Parks Canada owns 171 national historic sites. There are 65 owned by other federal bodies. That's the universe we're talking about.
Nominations come to our board for the designation of a place as a national historic site. There are certain criteria and policies that we operate within. There's a screening process by staff. If something is thought to have at least some merit and warrant discussion, it will come forward to the board. We get extensive documentation in advance of the meeting. We look at it and reach a determination as to whether to recommend designation or not. The minister then acts, currently, in her wisdom, to do that.
What does this mean? It means that at some point a bronze plaque, consisting of 640 spaces or a certain number of words within the 640 spaces, in the two official languages, will be erected to commemorate that place. We also determine the extent of the place. What are the boundaries that should be considered and that bear on this national historic significance directly? In other words, it may only be part of the overall site that we determine. That is then adopted by the government and that becomes a national historic site.
In early days, the government many times would commemorate through acquisition. From 1919 probably through the late 1930s, there was a lot of acquisition of national historic sites, often in conjunction with the formation of national parks, because a certain number of these national historic sites are within parks. That's how that occurred.
Basically there's very little addition at the current time because, of course, it brings with it considerable financial obligation.