Government of Canada celebrates James Cockburn’s national historic significance

News Release

December 5, 2017                          Cobourg, Ontario                            Parks Canada Agency

Today, Parks Canada and the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada recognized the national historic importance of James Cockburn as a person of national historic significance. A special ceremony took place at Victoria Hall in Cobourg with members of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada and officials and citizens of the Town of Cobourg.

The Government of Canada is committed to connecting Canadians to the people, places, and events of national importance that contributed to our country’s rich and diverse heritage. As one of the Fathers of Confederation, James Cockburn was one of the delegates who attended the Quebec Conference as a Cabinet Minister, in which he helped to build the constitutional foundations for a new country called the Dominion of Canada. Elected as the representative for Northumberland West in the Dominion of Canada’s first federal election, when the first session of the new Dominion's Parliament convened on November 7th, 1867, James Cockburn was unanimously elected as Canada’s first Speaker of the House of Commons.

Canada’s national parks, historic sites, and marine conservation areas enable Canadians to experience their rich history and heritage in a special way and have been playing a big part in the celebration of Canada 150.

As part of the centennial of national historic sites, Parks Canada invites Canadians to be inspired and captivated by the stories of the people, places, and events that shaped the Canada of today. Take advantage of 2017 and discover truly Canadian stories with Parks Canada!

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"This is a great day to honour a significant piece of Cobourg's heritage. This designation will forever celebrate the legacy of "The Father of Confederation". It is a proud moment for the Town of Cobourg and I congratulate them on this historic occasion."

Kim Rudd,
Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Natural Resources and Member of Parliament for Northumberland-Peterborough South

"Every year in Cobourg, we pay homage to the historical significance and impact James Cockburn has had not only upon the Town of Cobourg but nationwide. As a Father of Confederation and the first Speaker of the House of Commons, we want to ensure that such a historical figure is continually celebrated and our youth reminded of how James Cockburn contributed to our nation. We are very pleased that that the Government of Canada will be further commemorating the national historic significance of James Cockburn."

His Worship Gil Brocanier,
Mayor, the Town of Cobourg

Quick Facts

  • Born in 1819, Cockburn immigrated to Canada from England in 1832 and was educated as a lawyer in Toronto.

  • James Cockburn founded a legal practice in Cobourg, where he served on Town Council in the 1850s. He joined the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada in 1861 as the member for Northumberland West.

  • Created in 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada advises the Minister of Environment and Climate Change regarding the national historic significance of places, people, and events that have marked Canada’s history.

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Bruce MacMillan
Public Relations & Communications Officer
Georgian Bay and Ontario East Field Unit
Parks Canada
613-923-5261, extension 122

Media Relations
Parks Canada Agency

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