Overview of the Program

Since 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada has been mandated to provide advice to the Canadian government on the designation of places, persons and events that have marked and shaped Canada. Every year, new subjects are added to the list of designations. The nominated subject must have a historical significance from a national perspective and not only from a local or regional standpoint.

The Prince of Wales Hotel National Historic Site

The participation of Canadians in the identification of places, persons and events of national historic significance and in their commemoration is a key element of the program. In fact, 95% of applications for designation presented to the Board are submitted by Canadian individuals and groups.

Role of Parks Canada Agency

Parks Canada provides professional and administrative services to support the Board's work, including the conduct of historical and archaeological research needed for evaluating applications and the handling of all administrative issues. It also carries out the ministerial decisions following the Board’s recommendations by organizing plaque unveiling ceremonies, installing and maintaining the commemorative plaques.

Protection of National Historic Sites

While a national historic site designation helps to focus public attention on a particular site, it does not affect ownership of the site or provide protection against destruction. In Canada, protection of heritage property not owned by the federal government is the responsibility of each provincial and territorial government under its respective legislation. Only provincial and territorial governments have jurisdiction over private property, which enables them to pass and enforce legislation extending legal protection to designated properties.