News Release

The Red Bay Basque Whaling Station in Labrador named Canada’s 17th World Heritage site

Red Bay, Labrador, 22 June 2013—The news that the Red Bay Basque Whaling Station in Newfoundland and Labrador has been inscribed on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) World Heritage List was welcomed warmly today by the Honourable Peter Kent, Canada’s Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada. The decision to inscribe the site on UNESCO’s prestigious list was made by the World Heritage Committee at its annual meeting, held this year in Cambodia.

“In declaring the Red Bay Basque Whaling Station a cultural place of outstanding universal value, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee has afforded Red Bay the highest recognition for a protected heritage place in the world,” said Minister Kent. “The international designation indicates that the site’s cultural characteristics are so exceptional they deserve to be protected for the benefit of all humanity. The Government of Canada is delighted that the Red Bay Basque Whaling Station now becomes Canada’s 17th UNESCO World Heritage site.”

Including its buffer, the Red Bay Basque Whaling Station World Heritage site takes in some 600 hectares of terrestrial and submerged resources, and properties managed by individuals, its municipality and other levels of government. Visitor opportunities at Red Bay National Historic Site, managed by Parks Canada, will continue to set the stage for experiencing what is the largest and most complete example of early industrial-scale whaling in the world.

“Newfoundland and Labrador boasts numerous sites of important cultural significance, and Red Bay is certainly one of our province’s greatest treasures,” said the Honourable Terry French, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. “We are honoured that this important part of our history will be protected and preserved under this heritage designation and now takes its rightful place among the other world-renowned sites.”

“This recognition from UNESCO is a major community achievement. I am thrilled for our Town and for the many partners who have worked on this project over the years,” said Wanita Stone, Mayor of the Town of Red Bay. I am very proud of all of our residents. We are ready and eager to share this cultural history with the world.”

The Government of Canada supported the nomination through funding and Parks Canada’s in-kind expertise in protected heritage places. The nomination process was spearheaded by a nomination committee that included area residents and all levels of government. It was chaired by Doug Robbins of the Labrador Straits Historical Development Corporation.

The Red Bay Basque Whaling Station is the first World Heritage site in Labrador and the third in the province as a whole, after L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site and Gros Morne National Park. This designation will raise the profile of Red Bay and contribute to it becoming an iconic tourism destination.

Parks Canada has a mandate to protect and present nationally significant examples of Canada’s natural and cultural heritage to Canadians, for today and in the future. Parks Canada is the Government of Canada’s representative for the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. Twelve of Canada’s seventeen World Heritage Sites include areas managed by Parks Canada.