province de la Colombie-Britannique et du gouvernement du Canada par le biais de l'Entente Canada-Colombie-Britannique en matière de langues officielles pour les services en français.
In partnership with the Royal BC Museum, this project included a public nomination period, a Heritage Values Workshop and outreach to the community through active support from the Advisory Committee through ethnic community media programming. Like other projects, a context study and interactive map web layer were developed as part of the project.
Following the evaluation of nominations, fifteen historic places with strong connections to South Asian culture and history in British Columbia were selected for provincial recognition.
This project was conducted in partnership with the Ministry of International Trade, responsible for Multiculturalism, and the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. Two hundred, sixty-four nominations were received for 191 individual places throughout B.C., with 56 places of these receiving provincial recognition.
The project helped to launch a discourse within the Japanese Canadian community that has since led to additional partnerships and community-driven legacy initiatives that include roadside interpretive signs, museum exhibits and other commemorative events.
This inaugural Historic Places project was a partnership with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations’ Heritage Branch and Ministry of International Trade. It formally acknowledges and promotes the heritage values of places of significance to Chinese Canadians and recognizes places of outstanding provincial significance on both the BC Register of Historic Places and the Canadian Register of Historic Places. Seventy-seven nominations were received through a public nomination process, with 21 places receiving formal recognition following evaluation.
The project was one of eight legacy recommendations included in a formal apology delivered, in May 2014, by the Premier, to Chinese Canadians for historical wrongs committed by past provincial governments.