The Directory of Federal Heritage Designations offers a complete list of federal designations stemming from various programs. It includes districts, buildings, events, railway stations and heritage sites managed by Parks Canada, as well as people who are of historic value or interest. The Directory lists close to 3,500 designations.

Parks Canada provides professional and administrative services to support the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada (HSMBC) and the Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office (FHBRO). Designations stemming from the Historic Sites and Monuments Act (1953) and the Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act (1990) are listed in the Directory of Federal Heritage Designations. Classified and recognized federal buildings recorded in the Register of the Government of Canada Heritage Buildings, which is maintained by FHBRO, are also listed in this Directory.

As of March 31, 2011, over 956 sites, 417 events, 648 people, 162 railway stations and 1342 federal buildings have been designated.

Types of Designation

  • National Historic Sites (NHS) are found all across Canada – in urban centres, rural areas and deep in the wilderness – and are an integral part of our past and present.
  • National Historic Events (NHE) evoke a moment, episode, movement or experience in the history of Canada.
  • National historic People (NHP) are people who, through their words or actions, have made a unique and enduring contribution to the history of Canada.

Canada’s program of historical commemoration recognizes nationally significant places, persons and events of Canadian history. Designations of national historic significance are made by the Minister of the Environment on the recommendation of the HSMBC. For more information on HHS, PNHS and NHE, see Criteria and guidelines for evaluating subjects of potential national historic significance.

  • Heritage Railway Stations (HRS): only designated Heritage Railway Stations that are still owned by a railway company under federal jurisdiction are subject to the Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act
  • Federal Heritage Buildings (FHB) are designated by the Minister of the Environment on the recommendation of the Federal Heritage Buildings Committee. The heritage character of federally owned buildings is protected under the Treasury Board Policy on Management of Real Property.

Searching the Directory

The Directory of Federal Heritage Designations is searchable in several ways. Each successful search will result in a list of designations.

Keyword (name, city, subject) allows the user to search the Directory with a keyword or string of keywords, (the more terms in a string the more specific the search. eg. ‘Father’ yields 128 designations, but ‘Father of Confederation’ narrows results to 62)

Advanced Search

Designation Type specifies the type of designation required, limiting the search to a more specific type of designation.

City, Province / Territory: the search is specified by location

Designation Year allows the user the option of identifying a year in which certain designations were approved by the Minister.

Government custodian allows the search to be restricted to designations owned or administered by a particular government department (only FHB).

What should I expect to find in the Directory?

The Directory contains almost 3,500 entries and approximately 7,000 pages of information on federal designations. As a rule, you can expect to find basic information on each designation (name, reasons for designation, recognition date, recognition authority, location). You can also expect to find relevant plaque texts, and photographs or illustrations. Built heritage designations will be accompanied by a description of character-defining elements.

New entries are added following ministerial approval of recommendations. They are only added to the total number of designations once every year. You can find out what has been recently designated and read the descriptions in the Recent Designations section.

Copyright

The information provided on the Directory of Federal Heritage Designations is public in nature and may be reproduced, in part or in whole, and by any means, without charge or further permission, unless otherwise specified. Most records are accompanied by images.

The copyright of these images is most often owned by Parks Canada, unless otherwise noted.

For images owned by Parks Canada or other government organizations, users are required to:
  • Exercise due diligence in ensuring the accuracy of the materials reproduced;
  • Indicate both the complete title of the materials reproduced and the author organization; and
  • Indicate that the reproduction is a copy of an official work that is published by the Government of Canada and that the reproduction has not been produced in affiliation with, or with the endorsement of the Government of Canada.

    For images not belonging to Parks Canada or other government organizations, use without permission is not allowed. Parks Canada has been granted permission to use these images in the directory subject to agreement that the rights remain with the author. For use of these images, please contact the author directly.

    Notice:
    In case of disparity in the number of designations listed on this website and those listed on the official list of designations maintained by the Parks Canada Agency, the last will be considered accurate. Please contact the Federal Registrar for more information. For designations announced since the publication of the Corporate Plan, please consult the list of Recent Designations.