Within the Mountain Parks, there are 18 National Historic Sites operated by Parks Canada. There are also 10 Persons and 2 Events of National Historic Significance. Representing examples of architecture, exploration, industry development, scientific advances, and early tourism, these sites, people, and events tell the stories of the Mountain Parks, and contribute to Canada’s history.
Canada has recognized a Family of National Historic Sites made up of sites, people and events of national historic significance. Each tells a story which represents a piece of our country’s history. Stories can be found in magnificent museums, at roadside plaque sites or at fully operational sites with costumed interpreters. Together, these sites tell the story of Canada.
Every Canadian has their own image of Canada. It may include a place, the Cave and Basin in Banff, the birthplace of Confederation in Charlottetown, or a silhouette of grain elevators rising up from the prairies. It may be a person who made a great contribution to the country, John A. Macdonald, our first Prime Minister, famous painter, Paul Kane, or explorer and map-maker, David Thompson. Events like the completion of the Transcontinental Railway, or the winning of the vote by women may also come to mind.
The places, people, and events recognized as nationally significant define Canada’s diverse but common heritage and identity. Currently, there are over 900 sites, 500 people, and 300 events that are recognized as nationally significant. Together, they make up the Family of National Historic Sites of Canada.
All Canadians are invited to make a recommendation for designation. To be considered, a site, person or event will have had a nationally significant effect on, or illustrate a nationally important aspect of the history of Canada. Designations are made by the Minister of the Environment, on the advice of the Historic Sites and Monument Board of Canada. An advisory group with representatives from all provinces and territories, the board reviews submissions and advises the Minister on the significance of each proposal.
Many share the responsibility of caring for our National Historic Sites. Operators of sites include various levels of government, local organizations, or businesses. Some continue to operate in their original manner, as hotels, museums, or public buildings. Others have become museums, archeological sites, tourist destinations, or remain as plaque sites.