Government of Canada recognizes PEI author, John Stewart, with historic designation
Stewart authored what is considered the first written history of PEI
April 25, 2022 Gatineau, Quebec Parks Canada Agency
National historic designations reflect the rich and varied heritage of our country and provide an opportunity for Canadians to learn more about our diverse history. As the author of An Account of Prince Edward Island (1806), John Stewart (1758-1834) contributed a historical and geographical description of the Island that is still important today.
Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, announced the designation of John Stewart as a person of national historic significance under the National Program of Historical Commemoration, on the recommendation of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.
Known as “Hellfire Jack” for his fiery temperament, Stewart was an author, politician, and office holder who had a considerable influence on early colonial Prince Edward Island. Regarded as the Island’s first historian, Stewart’s 1806 An Account of Prince Edward Island included a historical overview of the Island, a detailed description of its geography and resources, and an outline of the growth of European settlement. This book made an important contribution to the understanding and interpretation of the Island’s history, and to the knowledge of its ecology and natural resources in the colonial period.
The Government of Canada, through the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, recognizes significant persons, places, and events that have shaped our country as one way of helping Canadians connect with their past. By sharing these stories with Canadians, we hope to foster understanding and reflection on the diverse histories, cultures, legacies, and realities of Canada’s past and present.
The designation process under Parks Canada’s National Program of Historical Commemoration is largely driven by public nominations. To date, more than 2,200 designations have been made nationwide. To nominate a person, place or historical event in your community, please visit the Parks Canada website for more information: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/culture/clmhc-hsmbc/ncp-pcn/application.
“A recognized public figure in PEI’s history, one of John Stewart’s most enduring legacies is that of author. With An Account of Prince Edward Island, Stewart contributed to the early understanding and interpretation of the Island and became recognized as its first historian. On behalf of the Government of Canada, I am pleased to commemorate the national historic significance of John Stewart.”
The Honourable Steven Guilbeault
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada
“The Hillsborough River Association is delighted to see Captain John Stewart of Mount Stewart, PEI formally recognized as a person of national historic significance. Besides his political and cultural contributions, Captain Stewart’s book documents in rich detail the natural history of the Island and includes comprehensive sections on soil, agricultural production, forestry, native animals, birds, fish, reptiles and insects, and climate. As a keen observer of all aspects of life on the Island, it is noteworthy that he imparted his knowledge in his book written over 200 years ago and now considered a treasure of historic value.”
President, Hillsborough River Association
"This commemoration speaks to the value of recognizing the often-mixed legacies of historical figures. John Stewart was both a chronicler of, and an active participant in, the early history of Prince Edward Island. His writings and actions shaped the interpretations of the history of the colony up until recent times."
PEI member of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Created in 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada advises the Minister of Environment and Climate Change regarding the national significance of persons, places, and events that have marked Canada’s history. Together with Parks Canada, the Board ensures that subjects of national historic significance are recognized under the National Program of Historical Commemoration and these important stories are shared with Canadians.
The designation of persons, places and events of national historic significance in Canada helps to tell the stories of who we are and connect us to our past, enriching our understanding of ourselves, each other, and our country. Heritage places provide a wide range of cultural, social, economic, and environmental benefits to their communities.
Parks Canada is committed to working with Canadians in our efforts to tell broader, more inclusive stories in the places that it manages. In support of this goal, the Framework for History and Commemoration, outlines a new, and engaging approach to sharing Canada’s history through diverse perspectives, including shedding light on tragic and difficult periods of Canada’s past.
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Parks Canada Agency
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