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Subjects: BLK, CFG

Government of Canada recognizes Black history in Canada with four new historic designations

These new designations illustrate some of the collective and personal experiences of Black Canadians who have fought for freedom, justice and equality.

GATINEAU, QC, July 31, 2020 /CNW/ - Canada's national historic persons, places, and events need to reflect the rich and varied heritage of our country. National historic designations encourage us to acknowledge the struggles and conflict that have led us to the Canada of today, and help us reflect on how to build a more inclusive society for today and future generations.

For the past 400 years, Black Canadians have faced ? and continue to face ? prejudice, inequalities, and systemic barriers to full and equal participation in society, dating back to the enslavement of African people in Canada. In many parts of the Commonwealth, the first day of August commemorates the abolishment of the Slavery by the British Empire in 1834, this day is also known as "Emancipation Day". Since then, our society has made strides to combat issues that Black Canadians face but more is needed to create an equitable country for all. 

Parks Canada is committed to ensuring that Canadians have opportunities to learn about the full scope of our history, including the tragic and shameful periods that are part of our collective past. Commemoration is about recognizing the many diverse aspects of our history and committing to do better in the future.   

Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Jonathan Wilkinson, announced four new designations under the National Program of Historical Commemoration. The new designations recognize the national historic significance of two persons: Richard Pierpoint and Larry Gains and two events: The Enslavement of African People in Canada and the West Indian Domestic Scheme as they relate to Black history in Canada.

These new designations help to shed light on the collective and personal experiences of Black Canadians and their struggles for freedom, equality and justice.  The new designations include:

The Government of Canada, through the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, recognizes significant persons, places, and events that have shaped our country as one way of helping Canadians connect with their past. By sharing these stories with Canadians, we hope to foster understanding and reflection on the histories, cultures, legacies, and realities of Canada's past and present.

The designation process under Parks Canada's National Program of Historical Commemoration is largely driven by public nominations. To date, more than 2,150 designations have been made nationwide. To nominate a person or historical event in your community, please visit the Parks Canada website for more information: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/culture/clmhc-hsmbc/ncp-pcn/application 


"On behalf of the Government of Canada, I am very pleased to commemorate the national historic significance of the Enslavement of African people in Canada, the West Indian Domestic Scheme, Richard Pierpoint, and Larry Gains. Black history is Canadian history. These historic designations shed light on racism in Canada through stories of personal and collective tragedies, injustice and hardship that have been experienced by Black Canadians over centuries to the present day. I encourage all Canadians to learn more about these designations and the important contributions these represent of Black Canadians to Canada's heritage."

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

"As part of our collective effort to remove the systemic barriers preventing Black Canadians as well as many racialized and religious minority communities from participating fully and equitably in our society, we must confront the hard truths that are part of our history. Today's announcement is a step towards acknowledging our past and current injustices, foster healing, and bring about the long-term changes necessary to eradicate racism and discrimination in all its forms."

The Honourable Bardish Chagger,
Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth

"As we reflect on our history over the last 400 years, we can see the many contributions of Black Canadians as integral to the building of our nation and its history. Black Canadians have made and continue to make significant contributions to the cultural, social, and economic prosperity of Canada. Today's announcement acknowledges past tragedies and injustices but also highlights the perseverance, resistance, resilience, and strength of Black Canadians throughout our history. These designations will help raise awareness of Black history in Canada and the unique challenges faced by Canadians of African and Caribbean descent."

Greg Fergus,
MP for Hull-Aylmer and Chair of the Parliamentary Black Caucus

Quick Facts

Related Documents

Backgrounder - Black Loyalist Richard Pierpoint (c. 1744?c. 1838)

Backgrounder - Heavyweight boxer Larry Gains (1900-1983)

Backgrounder - The enslavement of African People in Canada (c. 1629?1834)

Backgrounder - The West Indian Domestic Scheme, 1955-1967

Related Links

Parks Canada Agency

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada

Framework for History and Commemoration

SOURCE Parks Canada

News published on 31 july 2020 at 11:21 and distributed by: