Monday, August 13, 2012

The privatization of Canada's National Historic Sites

 According to the Parks Canada website: "National historic sites are places of profound importance to Canada."
If Canada's landmarks are so important, why are they being plundered, abandoned, sold off, divested to the provinces or demolished?
Our national parks are being stripped of their resources---by foreign governments and multinationals that have drilling and timber rights on Crown land; by oil and gas companies that are building pipelines on Crown property; by provincial politicians who cater to the needs of big business, not to the citizens who elected them. The Fraser Institute wants to see all of the national parks in British Columbia devolved to the province of B.C.
 People of Canada, we OWN the national parks, why are we not receiving dividends from the sale of natural resources harvested from our property? If Canada is open for business, then treat us like shareholders.This land, the Dominion of Canada, is our grandchildren's legacy, their birthright---they should not have to pay exorbitant prices for drinking water that was funnelled from Canada's National Parks; it is no coincidence, that private companies now have access to the Columbia Icefields at Jasper National Park; and access to the hot springs at Kootenay, Banff and Jasper national parks.
Our grandchildren should not be forced to work at WalMart or Macdonald's or Value Village, because all the federal and provincial government jobs are gone; because foreigners own the Fairmont Hotels, the Hudson's Bay Company and the Canadian National Railway; because all the military bases have been sold to real estate developers...
The Canada Lands Company owns the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul Penitentiary National Historic Site of Canada, in Laval Quebec. Parks Canada defined the penitentiary as:"Important federal prison founded in 1873." (From: List of Designations of National Historic Significance" March 2007.) The Pen is featured in two YouTube videos:
Vieux Pen
Vieux penitencier St-Vicent de Paul Ville de Laval.

A Canada Lands Company subsidiary, the Old Port of Montreal Corporation, owns the Sailors' Memorial Clock Tower in Montreal, which is dedicated to Canadian sailors who lost their lives in World War 1. The Clock Tower is a Classified Federal Heritage Building.

The Sailor's Memorial Clock Tower in Montreal.
The Toronto Island Airport Building National Historic Site of Canada is being dismantled and transferred to the former CFB Downsview in Toronto. The airport is more popularly known as the Billy Bishop Airport.

The Peggy's Cove Lighthouse is one of the most important landmarks in Canada. Fisheries and Oceans Canada is selling a thousand lighthouses--- DFO believes that Canada's symbols of maritime heritage can be converted into: 
 museums
tourist related facilities (location for whale/bird watching, etc.)
 parks, tourist accommodations, restaurants and private residences.
The fact is, Canada's lighthouses are doomed, if they leave the federal real estate inventory. Municipal governments are more concerned with bylaw enforcement, zoning, waste management, infrastructure, taxes...than maintaining a museum. Lighthouse's are, naturally, situated on waterfront property, which is extremely valuable. A private residence is not accessible to the public. Canadian lighthouses are included in thousands of YouTube videos---just a few:
This Land is Your Land Canada by the Travellers
The O Canada  CBC sign off
Ca-na-da by Bobby Gimby.

The Kingston Penitentiary National Historic Site of Canada in Kingston, Ontario includes the Isabel McNeil house, a mansion across the street from the Pen. The Kingston Penitentiary is also known as The Big House and KP.  On April 19, 2012 the Government of Canada announced that the Kingston Pen will be decommissioned. Apparently, the buildings are "crumbling". The federal government's own website states that the buildings are in good condition. And the Kingston Penitentiary, the Prison for Women in Kingston and The Stony Mountain Pen in Manitoba were constructed with high-quality limestone. Many Egyptian pyramids were built with limestone, and they are thousands of years old.  Canada Lands Company will probably buy KP, the Isabel McNeil House, the Collins Bay Institution, Stony Mountain Pen and Dorchester from the federal government. Canadian writer Margaret Atwood and thousands of other Canadians tried to stop the sale of prison farms near Kingston, and in other communities. See the YouTube video "Margaret Atwood and farmers pinning demands to the CSC front door".
One building complex that I am very concerned about is the Rockwood Insane Asylum, aka the Rockwood Lunatic Asylum in Kingston, Ontario. The Ontario Realty Corporation owns the limestone buildings, and a former head of the ORC was a General Manager at the Canada Lands Company.  The Ontario Realty Corporation plans to sell the Bowmanville, Ontario Prisoner of War camp to a real estate developer, so the provincial Crown corporation couldn't care less about historic buildings. And their mandate is to sell $285 million dollars worth of "surplus" property by the end of 2012. Rockwood is irreplaceable.

The former Rockwood Lunatic Asylum in Kingston, Ontario.
The Former Archives Building National Historic Site of Canada at 330 Sussex Drive in Ottawa, was also a National War Museum. The Canada Lands Company sold the museum to a spiritual leader. At one time, Sussex Drive was "Ottawa's Mile of History".
Not any more. A Saudi Prince owns the Chateau Laurier Hotel, and Earnscliffe, the longtime home of Sir John A. Macdonald, is now an embassy.

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