Thursday, November 20, 2008

Congratulations Mrs. Nicolson!

I have been sitting on a secret for a couple of days. Not too big of a secret in the wide world of secrets, but a secret nonetheless. Besides, in the world of heritage, you often take what you can get.

I am very happy that I can now write that Jane Nicholson, the Vice President of the Annapolis Heritage Society, has been awarded the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia's awards for restoration of heritage buildings for 2008. The awards will be presented at the Heritage Trust's annual dinner tonight in Halifax.

The award for residential property was given to the Ruggles-Munroe House which is located at the Mileboard Corner in Annapolis Royal. This imposing Georgian building with two Victorian Bays, was in horrible condition before it was purchased by Jane. Shortly after she bought it, I walked through the house and was literally waist deep in garbage in places. Plaster was falling, there was a toilet in the upstairs parlour (yes, a working toilet) and the house had a sad feel to it. After a year of careful restoration, this is a property deserving an award.

The commercial property award was given to the Annapolis Royal Train Station. If anything, this building was in worse shape than the Ruggles-Munroe House when Jane started work. The Train Station had been abandoned for a number of number of years. The basement held an average of about seven feet of water at any time. This pretty little Arts and Crafts style station was in danger of being lost. Now, a fully restored building, the Train Station is home to the Clean Annapolis River Project, our local environmental organization.

These awards come on the heels of a number of other awards won by this community. In 2007 Tania Rolland won the Heritage Trust's residential award for her work on St. Alban's Church in Lequille. That same year, Annapolis County Councillor Marilyn Wilkins was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the Heritage Canada Foundation. Annapolis Royal as a community has won the Prince of Wales Prize in 2006. This is the highest award in Canada for the preservation of heritage by a community. We have also been very successful in the Communities in Bloom competitions. We won the national prize for small communities in 2005 and an international Communities in Bloom Challenge this year. On top of all of this, we were named a Cultural Capital of Canada in 2005 and the Most Liveable Small Community in the World in 2004 by LivCom. Heritage and the preservation of heritage are key ingredients to all of these awards.

So, what do all of these awards amount to? Well, these awards show a commitment on the part of a community to preserving its heritage. They show a realization that, for this community, heritage is one of our most important resources. They also show that we are proud of our heritage and we are willing to share it with the world. Congratulations Jane and thanks for helping to make Annapolis Royal a better place.

All for now,
RGS

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