historic sites

historic sites

Cultural heritage is increasingly considered not only as an asset to be protected and valued but also as a means of promoting and reinforcing the cultural identity and cohesion of society. The tangible component of cultural heritage includes architectural buildings, monuments, sacred sites and archaeology. It is protected so that it may be valued, passed on and made accessible for future generations. For some Canadians, heritage is a way to learn about Canada’s past; for others it is the purpose of a visit and for yet others it represents employment.

Based on the Auditor General’s dire warnings (www.oag-bvg.gc.ca), Canada must as a priority immediately address the ongoing deterioration of its national historic sites. Subsequently, the federal government should encourage and support provinces and communities in the identification, maintenance and enhancement of their irreplaceable legacy of built heritage for the benefit of future generations.

In the instance of cultural heritage, development threatens built heritage in Canada. Twenty per cent of Canada's historic places have been lost since the 1970s {Heritage Canada Foundation, 2002). The Auditor General of Canada concluded that tangible cultural heritage under the protection of the federal government is threatened or at risk and that several measures are required to prevent the loss of this heritage. She also noted that Parks Canada's studies have shown that about two thirds of the Agency's built heritage assets are in poor or fair condition. In Parks Canada's view, unless an enduring solution is found, the deterioration of cultural assets will lead to the closure of facilities or the permanent loss of national treasures.


1. Tax Incentives are Insufficient to Preserve Commercial Heritage Buildings {Tax Incentives}

The preservation of commercial heritage buildings is deteriorating in part owing to inadequate funding from government and private sources. In places like the United States the tax system is being used as the most effective way to encourage owners to maintain their valued resource.

2. Landfills are Being Overtaxed by Building Waste
{Building Waste}

It is estimated that construction and demolition waste accounts for between 10 and 30% of the total waste stream, caused in part by needless addition of waste materials from heritage buildings which could otherwise be renovated.

3. Historical Sites are Chronically Under-funded

The physical deterioration across the country of sites of heritage value is of sufficient concern that it has been raised by the Auditor-General.

4. The Educational System is not Fostering Sufficient Knowledge and Interest in the Historical Aspects of our Heritage
{Heritage Education}

"The thing in greatest shortage in Canada is historical memory and historical knowledge...and the country is at risk because of it."