Historic El Mirador apartments in Edmonton ‘heart-bombed’

Love notes were posted across the front of the El Mirador apartment building in Edmonton on Saturday.

It’s all part of an international trend called “heart-bombing.”

Locally, the event was organized by Heritage Forward, a grassroots effort to increase conversations about the preservation of old buildings in the city.

Messages reading “this place matters” and “you deserve to be preserved” were written on heart-shaped pieces of paper.

“It’s like Valentine’s Day for old buildings,” said Heritage Forward member Dan Rose.

“Instead of writing love letters and Valentine’s to people you love, we take this opportunity to show our love for historic buildings, why we care about them and why we think they matter to our city.”

The El Mirador was built in 1935. It has a Spanish influence with clay tile accents, a white-washed exterior and a courtyard.

The building does not have heritage designation but it is on the city’s historic inventory list.

There are concerns about its future as the land goes through rezoning.

“There’s always a last chance possibility,” said Marlena Wyman, historian laureate for the City of Edmonton. “We always hope, but it’s not looking good, sadly.”

Wyman said old buildings like the El Mirador are part of the city’s identity.

“We’re losing a lot of our heritage buildings. Once they are gone, they don’t come back. They are a non-renewable resource,” she said.

One of the building’s residents said while its fate is up in the air, it’s nice to see people giving it some love.

“A lot of times, it feels this building is neglected,” Zulfikar Kaba said. “It’s good people still appreciate old things and they want to see something good happen with it.”

For now, the biggest message from Heritage Forward is to speak up.

“If people don’t show up to that conversation, then those that are responsible for the decisions simply won’t know people actually care,” Rose said.

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