Nelson resident Lee Reid, has been named the winner of a 2023 Heritage Award for her Granny Garden tours.
The BC Heritage Awards are presented annually to individuals and organizations across the province that have made significant contributions to the preservation and celebration of BC’s heritage.
Reid’s garden tours have become increasingly popular in the region. She was recognized in this year’s Heritage Awards for the work she’s done showcasing the beauty and importance of backyard gardens and preserving local heritage.
Reid started the garden tours last summer; she says the idea came after realizing how many people in the community felt isolated after the pandemic.
“I invented them as an antidote to what I perceived as an epidemic of loneliness in the community, especially among seniors who often tend to be more isolated,” she says. “I wanted to create a very fun, outdoors, healthy activity that would bring people together as an antidote to this sort of alienation and conflict that was magnified through the pandemic and that especially affected seniors.”
Reid’s tours have also helped to build stronger communities by connecting people with their neighbors and highlight the importance of sustainable living and preserving local heritage through storytelling, and shared experiences.
“I facilitate what I hope are compassionate conversations that elicit stories about the homeowner’s cultures, their values on land and property. Not necessarily about ownership, but how they feel about life, the history of their homes or their land,” said Reid.
“We get diverse stories about diverse people, their traditions, their cultures, and I love that. To me, that’s what builds acceptance and understanding of each other as neighbors.”
Her tours have given people the platform the opportunity to share their heritage through their garden, to tell the story of their land, of their home and educate others on the things that they have learned and how they’ve had to adapt to changes throughout history.
Reid said she was surprised to find out she was nominated for the award and that it opened her eyes to the fact that the term “heritage” is much broader than what she thought.
“I am surprised and delighted to receive the award. I must admit that it never occurred to me that garden tours could be construed as ‘heritage.’ I am now scrambling to understand the term ‘heritage’ as having a far greater cultural scope than old buildings.”