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Ottawa Invests in Heritage

View of Beechwood Cemetery's Botanical Garden after the first snowfall of the season. PHOTO: Natalie Hart

As Remembrance Day approaches, our thoughts are with the families of those who served or are serving in our military.  We hope you can participate in ceremonies and events taking place in the Capital region, such as those shown in our calendar.

If you have never done so, we also encourage you to visit the Beechwood Cemetery which is the National Cemetery of Canada, a National Historic Site and home of the National Military Cemetery of the Canadian Forces and the RCMP National Memorial Cemetery.

November also brings the tabling of the City’s Proposed 2019-2022 Term of Council Priorities and draft 2020 budget which took place on November 6th.  I was pleased to participate in the ‘urban caucus’ Budget Speak session hosted by Councillors Fleury, King, Leiper, Menard and McKenney at City Hall on November 5th, and to advocate for continued investment in culture, including heritage, given its many important impacts on our quality of life.

The City budget documents state that the Culture budget “adds an extra two percent in direct funding to arts, heritage and cultural organizations, increasing total funding by $255,000 for a total budget of $10.7 million. These municipal arts and culture investments help cultivate a distinctive sense of place, fostering a shared identity and sense of belonging.”   We hope this will indeed be passed on to our heritage organizations.  They also state “The City’s theatre, cultural and arts services will see an increase of $584,000 to upgrade customer service technologies and theatre equipment at Shenkman Arts Centre and Meridian Theatres. This funding will also help repair and maintain other cultural facilities and museums and preserve historical artifacts and art pieces.”  We hope to hear more about this.

Serving on the Mayor’s Heritage Matters Taskforce, we’re pleased to have advocated for increased/doubled investment in the Heritage Grant Program (from $150,000 to $300,000 in 2019) and to see this is proposed to be maintained in 2020; and for new funding ($500,000) proposed for Heritage Tax Relief as an incentive to invest in the rehabilitation of commercial heritage buildings.  Please let your Councillor know that Heritage matters to you also!  Or plan to address a City Committee:  follow this link to the schedule of budget deliberations at relevant City Committees, with full Council deliberation on December 11th.

Catherine Lindquist, Executive Director