Creating a better understanding of our community today and informing the community of tomorrow by promoting the conservation and appreciation of Fernie’s heritage resources.

Known by the Ktunaxa as Qukin ʔamakʔis (Land of the Raven), the Elk Valley has sustained its people for over 10,000 years. Our identity and way of life has been shaped by how we have engaged with each other and with our natural environment in this region. By protecting and fostering an understanding this shared experience – our heritage – we pass on a legacy to future generations.

OUR MANDATE AND STRATEGIC DIRECTION

OUR MANDATE

Heritage Fernie works with our partners, the City of Fernie and the Ktunaxa, to protect and better understand those heritage resources – the places, people and events – which give our community and the Qukin ʔamakʔis (Elk Valley) region context and meaning, a lens through which our identity can be experienced and explored. Our mandate is to:

  • Advise the City of Fernie on all matters relating to Fernie’s heritage resources.
  • Evaluate potential historic sites for inclusion on the Community Heritage Register.
  • Maintain Fernie’s Inventory of  Historic Resources.
  • Promote public awareness of our shared heritage.

Fernie’s heritage is the bedrock of our community and is ever evolving. Historic places define who we are and attract thousands of tourists annually. Heritage buildings provide some of our city’s most affordable housing and are popular places to live, work and play. Their reuse and rehabilitation diverts tons of debris from the landfill. Heritage Fernie’s work focuses on grounded, practical and community-based strategies and programs which help safeguard, sustain and steward all that is great and unique in Fernie – historically, here and now, and into the future.

OUR STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES

Heritage Fernie is a program delivered by the Fernie & District Historical Society, a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to the preservation, conservation and interpretation of Fernie’s tangible, intangible and built heritage. A committee of consisting of 5 community members and one FDHS Board member advises and supports the Society’s heritage mandate. The Society also furthers its community mandate by operating the Fernie Museum and the Fernie Community Archives Centre.

Collectively, the work of Heritage Fernie, the Fernie Museum and the Fernie Community Archives Centre drives four strategic outcomes:

Building Community
Residents, visitors and our Ktunaxa neighbours are engaged in an ongoing exploration of our shared culture and heritage which builds relationships and encourages participation in community life.

Building Place
A shared sense of place and community identity is fostered by celebrating the places, people, events which have shaped Fernie and the Elk Valley region.

Building Memory
Our understanding of ourselves, our community and our neighbours is deepened by sharing knowledge and stories which document Fernie’s tangible, intangible and built heritage.

Building Sustainability
Change, growth and development is informed and sustained by embedding the community’s heritage values in all decision making processes.

DOCUMENTS

A VISION FOR HERITAGE IN FERNIE

“Fernie is remarkable in that whether you are here for five minutes or five generations – it is home.”
– comment in the May 2018 Heritage Strategy Public Survey

Heritage conservation in Fernie will help us to celebrate our past, value the present and build a sustainable future. It will be a vehicle for building meaningful relationships with the Ktunaxa and to identify and recognize valued Ktunaxa heritage resources.

Stewarding change, growth and development in the community will be informed by the understanding that Fernie’s unique character and historic landscape is the result of the ongoing layering and interaction of economic, social, cultural and natural values over time. Fernie’s heritage is not a static monument or group of buildings, but a diverse collection of tangible and intangible qualities and places. The vision will consider, understand, respect and sustain Fernie’s unique and evolving heritage as we add new layers over time.

The commitment to a holistic approach of managing change – integrating the goals of heritage conservation and those of social and economic development – will be a key part of heritage conservation in this community and a means to delivering Fernie’s Official Community Plan’s vision – Ensuring Economic Viability, Enriching Community Life and Protecting the Environment.

Heritage conservation in Fernie will continue to foster and support our community events, the connection to the natural environment and built heritage, will reflect what is cherished as a community, and how the community values are informed, developed and embedded in all decision making processes.

Fernie’s heritage program focuses on a series of grounded, practical and community-based actions that together will help safeguard, sustain and steward all that is great and unique in Fernie – historically, here and now, and into the future.

“Cities are dynamic organisms. There is not a single ‘historic’ city in the world that has retained its ‘original’ character: the concept is a moving target, destined to change with society itself. To preserve the urban historic landscape, strategic and dynamic alliances need to be built between various actors in the urban scene, foremost between public authorities that manage the city and developers and entrepreneurs that operate in the city.”
– UNESCO Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape, adopted by UNESCO’s General Conference 2011