Recently, Heritage Canada listed the Rossdale Power Plant, one of the most significant heritage resources in Edmonton and Alberta, in the top ten endangered heritage sites in Canada for 2013. The reasoning for this listing can be found on Heritage Canada’s website here. Curiously, I want to bring attention to the website’s “Worst Losses” archive and the startling over representation of cases being reported from Edmonton. Aside from Toronto, Edmonton seems to stand out with regards to the number of significant heritage buildings lost to demolition and neglect within the last decade. During that time, Edmonton alone represents half the significant losses in Alberta (Lessard House 2007; Central Pentecostal Tabernacle 2008; Arlington Apartments 2009; BMO Building 2011) while Calgary has only reported one “worst loss” and the rest of the listings being grain elevators.
So, why do we observe this trend? Is there public apathy towards preservation of our history? Perhaps this is a result of boomtown mentality? Maybe Edmontonians are generally not aware of our heritage and the rich stories embedded into our built environment? Or is it simply a reporting bias? Whatever the reasons, the rate of heritage loss in Edmonton is quite disturbing. What do you think?