Protection and restoration of Fernie’s heritage buildings is important to the community today and for future generations. Heritage buildings serve to “ground” a community and to remind us of where we have come from. Community heritage resources give our city a particular sense of time, place, identity and culture. Fernie’s heritage assets include, but are not limited to, buildings, viewpoints, trees, archaeology and traditional First Nations heritage sites and places.
The great fires in the early 1900s resulted in civic leaders’ committing to redevelop the community in fire resistant materials such as brick. The results of this early investment in community development can still be witnessed in Fernie’s Historic Downtown Core area and the preservation and restoration of many other significant heritage resources in the community. Fernie’s 2nd Avenue is a testament to what can be done to conserve a community’s heritage. Many buildings, with construction dating back to 1908, were rejuvenated through provincial grant funding programs in the early 1980s.
MUNICIPAL HERITAGE INVENTORY
The Inventory of Historic Resources in Fernie was initiated in 1979 and was updated as a City Centennial project in 2004. It is an inventory of structures/resources that have been identified as having architecture or social significance to the development of our community. For each property, the Inventory provides:
- a resource description of the site;
- a description of the heritage values of the resource;
- identification of the character-defining elements.
Existing zoning, development rights and regulations continue to apply to properties on the Inventory. Copies of the Inventory are available to view at the Fernie Museum.
MUNICIPAL HERITAGE DESIGNATION
Municipal Historic Resources are legally protected by a Bylaw instrument from demolition and inappropriate alterations. Any building or structure on the Register is eligible for assistance under Policy C-450B.
• Download the list of Registered (Municipally Designated) Historic Resources in Fernie.
There are neighbourhoods and commercial districts within Fernie that have areas worthy of being recognized as historic or character areas.
Protecting individual buildings has many merits, but occasionally their surrounding context changes as development occurs around them. Sometimes it is the sum of buildings, rather than individual ones, that makes an area unique, such as Fernie’s downtown historic district.\
Many of Fernie’s historic areas have not been officially recognized, such as the Annex. The Annex is an older neighbourhood with that is characterized by a number of small historic miners’ cottages that is experiencing infill development and redevelopment pressures. A number of these historic miners’ cottages can be found along Highway 3.
If you have questions about Fernie’s municipal heritage designation program or about zoning and permits for changes to historic buildings, see the City of Fernie’s website.