Heritage walks feature architectural treasures

The first walking tour begins at the Horticultural Gardens on Seely Street, which features many historic homes. The tours will feature storyteller David Goss and city heritage official Jim Bezanson.

SAINT JOHN - The Saint John Heritage Development Board is offering free walking tours of four of the city's older neighbourhoods this month to raise awareness of the area's architectural treasures.

                                     

The first walking tour begins at the Horticultural Gardens on Seely Street, which features many historic homes. The tours will feature storyteller David Goss and city heritage official Jim Bezanson.

"David Goss will be leading the tours, talking about the history of each of the areas, about the folklore, some of the interesting stories and happenings, and I will talk about the architecture," said Jim Bezanson, the city's heritage development officer.

The first tour meets Sunday at the Horticultural Gardens on Seely Street at 2 p.m. and ends at 3:30 p.m. back at the gardens. If it rains, the walk will be given the next night at 7 p.m. from the same location.

Following each Sunday walk there will be a community meeting each Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m. in the particular neighbourhood. The first one will be held May 13 at the Interpretation Centre in Rockwood Park.

It will be an opportunity for people from the neighbourhood to share stories, old photos and information about the area's historic homes and buildings. There will be displays, photos, maps and refreshments.

At the community meetings there will be information about the Canadian Register of Historic Places and the New Brunswick Register of Historic Places. Both of these registers are accepting nominations for historic homes and buildings to feature on their websites.

"It's a way of celebrating their part in Canada's architectural history," Bezanson said.

Having a home selected for the register is considered an honour, with no strings attached. There is no cost to the homeowner, and no restriction placed on your home, he said. On the web the rest of Canada can see some of the heritage from the city.

"In Saint John most of the buildings we work with are pre-Second World War and a lot of them are before 1915," he said.

Everyone is welcome to both the Sunday walk and the Wednesday, May 13 community meeting at the Interpretation Centre (7 to 9 p.m.) in Rockwood Park.

The other tours are: lower west side beginning at the Carleton Community Centre, May 17 at 2 p.m.; old north end, beginning at St. Peter's gate, Clarendon Street, May 24 at 2 p.m. and south end, beginning at St. John the Baptist Church, 58 Broad St., May 31 at 2 p.m.

People come from all over the world to see the older buildings that continue to make this city unique, Bezanson said. The tours will give local people a chance to gain some knowledge of the different architectural styles and the terms used to describe their features.

"We have lost some of that over the years," he said.

Published Saturday May 9th, 2009 - Telegraph Journal