The Aberdeen House and Bella Vista Hotel on Pioneer Avenue, circa 1890s. Behind the Aberdeen House, beautiful Mount Cheam overlooks the Agassiz-Harrison Valley. (Agassiz-Harrison Historical Society)

Agassiz-Harrison museum gets grant to help with local with landscape research

By Lindsay Foreman

Last month we touched upon a new heritage tourism initiative in the Agassiz-Harrison Valley.

This collaborative effort between the Agassiz-Harrison Historical Society, District of Kent and Tourism Harrison aims to showcase our community’s unique built heritage, heritage landscapes, industries, organizations and events.

The timing of this work also builds upon the District of Kent’s 125th anniversary celebrations, which will be occurring in 2020.

In June of 2018, the Agassiz-Harrison Historical Society submitted an application to the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program, for a project entitled “Preserving and Promoting the Agassiz-Harrison Valley Heritage Landscape.”

RELATED: HISTORY: Promoting heritage tourism

The aim of this project is to provide seniors, and others, with the opportunity to document, preserve and promote the family, industrial and structural histories of the communities of Agassiz, Harrison Mills and Harrison Hot Springs.

Specifically, this project will promote volunteerism among seniors and other generations to perpetuate the mission of the Agassiz-Harrison Historical Society: where history preserves community.

The Spa Motel in Harrison Hot Springs during the 1948 flood. (Agassiz-Harrison Historical Society)

The ultimate goal is to develop four self-guided walking tours centered in Agassiz, Harrison Mills, Harrison Hot Springs, and the historic Old Cemetery in Agassiz.

The walking tours that will be developed will be both family and mobility-friendly, and will encourage community members and visitors of all ages to experience the heritage landscape of this unique valley first-hand.

They will be available in both hard copy and digital formats, and further, will be supported by recognition signage that compares the past community landscapes to their present-day form.

It is anticipated that the research for these walking tours will be led by seniors during the summer and fall of 2019. Subcommittees will be formed to tackle each of the four tours.

In the fall and winter of 2019, the subcommittees will plan out the routes, write the text for each stop, and work to develop digital and hard copy brochures for distribution and recognition signage for each tour route.

RELATED: Agassiz-Harrison Museum showcases refreshed galleries, exhibits

The Agassiz-Harrison Historical Society’s website will house the digital tours and associated archival resources to promote their accessibility.

The spa walkway between the St. Alice Hotel and the bath house, circa 1900. (Agassiz-Harrison Historical Society)

A heritage event to launch the tours will take place in the spring of 2020 as part of the District of Kent’s 125th anniversary celebrations.

On April 25, 2019, we received confirmation that this project will be funded from the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program. Now we need your help and participation to make this project a success!

Want to learn more about the history of your community? Want to gain valuable research skills and learn alongside your elders? Want to share your photographic, computer, social and project management skills?

Then come to our information session at the museum (7011 Pioneer Avenue, Agassiz) on Thursday July 11 at 1 p.m.

Have questions, comments, information to share with us for this project? Please contact us at or 604-796-3545.

-Lindsay Foreman is the manager and curator at the Agassiz Harrison Museum.

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