News release

Nova Scotia Celebrates Grand Pré as World Heritage Site

NOTE: A social media version of this release, with hi-res, downloadable photos, is available at http://novascotia.ca/news/smr/2012-06-30-Grand-Pre .

After five years of hard work by all levels of government and community members, the historic and cultural landscape of Grand Pré became Nova Scotia's newest UNESCO World Heritage Site today, June 29.

"Grand Pre has long held a special place in the hearts of Acadian and farming communities in this province," said Education Minister Ramona Jennex, on behalf of Communities, Culture and Heritage Minister Leonard Preyra. "Now thanks to this prestigious recognition and the enhanced protection it provides, all Nova Scotians and people from around the world will be able to appreciate and enjoy the area's rich culture and heritage for years to come."

The announcement was made at a meeting of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee in St. Petersburg, Russia.

"Acadians are proud of their cultural identity," said Acadian Affairs Minister David Wilson. "The UNESCO designation allows the whole world to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Acadians in Nova Scotia."

The designation focuses the world's attention on the agricultural value of the dykelands and on the symbolic importance of the landscape to Acadians worldwide.

"The government of Canada is delighted with the landscape of Grand Pré becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site," said the Peter Kent, Canada's Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada. "This worldwide recognition states that the landscape of Grand Pré is a cultural place of outstanding universal value. This designation will attract not only Nova Scotians, Acadians and other Canadians, but also international visitors who are looking for unique experiences at iconic places."

The World Heritage designation offers great potential to attract more visitors to the province. This recognition truly positions the province as a world class travel destination.

Grand Pré becomes the third World Heritage Site in Nova Scotia. Lunenburg was added to the list in 1995 and the Joggins fossil cliffs in 2008.

In addition, UNESCO approved two biosphere reserves for Nova Scotia in the past decade. Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve was recognized in 2001 and Bras d'Or Lakes Biosphere Reserve in 2011.

Nomination Grand Pré, which brought together the provincial, federal and municipal governments and other partners, worked to prepare the nomination for submission to UNESCO in February 2011.

"This is a tremendous symbolic achievement for the Acadian people whose ancestors persevered through upheaval and peaceful reconciliation leading up to this historic day," said Gerald Boudreau, co-chair of the Nomination Grand Pré Advisory Board.

Grand Pré joins a list with some of the world's most outstanding sites, including the Serengeti, Egyptian pyramids and the Great Barrier Reef.

"The UNESCO designation confirms what we have always known," said Peter Herbin, co-chair of the Nomination Grand Pré Advisory Board. "The Landscape of Grand Pré is an international treasure of outstanding universal value."

Since 2008-09, the province has contributed $105,000 from the former department of Economic and Rural Development, $83,000 from the former department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage and $42,000 from Acadian Affairs and the Canada-Nova Scotia Agreement on French-language Services to support the project.

With the UNESCO designation now in place, the province will act on its commitment to provide a $2.5-million investment to a new stewardship board that will be responsibile to protect the site. Board members will be announced soon.

More information about the Grand Pré World Heritage Site is available at http://landscapeofgrandpre.ca .

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Grand Pré was designated Nova Scotia's third UNESCO World Heritage Site at a meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The site is recognized for its historic and cultural landscape which is an important symbol for Acadians worldwide.

Education Minister Ramona Jennex, on behalf of Communities, Culture and Heritage Minister Leonard Preyra, says all Nova Scotians share in the pride of the Acadians community that Grand Pré's significance to world heritage has been recognized.

Acadian Affairs Minister David Wilson says the UNESCO designation allows the whole world to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Acadians in Nova Scotia.

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Media Contacts:

Michael Noonan
Communities, Culture and Heritage 902-424-1593 E-mail:
Barbara Madic
Nomination Grand Pré 902-670-6453 E-mail:
Géraldine Arsenault
Parks Canada Agency 506-876-1249 Cell: 506-955-2157 E-mail: