Parks Canada and National Historic
National historic sites are places of profound importance to
Canada. They bear witness to this nation's defining moments and
illustrate its human creativity and cultural traditions. Each
national historic site tells its own unique story, part of the
greater story of Canada, contributing a sense of time, identity,
and place to our understanding of Canada as a whole.
National historic sites, located in all provinces and
territories, can be found in almost any setting - from urban and
rural locales, to wilderness environments. They may be sacred
spaces, battlefields, archaeological sites, buildings or
streetscapes. They can range in size from a single structure to
linear canals spanning great distances. Many national historic
sites are still used today for work and worship, commerce and
industry, habitation and leisure.
Canada's family of national historic
Canada commemorates persons and events for their national
historic significance as well as places. So far, over 1500 places,
persons and events have been commemorated by the Government of
Canada. And the list keeps growing as Canada's history unfolds.
Together, all these commemorations make up what is known as the
system of National Historic Sites of Canada. In each generation the
system has evolved with this nation's changing view of itself.
Today there is a greater interest in social history reflecting the
achievements and experiences of everyday Canadians.
Parks Canada monitors the system through a system plan and now
its making special efforts to encourage participation and increase
the representation of Aboriginal, women and ethnocultural
National historic sites represent thousands of years of human
history and hundreds of years of nation building. Yet centuries,
and millennia, can take their toll - from erosion and decay, to
lack of awareness, to abandonment - on diverse cultural resources
that include shell middens, underwater shipwrecks, fort remains,
historic buildings, industrial complexes, heritage canals, and
An important part of Parks Canada's mandate involves protecting
the health and wholeness, or commemorative integrity, of the
national historic sites it operates. This means preserving the
site's cultural resources, communicating its heritage values and
national significance, and kindling the respect of people whose
decisions and actions affect the site.