Better know a Canadian functionary: the Chairman of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada

In 1914, the Dominion Parks Branch established Fort Howe National Park near Saint John, NB. It wasn’t especially interested in preserving Fort Howe, as the park was primarily a recreation area, but there was little in the way of vast expanses of land for turning into parks in eastern Canada, and historic places seemed like a good excuse to form a park around.

By 1919, Minister of the Interior William James Roche grew concerned with the deterioration of the old fur-trading forts in the west and charged parks commissioner J.B. Harkin with forming an Advisory Board for Historic Site Preservation, and so was founded later that year as the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. The first site was proclaimed near Port Dover, ON, where the French claimed Lake Erie in 1670. under its first chairman, Brig.-Gen. E.A. Cruikshank of the Lincoln and Welland Regiment, new sites were heavily biased towards sites in Ontario associated with the United Empire Loyalists and battles of the War of 1812. These inequalities were highlighted in an examination of the Board’s practices during the Massey Commission of 1951; thereafter, sites were made to reflect a wider swath of Canadian history.

The chairmen of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada have been:

Brig.-Gen. Ernest Alexander Cruikshank VD FRSC, 1919-39.
Frederic William Howay FRSC, 1939-43.
Dr. John Clarence Webster CMG FRSC, 1943-50.
Fred Landon FRSC, 1950-58.
Fr. Antoine d’Eschambault, 1958-59.
Dr. Charles Bruce Fergusson, 1960-67.
Allan R. Turner, 1968-72.
Dr. James Maurice Stockford Careless OC FRSC, 1980-85.
Thomas Henry Bull Symons CC FRSC, 1986-96.
Dr. Richard M.H. Alway OC KHS GCSG, 1996-now.

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