In a city rich in history, Barrie wants to ensure that history is recognized.
Nominations for the City of Barrie’s 2020 Heritage Awards are now being accepted. Barrie residents, business owners and community agencies can self-nominate or nominate someone for a heritage award by Oct. 13.
The categories are residential buildings, commercial building with a business (including office, restaurant or store), institutional building (such as a church, school or public facility), and an individual or group of people who stand out in terms of their heritage contribution to the community.
Heritage advisory committee members will evaluate all of the nominations for each category and select a winner.
A property does not have to be on the municipal heritage register to win a heritage award, but it is something the committee takes into consideration when evaluating nominations, according to city planner Tomasz Wierzba, who is also a committee liaison under the Ontario Heritage Act.
“The registry is important as it is a public recognition of a finite cultural heritage resources and acts as a tangible connection to our shared history,” he says. “Properties listed on the municipal heritage register also have some level of protection under the city’s planning framework.
“More importantly, properties listed on the heritage register are eligible for Community Improvement Program funding, which helps reduce the cost of maintaining what are mostly 100-plus-year-old buildings.”
Similar to the heritage register, the awards are a public recognition as well as a celebration of those people who are stewards of Barrie’s built cultural heritage resources, Wierzba says.
“In some cases, the awards provide businesses with further recognition or awareness,” he adds. “They also shine a light on people and groups who preserve our local history in poems, songs, theatre productions and stories.”
Restoring heritage properties and protecting their history is “definitely a labour of love,” says Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman.
“I think there is both emotional and real financial value in this for owners and residents. We have many beautiful homes from the early days of Barrie, Allandale and Shanty Bay that are among the most distinctive places to live and the heritage features of the buildings are what give our historic neighbourhoods their character,” he says.
“The city can help protect this character not only through regulation, such as planning controls, but through positive incentives, whether it be small grants or loans for heritage restoration or something simple but meaningful like our Heritage Awards.
“The least we can do in recognizing these ‘labours of love’ is to say thank you.”
The awards are expected to be presented during one of the December council meetings.
To learn more about the awards, click here.