The Government of Canada celebrates Pimachiowin Aki as Canada’s first mixed cultural and natural World Heritage site

News release

Pimachiowin Aki World Heritage site Recognizes Indigenous Stewardship of Canada’s Boreal Forest

July 1, 2018                                    Ottawa, Ontario                              Parks Canada Agency

Today, Pimachiowin Aki, a 29,040 square kilometre expanse of boreal forest spanning the Manitoba–Ontario border, has been inscribed on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List. The Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna, took the opportunity to celebrate this treasured place as the nineteenth member of Canada’s family of World Heritage sites, and to congratulate those involved in its nomination.

This significant achievement follows years of dedication by the Pimachiowin Aki Corporation, led by four Anishinaabe First Nations - Bloodvein River, Little Grand Rapids, Pauingassi and Poplar River - and the Manitoba and Ontario governments, with guidance and advice from Parks Canada.

Pimachiowin Aki, which is Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) for “the land that gives life”, is Canada’s first mixed World Heritage property. Blending both natural and cultural heritage values, this large intact boreal forest ecosystem under Indigenous stewardship, is an exceptional example of the indivisibility of the natural environment and the cultural identity and traditions of Indigenous peoples.

World Heritage sites represent some of humanity’s most outstanding achievements and nature’s most inspiring creations. They are considered to have Outstanding Universal Value, and are protected for the benefit of all humanity. The decision to inscribe Pimachiowin Aki on the prestigious World Heritage List was made by the World Heritage Committee during its annual meeting in Bahrain.

The announcement comes three days after a meeting of federal, provincial and territorial ministers, alongside Indigenous organizations, that advanced cooperation on shared priorities to protect nature and biodiversity across Canada.

The timing of this inscription is fitting as Canadians celebrate Canada Day. The Government of Canada invites visitors to experience and learn more about Canada’s natural and cultural heritage, including the country’s nineteen UNESCO World Heritage sites.


“I am delighted to welcome Pimachiowin Aki into Canada’s family of UNESCO World Heritage sites. These national treasures represent the very best that Canada has to offer, including the history, cultures, and contributions of Indigenous peoples. As Canada’s first mixed World Heritage site, Pimachiowin Aki reflects our outstanding natural and cultural heritage, and the integral role of Indigenous peoples in caring for our natural spaces. On this Canada Day, I am very proud to be able to showcase Pimachiowin Aki to the world. Congratulations to all those who have worked for the inscription of Pimachiowin Aki.

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

Quick facts

  • Pimachiowin Aki comprises the traditional lands of four Anishinaabe communities – Poplar River, Bloodvein River, Pauingassi and Little Grand Rapids First Nations – as well as adjacent protected areas, including Atikaki and South Atikaki Provincial Parks in Manitoba, and Woodland Caribou Provincial Park and Eagle-Snowshoe Conservation Reserve in Ontario.

  • The site’s massive 29,040 square kilometre tract of boreal forest east of Lake Winnipeg, straddling the Manitoba-Ontario border, is nearly the size of Vancouver Island.

  • World Heritage sites are exceptional places around the world that are considered to have Outstanding Universal Value. As such, they are part of the common heritage of humankind. There are over 1,000 sites on the World Heritage List worldwide.

  • Parks Canada is the lead agency for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention in Canada due to its longstanding experience and depth of expertise in the conservation of both natural and cultural places. Twelve of Canada’s nineteen World Heritage sites are areas managed in part or in whole by Parks Canada.

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Caroline Thériault     
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Parks Canada Agency

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