Time certainly flies. As I finish writing this post about all the things that happened in February, it’s already the end of March! For the shortest month of the year, this February was certainly busy.
On Saturday, February 7th, I was lucky enough to be one of 500 people (out of more than 900 registrants) attending HTML500, the largest Learn to Code event in Canada. Organized by Lighthouse Labs, the event was held at the London Convention Centre. Opening speakers included Deb Matthews (MPP for London North Centre) and Matt Brown (Mayor of London, ON) After the opening speeches, we received a lecture on basic html and css led by Lighthouse Lab’s head instructor Khurram Virani and Josh Borts, who apparently has a severe lack of Twitter followers, promoting the hashtag #plzfollowjosh. Other twitter hashtags were #CodeinLdnOnt and #PayitForward
From their website:
“For us, a big part of The HTML500 is having the tech community take the skills they’ve learned and pay it forward to a new group of eager coders. This movement of developers helping each other grow is what empowers our community to do great things!”
One of the best thing about the event was the diversity. Coding is for everyone, and it showed. 50% of participants across country were women. At the London event, the youngest participant was 7 and the oldest was 70. All participants were instructed to download Brackets beforehand. This free program is specifically designed for writing code – similar to how we use Microsoft word for essays or prose.
The HTML500 organizers had projects prepared for us to follow through and create our own website pages, allowing us to learn coding along the way. Each table had a mentor to help teach the code, and help with debugging. Immediately afterwards, there was a job fair where participants could show off their newly-developed skills. All together, it was an amazing event and a terrific experience.
ACO Nextgen Job Shadow Program
On February 19th, I participated in ACO Nextgen’s job shadow program that they run for Heritage Week. It provides an opportunity for young, new heritage professionals (like me!) to job shadow established heritage pros and see what a typical day is like in the field. I was paired with the City of London’s Heritage Planning department, shadowing Kyle Gonyou and Don Menard. It was a wonderful and educational day. First, I was given a presentation on heritage planning, and learn all about the process of designating and protecting heritage buildings. Next, I was able to sit in on a Environmental Assessment Meeting with a construction company that will be doing some road work and wanted to ensure the upcoming construction would not affect heritage properties in that area. To prepare for this meeting, Kyle showed me the huge amount of files the city keeps on the various heritage sites in the city – both those that are designated and those that are just listed on the City’s heritage inventory, complied in 2006.
London currently has five Heritage Conservation Districts, with two more under consideration. If a property owner wants to make alterations to a property that is contained within a Heritage District, it must submit a request for a Heritage Alteration Permit. The City will then determine if the requested changes will suit the streetscape and look of the larger heritage district before it is approved. Before the end of my job shadow, we actually got to take a site visit and view a property that had requested a permit. It was very interesting to see the process.
All in all, I had a wonderful day with multiple learning opportunities to take with me as I continue in my career. I want to publicly thank ACO Nextgen for sponsoring the job shadow program, as well as Kyle Gonyou and Don Menard for having me.
London Heritage Awards
Later the same day, were the 8th annual London Heritage Awards. Co-Sponsored by the London Branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario and the Heritage London Foundation, the annual awards are an opportunity to celebrate successes within the local heritage community.
From the ACO website:
“This awards program seeks to recognize individuals and organizations from either the private or public sector who have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to the preservation of London’s built heritage. Nominees may be proposed for their long-term dedication to the cause, for a single outstanding effort that made a notable difference, for strong leadership and vision in educating the public, or for actions that have brought about a positive outcome for built heritage in our City. The awards also seek to honour projects that have actually preserved part of our built heritage.”
As a long-time volunteer at Banting House N.H.S.C, I was particularly proud that the museum was recognized for its restoration project, which you can read more about here:
It was a great evening, with lots of deserving people and projects winning awards. To view the complete list of winners, check out the ACO’s Heritage Week newsletter here: http://acolondon.ca/acolondon/PDF/ACO_Heritage_Week_2015.pdf
London Heritage Fair
On February 21st, the London Public Library hosted the annual London Heritage Fair. This year’s theme was “Honouring Our Veterans.” The day featured staffed booths by over twenty local heritage organizations, and multiple speakers. The keynote presentation was Jonathan F. Vance from Western University, entitled “A Century Ago: The First World War Comes to London.” Though I had to scamper away to work in the afternoon, I was able to help set up Wartime Canada’s booth display, and attend Don Menard’s talk on the City of London’s “Streets of Honour” program. The always-popular event was well attended, and was a fitting tribute to London’s veterans.
Until next time,