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World Heritage: Canada

Preparing Canada's Tentative List for World Heritage Sites

This List culminates the work of the Minister’s Advisory Committee, which was tasked with advising the Government of Canada on a new Tentative List for World Heritage Sites in Canada. This work is an integral part of the nomination process established by the UNESCO World Heritage Convention of 1972, under which thirteen Canadian sites have already been designated as World Heritage Sites.

In order to be able to present new sites for inscription on the World Heritage List in the coming five to ten years, Canada must first put forward a Tentative List. Canada’s last Tentative List, prepared in 1980, is now out of date and no longer in tune with the way the Convention is being interpreted.

UNESCO’s Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention state that Tentative Lists should consist of properties that have the potential to meet World Heritage criteria for outstanding universal value. Candidate sites must also manifest integrity and authenticity (as defined in the guidelines), and meet standards for legislative protection and management capacity.

In order to establish a new Tentative List, the Government of Canada undertook a scholarly analysis and a national process of consultation to identify a short list of qualified candidate sites. As a first step, two Canadian experts with international cultural and natural heritage experience were tasked with defining how an emerging global framework for the identification of potential World Heritage Sites might influence Canadian proposals in the future. They also carried out a preliminary assessment of possible Canadian sites against this framework.

Following this initial phase, Parks Canada, acting as Canada’s State representative to the Convention, consulted with provincial and territorial representatives, interested national organizations, Aboriginal groups and key stakeholders across Canada. Overall, one hundred and twenty-five proposals for new sites were received. Proposals were also received for significant expansions to three existing World Heritage Sites: Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, Wood Buffalo National Park and Nahanni National Park Reserve. As these proposals will be addressed by Parks Canada through another process, they do not figure on this List.

Canada’s new Tentative List identifies natural and cultural sites that meet UNESCO criteria and requirements for inscription as World Heritage Sites. The Minister’s Advisory Committee is also confident that there is stakeholder support for these proposals. Given that the World Heritage Committee will examine a maximum of one nomination per year, and not necessarily one for every country every year, the List is necessarily short.

The Committee is grateful to the governments, organizations and individual Canadians who have displayed such enthusiasm for the concept of world heritage and who have demonstrated their commitment by bringing forth such interesting and diverse suggestions. In recommending this new Tentative List of remarkable and promising candidates for inscription as World Heritage Sites, the Committee wishes to thank the team at Parks Canada and the Canadian experts who have ensured that this selection process has been based on research and science, and to express its deep appreciation for the opportunity to serve Canada in this important work.

Jacques Gérin

Senator Laurier LaPierre

Bruce Amos
Phyllis LeBlanc
Bill Oppen
Sandra White

May 2004