In 1859, the Royal Engineers arrived from England to establish the first capital of the new colony of British Columbia. New Westminster – dubbed the ‘Royal City’ – was selected both for its beauty and its strategic location on the Fraser River.
One hundred twenty-one years later, the New Westminster Heritage Preservation Society was formed to advocate for and preserve the heritage homes, buildings and structures that established the community we know today. NWHPS is one of the oldest heritage groups in British Columbia. It’s the voice for informed preservation of our community’s rich architectural history.
In the beginning…
The catalyst that created NWHPS was the 1970’s trend toward demolishing and replacing New Westminster’s old buildings. Up and running by 1980, the society wanted to encourage homeowners and commercial interests to work with New West’s old buildings to preserve their unique characteristics instead of replacing them with modern structures.
Now one of the oldest heritage groups in British Columbia, the NWHPS continues to:
- lend it voice to the preservation of heritage buildings in order to protect the community’s rich architectural history
- act as a knowledgeable and helpful heritage community resource
- support heritage projects and
- offer assistance to individuals who wish to preserve the heritage characteristics of their home or building while incorporating modern amenities – we all love the look of heritage properties but we don’t want to give up WiFi, dishwashers or a spa-like bathroom!
NWHPS advocates for heritage conservation, facilitates lectures workshops, presentations and tours to promote heritage revitalization though education and awareness; and highlights heritage concerns within the broader New Westminster area by undertaking special research on heritage buildings and heritage areas; and cooperating with local and provincial authorities in their development of heritage policy.
The Society continues to look for committed individuals that share the love of heritage and wish to become involved in the community. You can by becoming a member of the New Westminster Heritage Preservation Society, volunteer to work on one of our many committees, tell your heritage story, join our Board of Directors or promote the benefits of heritage to your neighbours, friends and community during or after what you see others do to preserve their architectural history.
Best known for its developing the annual Heritage Home Tour – the first heritage society in BC to launch an event that raises funds, awareness and appreciation for beautiful, functional old homes – NWHPS has developed a broad base of stakeholders, including:
- Heritage Canada Foundation
- Heritage BC
- other BC civic heritage groups
- municipal government representatives
- local developers and real estate agents;
- heritage homeowners
- local media
- the City’s business improvement associations.