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Richmond receives award for heritage restoration

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 11:20 PDT, Tue June 23, 2020

The City of Richmond has received a prestigious award from the BC Recreation and Parks Association for its restoration of a century old heritage cottage.

The Edwardian Cottage at Terra Nova Rural Park was named by the association for its provincial Facility Excellence Award for projects with a capital cost less than $1 million.  The annual award recognizes outstanding facility design that reflects community culture and spaces that are accessible, engage community members in design consultation, and ultimately improve the well-being of the community.

“The outstanding work at the Edwardian Cottage is just one example of our commitment to creating one community together to celebrate Richmond’s unique and diverse heritage.” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “The building is a heritage asset not only for the City of Richmond, but for the entire country. It reflects the industry and socio-economic realities of the early twentieth century which are significant not just to Richmond, but to all Canadians.”

The Edwardian Cottage is a heritage building on Richmond’s Terra Nova riverfront that dates back to approximately 1920. Originally built as a residence supporting the BC Packers cannery, the single storey wood-frame structure is historically significant as a surviving remnant of the turn of the century era when it was built.

In 2014, the Edwardian Cottage was rehabilitated and restored by the city over a period of eight months. Only locally sourced wood was used in the restoration in order to preserve the heritage aspects of the building.

A robust and comprehensive stakeholder engagement plan was put in place during the planning, design, implementation, and completion of the Edwardian Cottage restoration. Through that process, a vision was established for the space that identified the need for more early childhood learning opportunities, and an opportunity to connect young people to nature to develop lifelong ecological literacy and stewardship.

Today it is home to the Terra Nova Nature School which provides children with opportunities to develop ecological literacy through an outdoor, experiential based curriculum with nature-based programs for children from 18 months to 13 years. 

The idea of the Terra Nova Nature School was developed and refined by early childhood educators with the Thompson Community Association and were instrumental as partners from the early stages in the restoration project. Coordinators Emily Vera and Kate Dawson played a key role in developing the curriculum and establishing the Terra Nova Nature School.

“The Edwardian Cottage has been a learning centre for hundreds of children and families for the past six years,” said Emily Vera. “The historical significance of this heritage building and its surrounding parklands are the foundation of our school’s curriculum and help us to build a respectful and conscientious community that fosters physical and emotional well-being,” added Kate Dawson. 

While the award would normally be presented at the annual BC Recreation and Parks Association Symposium, due to the COVID-19 pandemic it will instead be forwarded to the city in the coming weeks. Details of this and the other awards can be found on the association website.

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