Cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Canada

As of July 2019, Canada is celebrating a new cultural UNESCO World Heritage sites in Canada – Writing-on-Stone/Áísínai’pi, located in Alberta. It is one of 10 cultural sites, ranging from the depths of wilderness to bustling cosmopolitan centres, highlight the history of Canada’s inhabitants going back as far 6,000 years ago. Learn about all ten of our cultural UNESCO sites in this quick photo story.

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    Writing-on-Stone / Áísínai’pi, Alberta

    Writing-on-stone/ Áísínai’pi is Canada’s most recent cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site, designated in July of 2019. The park is home to the most significant concentration of protected First Nations petroglyphs (rock carvings) and pictographs (rock paintings) on the Great Plains of North America, some of which date back 2,000 years. The exposed rock of the Milk River valley was formed 85 million years ago, and was eroded after the last age, creating the unusual rock formations seen today.

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    Pimachiowin Aki, Manitoba and Ontario

    Canada’s first – and North America’s largest – mixed UNESCO World Heritage Site, Pimachiowin Aki is a 29,040 km2 protected area encompassing a network of habitation sites, travel routes and trap lines within the natural landscape reflecting an ancient and continuing tradition going back over 7,000 years.

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    SGang Gwaay, British Columbia

    The carved poles on this island have been recognized by UNESCO as among the finest examples of their type in the world. There has been no permanent settlement on the island since 1880, and what remains is unique in the world.

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    Rideau Canal, Ontario

    The canal is the best remaining example of a slackwater canal in North America, and the only canal dating back to the early 19th century still running along its original route with most of its structures intact.

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    Red Bay Basque Whaling Station, Newfoundland and Labrador

    According to UNESCO, the archeological site established by Basque mariners during the 1530’s contains the best-preserved evidence of the European whaling tradition, including remains of rendering ovens, temporary living quarters, a cemetery, and the underwater remains of shipping vessels and whale bones.

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    Old Town Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

    UNESCO has designated Lunenburg a World Heritage site due to it being the best-surviving example of a British colonial settlement in Canada.

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    Landscape of Grand Pré, Nova Scotia

    The Landscape of the Grand Pré was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site on accounts of its approach to agricultural farming in a maritime location with some of the highest tides in the world, and as testimony to the history of the Acadians in the 17th and 18th centuries, and their deportation starting in 1755.

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    L’Anse Aux Meadows National Historic Site, Newfoundland and Labrador

    L’Anse Aux Meadows National Historic Site is considered the first European settlement in North America, and its 11th-century archeological remains were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978.

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    Quebec Fortifications and the Chateau Frontenac. / Les Fortifications de Québec et le Château Frontenac.

    Historic District of Old Québec, Québec

    Québec City carries World Heritage significance as the only North American city to have preserved its defensive works including ramparts, bastions, and gates.

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    Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Alberta

    This 10-metre tall cliff was used for over 6,000 years by the indigenous peoples of the plains, whose “buffalo runners” would hunt by driving animals over the edge.