Lachine Canal National Historic Site of Canada is an exceptional component of Canada’s heritage. Its protection and presentation have thus been the responsibility of the Parks Canada Agency for the past few decades. The Agency uses two key documents to fulfil this mission, namely, the site’s statement of commemorative integrity and its Management Plan.
In accordance with these two documents, Parks Canada and its partners are committed to preserving this outstanding “monument site” bearing witness to our collective heritage for present and future Canadians, presenting its national historic significance and ensuring that the heritage values identified by all of the players involved in its development are respected.
The presentation of Lachine Canal National Historic Site of Canada is a major undertaking that was launched three decades ago and whose implementation should continue for several more years. As far as Parks Canada is concerned, the site will be presented not only through personal and non-personal interpretation programs, but also with communication tools targeting all Canadians. However, the subsequent stages of the project, particularly the organization of nautical and recreational activities, will be completed subject to the development of strong partnerships and the obtainment of adequate funding.
Indeed, the implementation of the directions and measures described in this Management Plan will be contingent on the availability of necessary financial resources. Furthermore, approval of the Management Plan in no way means that the appropriations needed to do all of the work planned will be allocated automatically. Given the substantial costs involved and the current shortage of resources, it will take several years to carry out all of the plan’s directions; furthermore, work will be undertaken only once funding has been secured or cooperative agreements allow it to be performed.
As stipulated in the Act to Establish the Parks Canada Agency , the Management Plan for Lachine Canal National Historic Site of Canada will be reviewed within five years. In the meantime, interested members of the general public may consult the Report of the State of Protected Heritage Areas , which is published every two years, to learn how the site is being affected by measures to ensure its commemorative integrity.
Pursuing the implementation of this major project appears feasible in the light of a number of factors. Indeed, the heritage significance of the Lachine Canal corridor has been recognized, as has the cultural and economic value of preserving and presenting the main features that have shaped this sector’s maritime and industrial landscape. Furthermore, all of the main decision-makers are determined to take part in revitalizing this urban area.
At the dawn of the 21st century, the Lachine Canal corridor will be given a new lease on life. While Parks Canada and its partners within the Canadian government work on protecting and presenting the canal’s history and rich heritage, the City of Montréal and numerous private-, public- and community-sector players will strive to make this urban site a unique development pole. Just as shipping and manufacturing served as economic engines in the past, the industrial heritage of the Lachine Canal is destined to act as a catalyst and form the cornerstone of a unique type of urban development in Canada, if not North America as a whole. By respecting the site’s character and seeking to establish a new relationship between the canal and the surrounding area, it will be possible to harmonize a site museum with a living environment .
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