EDITORIAL: Celebrating our history

Many good examples of heritage in the Capital Region, and passionate people who preserve it

This year’s Heritage Week theme, Heritage Homes and Neighbourhoods, is tailor-made for Greater Victoria.

From Sidney to Sooke, our heritage is all around us. And whether we make a regular habit of admiring it, thinking about it, talking about it or helping preserve it, our history deserves to be acknowledged.

Along with built structures either designated as heritage properties or simply restored to past glory, we have parks, roads, even trees that have historical designations.

The West Shore has a significant piece of our heritage puzzle in Fort Rodd Hill, while the Peninsula has The Butchart Gardens. Victoria’s downtown core includes many fine examples of historical architecture, while clusters of heritage homes in Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay help define our neighbourhoods and give us a sense of community.

As we celebrate Heritage Week this week, we recognize many local groups that work regularly to preserve our past. Among them is the non-profit Hallmark Society. Its volunteers assist in the preservation, conservation and restoration of our built heritage and work towards greater public awareness and understanding of heritage.

Like many proclamations made by the provincial or municipal governments, Heritage Week may seem to some like a forced recognition of an element of our society. But if we stop to consider the fact that the stories of those who came before us are wrapped up in local buildings, homes and museum collections, it makes this celebration of heritage much more personal.

We encourage readers this week to take stock of our history and try to appreciate the rich legacy that surrounds us.

It’s an opportunity to reflect on how our communities have grown over the years and consider how we can all play a part in preserving the history that helps make our region a special place to live, work and play.