Tip Sheet: Advocacy – Heritage and Municipal Elections

Strategies for Getting Heritage on the Radar
Municipal elections offer golden opportunities to get heritage conservation issues in front of community residents and prospective elected officials alike. Below are tips for how to get heritage on the radar during the election cycle. These tips were gleaned from a National Trust’s Gathering on November 17, 2021. Panelists included: Dinu Bumbaru (Montreal), Lianne Maitland (Whitehorse), David Ridley (Edmonton), Margo Sheppard (Fredericton), and Josh Traptow (Calgary).

Connect heritage to other key election issues:

There are important heritage dimensions to socio-cultural, environmental, and economic challenges in your community! Build up the importance of heritage in elections by spotlighting heritage-based solutions for important issues for citizens and candidates.

Heritage and the economy

  • Heritage buildings (residential, commercial, institutional) are key economic drivers, including tourism
  • Heritage plays an important role in circular economies

Heritage and social development

  • Rehabilitating heritage buildings for affordable housing
  • Healthy cities and sustainable communities

Heritage and the environment

  • Building climate resiliency
  • Building reuse capitalizes on the embodied carbon of existing buildings and the avoided environment impacts of new construction
  • Lay out for candidates the heritage issues they will face if elected.
  • Heritage Montreal briefs all candidates and parties on what will likely happen in their four year mandates. And we’d rather put the energy on identifying what are the unavoidable issues that they’ll have to face and get them ready for it.
  • Heritage Calgary sends welcome packages with Ward specific information to all the candidates. They think it’s important for them to see the breakdown of their wards as each one has different kinds of heritage resources to consider.
  • Yukon Historical and Museums Association focuses on broad questions rather than specific heritage management issues. Once a relationship has been established, then there is an opportunity to have conversations about a broad range of topics, like the role of heritage in climate change.

Utilize Surveys and Information Packages for Candidates

Heritage Calgary sent heritage surveys to all candidates to gauge what their level of knowledge and understanding of heritage. Here are some of the questions they asked in during a recent election:

  • What do they know about heritage in Calgary?
  • What is their favorite Heritage Resource?
  • Will they support the proposed residential tax credit if elected?

Heritage Calgary Survey for Candidates and Heritage Briefing Package

Additional Resources


Heritage Montreal Op-Ed - Heritage Needs Concrete Results (Le Devoir, Oct. 19, 2021)