Common menu bar links

Guide to the Preparation of Commemorative Integrity Statements

Guideline No. 7 - Designated Place

Designated Place refers to the place designated by the Minister of Canadian Heritage on the recommendation of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada (HSMBC). Information on what constitutes the Designated Place for a particular national historic site is drawn from the minutes of the HSMBC.

The Historic Sites and Monuments Act identifies the HSMBC as the Minister's advisors with respect to the "marking or commemoration of historic places" (section 7). The act defines historic place as "a site, building or other place of national historic interest or significance, and includes buildings or structures that are of national interest by reasons of age or architectural design."

In preparing a CIS, Designated Place has the same meaning as historic place as used in the Historic Sites and Monuments Act . Designated Place is used in lieu of historic place because it is more descriptive and less likely to be misunderstood by readers both inside and outside Parks Canada.

7.0 Guidelines for Preparing the Description of Designated Place

The Designated Place for a national historic site must be clearly described in the site's CIS. Designated Place is a geographically definable location which is circumscribed by boundaries. A map of the site should be included as part of the CIS (either in the Designated Place section or as an appendix) showing the Designated Place clearly. A notional circle around the administered site is not sufficient.

Current HSMBC recommendations include a precise description of Designated Place. The HSMBC has also provided guidelines to help interpret past recommendations where Designated Place was not explicitly identified. These guidelines may be expanded or up-dated periodically by the HSMBC.

When the guidelines do not result in a clear Designated Place, then the question is referred back to the HSMBC. See section 7.1.5 - The Oxbow Site for a case study. The procedures for returning to the HSMBC are in section 3.4 of Guideline No. 3 - Referring Statement of Commemorative Intent and Designated Place to the HSMBC .

In December 2000, the HSMBC provided the following advice on how it would deal with issues relating to Designated Place:

  • In interpreting existing HSMBC recommendations, a strict constructionist approach will be used, in accordance with the guidelines below.
  • In considering proposals to expand the Designated Place, the HSMBC will not be constrained by existing recommendations but will treat each new proposal on its merits, and with the understanding that the owner(s) of property directly affected by the expansion of Designated Place give their consent.

This advice informs any analysis of Designated Place.

The guidelines for determining Designated Place, as approved by the HSMBC in November 1999 and June 2001, are:

1. The approved HSMBC minute is considered the definitive statement of the HSMBC's intent.

The approved HSMBC minute is the record of the deliberation and discussion undertaken by the HSMBC. Where there is no explicit statement in the minute describing the nature and extent of the Designated Place, the HSMBC's obvious intent, if it can be inferred with assurance, should be followed. See section 7.1.1 - Ruin of St. Raphael's .

2. If the approved minute refers to a description in a submission report or agenda paper relating to the extent of the Designated Place, then that description should be consulted.

Where there is no such reference, the submission report can not be used. If the approved minute refers to a description in the submission report but that description is unclear, ambiguous, or contradictory (e.g., between text and illustrations), the extent of the Designated Place will have to be referred to the HSMBC. See section 7.1.2 - Esquimalt Naval Sites for a case study.

3. A plaque text will not be used to determine the Designated Place.

Plaque texts approved by the HSMBC were never intended to define the Designated Place. See section 7.1.3 - Fort Pelly for a case study.

4. The reasons given for national significance do not determine the Designated Place.

A resource associated with the reasons for designation should not be included in the Designated Place unless the HSMBC specifically states in the approved minute that the resource is part of the Designated Place. Given the scope of many reasons for designation as a national historic site (for example, association with the War of 1812, or close association with a critical period in Dene/Euro-Canadian relations), the reasons for designation cannot be used to determine Designated Place. See section 7.1.4 - Hay River Mission Sites for a case study.

5. The Designated Place is the place that was considered by the HSMBC at the time it made its recommendation, unless otherwise specified in the minute.

For example, in the case of the designation of the Stephen Leacock Museum/Old Brewery Bay, the 9 acre property considered by the HSMBC is the Designated Place, not the larger property originally owned by Leacock.

Designated Place can only be changed by the Minister, acting on the advice of the HSMBC. Consequently, additions or deletions to a property made subsequent to a designation do not result in a change to Designated Place, unless formally sanctioned as additions or deletions to the Designated Place.

6. When the boundaries of a national historic site were not defined at the time of designation, and the physical feature named in the recommendation of national historic significance was located on a single legally-defined property at the time of designation, the boundaries of the Designated Place are deemed to be the boundaries of the property at that time, subject to the Scope and Exceptions statement that accompanies this guideline.

The scope of this guideline includes national historic sites designated before 1999 and not assigned boundaries at the time of designation. At the time of designation, the whole of the nationally significant feature (or features) must have been located on a single, legally-defined property or parcel of land, or on adjoining properties owned by the same person or persons. Since designation, the property must not have been subdivided or had its boundaries redrawn in a way that affects ownership of the feature named in the designation.

For reasons of size and complexity, several types of properties are excluded from the application of this guideline. These exceptions relate to sites where the designated feature forms all or part of any of the following:

  • an institutional complex, such as a university, hospital, ecclesiastical precinct, or airport;
  • defence works, notably forts, and sites of military operations, such as battlefields;
  • a trading post, whether styled a "fort" or not;
  • a fairground;
  • a linear route or property (e.g. railway stations, roundhouses, dams, bridges, aqueducts, canals and trails);
  • a Canadian Forces Base;
  • a First Nations Reserve;
  • lands administered by Parks Canada;
  • an extensive property, such as an estate or an industrial complex, which was subdivided before designation in a manner that left potential level one resources (either above or below ground) outside the administered place;
  • sites designated for their archaeological value, or as cultural landscapes of associative value.

Vessels which are considered to be "places", shipwrecks, and moveable cultural heritage objects are also excluded.

See section 7.1.6 - The Granada Theatre for a case study.

7.1 Determining Designated Place - Case Studies Using the HSMBC Guidelines
7.1.1 Ruin of St. Raphael's Roman Catholic Church, St. Raphaels, Ontario

HSMBC Minutes
June 1996

"...the Board recommended that
the ruin [emphasis added] of St. Raphael's Roman Catholic Church in St. Raphael's, Ontario is of national historic significance and should be commemorated by means of a plaque because it is one of the earliest Roman Catholic monuments in English-speaking Canada and a significant testament to the establishment of the Roman Catholic church in Upper Canada.

The Board felt that the fact that, during the 1820's, Alexander Macdonell, the first Roman Catholic Bishop of Upper Canada, administered his see from St. Raphael's and its parish remained the largest and most important in the province until the 1840s also contributed to the significance of the ruin as did its continued setting in an ecclesiastical precinct and a rich historic landscape which includes a burying ground and readapted historic buildings."

Analysis and Description of Designated Place
The description of the place found in the HSMBC minute is explicit and provides sufficient information to be able to identify a geographically definable location. The HSMBC recommended the ruin as the place to be designated. Therefore, the description of the Designated Place, as described in the CIS, is the ruin of the church.

7.1.2 Esquimalt Naval Sites, Esquimalt, British Columbia

HSMBC Minutes
November 1995
"Four Naval Station Sites, Esquimalt, British Columbia

... following some consideration, the Board recommended that
HMC Dockyard, the former Royal Navy Hospital, the Veteran's Cemetery and Cole Island, at Esquimalt, British Columbia collectively constitute a historic district of national historic and architectural significance which should be commemorated by means of a plaque.

The Board recommended that the four naval station sites, as defined in the paper before it [emphasis added], are collectively of national significance because they contain a wealth of built resources, unique among Canadian military bases and sites and they represent a continuum of defence themes, from the Imperial defence period, through the creation of the Royal Canadian Navy, to Canadian naval institutions in wartime and as a member of post-war alliances. Further, many of the extant resources are in homogeneous groupings which promote a distinctive sense of place, and the Royal Navy Dockyard compound is a rare surviving, largely intact, example of the many 18th and 19th-century Admiralty bases which once circled the globe. Finally, the sites illustrate the range of facilities required for the operation of an Imperial naval station headquarters, and the Dockyard contains those facilities and building types necessary for the maintenance of the modern Canadian naval fleet."

Analysis and Description of Designated Place
The submission report may be consulted if it contains an explicit description relating to the extent of the Designated Place and the minute refers to that description. In this example, as the HSMBC minutes refer to an area defined in the submission report, the following descriptions of Designated Place were used, based on clear, unambiguous and non-contradictory information found in the submission report:

HMC Dockyard - The Designated Place is comprised of the entire Dockyard site as it has existed since the most recent site expansion of 1941. It consists of the area west of the administrative boundary of Signal Hill and bounded by the shorelines of Constance Cove, Esquimalt Harbour, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The Dockyard-Signal Hill boundary, as illustrated on the 1994 drawing...is marked by a fence, which extends from the parking area immediately east of the main Dockyard gate north behind (east of) Dockyard buildings 215, 149 (A&B), the line of which is continued by the rear (east) elevation of building 141.

Royal Navy Hospital - The Designated Place for the former Royal Navy Hospital encompasses five structures original to the complex (buildings 20, 29, 35, 37 and 39)...and two small infill structures (buildings 36 and 38), as situated around the original hospital courtyard; and one additional building (no. 56) which is located at some distance from the principal group. The Designated Place boundaries are defined by the north (side) elevation of building 39; by the west (rear) elevations of buildings 39-35; by the base of the cliff which extends from the south (side) elevation of building 35, and south of building 29 east to building 20, and continuing around the circumference of the courtyard to the beginning point of building 39. For building 56, remote from the above complex, the Designated Place consists of the building on its footprint.

Veterans' Cemetery - The Designated Place consists of the entire 2.2-acre rectangular cemetery site, and includes the stone wall and steel fence which delineate the property boundaries.

Cole Island - The Designated Place is Cole Island, in its entirety, including...three extant buildings and any underwater remains of two buildings and a jetty, all of which extend beyond the shoreline to the waters of the harbour.

7.1.3 Fort Pelly, Saskatchewan

HSMBC Minutes
May 1953

  • "That the site of Fort Pelly [emphasis added] be declared of national historic importance, and the Board recommends that the Department accept the gift of the five acre plot of land on which the fort stood."

October 1971
"Inscriptions were approved as follows:
(3) FORT PELLY II
This post, built in 1856 by Chief Factor W.J. Christie of the Hudson's Bay Company, replaced the first Fort Pelly which stood on the low ground to the west of this spot. For almost half a century the headquarters of the Swan River District, it was the last of a series of posts at the Assiniboine Elbow dating back to 1793. This large establishment with its substantial buildings and fine herds of horses and cattle excited the admiration of many early travellers who passed this way along the Carlton Trail. Fort Pelly was abandoned at the beginning of the twentieth century."

Analysis
The plaque text can not be used to determine Designated Place. The Designated Place is "the site of Fort Pelly" as stated in the minutes, not the first Fort Pelly or the Swan River District as mentioned in the plaque text.

7.1.4 Hay River Mission Sites, Hay River, Northwest Territories

HSMBC Minute
June 1992
The Board recommended that

  • "because of their close association with a critical period in Dene/Euro-Canadian relations, the Hay River Mission Sites, consisting of St. Peter's Anglican Church, St. Anne's Roman Catholic Church and Rectory, and the two church cemeteries with their numerous spirit houses are collectively of national historic and architectural significance and should be commemorated by means of a single trilingual plaque."

Analysis and Description of Designated Place
The Designated Place comprises those resources described by the HSMBC as being of national historic and architectural significance (i.e., "St. Peter's Anglican Church, St. Anne's Roman Catholic Church and Rectory, and the two church cemeteries with their numerous spirit houses" ), and does not include other resources associated either with the reasons for designation (e.g. any/all resources closely associated with a critical period in Dene/Euro-Canadian relations), or with the Hay River Mission Sites.

As a result of this recommendation, the Designated Place for the Hay River Mission Sites, consists of St. Peter's Anglican Church, St. Anne's Roman Catholic Church and Rectory, and the two church cemeteries with their numerous spirit houses.

7.1.5 The Oxbow Site, Red Bank, New Brunswick

HSMBC Minute
June 1982
The Board recommended that

"the Oxbow Site [emphasis added] in New Brunswick is of national historic significance."

Analysis
This description alone is not sufficient to identify the exact place which the HSMBC recommended in 1982.

There is no explicit statement in the minute describing the nature and extent of the Designated Place, the HSMBC minute does not make reference to the extent of the Designated Place described in a submission report, and the HSMBC's obvious intent in the minute cannot be inferred with assurance. Consequently, the matter was referred to the HSMBC for clarification of the Designated Place.

7.1.6 The Granada Theatre, Sherbrooke, Québec

HSMBC Minute
June 1996
"The Board, after some discussion, recommended that

Sherbrooke's Granada Theatre is of national historic and architectural significance and should be commemorated by means of a plaque."

Analysis and Description of Designated Place
This site falls within the scope and is not one of the exceptions associated with the sixth guideline. The boundaries of the place were not defined at the time of designation. However, the theatre is located on a single legally-defined property, as it was at the time of designation. The boundaries of the Designated Place are therefore the boundaries of the property.