BC Heritage Fairs Alumni

The Official Heritage Fairs Student Site

How to Succeed: Tips and what you need to know about the Provincial Fair — May 29, 2014

How to Succeed: Tips and what you need to know about the Provincial Fair

1. Make friends with people in your region: Most activities at the Provincial Fair require you to have a partner. Don’t make friends with just one person and stay with them the whole time. Instead, make friends with all in your region, so you will always have a partner and get stuck with someone you don’t know. The reason you make friends with those in your region is because you all will go onto the same bus, and possibly be on the same floor. (In the building you will live in)

2. Be prepared to present your project: If you heard the judges say something you could improve on during your interview, make sure you fix or change it. Don’t fool around before you go to the camp, and review the facts, so you don’t mess up while presenting.

3. “Upgrade” your project: Make sure the visual appeal of your project is at it’s highest notch, as many people will visit the provincial fair. In my view, I would say double as many people come. If your project seems like it’s missing something, but your project is at it’s highest visual appeal, maybe it’s your dialogue, or the overall “feel” of your project.

4. Don’t hesitate to ask: Other chaperons are happy to help whenever you don’t know where your chaperon is. I don’t suggest asking your friend for times and questions like that, just because they might not know exactly the answer to your question, or get the answer wrong.

5. PINS!!!!: This may seem weird and all, but the biggest “social” thing that happens at the Provincial Fair is trading pins. You get all these cool and funky pins from trading your own region’s pins. If you think the pins you own are useless, think again. You might be the only one who has that one pin, but most importantly, make sure you go to the city hall and ask politely for pins, and they happily will probably give them to you for free.

6. Enjoy your time at the Provincial Fair: The week will go by so quickly, you’ll regret not relishing every moment. Even if the pictures on the flyer look boring, or creepy, don’t worry. I was once in your spot, thinking that it would somehow be “summer school”. It actually was more like field trips every day, and fun, fun, fun.

7. Make conversations happen: Make sure you talk to the audience in a sense of casually, but the “formal” type of casual. Maintain a steady flow of facts and info, throwing in bits while conversing. Believe me, having a little chat full of your facts is MUCH easier than trying to link all your facts together and not letting your audience give feedback or replies. It’s also much easier for the audience.

8. And last of all……:HAVE FUN, make sure your project is absolutely amazing, be proud you made it to the provincial fair, make tons of friends, trade pins, enjoy your time there ,and look for moi(me in french, if you didn’t know).




P.S. I can’t emphasize this enough, ENJOY YOUR TIME!!!

Conducting an Interview as a Primary Source — May 16, 2014

Conducting an Interview as a Primary Source

Hi! I am Lucas, an alumnus from the Rivers to Sea region. Last year I won the Rotary Ambassador’s Award for top project at the regional fair, and I represented my region at the 2013 Provincial Fair in Victoria.

Last month I interviewed Richard Stewart, the mayor of Coquitlam. I asked him about a variety of topics, and here are the questions and answers in his own words. Hope you enjoy!

How did you get into politics? Was it a childhood dream when you were growing up?

It wasn’t a childhood dream, it actually wasn’t an ambition even. When I worked in the
government, in fact in the 90’s, I had a big contract with the provincial government, with the NDP government in the 90’s, dealing with the building of the safety and building code. In the course of that, it was actually the leader of the opposition, Gordon Campbell, asked me to run for his party. And I said no, several times, and then I eventually said yes. And then I ran and got elected to be the MLA of Coquitlam, Coquitlam-Maillardville, and then after four years I ran for council and decided to go for local government because I prefer local government in any case. It’s closer to the people.

Do you have any future plans to enhance the heritage learning in Coquitlam for generations to come?

Yes in fact we just purchased Booth Farm House. That’s a heritage building from about a hundred years ago. It’s one of the oldest houses in Coquitlam and we had been speaking with the owner of the house for a couple of years, and we managed to buy it when she passed away. We bought it from the family. And that gives us an opportunity to not just preserve that heritage but to also celebrate some of the original heritage in that part of Coquitlam-Maillardville and a historic community. But we have many other historic elements and one of the main parts of that, this is actually a farm by the way, Booth Farm House, down at the foot of Dawes Hill, it’s across the street from there and four doors down. It’s a beautiful blue house. But, of course, Maillardville is a significant heritage place. But one of the most significant heritage areas is Riverview Hospital. We are working right now with the provincial government on how to preserve elements of the heritage in Riverview Hospital. Not just the artifacts because there are some, we have gathered many of them, but also whether it’s possible to preserve several of the buildings. These are the oldest buildings, some of the oldest buildings in Coquitlam, and some of the oldest buildings in the province, and some of them are quite magnificent.

What are your thoughts about Riverview Hospital and the grounds?

My own preference would be to preserve the whole site. But to find uses for it. Because just leaving it empty isn’t a possibility either. The film industry uses the site quite a bit, partly because of the heritage values. So I want to work with the film industry, for example, and develop a studio or facilities to complement the location with television and production. But the site can also be used for many health related uses, like both mental health, which it has always been used for, but also hospital uses.

What were your specific goals you wanted to achieve as a mayor and have you accomplished those?

One of the reasons I ran was because of the long stalemate with the Evergreen Line. It had been on the books for 20 years and I disagreed with how they were trying to get it built. So I’m pretty proud about the progress we’ve developed to essentially meet with every mayor, meet with every community, meet with the province, work with all the partners, and try to set aside all the differences and find the common ground so that we could get an agreement to start the project. And we got that agreement. It’s federal, it’s provincial, it’s regional, it’s the local government involved, it’s every level of government and many corporate and private partners involved so it’s quite a proud accomplishment for me.

What was the biggest difficulty you’ve experienced so far about the Evergreen Line?

The biggest difficulty is politics. I love public policy. For example, public policy is when you have a new garbage system. We’re going to have a new recycling system too. They are decisions by the government that benefit the residents. Politics though is different from public policy. Politics is the filter that public policy has to go through. I don’t like politics. Some people really love political manipulation. We’re in a battle right now with New Westminster over the Bailey Bridge. That has been why I’m running late today, almost every day. The Bailey Bridge is very political, and politics isn’t in the best interest of public.

I see that you operate your own government relations and communications business. What is your role in that work?

Well not anymore, I still have that business, but I don’t operate it anymore. But largely, that’s how I ended up in government. I developed public policy. For example, I was hired by a crown corporation to write some regulations that would require builders to have licenses and mandatory warranties. Those regulations get written by somebody and that was me in this case. It required talking to both sides, and I actually did do that, because that’s the way I do it. I talked to all the sides to find out their positions and then developed the policy that made sense. If you develop the policy from only one side, then we have a conflict. That was my role, to make sure we could find common ground for good public policy. I still do that now, but I just don’t get paid as much.

From your time as being a magazine editor and publisher, did you learn anything that you could integrate into your time as being a mayor?

The main thing is that everybody has a job. So when the reporter phones me, I had four reporters in the last two hours, I try to help them do their job. Their job is to get a story into the newspaper. I have never, ever said no comment. Some politicians say no comment. That doesn’t help the reporters do their job. In fact, it makes them go around you to get someone else to comment. And usually, the comment is something I wouldn’t have said. Having been a reporter, having been a publisher, I recognize the value of research to find out stuff, but also the value of helping people do their job. One of the important realities that I hope you all will realize as well is that it makes sense if you think about it obviously. The first thing that can help you is usually the person who is already doing that job. So if, for example, a public policy question comes to the council we’re asked, “Should we allow to the RCMP to have tasers?” I could make the decision based on what I’ve read in the newspapers or what I’ve heard from other people. Or, I could go talk to the RCMP and talk to someone who does that. If we’re figuring out how frequently should we disassemble a fire hydrant. Every fire hydrant can get disassembled. How often should we do that? I talked to the people who do the job for us and they show me how do it. I actually put gloves on and took one apart and put it back together. I think it’s important to understand what the job is if we’re going to understand our municipality and try to make it better. Did you know that every fire hydrant gets taken apart every year? And when it gets put back together, we use a vegetable product to seal the joints.

Do you think that multiculturalism and speaking different languages is important in a growing society like this?

I absolutely do. I think that one of the most important parts of Coquitlam is the fact that the world has come here. That people have come from every country of the world, practically, and make it their home. They’re sharing their cultures. My family comes from Scotland on my father’s side, and my mother’s side is from Quebec. They arrived from France around 400 years ago, one of the first settlers. And so I grew up speaking French and English at home. I speak a little bit of Korean, and a little bit of Spanish and Italian because my wife is Italian. And that was multiculturalism 30, 40 years ago was different European cultures. My wife teaches French Immersion at Panorama. And the French Immersion class is made up of people all around the world who speak English on the playground, French in the classroom, and Farsi or Korean or Spanish or Russian at home. It’s just an amazing part of Coquitlam. I go to other communities and the tensions with multiculturalism and diversity and racism are enormous in so many communities. I don’t see them being anywhere near as high or as strong here. There are some tensions, but I think that the best part of Coquitlam is that the world comes here and we get along.

Being a mayor, what is a day in your life at work?

There is no day in being mayor, there’s lots of different days. Monday is city council. We spend the whole day in meetings. Tuesday is usually reporters dealing with the meetings. Wednesdays is more meetings. Every single day is a pile of documents to sign! I always have a pen in my hand because I always have documents being brought in. And there are decisions to be made about all kinds of things. Thursday and Friday I end up in regional meetings. We do regional government meetings for the Translink and transportation system, along with sewer and garbage talks. Friday, we also get the agenda for the next Monday’s council, so there’s at least 16 hours spent on the weekend reading and preparing for the council. Not to mention all the ribbon cuttings to go to on the weekends. They’re typically busier than the weekdays. Every evening there’s something. Sometimes I take time off from meetings so I can spend time at home, but my wife says it’s not enough! There’s lots of different conferences that I have to go to that are out of town. I have to go to Victoria every now and then. Not Ottawa very often, but usually Victoria.

What do you think is the role of a mayor?

The biggest thing of being a mayor is to build a consensus. Try to get good public policy advanced through city council. There’s two parts of that. You have to get good public policy which means trying to guide development of city staff and city policy to put before council. It’s about building consensus on council that quite often involves politics. I do it well, but I don’t like doing it. We also have some legal obligations of being the voice of the city and present the city to people in a legal sense. Finally, mayors get together to run Translink and other things like that.

Throughout this interview, I realized that the mayor and the city council work extremely hard to preserve the heritage of this beautiful city. Coquitlam is fast approaching 125 years as a municipality, and there are several historical landmarks that I would recommend visiting if you’re in the area. These include Fraser Mills, formerly a small community and city and Riverview Hospital and its stunning grounds and views. Visiting these places and stepping back in time has become one of my interests. I appreciate, and I hope you will too enjoy all the work that the city has put into making sure the younger generation is well-educated about our rich and extensive history for the future.
Author: Lucas

Heritage Fairs and Experiential Learning – Guest Blog! — May 1, 2014

Heritage Fairs and Experiential Learning – Guest Blog!

Evan Fryer was the Alumni Program Chair for three years, since it’s inception in 2010 until Britney Quail took over for the 2014 season. Evan was instrumental in the development of the program, and is to credit for many of its best elements! Both Evan and Britney are true testaments to the idea that you can take the student out of a Heritage Fair, but you can’t take the Heritage Fair out of a student: after participating in Regional, Provincial, and National Fairs, Evan continued working in the Heritage Fair community as an alumni, eventually culminating in his status as Director for the BC Heritage Fairs Society. Though he is no longer Chair of the Alumni program, Evan is still looking to be part of the fun and learning that are embodied by our Alumni. So without further ado, I present to you this season’s guest blogger!

I challenge you to think back to your earliest childhood memory. This may be no easy task, but I encourage you to really concentrate. Where were you? Who were you with? What were you doing?

Initially, this challenge could have been overwhelming for you; however, I am confident that at least one significant memory has popped into your head. Why am I this confident you may ask? Because I am certain that the memory you chose is meaningful to you in some way. Meaningful because of the context of your situation, the people you were with, or the environment you were in. As we move through life, I believe that creating these meaningful moments is the key to learning and the key to growth as an individual.

Thinking back to childhood, “playing” was something we did without any consideration. It was natural to us, exploring the world in a kinesthetic, hands-on way. However, slowly through the years, we begin to formalize and institutionalize our “play” by attending school. Although I am a strong believer in education, I think that there is a fundamental flaw in the way that we are eliminating play from our pedagogical approach in today’s society, particularly as we move towards the secondary school level. Restricting learning to a textbook and the walls of a classroom is unconstructive and detrimental to truly grasping subject matter.

I believe that learning needs to be experiential in nature in order for us to truly understand the world around us. Firstly, schools need to create concrete experiences for their students. Secondly, students need to be given the opportunity to reflectively observe upon those experiences from different perspectives. Too often is an egocentric lens placed upon our analysis of the world in schools, particularly in Western culture. We need to be more cognizant of other people’s diversity and their beliefs and ideologies. Thirdly, students need to participate in abstract conceptualization of curriculum and content. In order for us to promote creativity and innovation in schools, we need for students to critically think about these experiences and apply them to a greater level. Finally, students need to be given the opportunity for active experimentation. This last stage of experiential learning is the key to creating those extremely important, meaningful moments, and hopefully moments that you will remember for the rest of your life.

Participating in a Heritage Fair in British Columbia is the epitome of experiential learning. The process of creating a meaningful history project and sharing it with the world addresses all of these aforementioned, contemporary issues. Exploring and discovering where our ancestors have made mistakes in the past gives students the tools necessary to make change in today’s society and the future. Furthermore, if students are selected to attend the Provincial Fair, the BC Heritage Fairs Society provides them with the opportunity to engage with history in a hands-on way by delving into the past. The benefits of participating in this program are endless.

The more we can create these meaningful experiences for our youth, the more equipped they will be to face the world. We need to bring back “play” in schools and lead students on a path of discovery: a path to discovering the past, and a path to discovering the promise in themselves and the world.


Author: Evan Fryer