Downtown buildings win national heritage award

As we’ve been reporting in recent weeks, the National Trust for Canada advised the Almonte Heritage Redevelopment Group this summer that five buildings they rehabilitated had been shortlisted for an Ecclesiastical Insurance Cornerstone Award for Resilient Places.

So I’m happy to report — a little late — that they won this coveted heritage award, announced at a special event last week.

The National Trust said:

Over the past 25 years, an informal group of investors and visionaries in Almonte, Ontario, have been passionately working to conserve their town’s built environment. The Almonte Heritage Redevelopment Group, led by Stephen Braithwaite, has tirelessly protected and redeveloped five key sites – the Old Almonte Post Office, the Victoria Woollen Mill, the Thoburn Mill, 78 Mill Street, and 65 Mill Street – along with others that anchor the town to its milling history dating back to the 1820s. After the decline of that important industry in the 20th century, many historic buildings were put at risk.

The Almonte Heritage Redevelopment Group’s philosophy – to purchase endangered structures, redevelop them in dialogue with their heritage design, and resell them – has been a key factor in the cultural and economic re-invigoration of the town of Almonte. For almost three decades, the Almonte Heritage Redevelopment Group and its network of friends and supporters have been building a community that centrally values respect for the past and a celebration of its built legacy.

At the event, federal MP Scott Reid spoke about Almonte’s success in heritage renewal and how it contributes to economic development. Mayor Christa Lowry described growing up here and the changes she’s seen here over that time.

This award is a richly deserved recognition of the many years of work the award recipients have devoted to restoring and preserving our unique and beautiful downtown.