Preserving Alberta’s historical resources
The province is preserving its past as three century-old commercial buildings in Lethbridge and Edmonton have received Provincial Historic Resource designation.
Minister Aheer with Councillor Crowson, and owner Albert Leong and his family at the Provincial Historic Resource designation two building in Lethbridge’s Chinatown.
Two adjacent buildings in Lethbridge’s historic Chinatown – the Bow On Tong Co. and Wing Wah Chong Co. buildings – reflect the contributions and hardships of early Chinese immigrants to Alberta. The Richards Block building in Edmonton is part of the Old Strathcona Provincial Historic Area.
“Across the province, dedicated Albertans are working to preserve and promote appreciation for our rich and diverse history. Through these efforts, we are keeping our history alive and building pride in our communities. By revitalizing these buildings, we are creating new economic opportunities.”Leela Sharon Aheer, Minister of Alberta Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women
“The Lethbridge Historical Society and local community have been working hard to protect these vital pieces of our past. I am thrilled to see the province supporting one of Alberta’s oldest Chinatowns with these historic resource designations.”Belinda Crowson, Lethbridge city councillor, president of the Lethbridge Historical Society and Save Chinatown Lethbridge
“It means everything to me to have these buildings and my family home restored. These buildings show how people lived, how I lived, and what my community had to do to live. If they were gone, so would many of the stories of Chinese immigrants in Lethbridge.”Albert Leong, owner, Bow On Tong Co. and Wing Wah Chong Co. buildings
Provincial Historic Resource designations
Provincial Historic Resource designation protects properties from demolition or changes to their historic character. Owners of designated historic resources are also eligible for conservation funding through the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation.
Owners may wish to apply to have their property assessed for designation as Provincial Historic Resources. To qualify, historic places must be associated with an important aspect of Alberta’s past and retain significant physical site features.
- Tai Sing Wing Co. was built in 1919 in Lethbridge as a grocery store and lodging house. In 1926, the store became Bow On Tong Co. Apothecary, a traditional Chinese herbal shop.
- Lethbridge’s Wing Wah Chong Co., also known as the Manie Opera Society Building, was occupied by a variety of Chinese-Albertan businesses and the basement was used as residences for Chinese immigrants.
- The A.H. Richards and Company general store opened in Old Strathcona in 1910 with much fanfare, including special discounts and a live orchestra.
- More than nine in 10 Albertans feel that historical resources are important in contributing to overall quality of life, according to the 2019 Survey of Albertans.
- The Alberta Historical Resources Foundation assists Alberta Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women in promoting public awareness and appreciation of Alberta’s heritage and is the Government of Alberta’s primary outlet for heritage preservation funding.