Friday, August 31, 2012

Century Homes Calgary a resounding success!

2012 is the Centennial year for many organizations in Calgary.  The Calgary Stampede, Calgary Public Library, The City of Calgary Recreation and Theatre Junction GRAND are just some of the organizations celebrating 100 years in our city.  We've been designated Cultural Capital of Canada by Canadian Heritage, and there's lots of awesome things happening in our city year-round thanks to the efforts of Calgary 2012.

In celebration of this momentous occasion, a grassroots movement of Calgarians decided to get together and celebrate century homes built in 1912 in the Victorian, Edwardian and Craftsmen styles by researching the history behind their homes and telling their stories by creating visual displays outside their homes to educate all Calgarians.  The public could then take themselves on self-guided tours that would take them to various Century Homes in neighbourhoods across the city where they could then learn about the stories behind those homes.  Things such as "Who once lived here?" and "What were their lives like?" were some of the questions this project aimed to answer.

Lindae Stokes, Awesome Calgary Top4 Finalist for June 2012, pitched Old Homes. Great Stories. to Awesome Foundation - Calgary on behalf of Century Homes Calgary, a project of the Calgary Heritage Initiative Society.  While Lindae did not win the grant that month, the event took place regardless between July 27 and August 6 and was a complete success.

Their goal, according to their project submission, was to have 350 century homes signed up for Historic Calgary Week.  Instead, they had to stop taking sign-ups at 504 when they ran out of signs and banners!  It didn't stop people from putting together their own signs and joining the celebration though.

According to Lindae:
What we really noticed is how we were able to raise awareness around the century homes and how important they are to all Calgarians. In fact, everyone is assuming that this is going to be a regular project -- both participants and heritage advocates such as The City of Calgary Heritage Planning. We know heritage homeowners love their homes and how researching the home's history makes it even more special. We also got thousands of Calgarians to experience why these old homes need to be appreciated and preserved whenever possible.

Many people who participated in the project this year celebrated their homes in different ways.  The people in the picture at the top of this piece celebrated by creating a giant birthday card wishing their home a Happy 100 Years, while the people above included a news clipping of the Calgary Herald covering a wedding involving one of the home owner's daughters in their display that details the story of their home and the people who live in it.  The current homeowners believe that the peonies used for the wedding flowers are still growing in their garden.

Thanks to the hard work of Lindae and her team, homeowners of Century Homes in Calgary have a reason to feel proud, and people all over the city now have a greater appreciation for some of these historic monuments.  It's always awesome for us to see projects or ideas execute even if they don't win a $1,000 grant from us so to Lindae, her team and to all homeowners of a Century Home in the city:  Happy 100 from your friends at Awesome Foundation - Calgary!

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