Virtual Manitoba

Virtual Manitoba is my online resource collection with links to all things Manitoban


Our Essential Past:
Foundational Heritage Projects

Special Places

Notable People

Pivotal Events

Other Heritage Projects

Heritage Websites

Learning Products

Manitoba Resources


Special Places Projects

Projects Index

Special Places Projects were developed by the Historic Resources Branch as a method of creating Community Inventories of Heritage Resources and subjecting the sites to an analysis process that will help communties protect and use their heritage resources  to best advantage. I piloted the first projects in 5 communities in 2008. 

The project helps communities develop the necessary processes, protocols and products that will lead to a deeper appreciation and celebration of local heritage. It will also put in place the messages and frameworks that will initiate the community into the kind of sophisticated dialogue that defines heritage activity in the 21st century.

As of  2011 I have produced Special Places Projects for 14  Urban and Rural Communities in Manitoba.

See News Reports  |  See Samples

Specific Goals:

1) to prepare an overview of resources and collection of pertinent facts and information (an inventory);

2) to analyze the inventory and collected information to gain a better understanding of what a community has in terms of heritage resources; and

3) to work with the community to evaluate its sites and develop a short list (typically about 10) that are seen to most effectively describe and sum up key aspects of the community’s history.

An appreciation of buildings and architecture is a key goal of Special Places, providing communities with the necessary context and fascinating details they need to truly understand and celebrate their distinct and authentic heritage. In fact, the underlying premise of Special Places is to help communities appreciate what it is that makes every Manitoba town unique and authentic. Increasingly, communities, planners and tourists are paying attention to those physical qualities that give a place its own distinct personality, and that make that community a place worth living in and a destination worth and building history

- Base for strategic, planned approach to local heritage

- Liaison with Province’s Architectural Historian and experienced staff.

The Community Heritage Site Inventory

A Community Heritage Site Inventory is the first important step in a Special Places project.

A typical inventory will include scores of buildings and sites – a small community may have 50 places recorded; larger communities might have more than 100 buildings noted. It is important at this stage of the Special Places project that judgements about significance be suspended – an inventory should be inclusive and impartial, so that all information is available for analytical purposes at later stages of the project.
By first conducting an inventory, a community ensures that the benefits of designation are conferred only on the most deserving structures, and that buildings with important heritage value are not lost before they can be identified as significant. Other important steps in the development of an architectural education program, including research on individual buildings and building evaluations, will greatly benefit from the work done for an inventory.


- Handsome binders highlighting the community’s potential heritage sites
- Ready-to-use texts (for promotional and tourism opportunities - walking tours, plaques, websites, etc.)
- Digitized texts and photographs for easy use by municipality, museum, schools, etc.

Uses of the Materials Produced


For individuals and groups interested in promotions, the solid facts, contextual sweep and background in architectural and building issues provided by a good inventory will ensure that residents and visitors will receive as thorough and nuanced a message as possible. If they have not already done so, communities can use the materials to develop a walking tour or plaque program. Perhaps the information can be used by teachers to inspire their students to undertake their own heritage projects. With the increasing power and reach of the Internet, some of the information might be placed on the community website.


Groups and community officials engaged in planning will also find benefits from a Special Places project. The wealth of information, presented in an efficient and easy-to-use format, will be the first source of contact when a heritage issue arises or a heritage plan is being developed. And the List of Significant Sites will allow leaders to focus community resources (tax incentives, technical advice, promotions, etc.) on the most deserving places, confident that the process leading up to the creation of the List of Significant Sites has been careful, deliberate and credible.

Summary of Benefits to Municipalities

- Accurate and thorough base of heritage information (good for planning exercises, heritage questions and references, etc.)
- Short List of Significant Sites, ensuring that the community understands and approves of the process and final choices
- Sense of Place and Authenticity (identifying what makes the community special)
- Raising community interest in heritage
-  Increased knowledge of community’s architectural and building history
- Base for strategic, planned approach to local heritage
- Liaison with Province’s Architectural Historian and experienced staff.