The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada has used bronze plaques as its mode of commemoration since the 1920s. Over the last century, plaques have evolved: they became bilingual and, in some cases, multilingual, and new formats have been adopted. The plaques are the Board’s distinctive brand. They are appreciated by people who wish to have some aspect of history in Canada recognized, and by those who stop to read them, wherever they are found across the country and abroad.
A bronze plaque is installed in a location that is closely related to the designated subject and accessible to the public. Parks Canada must receive permission from the owner of the property before installing a plaque and designated subjects are commemorated at no cost to property owners.
The plaques are inscribed with a bilingual or trilingual text describing the historic significance of the subject. They always include English and French, and may sometimes include a third language, particularly when the commemorated subject is linked to the history of Indigenous peoples or ethnocultural communities. Following designation, the process of writing the text and producing the plaque requires an average of 18 to 24 months. Typically, a plaque is unveiled via a public ceremony or in some cases via social media.
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