Government of Canada invests $12 million in preserving Parks Canada historic sites
Priority projects at Fort Henry, Fort Wellington, Laurier House and Sir John Johnson House national historic sites
January 23, 2023 Kingston, ON Parks Canada
The network of protected areas administered by Parks Canada is a gateway to nature, history, and 450 000 km² of memories from coast to coast to coast. Investing in these locations helps support the protection of natural heritage and our rich history, increases climate resiliency and creates jobs in local communities, while providing visitors with high-quality, safe and meaningful experiences across the country.
Today, Mark Gerretsen, Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons (Senate) and Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands, on behalf of the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, announced approximately $12 million over three years for projects related to critical infrastructure improvements at Fort Henry, Fort Wellington, Laurier House, and Sir John Johnson House national historic sites.
Through this federal investment – part of the $557 million in funding announced by the Government of Canada in late 2022 – Parks Canada will conserve the heritage value of these important cultural resources, ensuring high quality, meaningful visitor experiences and contributing to the country’s world-class tourism offer. The work supported through this investment includes:
· restore deteriorating stone walls, update sanitary systems and replace the main entry bridge at Fort Henry National Historic Site;
· protect Laurier House National Historic Site from the elements with a new roof;
· continue to preserve the battlements of Fort Wellington National Historic Site using the innovative approach that was successfully proven through a first phase of renewal in 2020; and,
· upgrade the fire alarm and protection systems at Sir John Johnson House National Historic Site.
Parks Canada's wide-ranging infrastructure portfolio includes more than 18,500 built assets such as highways, bridges, dams and other marine infrastructure, historic buildings and fortifications, water and wastewater treatment facilities, campgrounds, visitor centres and operational buildings and compounds. Since 2015, the federal infrastructure investment program has enabled Parks Canada to improve the condition of approximately 5,000 assets across the country. These upgrades help ensure public safety, quality and reliability in visitor offers, incorporate green technologies and climate resilience, while connecting Canadians with nature and history.
“The Government of Canada supports Canadians knowing, learning and experiencing this country’s rich history, and Parks Canada provides so many valuable sites. By ensuring the sustainability of Parks Canada administered places, we can support local economies, contribute to the growth of sustainable tourism, and strengthen their appeal as destinations to celebrate our country. These investments in the heritage infrastructure of Fort Henry, Fort Wellington, Laurier House, and Sir John Johnson House national historic sites are essential to ensuring the preservation of cultural resources for the benefit, appreciation, and enjoyment of present and future generations.”
Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons (Senate) and Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands
“These federal infrastructure investments give our past a future. The significant restorative work will be transformative for these heritage treasures and will help protect and conserve these national historic sites for future generations. For nearly half a century, Laurier House stood witness to the lives of two Prime Ministers who oversaw great changes in Canada and today offers visitors unique insights into our political history. These national historic sites not only provide a glimpse of our country’s rich history, but are focal points for the communities around them, offering social, cultural, economic, linguistic and tourism benefits.”
President of the Treasury Board and Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Vanier
“National historic sites offer countless opportunities for Canadians to connect with history. Fort Wellington National Historic Site may be a small fort, however it played a significant role in ensuring the independence of this country. With each of these infrastructure projects, Parks Canada ensures unique and leading edge techniques are used in the restoration work to conserve the heritage character value and authenticity of these national historic sites. This federal support will allow Parks Canada to continue telling the story of these treasured places and their integral role in Canada’s history for generations to come.”
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Member of Parliament for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Parks Canada is a leader in protecting and fostering public understanding of cultural heritage in Canada. One of our roles is to provide spaces where Canadians can understand history from a variety of perspectives, and share their own stories.
Fort Henry National Historic Site is the centrepiece of the Kingston Fortifications National Historic Site of Canada, and part of a UNESCO World Heritage site, visited by over 100,000 people each year. Completed in 1836, it was built to defend the Rideau Canal and Kingston’s naval dockyard from American attack. Owned and administered by Parks Canada, a partnership with the Province of Ontario enables the St. Lawrence Parks Commission to continue its internationally renowned programs in this impressive structure.
Built during the War of 1812 to defend the St. Lawrence River shipping route between Montreal and Kingston against a possible attack by the United States, Fort Wellington National Historic Site has the largest blockhouse built in British North America.
Willed to the people of Canada by Prime Minister William Lyon MacKenzie King, Laurier House National Historic Site is one of the most authentic heritage buildings administered by Parks Canada, and features Ottawa’s oldest elevator.
Sir John Johnson, a loyalist who moved North to Montreal following the American Revolution, was instrumental in resettling many loyalists in what is now Ontario. Sir John Johnson House National Historic Site was built in 1792 in the village of Williamstown and is one of the oldest buildings in Ontario.
From January 30 to February 13, 2023, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, is inviting Canadians to participate in the 2023 Minister’s Round Table on Parks Canada’s national historic sites, national parks, and national marine conservation areas. An online engagement portal will be available and will welcome input from the general public at letstalkparkscanada.ca.
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
A/Partnering and Engagement Officer
Eastern and Central Ontario Field Unit
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