A small group of women representing the Salmon Arm Museum (R.J. Haney Heritage Village), the Okanagan Historical Society, and the public form the City of Salmon Arm’s Community Heritage Commission. This group of volunteers is aided by Denise Ackerman, Planner at the City of Salmon Arm and Commission Chair and City Councillor Debbie Cannon.

The thing these women have in common is their commitment to preserving heritage and the character of our community. They care about the built heritage, the historic road names, and the places where our community has traditionally gathered. They also care about big picture items like what makes Salmon Arm such a special place to live.

A subgroup of the Commission met recently. Headed by Mary Landers, the group was charged with coming up with the criteria for the Commission’s first-ever heritage conservation awards, and several candidates.

Dr. Cindy Malinowski came prepared. She proposed the framework for the award.

“The initiative recognizes owners of commercial, institutional, or residential structures who have demonstrated excellence in preservation, restoration, rehabilitation or adaptive re-use of built heritage.”

That definition sat well will the group. Subcommittee members talked about the adaptive use of solar panels planned for the Art Gallery. They talked about home owners who had gone to extraordinary measures to make buildings livable again.

When it was time to get down to choosing candidates, they talked about how where to start and how many to honour. The group referred to the first segment of the Heritage Register. Maureen Shaffer spoke passionately about the care home owners have to take to preserve “Grannies.”

“My house is like a grandmother. She has aches and pains. She needs new knees.”

Shaffer is the owner of the Ball House, number 49 on the Heritage Register.

Then the environmentalist in me interrupted.

“I like to think that caring for these “old ladies” is a way of keeping materials out of the landfill. It is environmentally responsible to preserve them,” I added.

Chair Mary Lander’s eyes lit up.

“We have to get Barb Brower to help us get our message out. She will do an excellent job of writing about this project.”

Then, like a good school teacher, Mary organized the group and City staff to approach the three nominees for 2020. Mary drafted the list and a congratulatory letter.

The nominees for 2020 are, in no particular order:

The Sinclair House owned by Bernd Hermanski and number 23 on the Heritage Register.

Built in 1904 for Donnel (Dan) Sinclair and his bride Isobel Margaret Adams, the current owners have made a considerable investment updating and making this heritage building comfortable, safe, and an example for other homeowners.

The Art Gallery and former Library and Post Office is number 3 on the Heritage Register. This building is owned by the City of Salmon Arm but under the excellent care of the Salmon Arm Arts Centre. The subcommittee felt that this building was the best example of adaptive reuse for an institutional structure and the installation of solar panels on its roof fit with this year’s Heritage Week theme: Bringing the Past into the Future.

The third nominee is the Bank Manager’s House owned by Iris Hayes. It is number 8 on the Heritage Register. A neighbour reports that the house was almost in “tear down” state when Hayes began working on it. The house has been totally renovated and sits proudly on Harris Street as an example of an Edwardian bungalow inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement in North America.

The awards are to coincide with Heritage Week February 17th to 23rd 2020.

There promises to be more nominations next year! See the CHC Heritage Register for some fine examples of preserved heritage.


Members of your Heritage Commission are:

  • Debbie Cannon, Chair
  • Denise Ackerman, City of Salmon Arm
  • Deborah Chapman, Salmon Arm Museum and Heritage Association
  • Patti Kassa, Salmon Arm Museum and Heritage AssociationDr. Cindy Malinowski, Salmon Arm Museum/Okanagan Historical Society
  • Linda Painchaud, member of the public
  • Mary Landers, member of the public
  • And newest member, Maureen Shaffer, member of the public

    For more information visit the Heritage Register.

    Feature Image with Acting Mayor Debbie Cannon presenting the award to Tracey Kutschker courtesy the Salmon Arm Observer.