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Table of Contents with photo: Artefact, L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site, Newfoundland

A Message from the Minister of Canadian Heritage

The Parks Canada Agency

The Ecological Integrity of our Natural Heritage

Commemorating our History

Heritage Places and Canadian Identity

A Strong Beginning

Pangnirtung Fjord, Auyuittuq National Park, Nunavut
©Parks Canada, M. Beedell
Pangnirtung Fjord, Auyuittuq National Park, Nunavut


Perhaps nothing in the past decade will have a greater, longer-lasting, influence on the lives of Canadians than the revolution which has taken place in communications. It has enhanced forever our capacity to share the knowledge of the history, the places and the people which constitute our country, Canada.

To accommodate and capitalize on these changes, a renewal effort is being placed on the ability of Parks Canada to communicate with Canadians. The following are some of the highlights of the last two years.

  • Commencing on April 1, 1999, with the release of its new publications' format, the Agency initiated a revitalization of its corporate image. Featuring the identifying line of “Proudly bringing you Canada at its best” the format has been extended to electronic media and a new identity and colours will soon be seen throughout the system of signage, vehicles, uniforms and related items.

  • In the year 2000, the Agency took steps to allocate 5% of all new expenditures to communications and to refocus 5% of its current budget to communications efforts.

  • In the past two years the Agency has witnessed an explosion in the use of its electronic communications. The Parks Canada website has seen increases of use from some 16 million hits, to 60 million hits, to 80 million hits annually. Progressively, information has been added on such subjects as Archaeology and Aboriginal Landscapes. The system is being built to provide a layered series of experiences leading to “virtual” journey into the individual national parks and national historic sites across Canada.

  • Parks Canada has continued to enlarge and improve its relationship with national partners.

    In 1999, the Parks Canada Agency created an Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat, to provide national leadership and support with Parks Canada on matters relating to Aboriginal Peoples. The broad objective of the Secretariat is to enhance the participation of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada's heritage places, in five priority areas: community relationships, Aboriginal heritage presentation, economic partnership, employment, and the commemoration of Aboriginal themes.

    Working with those in Canada's tourism industry who market and use national parks and national historic sites, Parks Canada
    is heightening the understanding and commitment to the shared responsibilities for ensuring the ecological and commemorative integrity of parks and sites, and sustainable use facilitating appreciation and enjoyment of these natural and cultural heritage places. On January 4, 2001, Parks Canada and the Tourism Industry Association of Canada announced the signing of a bilateral Accord setting out seven principles to guide collaborative action in support of the expansion of Canada's systems of national parks and national historic sites, the maintenance and restoration of ecological and commemorative integrity, the enhancement of heritage presentation and appreciation, the fostering of sustainable use, and the reduction of impacts upon natural and cultural resources.

    Firing of the guns, Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, Nova Scotia
    ©Parks Canada, T. Grant
    Firing of the guns, Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, Nova Scotia
  • Under the National Program for the Grave Sites of Canadian Prime Ministers, the grave sites of ten Canadian Prime Ministers have now been formally honoured and recognized, and plans are under way for the remainder. This program is helping Canadians appreciate important leaders from the nation's past by keeping the memory of our deceased prime ministers alive, and providing information about their lives and accomplishments.
    Parkwood National Historic Site, Ontario
    ©Parks Canada, J. Butterill
    Parkwood National Historic Site, Ontario

  • A new Canada Place was opened on July 9, 2000, in Banff National Park, joining the already up and running Canada Places developed by the Department of Canadian Heritage at Moncton, Winnipeg, Toronto and Regina. Canadians and international visitors to Banff now have the chance to learn about the many contributions that have built our nation and contributed to the world at large, and will leave with a better knowledge of the rich and diverse tapestry of natural and cultural heritage that is Canada. Interactive displays explore our natural and built historical heritage, along with the events and people who shaped them. Canada Places also offer Internet access to a wide array of sites related to Canada, its people and places.

    In addition, Parks Canada looks forward to the opening of Discovery Centres in urban centres that will allow Canadians and others to experience our systems of national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas without visiting the actual places, thereby enabling them to experience elements of our country otherwise never encountered. Towards this purpose, Parks Canada has acquired a 3.25 hectare parcel of land on Pier 8 in Hamilton, Ontario, for a Canada Discovery Centre on Marine Conservation.

Chalupa, Red Bay National Historic Site, Labrador
© Parks Canada
Chalupa, Red Bay National Historic Site, Labrador
  • Parks Canada's traditional strength lies in its on-site, direct, face-to-face contact with Canadians. Highlights of some achievements in this respect include the following:

    Parks Canada and Irish Heritage Quebec collaborated in the establishment of a Celtic cross at the Parc-de-l'Artillerie National Historic Site. This gift, offered by the people of Ireland, is especially designed to commemorate the generosity of the people of Quebec towards the Irish immigrants of the nineteenth century.

Parks Canada continued to support the Capital Commission of Charlottetown in profiling the historic streetscape of Great George Street and Province House National Historic Site through interpretation and presentation of the theme of Confederation. Parks Canada promotes our Canadian identity with two of the Capital Commission's annual events, the Festival of Lights and the Festival of the Fathers.

The Parks Canada Agency's level of excellence in heritage commemoration and presentation is typified by prestigious awards won recently by various national historic sites in Nova Scotia. Fort Anne National Historic Site, Canada's oldest, received a prestigious international award for interpretation at the National Association for Interpretation Conference in Syracuse New York in October 1999. The Halifax Citadel National Historic Site won the 2000 provincial Attractions Canada award in the category of “Outstanding National or International Attraction”.

In Prince Edward Island a film produced for Green Gables, at Prince Edward Island National Park, won a Silver Screen award at the US International Film and Video Festival in Chicago in June 1999. The award-winning production, “A Celebration of Imagination: The Life of Lucy Maud Montgomery,” is a short biographical account of the life of this famous Island author.

Field Visitor Centre, Yoho National Park, British Columbia
©Parks Canada, W. Lynch
Field Visitor Centre, Yoho National Park, British Columbia
Catalogue No.:
ISBN: 0-662-30239-7

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Last Updated: 2001 04 04
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