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Great Places: Medicine Hat Clay Industries a National Historic Site of Canada

Link provided by Laconic Designs. Story by Great Places.

Often times Great Places represent the unique character and history of a place that can’t be found elsewhere and in the same way. The history of the clay industry in Medicine Hat for over a hundred years has been sustainable as working industries, a neighbourhood and now as a framework for the Canadian Badlands Tourism Strategy. Most importantly the pride, the stories and the connections over time are being preserved and built upon through the heritage value of Medalta Potteries, Hycroft China and I-XL Industries. This Historic Clay District (a National Historic Site of Canada) is a unique place to experience and share. The District genuinely takes you to a special place in time.

The Historic Clay District is a broad area that is made up of several historic working industries. Medalta Potteries is central to others in the area which includes Hycroft China Ltd, and I-XL Brick. Medalta is continuing on several phases of redevelopment as a living, working museum and education facility with the Medalta International Artists in Residence Program. Later phases of redevelopment will include Hycroft China and I-XL Brick. A new Area Redevelopment Plan has recently been completed to enhance the pedestrian connectivity and public realm in support of the overall National Clay Industries Historic Site.

The Historic Clay District is accessible to all given it’s a working, living museum. Modes of transportation and accessibility issues will be further addressed through enhancement of the area both in the redevelopment of buildings and in the Area Redevelopment Plan. Currently the majority of the public space in within the Medalta Potteries however, the site is also designed for outdoor events and activities in summer months.

The site is sitting in a natural landscape at the city’s eastern boundary therefore, framed with clay escarpment, surrounding creeks and topography. Recent flooding in June 2010 affected the natural environment significantly as did it I-Xl Brick such that, after 100 years of operation, has had to close its doors. Protection and enhancement is an area that is currently being reviewed further and addressed given such flooding.

The Historic Clay District is what defines the River Flats community’s character and personality…it is a diverse and well-established community that celebrates its history and this has been reinforced with the recent Area Redevelopment Plan work. The natural prairie and escarpment landscape surround the site are what make it what it is. The clay came from the escarpment so there is a whole history in that aspect. Maintaining the area’s openness to views of the escarpment and natural topography significantly supports the District. Given it includes two creeks that are a part of a significant open space system further enhances the existing natural features. It is what makes the River Flats community sustainable and supports the history and sense of place for the community and city.

If you think Medicine Hat Clay Industries, and Medicine Hat deserves to be named one of the greatest places in Canada, please vote.

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