Edmonton heritage program keeps owner’s love for Westmount alive
Troy Steele is refurbishing the 1922, bungalow-style Hunt Residence in Westmount
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Troy Steele's labour of love is to refurbish a 95-year-old home in Westmount and save it from being erased.
“I was fearful it would become an infill home,” Steele said. “So when it was designated as a heritage home, we were thrilled and bought it to support the neighbourhood.”
Steele is among a few Edmontonians participating in the city’s Historic Preservation program, a project that sees up to $75,000 in municipal money go to refurbishing old properties to preserve the city's history.
The program began in 1984 with the Hotel Macdonald and has since included numerous properties, according to David Johnston, a planner with the city’s historic preservation programs management unit.
“These buildings are becoming rarer and rarer,” Johnston said. “With the uptick in infill, a lot of re-development pressures are being placed on these older neighborhoods, and we’re starting to lose the buildings more frequently.”
Steele’s house — called the Hunt Residence and located on 109A Avenue, near 124 Street — will head to a public hearing later this month to possibly receive formal protection. That means heritage materials and fixtures must be well maintained, if approved.
Johnston said planners scanned the Westmount area in the early 2000’s to determine which homes had a enough “historical integrity.”
“The Hunt Residence had its original windows and its original siding that hadn’t been altered significantly,” he said.
Built in 1922, the home was first occupied by Albert Hunt, a clerk with the provincial government. He later sold it to Roy Forman, a trainman with Canadian National Railways. It appears it had been unoccupied after 1966.
But it was only last year when the home went on the market, and that’s when Steele became interested. The bungalow has two triangle roofs, original wood siding and a porch.
“It’s an exquisite example of craftsmanship,” Steele said. “It fits perfectly and absolutely belongs in this neighborhood.”
The city invested $75,000 into the residence while Steele fronted the rest.
“There’s no way we’re making money from this,” he said. “All of this is done out of love and dedication.”
He said he hopes to rent out the home for a few years until his kids move out. After, he and his wife, Olivia, will move in for retirement.
Steele expects the home to be complete in the spring.