Conservation & Development of Canada’s Industrial Heritage

Mark Brandt ICOMOS Canada Momentum | 1999


Rendered Site Plan of the Chaudière and Victoria Islands District by MTBA

In the coming decade, Canada is  faced with decisions on action regarding its vast industrial heritage  property. Many communities across  the nation are blessed with now derelict industrial complexes from  the 19th and early 20th centuries.  In this “post-industrial” age of the  new century, industry has taken different forms, resulting in partial or complete abandonment of these legacies of Canadian heritage,  which include structures and infrastructure, artifacts and the fabric of  industrial processes. Many of these  complexes form significant cultural landscapes that hold important stories of community life and Canadian industrial leadership.

The disintegration and imminent  demise of much of this property  will force decisions on it’s elimination or it’s conservation and redevelopment soon. Both the ICOMOS  World Congress 1999 in Mexico  and the ICOMOS Canada Annual  Congress 1999 in Hull, Quebec, provided major theme studies regarding “Heritage and Development:  Focus on Industrial.” This article is  a summary of the introduction to  the workshop given by the author  at the Hull conference and a brief  review of two of the associated presentations.  Like the United Nations’ rating system contained within its “Human  Development Report” (which has repeatedly placed Canada #1 in the world), we must judge the criteria for urban and regional development very broadly. For example, in  the UN criteria, the personal income criterion is b;;~l:mced with education, health care and other factors.  The rest of the world has now  caught up with and exposed financiers in “ivory towers” who have, until recently, been getting away with  evaluating pro formas for potential  development projects based solely  on the use of base numbers of  “hard costs.” An increasingly comprehensive approach is now …