3.0 Forms of Commemoration

Aspects of Canadian history declared to be of national historic significance will be commemorated. Formal activities relating to commemoration, such as the unveiling of a plaque or monument, or the dedication of a national historic site, will usually be accompanied by a ceremony. Such ceremonies provide an excellent opportunity for Canadians to learn about their history.

3.1 Plaques
3.2 Monuments
3.3 Agreements
3.4 Acquisition
3.5 Other Forms of Commemoration


3.1 Plaques

Aspects of Canadian history declared to be of national historic significance will normally be commemorated by a Ministerial plaque bearing the inscription of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. A plaque is not a national historic site, although it may be erected at or on a national historic site. The existence of a Ministerial plaque at a site not administered by Parks Canada does not imply provision for protection or maintenance of the site by Parks Canada.

3.1.1
Plaques will be erected only after it has been determined that the existence and/or location of the plaque will not adversely affect the integrity of the site.

3.1.2
Plaques will be erected at a place on Canadian territory that is closely associated with that which is being commemorated.

3.1.3
The appropriate text for a plaque will be recommended to the Minister by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.

3.1.4
The text on all plaques will appear in both official languages and, when recommended by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, in other languages.


3.2 Monuments

The Minister may authorize the erection of a monument when, based on the advice of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, the Minister considers that the aspect of Canadian history being recognized would most appropriately be commemorated by a monument.

3.2.1
The design of monuments should convey to the public what is being commemorated.

3.2.2
Proposals for the design of monuments will be invited from Canadian artists and sculptors, including those residing within the region where the monument is to be erected.

3.2.3
The monument will be erected or installed at a place closely associated with that which is being commemorated.


3.3 Agreements

The Minister may enter into agreements with others for the marking, care and preservation of historic places, based on recommendations of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.

3.3.1
Under the National Cost-Sharing Program, the Minister may enter into an agreement to contribute toward the cost of acquiring, conserving and presenting a site or structure declared to be of national historic significance and, further, may provide professional and technical advice, subject to all of the following:

i) the site or structure will be owned by a province, territory, municipality, or incorporated body;

ii) an agreement to share costs will be recommended by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada;

iii) the site or structure will be accessible to the public;

iv) the use of the site or structure will not compromise or detract from the significance or integrity of that which is being commemorated; and

v) the agreement between the Minister and the owner of the national historic site will be based on the principles set out in the Cultural Resource Management Policy.


3.4 Acquisition

Each of Canada's national historic sites illustrates an important aspect of Canada's history. Federal ownership is not a requirement - indeed, the majority of Canada's national historic sites are owned by individual citizens, public and private organizations, and other levels of government. It is neither feasible nor desirable for the Government of Canada to own all national historic sites. Nevertheless, the federal government will continue to acquire national historic sites to ensure that the responsibility for this national program does not fall on others alone, so that the heritage represented by these sites is protected and accessible to Canadians in all parts of the country, and to provide leadership and active involvement in heritage conservation and interpretation.

3.4.1
The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada may recommend to the Minister the acquisition of a national historic site.

3.4.2
Before a Ministerial decision is made, Parks Canada will inform the Minister of the operational, financial and policy implications of acquiring a national historic site to meet commemorative objectives, including development of the site where relevant.

3.4.3
When, in the opinion of the Minister, the acquisition of a national historic site by the Government of Canada is warranted in order to commemorate national historic significance, the Minister will seek Treasury Board approval for the proposed acquisition.

In the case of a national historic site that is already owned by the federal government, but which is not under the Minister's authority, the usual procedure by which the Minister will acquire administration of the site will be by agreement between Ministers.

A national historic site under the Minister's authority may be set aside in accordance with Part II of the National Parks Act so that regulations under that Act may apply to it. Such a setting aside is an administrative rather than a commemorative action, and is treated in the Cultural Resource Management Policy.

3.4.4
National historic sites will be identified for acquisition in accordance with the following criteria:

i) the site will be recognized as a significant commemorative addition to the network of national historic sites under the Minister's authority; and

  • sufficient knowledge of this and related sites will exist to ensure that the integrity of the network of national historic sites will be maintained; and
  • the site will include significant resources related directly to the purpose for which the site is being commemorated, and these resources will possess sufficient integrity to make commemoration meaningful; and
  • the benefits to the public in terms of knowledge and appreciation of Canadian history will be high, i.e., the site and/or its resources will have excellent potential for interpretation and, consequently, for illustrating an important aspect of Canadian history; and
  • the site and/or its resources will be deemed to merit preservation by the federal government for the enjoyment of this and future generations.

ii) a site may be acquired when, in the opinion of the Minister, based on a recommendation of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, the site is of such exceptional or outstanding importance in Canadian history as to merit acquisition on grounds of significance alone.

3.4.5
In setting priorities for acquiring national historic sites, consideration will be given to:

  • factors in the systems plan such as historical theme representation; and
  • potential for providing opportunities and encouragement for Canadians and visitors to Canada to better their knowledge of this country and its history by visiting all parts of Canada.

A site that is under threat may have a higher priority for acquisition than one which is not, providing that other criteria and factors are satisfied equally.

3.4.6
A national historic site may be set apart to preserve an object or objects of historic or scientific interest of national importance pursuant to Part II of the National Parks Act at a location that is not itself of national historic significance. When this occurs, the site will be in a locality directly associated with the object or objects or their creator(s).

3.4.7
In response to the advice of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, the Minister may recommend to the Governor in Council that a national historic site be commemorated by the establishment of a historic museum. It is policy not to seek the establishment of a historic museum, except when it is considered indispensable to achieving commemorative objectives.

Historic museums, where approved, will be established within, or adjacent to, places that have been declared to be of national historic significance. Structures built or used for interpretation or visitor reception are not "historic museums," unless so designated by the Governor in Council.

3.4.8
National historic sites will be acquired by the Minister in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • residents of the locality and the provincial or territorial government will be consulted; and
  • an impact assessment will be conducted to identify the effects of acquisition (such an assessment will include a consideration of possible threats to the resources posed by acquisition).

The public will be encouraged to become involved in the acquisition and development of the national historic site.


3.5 Other Forms of Commemoration

The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada may propose alternative forms of commemoration to the Minister, providing the alternative is formal, meaningful, appropriate and enduring.