Government of Canada Announces New National Historic Designations

News Release

January 12, 2018                     Ottawa, Ontario                                Parks Canada Agency

Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna, announced the designation of 17 new national significant persons, places and events that helped define Canada’s history.

National historic sites represent thousands of years of human history. They are places of profound importance to Canada as they bear witness to our country's defining moments and illustrate its human creativity and cultural traditions.

These new designations reflect the rich and varied history of our country in areas related to government and the economy, arts and architecture, science and military history.

Some highlights from today’s announcement include:

  • The discovery of Insulin: Diabetes in its severe form used to be a death sentence. This all changed in 1921-22 when a Canadian team of researchers discovered a treatment that was credited with saving lives around the world.
  • Viola Desmond (1914-1965): In the mid-20th century, Desmond brought nationwide attention to the African Nova Scotian community’s struggle for equal rights. An African-Canadian businesswoman, she confronted the racism that Black Nova Scotians routinely faced by refusing to sit in a segregated space in a public theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. Now a symbol of the struggle for equal rights, Desmond’s defiance in the face of injustice became a rallying cry for Black Nova Scotians and all Canadians determined to end racial discrimination.
  • Ozias Leduc (1864-1955): Considered one of the most significant painters in Canadian art history. Leduc painted an extensive and varied body of work, including still lives, landscapes, and portraits. Recognized as a great painter of religious art, he decorated more than 30 churches and chapels.

Each of today’s designations contributes its own unique story to the greater story of Canada, and helps us better understand our country and our identity.

The commemoration process is largely driven by public nominations, and designations are made on the recommendation of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. To date, more than 2,000 designations have been made.

Parks Canada manages 171 national historic sites and is inviting Canadian families and their children, and youth and school groups to learn more about our history with free admission for youth 17 and under, starting this year. From lighthouses to battlefields, historic neighbourhoods to contributions and traditions of Indigenous Peoples, there is an amazing array of places and stories to discover.

The new designations include:

Persons: Ozias Leduc (1864-1955), Rose Fortune (c. 1774-1864), E.A. Partridge (1861-1931), Viola Desmond

(1914-1965), Ernest Cormier (1885-1980), Mabel Hubbard Bell (1857-1923), Helen Creighton (1899-1989), Mina Benson Hubbard Ellis (1870-1956)

Places: Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral, John and Olive Diefenbaker Museum, Central memorial Library and Park, Roger-Gaudry Building (University of Montréal), Ernest Cormier House, Beinn Bhreagh Hall

Events: The Red River Expedition of 1870, Vice-Admiralty Court of Halifax, Discovery of Insulin

Expansion of designation:

Welland Canal System National Historic Event: expanded the designation to include its importance for trade and commerce and the contributions and sacrifices of the canal workers.

Charlotte County Courthouse National Historic Site: expanded the designation to add the gaol (jail).


“Building on the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Confederation, I am very proud to recognize some of the people, places and events that have shaped our country. Each of these designations is a distinct and vibrant symbol of Canadian identity. They tell the stories of who we are as a people and they inspire us towards new endeavors and adventures.”

The Honourable Catherine McKenna
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

Quick Facts

  • Parks Canada manages a nation-wide network of 171 national historic sites, 46 national parks, one national urban park and four national marine conservation areas.

  • 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

  • Parks Canada is seeing record visitation numbers across its network (10% - January to end of November 2017) and more than ever, more Canadians are having amazing experiences at Parks Canada places.

  • Almost 170,000 people downloaded the NEW Parks Canada app in 2017. The app provides visitors with the information and resources they need to plan their visit and discover breathtaking locations, including hidden gems, and other unique and memorable experiences at national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas.

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Associated Links


Marie-Pascale Des Rosiers
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Parks Canada Agency

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