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Our Story

Defining Ourselves

 Fort Anne was one of Canada’s first historic sites to be set aside, after local citizens lobbied to preserve it
Fort Anne was one of Canada’s first historic sites to be set aside, after local citizens lobbied to preserve it.
Fort Anne National Historic Site, Nova Scotia.
© Parks Canada. 1928

As the national park movement grew, so too did the public’s appetite for history and for establishing a firm Canadian identity. The federal government was also looking for ways to extend the national parks system closer to growing urban populations and into Eastern Canada. Harkin, an ardent conservationist, understood how the cultural landscape is just as fascinating and captivating as the natural landscape. So barely three years into its existence, the Dominion Parks Branch took on the responsibility of preserving and developing sites of national historic significance. Fort Howe National Historic Park was created in 1914 in New Brunswick and Fort Anne in Nova Scotia followed in 1917.

Harkin retired after 25 years, leaving a lasting legacy that all Canadians can take pride in. He banned logging and mining from parks, established 13 more national parks across the country, launched a program to commemorate historic places, and saw Parliament pass the National Parks Act of 1930 that, to this day, protects Canada’s natural and cultural heritage. A full century after Harkin’s first day at work, Parks Canada is still guided by his integrated concept of balancing natural and cultural heritage, conservation and visitation, education and recreation.

 

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