Niagara-on-the-Lake resident Gracia Janes has been chosen as the 2019 Living Landmark Award recipient by the Niagara Foundation.
The not-for-profit organization, which advocates for preservation of heritage lands in town, has been recognizing NOTL residents who have made outstanding contributions to the quality of life in Niagara since 2006, according to the organizers.
As a president of NOTL Conservancy Group, Janes has been a vocal advocate for the town’s historic preservation and provided input on the town’s official plan.
Janes accepted the award at a reception held at Navy Hall Saturday night.
“I’m very honoured. This group, the foundation, is terrific,” Janes told The Lake Report. “Other groups come and go, but we’re still here. And I would say we’ve done some of the significant heritage saving in this town.”
Janes recalled the Conservancy group’s victory when the Ontario Municipal Board prevented the King’s Point condominium development which allowed the community to “save the views” of Fort Niagara across the river.
Another memorable experience was when the group persuaded the OMB to not include the Commons in the urban boundaries, she said.
“Those are the two most spectacular things we’ve done,” Janes said.
One of the foundation directors and 2017 award winner Richard Merritt said the board takes into account who has contributed to the community when choosing a recipient.
“That can be philanthropy, donating funds or giving time to various historical or cultural events over the years,” Merritt told The Lake Report. “Gracia Janes has been very active in all kinds of things in the community, a real activist.”
Previous award recipients have also included Judy MacLachlan, Norma Jane Lowrey and Blair Harber, Gary Burroughs, Debi Pratt, Jim Smith, Peter Stokes, Christopher Newton, Joy Ormsby, John Walker, Calvin Rand, Donald Combe, Norm Howe and Gerry Wooll.
NOTL resident Peter Howe said Janes, along with his mother Margherita Howe, and Laura Dodson, was on the forefront preserving and advocating for the town’s heritage.
“These women are pioneers who have advanced heritage preservation for 35 years in town and the community owes a debt to them which can never be understood,” he told The Lake Report.