As a federal government agency, Parks Canada is responsible for protecting and presenting Canada's historical and cultural heritage. An important part of its mission is:
- to foster knowledge and appreciation of Canada's history through a national program of commemoration;
- to ensure the commemorative integrity8 of national historic sites administered by Parks Canada by protecting and presenting them for the benefit, education and enjoyment of this and future generations in a manner that respects the valuable and irreplaceable legacy represented by these places and their resources;
- to encourage and support initiatives aimed at ensuring the protection and presentation of sites of national historic or architectural importance that are not under the jurisdiction of Parks Canada.
In order to translate its mandate into action, Parks Canada has adopted a series of strategic objectives that will guide its activities over the next five to ten years. Among these objectives are the following:
- to ensure the commemorative integrity of national historic sites;
- to provide Canadians and international visitors with information on Canadian heritage, explain commemorative integrity and encourage Canadians to further appreciate the network of historic sites (including historic canals), national parks and marine conservation areas;
- to provide visitors with services that enable them to enjoy and appreciate protected heritage areas and to ensure that any negative impacts are minimized.
Respecting the commemorative integrity of sites recognized as having national historic importance is therefore one of Parks Canada's primary objectives. The commemorative integrity statement serves as a guide for site planning and management. The statement includes the commemorative intent of the site and a description of existing resources and their value, and identifies messages concerning the national historic importance of the site that should be conveyed to the public. The commemorative integrity statement also sets objectives to be met with respect to the protection of cultural resources and the communication of messages associated with the national historic importance of the site. The commemorative integrity statement is therefore a reference framework that establishes what constitutes the desired state of the site; the difference between the desired state and existing site conditions determines specific management actions aimed at conserving and presenting the site.
LOUIS-JOSEPH PAPINEAU, SEIGNEUR OF LA PETITE-NATION (1817-1871)
Son of a Montréal notary, politician and seigneur, Louis-Joseph Papineau followed in his father's footsteps. A lawyer and politician, he shared to the point of incarnating the aspirations of an entire class of French-Canadian society at the time – members of the liberal professions.
In 1815, Papineau was elected Speaker of the House of Assembly of Lower Canada, and at the same time led the Parti canadien, which would become the Parti patriote in 1826. It was as leader of the Parti patriote that Papineau was to make his mark in Canadian history. He orchestrated strategies aimed at ensuring that the social leadership of the French-Canadian nation was in the hands of the class in society to which he belonged. Between 1827 and 1837, Papineau was a key figure in the House of Assembly of Lower Canada and the national leader of the French-Canadians, whose desire for political emancipation he incarnated. Refusal of the colonial and home authorities to meet the demands of the Patriotes would lead to the events of 1837-1838, which resulted in Papineau being exiled to the United States and later to France until 1845.
Louis-Joseph Papineau presenting his "Ninety-two Resolutions" in 1834
Moulded plaster statuette created in 1885 by Louis-Philippe Hébert
© Parks Canada / Photograph Musee du Quebec
Patrick Altman, accession no. 69.389
Louis-Joseph Papineau's political ideas, fuelled by his great intellectual curiosity, were influenced by philosophers of the Enlightenment Era and politically speaking he adhered to liberalism. Economically and socially, however, his views were that of a conservative.
As national leader, Papineau promoted an idealized concept of seigneurial tenure. He believed that the seigneurial system was more likely to ensure an equal division of land ownership among individuals than capitalism. He tended to exaggerate the role of its main player, the seigneur, seeing him as the guardian of social equality. At the same time, Papineau was unable to dissociate seigneurialism from French-Canadian nationalism. He believed that the two ideologies were inseparable to the point of being forced to rationalize their contradictions, particularly when it came to social reform. Thus, he could not realistically envisage the abolition of the seigneurial system without seeing a serious
threat to the very existence of the French-Canadian nation whose aspirations he
In 1817, Louis-Joseph Papineau acquired the La Petite-Nation seigneury from his father,
and remained its owner until his death in 1871. Initially he was too busy with his political
career to see to the everyday administration of the seigneury and, like his father had done
before him, entrusted it to his brother Denis-Benjamin. In 1845, however, back after his
exile in Europe, Louis-Joseph Papineau wrote “that it was his duty as a landowner to live
among the colonists”. In October of that year, he visited the seigneury to have a look
around and to select the site of his new manor house. He chose Cape Bonsecours, a central
location on the front of the seigneury, where he planned the development of a seigneurial
estate that he called “Monte-Bello”. In 1848, Papineau began construction of a
magnificent manor house, moving in with his family at the end of 1850.
Papineau devoted the last twenty years of his life to his family, reading, managing the
seigneury and developing his estate. After his death, his descendants lived in the manor
house until 1929.
- The term commemorative integrity refers to the overall state or character of a national historic site. A national historic site is said to possess commemorative integrity when the resources that symbolize or characterize its importance are not impaired or under threat, when the reasons for designating the site as having national historic importance are effectively conveyed to the public, and when the site's heritage values are respected by all persons whose actions or decisions have an impact on the commemorative site.