Who we are

 

Heritage Vancouver is an independent charitable non-profit society, helping communities understand and participate in sustaining Vancouver’s heritage.

We are not funded by the City of Vancouver and our Board of Directors is voted for by our membership. This allows us to speak out independently and strongly about heritage and heritage policy in Vancouver.

We’re also

  • largely volunteer based
  • a heritage award winning, recognized priority stakeholder in heritage issues in the city
  • active on heritage related commissions and planning committees in the city
  • a key contact for the media on heritage related news in Vancouver

What we do

Heritage Vancouver Society promotes public engagement and dialogue on changes to significant aspects of our city’s cultural heritage. We advance a comprehensive understanding of heritage that captures the diverse ways people establish meaningful connections with the environment around them- whether they be built, cultural, natural or social. We apply this holistic view and promote its application in realizing engaged communities and a city that is layered thoughtfully with old, new, tangible and intangible qualities of place. We do this through representations to the City of Vancouver on development and policies in the city, our Shaping Vancouver public dialogue series, our presentations and talks to community members, our research, and our annual Top10 Watch List. 

 

More specifically, we:

  • Publicly comment on city heritage issues and policies by writing well considered position letters to the city and speaking at public hearings
  • Advance a broad public understanding of what heritage and heritage conservation is, and why it matters through online resources and a range of informative and affordable events, talks and tours
  • Contribute to dialogue and the exchange of views through our public forums, in order to stimulate thinking around important civic issues and be a source for people to be informed 
  • Act as a prime source of reliable and timely information that identifies, monitors and informs on the threats facing our city’s tangible and intangible heritage assets through our outreach with our website, e-bulletins and Top10 Watch list
  • Focus on the present and the creation of heritage in its many forms to be taken forward to future generations
  • Provide a voice for the diverse stories of diverse peoples and places that shape Vancouver
  • Provide opportunities for communities to understand and participate in sustaining Vancouver’s heritage

What do we mean when we say heritage?

Heritage exists in many forms. While the most widely held assumption is that it is architectural and historic, heritage can also be of social, cultural, natural and economic value. It can exist as an object (tangible heritage) or be non-physical (intangible heritage) such as ideas, beliefs, associations, meanings to people, practices, or uses of places. In many cases, it is a combination of a number of these qualities that make up the significance of a place.

What do we mean when we use the words preservation and conservation?

Preservation is widely associated with heritage. Preservation of built heritage means maintaining without disturbing the physical material of a place. This treatment is appropriate in situations where the physical object itself what makes it culturally significant. Preservation is one treatment under heritage conservation, which is the wide array of treatments to retain the cultural significance of a place.

We are concerned with conservation of heritage. This may include but is not limited to retaining use: strengthening the associations with and meanings of places, the adaptive reuse of buildings, preservation, restoration, identification, and communication of the significance of places and/or practices. More specifically, we are concerned with the different methods in which the significance of a place (or idea or practice) can be made known, safeguarded, and/or strengthened.