The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada

Role of the Board

Since 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada has been mandated to provide advice to the Government of Canada, through the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, on the designation of places, persons and events that have marked and shaped Canada. Every year, new subjects are added to the list of designations. The nominated subject must have a historical significance from a national perspective and not only from a local or regional standpoint.

Following an evaluation process and recommendation by the Board, the minister has the authority to designate a site, event or person of national historic significance.

In addition to advising on designations of national historic significance under the National Program of Historical Commemoration, the Board provides advice on the following laws and programs:

History of the Board

In the late 19th and early 20th century, the Government of Canada noted the interest of Canadians in protecting natural and cultural heritage places, which led to the creation of a network of national parks and a system of national historic sites throughout the country.

In 1919 James B. Harkin, Commissioner of the Dominion's national park system, persuaded the federal government to establish the Advisory Board for Historic Site Preservation. During the Board’s first meeting, its six members selected the official name, The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, and elected Brigadier General E. A. Cruikshank as its first chairman.

It quickly set about determining the most significant historic sites in the country. At the time, the usual commemoration took the form of a bronze plaque on a stone cairn.

In 1953 the Historic Sites and Monuments Act established the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada (The Board) in law. A later amendment granted the Board the power to recommend national designation for buildings in consideration of their age or architectural design.

In 1989 the Board's mandate was extended to cover the designation of heritage railway stations. Ten years later, it was given the responsibility to commemorate the grave sites of Canadian prime ministers. In 2009, the Board was appointed the advisory committee to the Minister of the Environment for the protection of heritage lighthouses.

The Board continues to handle a significant number of applications to designate places, persons and events linked to various aspects of Canada's political, economic and social history. The Board is currently prioritizing the history of Indigenous peoples, environmental history, diversity and Canada and the world, whose designations are generally underrepresented.

Composition

The Board is composed of a representative from each province and territory (named by the Governor in Council for appointments of up to five years with the possibility of additional terms), as well as the Librarian and Archivist of Canada, an officer of the Canadian Museum of History, and the Vice-President of Parks Canada’s Indigenous Affairs and Cultural Heritage Directorate, who also acts as the Board’s Secretary.

Selection criteria

Candidates for board membership must meet the following criteria:

  • reside in the province or territory they represent;
  • have knowledge of the history of the province or territory that they represent, as well as the historical trends that shaped the development of Canada as a whole and/or knowledge of Indigenous cultural practices and traditions; and
  • be available to attend at least two meetings a year of several days in duration, in addition to preparation time, as well as to officiate at plaque unveiling ceremonies a few times a year.

For more information on the appointment process of the members of the Historic Sites and Monument Board of Canada, please visit the Governor in Council Appointments website.

Board committees

Given the volume of work involved to carry out its mandate, the Board created a number of committees with specific responsibilities. For example, the Lighthouse Committee evaluates the reports on lighthouses and makes recommendations on their designation under the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act, the Inscriptions Committee reviews and approves texts on commemorative plaques and the Status of Designations Committee clarifies the objective of existing designations.

Appointed members

Alberta

Mr. Joe Anderson, Alberta Representative
© Joe Anderson

Dr. Joe Anderson

Dr. Joseph (Joe) Anderson is Professor of History and Associate Dean of Arts-Research, Scholarship and Community Engagement at Mount Royal University in Calgary. A dual citizen of Canada and the United States, Dr. Anderson has specialized in public and agricultural history throughout his career. He spent a decade with Living History Farms in Iowa, where he served as Director of History and Interpretation. Dr. Anderson has also served in leadership roles on the executive board of the Agricultural History Society, an international organization dedicated to promoting the interest, study, and research of the history of agriculture. His research interests include environmental and technology history, food and culture, and rural life. Dr. Anderson is the author of several publications on these topics, including his most recent book Capitalist Pigs: Pigs, Pork, and Power in America, which details the history of pigs and the pork industry in the United States.

 
  • First appointment: June 18, 2019 to June 17, 2024

British Columbia

Vacant

Manitoba

Vacant

New Brunswick

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Mr. Bernard Thériault, New Brunswick Representative

Mr. Bernard Thériault

Chairman and New Brunswick representative

Mr. Bernard Thériault is an historian, researcher, writer and commentor. He has been retired from the New Brunswick public service since 2010, where he was the Director General for the Premier’s Cabinet. He also served as Director for Aboriginal Fisheries, Gulf Region, for Fisheries and Oceans Canada. From 1987 until 2000, Mr. Thériault served as the member of the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick for the Caraquet riding. During this time, he served as the Minister of Aquaculture and Fisheries, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Aboriginal Affairs, as well as acting Minister of Education. He began his career as an historian, head conservator and Director of programs at the Village Historique Acadien, in Caraquet. He grew up in Caraquet and continues to live there today.

 
  • First appointment: June 13, 2018, to June 12, 2023
  • Second appointment: December 15, 2023, to December 14, 2028
  • First appointment as the Chairman: March 25, 2024, to March 24, 2028

Newfoundland and Labrador

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Michael Philpott, Newfoundland and Labrador Representative

Mr. Michael Philpott

Michael Philpott works as a consultant with Human Space where he is responsible for Heritage for All, a project examining and making recommendations with respect to the accessibility of federal heritage buildings. He previously worked for six years as a heritage officer with the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador. Mr. Philpott has coordinated and provided training in conservation and research practices and has written for a variety of audiences and on topics of architecture, material culture, and urban planning. He was a member of the City of St. John’s first Built Heritage Experts Panel, is a board member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Historic Trust, and has volunteered with a number of other heritage and urban issues-based organizations. He holds a bachelor of arts (honours) from Memorial University and a bachelor of environmental design studies (architecture) from Dalhousie University.

 
  • First appointment: January 27, 2023, to January 26, 2028

Northwest Territories

Ms. Sarah Jerome, Northwest Territories Representative
© Sarah Jerome

Ms. Sarah Jerome

Ms. Sarah Jerome, an elder with the Gwich’in Nation, is actively involved in promoting the history, culture, traditions, and languages of northern people. Ms. Jerome was one of the last Gwich’in to be raised “on-the-land” and grew up at her family’s bush camp on the Peel River. She attended residential school for twelve years but returned to the land with her family during the summer months, where she continued to practice her traditional skills and language. Today, as an elder, she teaches Indigenous knowledge to youth in the Inuvik region, leading a program which explores educational pursuits, genealogy, language and culture. Ms. Jerome has extensive experience as an educator, with positions as a teacher, principal and superintendent, spanning over two decades. She was the Language Commissioner for the Northwest Territories from 2009-2013, and also a board member of the Porcupine Caribou Management Committee and Gwich’in Renewable Resource Council. She holds a Bachelor of Education from the University of Saskatchewan, and an Honorary Doctorate of Law from the University of Alberta.

 
  • First appointment: January 8, 2021, to January 7, 2026

Nova Scotia

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Russell Grosse, Nova Scotia representative

Mr. Russell Grosse

Russell Grosse is a native of the historic Nova Scotia multi-generational Black Community of Cherry Brook. He has been involved in the protection, preservation and promotion of Nova Scotia’s Black Culture and History for over 28 years. An employee of the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia since 1994, he has held the role of Executive Director since December 2013. As a professional video technical producer, Mr. Grosse also donates much of his time to the capture and documenting of Black History. He has also been executive producer of several community cultural productions and artistic showcases that support the promotion of Black culture and history. In 2022, Mr. Grosse was co-chair and event coordinator of the Government of Canada’s National Apology to the members and descendants of Canada, No. 2 Construction Battalion. In 2022, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal for volunteerism.

 
  • First appointment: January 27, 2023, to January 26, 2028

Nunavut

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Ms. Jessica Kotierk, Nunavut representative

Ms. Jessica Kotierk

Jessica Kotierk has worked as the Manager and Curator of the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum in Iqaluit since 2019. She previously worked as the project manager for the Nunavut Film Development Corporation. Ms. Kotierk is Inuk with family ties to Igloolik and has devoted her museum career to the preservation and curation of Inuit artifacts. Her diverse experience has led her to various locations in Canada and abroad, including Bern, Switzerland, and Copenhagen, Denmark.

Ms. Kotierk is currently a member of various boards such as the Alianait Entertainment Group Board, the Archives Council of Nunavut Board, the Indigenous Heritage Circle Board, the Inuit Leadership Group for the Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership Grant, the Travel Nunavut Board, the Inuit Art Foundation Archives Advisory Committee and is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. She holds a bachelor’s degree in film studies from York University and a diploma in Collection Management and Conservation from Fleming College.

 
  • First appointment: December 15, 2023, to December 14, 2028

Ontario

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Dr. Stephen Azzi, Ontario representative
© Jean-Marc Carisse

Dr. Stephen Azzi

Dr. Stephen Azzi is a professor of Political Management, History, and Political Science at Carleton University in Ottawa, where he is a founding faculty member of the Clayton H. Riddell Graduate Program in Political Management. He is a senior fellow at the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Azzi has published extensively on Canadian history, with a focus on politics, ideas, and international relations. His most recent book is the third edition of the Historical Dictionary of Canada. He has chaired university committees at Carleton and Laurentian University, sat on both the Senate and the Board of Governors at Laurentian, and led the Clayton H. Riddell Graduate Program for six years. Dr. Azzi holds a Ph.D. from the University of Waterloo.

 
  • First appointment: February 10, 2024, to February 9, 2029

Prince Edward Island

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Mr. Harry Holman, Prince Edward Island representative
© Mitchell McNally

Mr. Harry Holman

Mr. Harry Holman is a researcher and independent scholar with research interests in Canada’s marine and nautical history. He has been involved in heritage advocacy, management of historic resources, and historic research for more than fifty years, most recently as Director of Culture and Heritage for Prince Edward Island. He is a life member and former board member of the Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation.

He is actively involved in several heritage organizations and is particularly proud of his involvement in the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Historic Places Initiative. He has served as member of professional organizations and national advisory boards for institutions including the Osgoode Society, the Confederation Centre of the Arts, the Vancouver Olympics Cultural Program, and the Confederation Birthplace Pavilion. His training and education include degrees in history and law from the University of Alberta and Queens University in Kingston. He has also served as the provincial archivist for Prince Edward Island.

 
  • First appointment: June 15, 2017, to June 14, 2022
  • Second appointment: December 15, 2023, to December 14, 2028

Quebec

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Aly Ndiaye (alias Webster)
© David Cannon

Mr. Aly Ndiaye (alias Webster)

Aly Ndiaye, a.k.a. Webster, hip-hop artist, independent historian, activist and lecturer, was born and raised in the Limoilou district of Québec City. His father is Senegalese and his mother is from Quebec. He has always been proud of his origins and describes himself as a SénéQueb.

His passion for history led him to pursue university studies in this field. He regularly gives lectures on a variety of topics, including the history of the Afro-descendant presence and enslavement in Quebec and Canada. He is also a veteran and one of the pioneers of Quebec's hip-hop movement. Mr. Ndiaye is the author of a hip-hop writing manual, À l'Ombre des Feuilles (Québec Amérique, 2019), a children's book that follows the journey of Olivier Le Jeune, the first person of African descent known to be enslaved, Le Grain de Sable (Septentrion, 2019), and the French translator of Charles W. Mills' Racial Contract (Mémoire d'encrier, 2023).

 
  • First appointment: January 27, 2023, to January 26, 2028

Saskatchewan

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Dr. Valerie Korinek, Saskatchewan representative
© S. Horwitz

Dr. Valerie Korinek

Dr. Valerie J. Korinek is the A.S. Morton Professor of History at the University of Saskatchewan. She is an award-winning teacher and scholar, the recipient of the Provost’s Award for Outstanding Teacher College of Arts and Science. Her scholarly contributions have been recognized with a fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada.

Dr. Korinek has published widely in contemporary prairie gendered histories. Her most recent book, Prairie Fairies: A History of Queer Communities and People in Western Canada 1930-1985 (2018) won the Clio Award from the Canadian Historical Association for Best Book in Prairie History and the Best Book Prize from the Canadian Committee on Women’s and Gender History. She is a frequent contributor to local, regional, and provincial community organizations. She has extensive board and committee experience, having served as Head of the History Department, and most recently completed a three-year term as the Vice Dean of Faculty Relations in the College of Arts and Science. She holds a doctorate in Canadian history from the University of Toronto specializing in Canadian cultural and gender histories. She has called Saskatoon home since 1996.

 
  • First appointment: January 30, 2024 to January 29, 2029

Yukon

Ms. Rae Mombourquette, Yukon representative
© Rae Mombourquette

Ms. Rae Mombourquette

Ms. Rae Mombourquette is a Tlingit Acadian citizen of Kwanlin Dün First Nation in Whitehorse, Yukon. She is a granddaughter of the Big Salmon Northern Tutchone people and great granddaughter of the Marsh Lake Tagish Kwan. Ms. Mombourquette is an Indigenous researcher specializing in Yukon First Nation heritage co-management and Yukon First Nations Self-Government Final Agreement Chapter 13 Heritage implementation. Ms. Mombourquette has over 12 years of experience working in the Yukon Heritage field, and is passionate about promoting and preserving all aspects of Canadian history. She has a B.A. in Canadian Studies from Thompson Rivers University and a certificate in Indigenous Women in Community Leadership from the Coady International Institute at St. Francis Xavier University.

 
  • First appointment: June 1, 2021 to May 31, 2026

Ex-officio Board members

Representative of Library and Archives Canada

Ms. Leslie Weir, Librarian and Archivist of Canada
© Library and Archives Canada

Ms. Leslie Weir

Ms. Leslie Weir assumed the position of Librarian and Archivist of Canada on August 30, 2019. Prior to joining Library and Archives Canada, Ms. Weir was the University Librarian at the University of Ottawa from 2003 to 2018. She also held positions at the National Library of Canada and the Statistics Canada Library. Ms. Weir also served as President of Canadiana.org, where she oversaw the introduction of the Heritage Project, in collaboration with Library and Archives Canada, to digitize and make openly accessible some 60 million heritage archival images. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Canadian History from Concordia University in 1976, and a Masters in Library Science from McGill University in 1979.

Representative of the Canadian Museum of History

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Dr. Tim Cook, Representative of the Canadian Museum of History
© Canadian Museum of History

Dr. Tim Cook

Dr. Tim Cook, CM, FRSC is the Chief Historian and Director of Research at the Canadian War Museum. He holds a B.A. (Hons) from Trent University, a M.A. from the Royal Military College of Canada and a PH.D. from the University of New South Wales. He is a frequent commentator in the media, series editor of UBC’s Studies in Canadian Military History, a Director for Canada’s History Society, and the author or editor of eighteen books of Canadian history.

Dr. Cook has won the C.P. Stacey Prize for Military History (twice), the Ottawa Book Award (four times), the RBC Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, and the J.W. Dafoe Book Prize (twice). For his contributions to Canadian history, Tim has been awarded the Governor General’s Award for Popularizing History (The Pierre Berton Award) and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. He is a member of the Royal Society of Canada and the Order of Canada.


Parks Canada Board member

Parks Canada provides professional and administrative services to support the Board's work, including the conduct of historical and archaeological research needed for evaluating applications and the handling of all administrative issues. It also carries out the ministerial decisions following the Board’s recommendations by organizing plaque unveiling ceremonies, installing and maintaining the commemorative plaques.

Secretary and Vice-President, Indigenous Affairs and Cultural Heritage Directorate

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Ms. Nadine Spence, Secretary and Vice-President, Indigenous Affairs and Cultural Heritage Directorate

Ms. Nadine Spence

Ms. Nadine Spence, Klii? aht'a, is an Ahousaht First Nation member, part of the larger Nuu-chah-nulth Tribe on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Since 2001, she has worked for Parks Canada in a variety of capacities and various functional areas in both field operations and national policy development. Among other roles, Ms. Spence has served as Executive Director of Indigenous Affairs, Executive Director of Operations for British Columbia and Yukon, and Director of Natural Resource Conservation.

Ms. Spence holds a Master of Arts in Leadership from Royal Roads University, where her major research project focused on exploring the role of women in the governance of a tribal park protected areas model.

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