About

MISSION

We connect people to the stories of our city by helping Edmontonians research, preserve, interpret, and advocate for our heritage.

Vision

Edmonton embracing its diverse heritage, inclusive of all people, communities, and cultures on Treaty 6 Territory, consistent with the principles of Truth and Reconciliation.

Mandate

The Edmonton Heritage Council has a mandate to serve as a leader in advancing Connections & Exchanges, Edmonton’s 10-year arts and heritage plan.

Success

Indications of the Edmonton Heritage Council’s success in achieving our vision will include the committed and informed participation of Edmonton’s citizens in heritage, the support of heritage by educators, and the support of heritage by government and business.

Our Staff

David Ridley

Executive Director

As Executive Director, David has led the organization’s engaging approach to heritage since 2011, and supported the development of EHC’s flagship programs. Previously, he served as Director of Research for the Heritage Community Foundation and as a curatorial researcher with the Folklife Program at the Royal Alberta Museum.

Over his nearly 30 years in the field he has contributed to key community discussions about culture and place, including the development of Connections & Exchanges, Edmonton’s 10 Year Plan to transform heritage and the arts in the city.

Ann Mary Babu

HR & Operations Manager

“Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain

Born and raised in the southern part of India, Ann carries a strong sense of heritage and culture passed on by her ancestors. Ann, an Electronics & Communication Engineer with an MBA in HR & Marketing as well as a post graduate diploma in Human Resource Administration, brings a decade of experience in various industries to her role.

Ann is very keen on focusing, practicing, and preaching about Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. It is important to her to make sure everyone around her is heard, seen, and felt. She loves spending time with her family, shopping, and exploring places, and is passionate about music and dance. She strongly believes life is a blessing and one should always be thankful and embrace its beauty. Her motto in life is to spread positivity and kindness.

Kyla Fisher

Investments & Partnerships Manager

Kyla is passionate about building community and making it a welcoming place for all. Descended from settlers who called both the east and west coasts home, she finds herself in Edmonton, surrounded by oceans of wheat. She has lived here for the past twenty years, studying, enjoying all aspects of the arts, and learning more about what draws people to these lands. Kyla has a decade of experience working in the non-profit sector and finds herself always coming back to the Edmonton Heritage Council.

She is currently the President of the Braille Tone Music Society of Edmonton, and is starting a toy lending library through her local community league. You can find her exploring Edmonton with her two little boys, partner, and dachshund.

Kesia Kvill

Community Engagement Manager

Kesia returned to Treaty 6 Territory after spending 14 years living, working, and learning on Treaty 7 and Dish-With-One-Spoon Territories. A Canadian food historian by training, Kesia brings her life-long experience with museums and heritage to EHC. She feels strongly that heritage and culture are keys to building community. Previously, Kesia served as Chief Curator at Heritage Park in Calgary. She currently sits on the board of the Culinary Historians of Canada and the IDEA and Nominating Committees for the Association for Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums.

Kesia’s historical role models are Roberta MacAdams and Jane Jacobs. Her free time is spent sewing, gardening and exploring with her husband and their dog. Kesia is excited to make her home the vibrant and diverse City of Edmonton.

Jessica Johns

Indigenous Initiatives Lead

Jessica Johns is a nehiyaw aunty with English-Irish ancestry and a member of Sucker Creek First Nation in Treaty 8 territory in Northern Alberta. She is a writer and editor of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art criticism, and her writing can be found in publications across ministik. Her career has been focused primarily on uplifting and supporting Indigenous storytellers, and her work in community is centered on an ethics of care and relationality.

Raffaella Loro

Communications Lead

Raffaella Loro is a self-proclaimed ‘very civil servant’ with a penchant for tackling complex challenges. After a brief introduction to the world of museums as a curatorial assistant (one of her best ever summer jobs) she has dedicated the past twenty years to transforming communication practices in Edmonton, including nearly 15 years at the City of Edmonton Communications Department. In her time at the City, she played a pivotal part in guiding the city’s ventures into social media and online multimedia, as well as placebranding efforts and internal storytelling.

In her recent endeavors, Raffaella has concentrated on leveraging human-centered design principles to enhance community and individual well-being. She thrives on exploring the intersection of process and creativity, often challenging conventional norms along the way.

In her free time you can find her quietly knitting or with her husband chasing her dog Pippa through Edmonton’s river valley.

Daliso Mwanza

Heritage Policy & Research Lead

Daliso Mwanza is a visual ethnographic researcher and filmmaker. Originally from Zambia and born in South Africa, Daliso immigrated to Canada in 2008. He graduated with a Master’s in Digital Arts and Humanities from UBCO in 2022, focusing on the diverse landscape of Black leisure experiences in Alberta. Having spent his youth in New Zealand, Pretoria (South Africa), and Whitecourt, Daliso brings a unique global perspective to his work. His dedication to filmmaking and archival film capture, particularly in capturing the essence of visual and theatre performances, has been evident in his work over the pandemic. Daliso also finds joy in mead-making and pottery.

Elaine Yip 葉曉菱

Digital Projects Lead, Edmonton City as Museum Project

Elaine Yip 葉曉菱 is interested in cultural knowledge and educational development through digital media infrastructures. She seeks ways to engage with both current and historical forms of data, including travelling and connecting through food histories. Her practice is further informed by her diasporic position within colonial geopolitics and migration displacements.

Since 2017, Elaine is learning what it means to be a Treaty person today, as a Vietnamese-Chinese and Cantonese-Canadian forever tourist in her birth nation. Elaine has a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and a MA in Recreation and Leisure Studies from the University of Alberta. She can be found on long walks and playing recreational sports. The Anne Frank House and the Metropolitan Museum of Art are places that inspire her and she first dipped her toes into the Pacific Ocean in Hualian, Taiwan.

Leslie Bush

Grants Coordinator

Leslie is a big believer in and active booster of local initiatives, co-founder of the Edmonton Tool Library (2015), co-organizer of the Secret Alley Gallery (2016), and has served as director and officer for many organizations and initiatives focused on local prosperity and human flourishing.

Born and raised in amiskwacîwâskahikan (Edmonton), Les is an avid cyclist, accomplished houseplant owner, ambitious home cook, aspiring artist, and an abysmal singer.

Joe Hartfeil

Communications Coordinator

Joe’s convoluted career path has taken this award-winning writer and broadcaster through the occasionally rocky terrains of the film industry, radio, historic interpretation, theatre, music, research, and linguistics; his relationship with the stories of his hometown has been equally enriched by each stop along the way.

When not trying in vain to clean his glasses, Joe enjoys getting up at ridiculously early hours to create before his brilliant wife and daughter join him in the land of the waking.

Keelan Marples

IT Coordinator

Keelan is an Edmonton boy, born and raised. He holds a diploma in Digital Media & Information Technology, with an emphasis on IT Business Analysis, from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and is currently putting his skills to use by helping EHC by implementing the best practices for their technological needs. Keelan is passionate about working with the organization to showcase the wonderful culture and heritage seen here.

When away from work, Keelan loves spending time with his beautiful wife and daughter (who wish to remain anonymous), playing rec league ice hockey, and mountain biking through our city’s fantastic urban greenspace (largest in north America!).

Fabiola Muñoz

Administrative Coordinator

Born in Mexico City, Fabiola studied Modern English Language and Literature with studies in Postcolonial Literature and English-Spanish Translation at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). In 2003 she moved to Alberta and started a family, later obtaining diplomas in Office Administration and Financial Management for Non-Profits and Charities as well as a certification as a Community English-Spanish Language and Cultural Interpreter.

Fabiola has promoted Hispanic culture and Spanish within several non-profits. As a resident of one of the most culturally diverse cities in Canada, she values the contribution newcomers make to our community and loves the rich tapestry of cultures they create in our city.

Amber Paquette

Community Outreach Coordinator, FIRE

Amber Paquette is a Nehiyaw and Métis multi-disciplinary artist, poet, and filmmaker who served as the 6th Historian Laureate for the City of Edmonton before joining the EHC staff team. She was born and raised in amiskwaciwâskahikan. Amber has worked as researcher, storyteller, and Indigenous People’s Interpreter for several years. Her work with the public has centered on the historic representation of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities who have lived on Treaty 6 Territory since time immemorial.

Chris Chang-Yen Phillips

ECAMP Coordinator

Chris Chang-Yen Phillips is a storyteller and people weaver. He completed his MA in History at the University of Alberta, studying how paleontologists studying fossils in the Burgess Shale have shaped Yoho National Park.

Previously, Chris worked at CJSR 88.5 FM as Podcasting Coordinator and Grant Writer/Fund Developer. He served as Edmonton’s 4th Historian Laureate, and studied International Development Studies & Environment and Resource Studies at Trent University. He loves learning about science, nature, and history, especially through his local history podcast Let’s Find Out. Also Star Trek (naturally).

Board of Directors

Jean-Louis Zokpe

Chair

Jean-Louis is a former member of the board of the Council for the Advancement of African Canadians (CAAC), where he served on the governance policy committee. He is a founding member of Edmonton Beninese Association, and past vice-president and treasurer. He currently works as a senior compliance officer for the federal government, with 10 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry as a manager, supervisor, and specialist in quality assurance.

Prior to coming to Edmonton, he was a volunteer with Pastoral of Oratory Saint-Joseph (Montréal), working to help the homeless in the downtown streets. He served on the Social Issues committee of the board of Conseil Jeunesse de Montreal (CJM), an advisory council on youth issues for the City of Montreal.

Jessica Burylo

Vice Chair

Jessica Burylo is a Regional Outreach Coordinator for Elections Canada’s Inspire Democracy portfolio, where she collaborates with community organizations in Western Canada to reduce electoral barriers for electors with disabilities, new Canadians, and Indigenous electors. She has developed her expertise in community engagement, through past positions in  the public service, municipal committees, heritage foundations, and museum management in Alberta.

Jessica holds a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology with post-graduate studies in Heritage Resource Management. She is a graduate student at the University of Alberta where she focuses on the anthropology of disability in order to add learned experience to her lived experience as a person with a disability, working in advocacy.

Geoff Wagner

Treasurer

Geoff is a Professional Engineer with over 25 years’ experience in the power industry. He holds both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Engineering from the University of Alberta. Geoff currently works in Project Development with EPCOR. For the last 12 years, Geoff has been responsible for the Rossdale Generating Station, a provincially designated historic resource.

Geoff is currently a director for the Edmonton Power Historic Foundation, which operates a museum in Leduc Country and whose mission is to preserve the history of electric power in Alberta. Previous volunteer roles include serving on the board of the Thompson Nicola Cariboo United Way, leading Scouts, and coaching soccer.

Robert Hobson

Past Chair

Robert is a professional planner with over 40 years of experience in setting public policy, heritage conservation, and environmental land use planning. He has been active in local government, serving as a City Councillor for the City of Kelowna from 1988-2014 and Chair of the Central Okanagan Regional District from 1993-2014, among other positions. In 2015, Robert moved to Edmonton and in 2016 he was appointed to the City of Edmonton Subdivision and Development Appeal Board.

Robert was awarded the Queens Jubilee Medal for his leadership on municipal, regional and provincial issues. He has focused on reconciling interests between local and regional governments and between municipalities and First Nations.

Mercy Afrane

Mercy practices personal injury law and civil litigation with an Alberta-wide law firm. She holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from Kwame Nkrumah University in Ghana and a Master of Laws degree from York University in Ontario. Through her current profession and past work in various capacities within the telecommunications and oil and gas industries, she has engaged with individuals from culturally diverse backgrounds. She is familiar with corporate governance, policy review, and negotiations.

Mercy also enjoys volunteering and is dedicated to giving back to her community. She is interested in issues of history, diversity, inclusion, community engagement, and heritage preservation. She is always keen to learn about the unique cultures and identities of various communities. In her free time, Mercy enjoys music, travelling, board games, and sports.

Tim Gilchrist

Tim has spent much of his life in the Edmonton area and has deep-rooted family ties to the University of Alberta and various clubs from throughout Edmonton’s history. He has a passion for history, heritage, and architecture and enjoys travel that lets him explore these pursuits throughout cities around the world.

His more than two decades of experience in the accounting sector includes working for home builders and Edmonton area development companies. He is currently a partner at an accounting firm and enjoys the networking and relationship building opportunities the role brings.

James Lamouche

James is Cree/Métis and grew up in Treaty 8 Territory, near kapawe’nohk (Grouard) on the shores of the Lesser Slave Lake.

After moving to amiskwacîwâskahikan (Edmonton) to attend the University of Alberta, he worked as a Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School before returning to work in Indigenous education focusing on the links between Indigenous Knowledge and Science. He has extensive experience working with Indigenous nations and organizations in the areas of health, Indigenous knowledge, traditional medicine, education, and Indigenous rights.

He has served as Director of Research and Indigenous Health Sciences Coordinator at the University nistameyimakanak Blue Quills (UnBQ); and as Associate Director of Indigenous Student Services at McMaster University. He currently serves as Director of Innovation and Research with the Indigenous Knowledge and Wisdom Centre.

Adegoke Ogundeyi

Adegoke was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. He immigrated to Canada in 2019 and is a Chartered Insurance Professional with over 10 years of experience in the insurance industry. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Ilorin, Nigeria and works with Aviva Insurance as a National Property Claims Adjuster, handling property claims across provinces in Canada. Adegoke’s expertise cut across Insurance Operations, Enterprise Risk Management, and Project Management.

His professional designations include The Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP), Canadian Risk Management Designation (CRM), Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP), and Project Management Professional (PMP). He is also a community builder and currently volunteers at Edmonton Food Bank & Africa Centre, He is the Facilities Director for The Nigerian Canadian Association of Edmonton (NCAE).

Abbey Preston

Abbey is a born and raised Edmontonian with a significant interest in the heritage and historical integrity of our dynamic and beautiful city. A policy and information professional, Abbey works as a policy analyst for the Government of Alberta with over a decade of experience working in the public sector.

After completing her undergraduate degree at the University of Alberta, she pursued her Master’s degree in library and information studies at the University of Sheffield, England. Spending five years abroad fostered her deep appreciation for preserving and advocating for heritage and history in Edmonton. She is also passionate about storytelling and creating opportunities for community connections.

Kyle Schole

Kyle Schole grew up near Westlock, just north of Edmonton, in Treaty 6 Territory. He studied Political Science and Canadian Studies at the University of Calgary before Interning for the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Ottawa. Kyle then served as a certified sea kayak guide on the West Coast of BC. Nowadays, as a municipal planner with seven-plus years’ experience, he has a passion for tangible and intangible heritage. To that end, he has successfully led an intermunicipal initiative to see 718km of kisiskâciwani-sîpiy (North Saskatchewan River) in Alberta designated under the Canadian Heritage Rivers System, which will contribute to the conservation, stewardship, and celebration of the river’s exceptional natural, cultural, and recreational heritage values for future generations.

Kyle has also served on the Board of the North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance (NSWA) since 2021, was appointed by City Council to the Edmonton Historical Board for a term commencing in Spring 2024, and volunteers with the Edmonton Regional Search and Rescue Association (ERSARA). In his spare time, he still camps, kayaks, cold-plunges, and is an avid freediver.

Lauren Wheeler

Lauren is a public historian and life-long lover of museums and heritage. Her over two-decade career began after high school at the Canmore Museum’s NWMP Barracks site, a provincially designated historical resource. She is a settler, raised in Canmore, and has resided in Edmonton / amiskwacîwâskahikan since 2008. Lauren is passionate about the important role museums, heritage, and the non-profit sector play in community. She believes a strong heritage sector contributes to the overall health and wellbeing of society and the economy, as attractions for locals and tourists alike.

Lauren is the Strategic Services Director at the Alberta Museums Association, where she has worked since 2013. She holds a Master of Arts Degree in Public History from Carleton University in Ottawa. She is an avid supporter of museums and heritage, trying to instill a love of both in her family with frequent visits to Edmonton’s rich heritage sites.

City Advisors

Erik Backstrom

Senior Planner, Urban Strategies Planning & Environmental Services, City of Edmonton

Erik is a historically-minded city builder. At the City of Edmonton, he manages the heritage planning program and leads long-term redevelopment planning projects. In his personal time, he loves researching about planning history and backcountry camping. He is a long-time volunteer in his church and professional communities.

Kathryn Ivany

Supervisor of Heritage Facilities and City Archivist, City of Edmonton

Kathryn has been an archivist for 20 years. Having come to the City Archives several years ago as part of the team of archivists preserving and restoring Edmonton’s history, she has now taken over the helm from former archivist Michael Payne. A key priority in her role is to make the archives more accessible to the public and to city staff.

Roger Jevne

Branch Manager, Community & Recreation Facilities, City of Edmonton

Roger Jevne is the Branch Manager of the Recreation and Culture Branch for the City of Edmonton.  The Recreation and Culture Branch provides services directly and works with community organizations and members to support heritage work in Edmonton.