April 19th, 2018

Eye on the Esplanade: A new and exciting project at the Esplanade

By Medicine Hat News on April 6, 2018.

As heritage assistant for the City of Medicine Hat, most of my duties are somewhat repetitive, however, every once and a while the Heritage Resources Committee (HRC) comes up with some new projects. One such project I am especially excited about is a walking tour booklet of the First Street South Municipal Historic Area. This will be an especially good tool to increase public awareness of our City’s Heritage Resources and a plus for tourism. If all goes according to plan, we hope to offer tours utilizing the booklet this summer.

Sally Sehn, one of the HRC members, with the assistance of the Esplanade Archives staff, has been conducting extensive research on the southeast block of First Street South for the walking tour booklet. A second booklet to cover the southwest section of First Street South is also planned. Originally called River Street and then Esplanade, this majestic tree lined street housed many of Medicine Hat’s distinguished early citizens. It was on this street too where the oldest remaining log cabin still stands. Stay tuned for the release of this interesting and informative walking tour guide.

With spring on its way and my love of gardening, I am also looking forward to continuing to support and assist our Ewart Duggan House Heritage Garden volunteers with maintaining and expanding the garden. This summer should see the addition of two trees in the backyard and some additional beds with a focus on plants that attract bees. This year for the first time too, the back yard will be the location for the Medicine Hat Horticultural Society plant sale on May 26 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. or sell out (whichever comes first). I hope this event will draw more attention to the garden and result in additional folks willing to volunteer in the garden. You don’t need to wait till then though to volunteer; if interested, please give me a call at 403-525-8607. Remember, the garden is there for everyone to enjoy. The gate is always open so please stop by this summer. The garden is a beautiful location for family or wedding photos.

I should also be busy this summer organizing plaque unveiling ceremonies to recognize the Municipal Historic Resource designations of the McKenzie Sharland Grocery and the Civil Defence Siren. I will also be assisting with our annual Centennial Certificate program through which the HRC recognizes public or commercial buildings 100 years old or older. There will be fewer certificates this year as there were few constructions in 1918, a difficult year with the flu pandemic and the First World War.

Keep your eye out as well on our website at http://www.medicinehat.ca/heritage as I will be adding the evaluations that were completed by our Heritage Consultants this past year under the “Inventory” link.

Medicine Hat has some interesting history; make a point of getting out this summer to enjoy it.

Karen-Anne Cherwonogrodzky is heritage assistant at the Esplanade Arts & Heritage Centre.

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