Bellevue House National Historic Site Management Plan Tabled in Parliament
Plan contributes to preserving heritage in Canada and connecting Canadians to history in Kingston.
July 19, 2023 Kingston, Ontario Parks Canada
National historic sites reflect the rich and varied heritage of Canada and provide an opportunity for Canadians to learn more about Canada’s diverse history. The network of national heritage places administered by Parks Canada represents the very best that Canada has to offer and tell stories of who we are, including the histories, cultures, and contributions of Indigenous peoples.
The management plan for Bellevue House National Historic Site was tabled in Parliament today. Reviewed every 10 years, management plans are a requirement of the Parks Canada Agency Act and guide the management of national historic sites, national parks and national marine conservation areas.
The new plan for Bellevue House outlines the following key strategies:
· An evolving understanding of Sir John A. Macdonald’s legacy: commitment to leading an open and ongoing dialogue and presenting a range of perspectives surrounding the development of Canada and Macdonald’s role in it.
· An active community partner: increasing the site’s involvement in community events and local initiatives to open up opportunities for new partnerships and stronger collaboration.
· A renewed heritage experience: continuing to modernize experiences to be more inclusive of all target audiences, and developing new programming, including immersive activities.
During the development of this new management plan, Parks Canada also consulted with the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte and Mohawks of Akwesasne and engaged Kingston region’s urban Indigenous community about the direction of Bellevue House. A Community Advisory Committee who represents the diversity of Kingston and Canadian society was also formed during the development of the new management plan. Through this engagement, Bellevue House is seeking to tell broader, more inclusive stories through an engaging approach to sharing Canada’s history, including the difficult periods of Canada’s past, through diverse, wide-ranging, and sometimes complex perspectives.
The management plan for Bellevue House also includes input from other partners and stakeholders, local residents as well as visitors past and present. Through this management plan, Parks Canada will protect an important example of cultural heritage in Canada, engage and collaborate with Indigenous peoples, and provide an opportunity for Canadians to experience and discover history in new and innovative ways. This site tells the many sides of one of Canada’s founding fathers, Sir John A. Macdonald. Confederation, Canadian institutions created by Macdonald, and policies enacted by his Government continue to touch and influence the everyday lives of Canadians to this day.
The Bellevue House National Historic Site Management Plan is available on the Parks Canada website at: Management planning - Bellevue House National Historic Site (canada.ca). To learn more about Bellevue House, please visit Bellevue House National Historic Site (canada.ca).
“Parks Canada has been working with Indigenous community members, stakeholders, and other experts to ensure that the impacts of the decisions taken, and institutions created under the leadership of Sir John A. Macdonald are presented through the viewpoints of many voices. I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the management plan for Bellevue House National Historic Site that will help shape the future of this treasured place. As the Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands, I applaud this collaborative effort to ensure Bellevue House continues to reflect our shared heritage and will be enjoyed for generations to come.”
Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons (Senate) and Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands
“Sir John A. Macdonald is an integral part of Canada’s history and Bellevue House is a historic symbol of that story, however we need a more complete picture of the man’s legacy; a picture that includes everyone. We will continue to support this management plan as Bellevue House National Historic Site strives to demonstrate a commitment to ensuring that all people from this diverse Canadian society may feel and know that their part in that history is accurately remembered and shared.”
The Bellevue House Community Advisory Committee
Bellevue House National Historic Site was built in the 1840s and was home to Sir John A. Macdonald at the beginning of his political career.
The site is open from Victoria Day weekend in May, through Thanksgiving weekend in October. The historic house itself is closed to the public until May 2024, as interior renewal of exhibits takes place. The historic site’s visitor centre and historic grounds remain open and offer many opportunities to explore inclusive stories of Sir John A. Macdonald’s legacy.
Bellevue House, located west of Kingston’s downtown core, welcomes approximately 20,000 visitors per year.
The Government of Canada celebrates families with free admission to all Parks Canada administered places for youth 17 and under. Heritage places are a great way for youth to experience the outdoors and learn more about the environment and history.
Public Relations and Communications Officer
Eastern and Central Ontario Field Unit
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