City of Thorold wins national recognition with prestigious Prince of Wales Prize for Municipal Heritage Leadership – 2017

A Guest Column from Niagara heritage advocate Pamela Minns

Posted  October 18th, 2017 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – In the world of HERITAGE, the Prince of Wales Prize is the Academy Award – it is the Oscar of all awards, and for 2017 the City of Thorold has been given this honour.

The revitalization of downtown Thorold has received national attention and has been a project done in partnership with local heritage advocates like Pamela Minns, local businesses, Thorold’s city council and the provincial and federal governments.

It is delivered through the National Trust for Canada, and we have been informed that “the independent awards jury was unanimous in its decision to honour Thorold for its long standing commitment to heritage policies and programs that help preserve and celebrate its rich industrial history”. 

Prince Charles himself reviewed and endorsed the jury’s recommendation, and wrote the congratulatory message which was read at the Awards event at National Trust’s annual conference held in Ottawa this year – October 11th – 14th, 2017.  A number of additional awards were presented to various people from all over our country for their contributions to Canada’s heritage.

Plaque for the historic Beaverdams Church citizens in the Thorold area are working hard to save as part of our region’s early community heritage

Established in 1999 under the generous patronage of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, this Prize honours a municipal government for ”exemplary commitment to the preservation of heritage, identity and sense of place within its boundaries”. This award re-defines a community;  in Thorold it has permanently moved us from our reputation as an “industrial town”, to a heritage destination.

Previous recipients include: Quebec City, Quebec;  Perth, Ontario;   Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island;   Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia;   Markham, Ontario;   Victoria, British Columbia;   Saint John, New Brunswick;   St. John’s, Newfoundland;   Aurora, Ontario;   Edmonton, Alberta;   Oakville, Ontario;  Saguenay (Arvida) Quebec;  Grimsby, Ontario;   Owen Sound, Ontario;   Bonavista, Newfoundland;   and Richmond, British Columbia.

Thorold’s Municipal Heritage Committee consists of 10 members (including 1 Council representative); six of its members have designated homes.  Thorold has over 50 sites designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act, which is considered an excellent number for the population of this city (approximately 18,000+).

Heritage is one of the three attractions offered to the ever-increasing number of tourists to our City – i.e. Welland Canal, Cycling and Heritage.  Recent studies show that tourists are seeking out – not world class tourists sites, but a cultural heritage experience.

We should all be very proud of this accomplishment.  Pride in our City solves all problems and gives us a worthy goal for the future.  As I have always said, “our future lies in our past!”

Awards 2017 – Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (ACO)

In addition to the Prince of Wales Prize, this year we have been honoured with two additional awards to members of our community :

  • “The Post Office” Shannon & Michael Passero
  • The Paul Oberman Award for adaptive re-use
  • Report – “Beaverdams –  A Cultural Heritage Landscape”
  • by Sarah King Head – Thorold City Historian and Researcher
  • The Margaret & Nicholas Hill Cultural Heritage Landscape Award

These will be presented at Osgoode Hall, Toronto, Friday, October 20th, 2017

When I made these nominations early in the year, I never hoped for three wins ….. but we got them.  2017 has been a banner year for the City of Thorold and has shown us how important our built, cultural and natural heritage is, not only to this City, but to all of Canada.

–  Pamela J. Minns, Secretary-Treasurer  –  Heritage Thorold LACAC

A Brief Afterword from Doug Draper, journalist/publisher, Niagara At LargePamela Minns would never say this herself, of course, but her passion for heritage and her many years of dedication and tireless advocacy and efforts to protect and preserve buildings and other sites precious to our heritage in her hometown of Thorold and in communities across Niagara, Ontario and beyond had more than a little to do with the City of Thorold receiving this prestigious to her.

We all owe Pamela and other heritage advocates  she has worked closely with for so many years a debt of gratitude for the preservation and restoration of landmarks in our community that will hopefully stand for generations to come as vital links back to the achievements of generations gone by.

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 “A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders







One response to “City of Thorold wins national recognition with prestigious Prince of Wales Prize for Municipal Heritage Leadership – 2017

  1. Well done, Thorold and all its enthusiastic volunteers, interested and engaged city councillors and at least a past city planner, Adele Arbour, who worked so hard. May your success continue, and be a guiding light to other Niagara municipaliities.



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