The Honourable Peter Kent, Canada’s Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, has announced the designation of seven new places, persons, and events of national historic significance that recognize the importance of scientists, transportation systems, and explorers throughout Canada’s history.
“The history of Canada has been marked by explorers, innovators and by transportation,” said Minister Kent. “These stories show how Canadians used science and innovation to bridge our country’s geography and climate to build the country we know today.”
These designations celebrate Canadian’s pioneering work in botany, palæontology, biology, maritime communications, and continental transportation. They recognize personalities such as John Macoun, the self-taught scientist who became the first to write about Canada’s plants and flowers in a systematic way, Alice Evelyn Wilson, a palæontologist and one of Canada’s first female scientists, who helped break down barriers to women’s participation in the sciences, and Jacques Cartier, one of the earliest European explorers of Canada as well as the man who first recorded the use of the name “Canada”.
These designations also show how Canadians met the challenges of building a continent-wide nation by pioneering cross-country travel and the overland transportation of people and mail with the Trans-Canada Limited train service and the Columbia Express. Also recognized are Canada’s first scientific research institutes for fisheries, and the groundbreaking development of wireless telegraph stations for ship-to-shore communications.
“Today’s announcement reminds us that we as Canadians have been world leaders in science, technology and innovation, as well as their practical application, long before the phrase ‘knowledge economy’ was invented,” said the Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. “Canadians will now get to better know the scientists, innovators, and explorers who put Canada on the map.”
Established in 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada is supported by Parks Canada and advises the Minister of the Environment on which places, persons and events should be designated as having national historic significance. Parks Canada manages a nation-wide network of national historic sites that make up a rich tapestry of Canada’s cultural heritage and which offers visitors the opportunity for real and inspiring discoveries.