Ottawa, Ontario, June 20, 2013 -- Today, the Honourable Peter Kent, Canada’s Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, and Mr. Royal Galipeau, Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Orléans, unveiled a plaque that marks the expansion of the reasons for designation of the Rideau Canal National Historic Site to include the contributions of the construction workers whose work carried this monumental feat through to completion.
“The Government of Canada is proud to recognize the contributions of the construction workers who made the Rideau Canal a reality,” said Mr. Galipeau. “These workers, the majority of whom were Irish immigrants or French Canadians, worked in extremely difficult and dangerous conditions and hundreds paid with the ultimate sacrifice – their lives. Their role in Canadian history is now recognized for the benefit of future generations of Canadians.”
With this recognition, the Rideau Canal construction workers are now commemorated within Canada’s family of national historic sites, persons and events, designated on the recommendation of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada (HSMBC). Parks Canada will soon install two larger-than-usual plaques, along with interpretive panels, at two prominent locations. The plaques and panels will help visitors understand the Rideau Canal’s history, including the noteworthy contributions of the construction workers. Ottawa and Jones Falls lockstations, two challenging labour intensive locations at the time of construction, were selected as the plaque locations.
“National historic canals are a defining feature of Canada’s environment and history, and provide communities and visitors with beauty, recreation and a unique sense of historical pride,” said Minister Kent. “Parks Canada has played a leadership role in the protection of these places, including leading the work towards the UNESCO World Heritage Site designation of the Rideau Canal.”
The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada was established in 1919 and is supported by Parks Canada. It advises the Minister of the Environment regarding the national significance of places, persons and events that have marked Canada’s history. On behalf of the people of Canada, Parks Canada manages a nationwide network that makes up a rich tapestry of Canada’s historical heritage and offers the public opportunities for real and inspiring discoveries.
For additional information, please see the accompanying backgrounder at www.parkscanada.gc.ca under Media Room.