The 2021 State of Canada’s Natural and Cultural Heritage Places report outlines the work of Parks Canada, along with Indigenous communities and key partners, to advance the stewardship and management of national heritage places and programs over the past five years. Detailed below are some of the highlights of the 2021 report.

Cultural Heritage Protection and Presentation

· The Wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror National Historic Site is now jointly managed with Inuit of Nunavut and all artifacts are jointly owned by Canada and Inuit through Parks Canada and the Inuit Heritage Trust.

·  Obadjiwan–Fort Témiscamingue National Historic Site, formerly Fort Témiscamingue National Historic Site, was renamed and is now co-managed with the Timiskaming First Nation.

·  Parks Canada implemented the Framework for History and Commemoration, a new, comprehensive and engaging approach to sharing the stories of history in Canada through diverse, wide-ranging and sometimes complex perspectives, including the difficult periods of its past. In particular, the framework guides Parks Canada’s work with partners so that the histories and voices of Indigenous peoples are respectfully included at heritage places. 

·  Seventy-six new people, places, and events were designated for their national historic significance. This includes the designation of the Enslavement of African People in Canada and the Residential School System as national historic events, and the designation of two former Residential Schools as national historic sites. 

·  Nearly 300 plaques for national historic sites, events and persons were unveiled, representing a significant increase in the pace of unveilings prior to 2016.

·  New national historical designations for 26 heritage lighthouses, 36 federal heritage buildings and one national heritage river were accomplished.

·  Parks Canada’s National Cost-Sharing Program for Heritage Places supported 174 projects for a total investment of just over $21 million in heritage places not administered by the Federal Government.

·  Canada’s Tentative List for World Heritage Sites was updated through a rigorous, 18-month public renewal process. Eight new candidate sites were added.

·  Two new World Heritage Sites were inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage List; Writing-on-Stone / Áísínai’pi in Alberta and Pimachiowin Aki in Manitoba and Ontario. Both nominations were co-developed with Indigenous partners and recognized for having sacred Indigenous cultural landscapes of global significance.

·         An Action Plan to protect Wood Buffalo, which includes 142 actions to be undertaken by federal, provincial, and territorial governments, and in collaboration with Indigenous communities and key partners, was developed to protect the world heritage values of the national park and world heritage site. 

·  The overall condition of cultural resources in 93 percent of national historic sites subject to a Commemorative Integrity Assessment was in good to fair condition.

Protected Area Establishment and Conservation

·  Thaidene Nene National Park Reserve became Canada’s 47th national park through collaboration with the Łutsël K’e Dene First Nation, the Northwest Territory Métis Nation, the Deninu K’e First Nation, the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, and the Government of the Northwest Territories, as well as other partners, such as the Nature Conservancy of Canada and Nature United.

·  An Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement for Tallurutiup Imanga National Marine Conservation Area was signed between the Government of Canada (Parks Canada/Fisheries and Oceans Canada/Transport Canada) and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, protecting an area larger than the country of Iceland.

·  Rouge National Urban Park, Canada’s first national urban park, is now nearly 95% complete.

·  367 acres were added to Bruce Peninsula National Park, bringing the park to more than 90% completion.

·  Important steps were taken towards establishing Tuvaijuittuq Marine Protected Area and to advancing proposals to create marine protected areas in the Southern Strait of Georgia, Îles de la Madeleine, James Bay, and the Labrador Coast and national park reserves in South Okanagan-Similkameen (BC) and Pituamkek (PEI).

·  $94 million was invested through Parks Canada’s Conservation and Restoration Program to support 123 projects aimed at restoring ecosystems, recovering species at risk, and managing sustainable marine environments.

·  Parks Canada identified critical habitat for 21 species, provided legal protection for the critical habitat of 56 species and developed 23 site-based multi-species action plans that identify recovery measures for more than 220 species of conservation concern in 42 Parks Canada administered places.

·  Parks Canada led the development of a climate change adaptation framework for parks and protected areas in Canada.

·  The ecological integrity of 82 percent of evaluated park ecosystems has been maintained or improved, since 2016.

Asset Management


·  Nearly $3.1 billion was invested to restore aging infrastructure across the Parks Canada network. These investments have helped to conserve historic sites, renew visitor facilities like campgrounds and picnic shelters, and renew important transportation infrastructure such as highways and waterways, all while protecting species and the environment.

·  The Agency developed its first Real Property Portfolio Strategy (RRPS). The RPPS establishes the direction and priorities to guide investment in and management of the Agency’s diverse real property portfolio over a 20-year period. Development of this strategy meets a key recommendation of the TBS Fixed Asset Review for federal custodians to develop and maintain long-term strategies for their real property portfolios.

·  Some 68 percent of assets in Parks Canada’s portfolio are in good or fair condition, an increase of 15 percent compared to 2016.

Visitor Experience / Public Appreciation, Support and Awareness

·  The Learn-to Camp Program was expanded to help more Canadian families and youth acquire the skills, knowledge, and confidence to safely and confidently experience Canada’s outdoors. In the past five years, approximately 300,000 Canadians have participated in over 2,300 Learn-to Camp activities across the country.

·  Parks Canada welcomed visitors from across Canada and the world for the 150th anniversary of Confederation, in 2017. Free admission to Parks Canada administered places for the year provided a unique opportunity to introduce many Canadians to national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas.

·  In 2018, Parks Canada introduced free admission for youth 17 and under, to help foster lifelong connections to protected places and create the next generation of stewards of national heritage places.

·  After a temporary suspension of visitor services in the spring of 2020, Parks Canada put adaptive measures in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 and provided safe, clean, healthy and enjoyable experiences to millions of visitors in 2020-21.

·  The proportion of Canadians (90%) that have heard of Parks Canada and the Agency’s work reached its highest level since tracking began in 2010.

·  To maintain contact with Canadians, Parks Canada offered live virtual outreach programming during the pandemic. Through collaborations with École en réseau and the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, more than 140,000 students were reached during the 2020-2021 school year.

Further details can be found within the report which is available on the Parks Canada website:


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