Building Stories Podcast: Heritage Resources Centre

Friday, January 10, 2014

 Person with arms open with bridge, trees and building in backgroundWATERLOO, January 10, 2014 – On Monday, January 13, 2013 the twelfth episode of the Building Stories Podcast series will be released. The episode will feature the Heritage Resources Centre at the University of Waterloo and their recent projects.

The Heritage Resources Centre (HRC) is a research organization established in 1980 at the University of Waterloo that promotes a better understanding of natural and built heritage through research, education and extension work. This podcast features interviews with the HRC’s director, Dr. Robert Shipley and former employee Kayla Jonas-Galvin. They speak about the HRC’s past project, the Heritage Conservation Districts Work! Study. Partenered with the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, the study answers the question: have Heritage Conservation Districts in Ontario been successful heritage planning inititatives? 64 districts were examined in Ontario, which covers two thirds of the heritage conservation districts in Ontario. The satisfaction of the residents and the property value are just two of the variables that were looked at in the study. The results, findings and conclusions of this study are discussed in the podcast, but can also be found at the Heritage Resources Centre website at

Also discussed in the podcast is the HRC’s most recent initiative, Building Stories, the interactive online database of historic buildings all added by the public. It goes beyond existing databases to recognize any sites of historic interest, not just designated properties with the goal of enabling Canadian to take a direct role in identifying important community cultural heritage assets. Registration is free and anyone is able to add a building that they believe is important to their community. There are currently over 2,100 properties on the website ranging from buildings, to plaques, bridges, and trees. Registration is available at

The podcast will be available to listen to on the Building Stories website at under the ‘Publicity’ tab. The first eleven episodes of the podcast series focused on the London Life Insurance Building in London, Victoria Hall in Cobourg, Keefer Mansion in Thorold, the Stratford Historical Plaque Program, Victoria Jubilee Hall in Walkerton, Camp 30 in Bowmanville, the Guelph Civic Museum, the Maclean House in Toronto, and the Mary Webb Centre in Chatham-Kent, Union Cemetery in Port Hope, and the Lister Block in Hamilton. They are also available to listen to on Building Stories.

Many of the Building Stories Podcasts are interesting properties that have been included in a book that the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario has released to celebrate their 80th year. Titled “80 for 80: Celebrating Eighty Years of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario”, the book tells the stories of 80 buildings that the ACO has saved or helped saved. It is now available for order on the ACO’s website at

Building Stories is a website and mobile application that enables Canadians to take a direct role in identifying important community heritage assets. Building Stories is an incredible new on-line resource making thousands of original documents, photos and historical records available online from a wide variety of communities. The website engages the public in a way that has never been done before to help explain the importance of heritage in communities across Canada.

Dr. Robert Shipley, Director of the Heritage Resources Centre, states: “Through being able to use the inventory tool in a web-based and interactive way, it will allow communities and individual citizens to take a direct and active role in identifying the significant and valued structures that make up such a vital part of the country’s heritage assets. There has never been anything like this and the result will be to magnify and expand both interest in, and understanding of our built environment.”

Currently, the website includes entries from every province and territory in Canada. However, Building Stories will continue to grow into new communities, as new collections and archives are added to the fully searchable database, and as individuals comment on existing listings and contribute their own sites with stories, memories, digital artifacts, and photographs.

Building Stories has been developed by the Heritage Resources Centre (HRC) and the Computer Systems Group, both at the University of Waterloo, and the Centre for Community Mapping (COMAP).

The development and creation of The Building Stories Podcast series have been made possible by the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario and the Government of Ontario. The podcasts have been written, produced and hosted by Amy Barnes, a Heritage Consultant from Cambridge, Ontario.


For more information please contact:

Melissa Davies
Building Stories Project Manager
Heritage Resources Centre, University of Waterloo

519.888.4567 ext. 36921

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