About the BCHFS
The BC Heritage Fairs Society (BCHFS) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the history education of Canada’s young people. We are run entirely by volunteers. Since 2003, the Society has successfully brought people and history together: each year some 4,000 students participate and 700 volunteers work with them, their teachers, and community museum staff in Heritage Fair Programs across the province of British Columbia.
Our Vision Statement
The BC Heritage Fairs Society wants all young people to become curious about Canadian history and have a deep understanding of the present by engaging with and questioning the past.
Our Core Values. We want to:
- Encourage young people to develop their own opinions and values based on a respect for evidence;
- Provide opportunities for young people to see history around them;
- Promote an appreciation of the diverse experiences of people in the past;
- Connect local and family stories to the larger narratives of Canada’s history;
- Develop approaches to teaching and learning that combine enjoyment and active engagement in historical thinking;
- Forge connections between youth and the community;
- Encourage student leadership; and
- Develop informed and involved citizens of tomorrow.
Our Mandate We intend to:
- Promote an awareness and understanding of Canadian history and heritage among students and adults in the province of British Columbia;
- Support, facilitate and implement a Heritage Fairs program in British Columbia;
- Work closely with other organizations and agencies in the province whose goals and activities complement and support the goals of the Society;
- Undertake initiatives to raise funds and revenue in support of the Society’s programs; and
- Disseminate information about the programs of the Society.
BCHFS Board of Directors
- President: Michael Gurney (on leave)
- Vice-President: Evan Fryer
- Treasurer: Judy Dunn
- Secretary: vacant
- Directors: Becky Burns, Mary Campone, Kris Foulds, Jennifer Garner, Andrew Hildred, Jennifer Iredale, Rachel Meloche, Cindy Rowell.
- Past President: Britney Quail
Contact the BC Heritage Fairs Society: firstname.lastname@example.org
About Heritage Fairs
Heritage Fairs is a nation-wide, bilingual educational initiative that encourages students to explore Canadian heritage in a dynamic, hands-on learning environment. Canadian youth use the medium of their choice to tell stories about Canadian heroes, innovators, sacrifices, and tragedies. The findings of their research are presented at public exhibitions in more than 80 communities across the country. Since 1993, millions of young Canadians have shared their history and heritage at the Fairs.
BC Heritage Fairs is a province-wide program that encourages youth to see history around them. Heritage Fairs have been held in our province since 1995, and today 12 communities proudly host a total of 4,000 participating students and over 700 volunteers each spring. Some of those students are selected to attend the annual Provincial Heritage Fair, a five-day history camp hosted in a different part of the province each July.
History of the Heritage Fairs Program
The CRB (Charles R. Bronfman) Foundation Heritage Project was started in 1993 to increase awareness of Canadian heritage among Canadians, and to create an exciting learning environment for students of history. One of its initiatives was the popular “Heritage Minutes” videos, which are still being produced today. Another was the Heritage Fairs program. The first-ever Heritage Fair was held in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1993.
From that small beginning, the Fairs program expanded to include school and Regional Fairs in every Canadian province and territory. Beginning in 1995, an annual National Fair was held each year in a different community. Over 15 years, the National Fair covered every province in the country and was hosted in cities from Victoria, BC to St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador.
In 1999, management of the Fairs program was granted to the Historica Foundation of Canada, which increased participation substantially across the country. In 2009, the Historica Foundation and The Dominion Institute merged to create the Historica-Dominion Institute (now Historica Canada). This marked the end of Historica involvement in the program, and the end of the National Fair. Canada’s History Society graciously stepped in to provide some national coordination of the Fairs, and created the Young Citizens program. In many areas of the country, small groups of dedicated volunteers continue to support the Fairs program on a provincial and territorial level.
What has stayed the same for Heritage Fairs throughout these changes has been our goals. We intend to:
- Create an environment where students are excited to learn and share;
- Provide recognition for student achievement;
- Celebrate cultural diversity and multiple perspectives;
- Reveal connections between the past and present; and
- Inspire Canadians to learn and care about their country’s past.
Partners & Affiliates
The BC Heritage Fairs Society operates under the Distinguished Patronage of the Honourable Janet Austin, OBC, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. We are affiliated with Canada’s History Society and Heritage BC.