GRAND PRE, NOVA SCOTIA -- (Marketwire) -- 07/21/12 -- On behalf of the Honourable Peter Kent, Canada's Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Mr. Robert Goguen, Member of Parliament for Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice, as well as Mr. Greg Kerr, Member of Parliament for West Nova, today joined the community celebration following the Landscape of Grand Pre's inscription on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) World Heritage List. At its World Heritage Committee meeting in Russia on June 30th, the World Heritage Committee determined that the Landscape of Grand Pre has Outstanding Universal Value, and encompasses cultural characteristics that are so exceptional they are of importance to present and future generations of all humanity.
A "World Heritage Site" plaque was also unveiled to mark this exceptional milestone, which will be displayed for all to see at Grand Pre View Park, adjacent to Grand Pre National Historic Site.
"Canada's 43 national parks, 167 national historic sites and four national marine conservation areas are a cornerstone of the Harper Government's conservation strategy," said Minister Kent. "They preserve and protect Canada's natural history, drive our economy through tourism, and bring Canadians together from coast-to-coast-to-coast. Celebrating this great achievement is particularly fitting on Parks Day 2012, and I encourage all Canadians to take today to celebrate our country's beautiful natural spaces, and important historical sites - especially this, Canada's newest World Heritage Site."
Grand-Pre National Historic Site, owned and operated by Parks Canada, is at the heart of the newly designated World Heritage Site. The World Heritage Site includes Parks Canada's Grand Pre National Historic Site, and the communities of Grand Pre and Hortonville; in all, more than 1300 hectares of lands and properties managed by individuals, municipalities and other levels of government are included in the World Heritage Site.
"The Landscape of Grand-Pre is a place of remembrance for the Acadian Diaspora and a place of peaceful existence among the Mi'kmaq, the Acadians, the descendants of the New England Planters and all who farmed and lived in this area over the years," said Mr. Goguen. "This landscape, part of the traditional homeland of the Mi'kmaq, was first developed by Acadian settlers in the 17th and 18th centuries through the building of dykes in a coastal zone with the highest tides in the world, and what is remarkable is that the footprint of this system remains intact today, thanks to the continued work of the local farming community."
"I am very proud that the Government of Canada has been actively involved in safeguarding the Landscape of Grand Pre World Heritage Site," said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Regional Minister for Nova Scotia. "Grand Pre is a truly unique and vital part of our province. I am very pleased to have achieved this milestone, and am gratified that the community who helped to accomplish it now has an occasion to celebrate this important success."
Following the official event, a ceremonial sod turning took place at the Grand Pre View Park, adjacent to Grand Pre National Historic Site. Parks Canada will soon begin landscape development work on the View Park, and install a series of interpretive panels that will provide public access to, and enjoyment of, the vistas of Canada's newest World Heritage Site.
Since 2006, the federal government has invested more than $5.6 million to conserve, enhance and present Grand Pre National Historic Site. Parks Canada played a major role throughout the nomination process through its expertise in heritage conservation.
"This is a very special place for the Acadians, the people of the Annapolis Valley and all Nova Scotians," said Education Minister Ramona Jennex on behalf of Communities, Culture and Heritage Minister Leonard Preyra. "The UNESCO designation encourages people from all over the world to experience Grand Pre's history and culture first-hand and learn more about the people who developed the potential of this land."
"The history of three distinct peoples (the Mi'kmaq, the Acadians and the New England Planters) echo through this land by the sea," said Nomination Grand Pre Co-chair, Gerald Boudreau. "The stories imbedded in this remarkable landscape will now become part of the common heritage of humanity," said his counterpart, Peter Herbin.
Parks Canada has a mandate to protect and present nationally significant examples of Canada's natural and cultural heritage to Canadians, today and in the future. Parks Canada is the Government of Canada's representative on the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. Eleven of Canada's 16 World Heritage Sites include areas managed by Parks Canada.
For additional information on today's announcement, please see the accompanying backgrounder at www.parkscanada.gc.ca under Media Room.
Office of the Minister of the Environment
Communities, Culture and Heritage