Heritage Inventory

Northern Sunrise County has a rich and complex history rooted in the area’s agricultural base.
With a history spanning thousands of years, First Nations groups, missionaries, fur traders, and early settlers adapted to the area’s open prairies and dramatic river valleys. The development of the region began in earnest with the fur trade beginning in the 1700s, and expanded with the Dominion Lands Act (1872), and the arrival of the railway into the Town of Peace River in 1916. The cultural history of the area was enhanced with the immigration of French Canadians in the 1940s. Northern Sunrise County has a diverse built environment, with numerous and varied historic buildings intact. Building and community histories have been documented through provincial historic surveys, local history books, publications, archival collections, and oral history accounts.

The goal of this project was to conduct an extensive Heritage Survey of Northern Sunrise County to develop a list of potential site of historic sites and from that establish the County’s first Heritage Inventory. A diverse range of sites from a variety of communities within the county were selected for the Inventory and were evaluated using a values-based approach.  This globally recognized approach recognizes the importance of embedded historical and cultural values as the basis for understanding our heritage. The values-based approach is rooted in the recognition of different interpretations, levels, and meanings of heritage value and considers a broad-based view that goes beyond just the architectural value. A values-based assessment of heritage also looks at environmental, social/cultural, economic, and even intangible aspects of our shared experience through history. It is important to consider that values are multivalent, and that a historic place can illustrate more than one value.

The evolving view of heritage recognizes emerging trends in urban and community planning and the need to integrate sustainability and energy efficiency into planning initiatives. This approach recognizes the importance of environment, socio/cultural, and economic sustainability. Heritage conservation strongly supports all three pillars of sustainability. For this Heritage Survey and Inventory Project, Donald Luxton & Associates, Prairie Branch, based
in Calgary, was retained as the Heritage Consultant.

The project commenced with an extensive survey of the county to identify potential history resources to be included on the Inventory. A total of 59 sites were identified in the initial surveys and 26 sites were selected for the Heritage Survey. From the Survey, 12 sites were selected for inclusion in Northern Sunrise County’s inaugural Heritage Inventory. The sites were evaluated using a Statement of Significance (SOS) and a Statement of Integrity (SOI), which are the national and provincial standard documents for evaluating the inherent heritage values of a historic site.

The three-part SOS contains:
•   A brief description of the historic place
•   An identification of the key heritage values assigned to the historic place based on the Thematic Framework developed for Northern Sunrise County, and
•  A list of Character-Defining Elements – the principal materials or elements that can be attributed to the value(s) of the resource.

The  Province  of  Alberta  also  requires  a  Statement of Integrity,  which  outlines  the 
current architectural integrity for each resource.

As part of an earlier component of the heritage program in Northern Sunrise County, a Historic Context Paper was developed by Carolina Roemmich in 2007. From this previous work, a Thematic Framework was developed as a component of this project, which guided the writing of Statements of Significance for historic sites in the county. The Historic Context Paper and the ThematicFramework are important components in the development of a robust heritage program. The primary goal of these documents is to identify major factors and processes that have led to the breadth of historic resources visible in the County today. The Historic Context Paper, developed by Roemmich,
has been included in this report.

The final Heritage Survey and Inventory Report aids in defining a sense of identity and pride of place for Northern Sunrise County’s heritage resources, and directs the county’s future values-based management of their historic resources. The intention is to use the entire document as a tool to further expand the heritage program in the county. Each theme listed on the Thematic Framework is represented by a site on the County’s Historic Resources Heritage Inventory, thereby ensuring that the entire breadth of Northern Sunrise County’s history is preserved in the
physical form.

Click here to see the complete NSC Heritage Survey & Inventory