History of the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals

CAHP began in the 1980’s when a group of individuals realized the necessity for recording the development and framework of Canada’s modern history.

In the early 1980’s, a number of people felt it was time to bring heritage professional together in some sort of organization. Hal Kalman, a principal in the firm Commonwealth Heritage Resources of Vancouver became the first president. Liz Addison was the first Secretary-Treasurer.

Other Directors included: John Blumenson, Michael McClelland, Mark Fram, Ron Williamson, Richard Unterman, Phil Goldsmith, Chris Andreae, Steve Otto and Donalda Hilton. In this way the “Association of Heritage Consultants” (later re-styled with the addition of the words Canadian and Professional) was born.

Perhaps, the initial impetus for creating the organization came from a very practical concern over perceived irregularities in the awarding of contracts. The founders, however, realized that the issue was only one crisis and that there were many other reasons to forge an association of people working in the heritage field. The first general organizational meeting was held in 1986. It was resolved at that meeting to proceed with the formation of a professional heritage organization. A steering committee was endorsed by those present and empowered to take the steps toward incorporation.

The Board met at first in Phil Goldsmith’s offices at Quadrangle Architects in Toronto. One of CAHP’s early achievements was to convince Heritage Canada, and by extension all government agencies and publicly supported NGO’s, that they should not be competing unfairly with private consultants in seeking contracts.

Two other important initiatives evolved to become features of CAHP’s services to members. The Forum gathered and presented news of members’ accomplishments, made important announcements and featured articles discussing current issues. Along with Sue Maltby, a Toronto conservator, John Peters of Ontario Hydro, and others, took on the production of the first members’ Directory. The Directory was a bold and imaginative concept designed to showcase and explain the skills of CAHP’s members. The idea was to make available to potential employers and contractors a complete roster of those with qualifications in the heritage professions. The work of putting the heritage Directory together and of maintaining it has been extraordinary and it stands out as one of the greatest achievements and services of the organization.

While John Peters was expanding the communications horizons of CAHP, Marty Cooper of Toronto’s Archaeological Services Inc., was beginning a project as head of the Advocacy Committee. One of those initial problems that sparked the forming of CAHP was the question of clarity in tendering for heritage contracts. The Advocacy committee first organized a workshop on the subject and eventually wrote and published a set of Guidelines for Tendering. The document has been circulated widely to developers, municipalities and government agencies in an effort to streamline and regularize the tendering and hiring process.

Another responsibility of the Advocacy Committee has involved reviewing and making comment of government policy and legislation. Such comment was offered by members representing CAHP on Heritage Acts in New Brunswick, British Columbia and Ontario. As well, CAHP members were very active in the public consultation process leading up to the passage of a new Planning Act in Ontario in 1993, and in changes to the province’s regulations regarding cemeteries.

Directors through the following years developed an on-going system of long-term and short-term goals that were reviewed and adjusted according to the progress that had been made and the new challenges that had presented themselves.

Photo Credits: Donald Luxton & Associates Inc., 2010 Award of Merit for Adaptive Reuse of a Heritage Building (Alhambra Hotel, Vancouver); Latreille Delage Photography, 2013 Award of Merit for Conservation – Rehabilitation (Pacific Central Station, Vancouver);  FGMDA, 2013 Award of Merit for Conservation – Restoration (McGill Arts Building, Montreal); Graham French, 2011 Award of Merit for Preservation of a Heritage Building (10 Toronto Street, Toronto)