"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Never let the facts get in the way of a good rant

That would seem to be the former Ambassador's rule, having just ranted about the lack of federal recognition for the site of "the last battle between French and English", or Placentia.

That would be the Battle of Signal Hill, Bill. And the three National Historic Designations in Placentia.

So while Bill Rowe rails about what he calls the "sad neglect by the federal government of many of the historical aspects of Newfoundland and Labrador", he seems to be blissfully unaware, or wilfully blind to, some important facts.

First, there are 94 National Historic Designations in the province, about 5% of the total — larger than the provincial share of the Canadian population or landmass.

Second, the province has nine of the 158 federally-administer National Historic Sites.

And finally, if that amount isn't commensurate with the province's share of Canadian history, then the remedy is easy: start nominating more sites, persons, and events to commemmorate. You see, Bill, this is the really wacky part: the National Historic Designations process is driven by nominations.

The federal government doesn't dole them out of its own mere motion, or on some patronage basis. If you think something is worth federal historical recognition, Bill, anyone, nominate it. Here's how.

PS, Bill — as for L'anse aux Meadows, it is one of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Newfoundland and Labrador, one of fourteen in Canada. Two is two more than PEI, NB, MB, or SK, and one more than NS or ON have. Sites are nominated at UNESCO by... that nefarious federal government you rail against. Other recent nominations have included Red Bay, Labrador.


At 9:45 PM, February 29, 2008 , Blogger Michael Collins said...

I am in total agreement with your entry, and I wish people would be more pro-active with the nominations process. I've often thought Cape St. Mary's should be a national park, for example, but it never occurred to me to investigate how one would go about officially suggesting such. Why is that? People need to be reminded that these designations are made in response to the public, who request and suggest them.

But I have to say the 3 National Historic designations for Placentia is a little misleading. Technically there are two (see below), and only Castle Hill is a historic site in the proper sense.

The Atlantic Charter Site, while very scenic and gorgeous, is in Ship Harbour, a separate munipality 27 km north of Placentia's limits (and almost 40 km from Placentia's town square). It's not even Placentia's neighbour, as the municipality of Fox Harbour begins and ends between them. Also, the site is a monument, two informative posterboards, and a picnic table at the end of a long gravel road through the woods. No interpretation centre and no staff at any time of the year.

As for the third, "Placentia's Role" is not signaled or signified on the ground in any way; no plaque in town square or anything.

So while all your points are still quite valid, technically there are only 2 historic designations for Placentia, and only one is signified in any way.

At 10:19 PM, February 29, 2008 , Blogger WJM said...

But I have to say the 3 National Historic designations for Placentia is a little misleading. Technically there are two (see below), and only Castle Hill is a historic site in the proper sense.

There are multiple levels of HSMB designations, ranging from Parks Canada administered NHS to simple plaques. If there is no plaque for "Placentia's Role", it may be that no one has yet agreed where to put it.

At 12:49 PM, March 01, 2008 , Blogger Mark said...

While where at it, why not revisit the Province's commitment to the Pearson monument at Gander, where the TCH was arguably completed.

Maitres chez nous indeed.


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