4. Specific Guidelines: Person

4.1 Commemoration of Governors-General
4.2 Provincial Figures both Prior to and Subsequent to Confederation
4.3 Commemoration of Prime Ministers
4.4 Individuals of Importance in the Canadian Economy
4.5 Canadians Who Developed an Image of Canada Abroad
4.6 Evaluating Canadian Architects
4.7 Evaluating Canadian Athletes

4.1 Commemoration of Governors-General

This guideline was first adopted in June 1968, but was modified in December 2005 to read:

A governor may be designated of national historic significance if that person, in the performance of his or her vice-regal duties, made an outstanding and lasting contribution to Canadian history. To be regarded as a subject of national significance, a governor:

  1. will have had a determining influence or impact on the constitutional evolution of Canada; [and/or]
  2. will have had a determining influence or impact on Canadian external relations or military issues; [and/or]
  3. will have had a determining influence or impact on the socio-cultural or economic life of the nation; [and/or]
  4. will have distinguished himself or herself in an exceptional way by embodying the values of Canadians [and/or] by symbolizing Canada at home and abroad.*

* A governor who is of national historic significance because of achievement(s) outside the functions of viceroy, and not within, will be considered only in light of the Criterion for Persons of National Historic Significance.

4.2 Provincial Figures Both Prior to and Subsequent to Confederation

This guideline was first adopted in November 1973, but was modified in November 1990 to read:

any provincial or territorial figure of significance prior to the entry of the province or territory, in which the individual is active, into Confederation may be considered to be of national significance: but, post- Confederation figures who are of provincial or territorial significance must be proven to be of historic significance on the national scale, if they are to merit federal commemoration.

4.3 Commemoration of Prime Ministers

In December 2004, the Board asked that this guideline begin with the following statement:

Prime Ministers are eligible for consideration as national historic persons immediately upon death.

In May 1974, the Board recommended:

  1. that the commemoration may take a number of forms: in some instances only the standard plaque may be erected; in some instances a distinctive monument may be more appropriate; and in others it may be desirable and practicable to acquire a house associated with a Prime Minister for preservation;

  2. that the Board recognizes the desirability of retaining for the nation memorabilia, papers and other artifacts associated with Prime Ministers and it recommends that exploratory discussions be undertaken as soon as possible between officers of the [National Historic Sites Directorate], the [National Archives of Canada] and the [Canadian Museum of Civilization] with a view to determining the most desirable way of ensuring the preservation of such materials. In the context of these discussions consideration should be given to the possibility of entering into agreements with incumbent Prime Ministers concerning the disposition of the appropriate effects;

  3. that when a decision has been taken to acquire a house it would be most appropriate to choose one that is either closely associated with the most important period in the Prime Minister’s career or which has very close family ties. When the Prime Minister is survived by a widow then life tenancy to the widow will in all cases be granted should she desire it;

  4. that the present policy of not, with very rare exceptions, commemorating birthplaces and graves of Prime Ministers should be re-affirmed.

The National Program of Grave Sites of Canadian Prime Ministers is an additional form of commemoration.

4.4 Individuals of Importance in the Canadian Economy

In November 1990, the Board adopted the following guidelines for assessing the national significance of leaders in the economic field:

  1. Economic leaders must have made a contribution to Canadian life that is of a definite or positive or undeniable kind.

  2. Economic leaders must have made contributions, which are of national significance rather than of provincial or territorial importance.

  3. In the consideration of business or economic leaders, where it seems appropriate that in the absence of outstanding individuals, firms which are no longer in existence may be commemorated.

4.5 Canadians Who Developed an Image of Canada Abroad

In November 1996, the Board recommended:

In exceptional circumstances, Canadians whose major accomplishments took place abroad may be recommended to be of national historic significance irrespective of whether or not those accomplishments had a direct impact on Canada, as long as the individual developed or sustained an image of Canada abroad, as was the case with Dr. Norman Bethune.

4.6 Evaluating Canadian Architects

In July 2003, the Board adopted the following guidelines:

An architect or, when appropriate, an architectural firm of national significance will have made an outstanding and lasting contribution to Canadian history. In this context, a contribution to Canadian history is:

  1. a significant and/or influential creative architectural design achievement, either as a practitioner or as a theorist, as exemplified by a body* of consistently exceptional design work; and/or

  2. a significant and/or influential contribution to the profession and discipline of architecture in Canada, as an exceptional educator, writer, organizer, or other activity not directly related to the architectural design process.

* In cases where an architect’s reputation is based on a single (or small number of) exceptional architectural achievement(s), the individual work(s) should be considered for designation of national significance, not the architect per se.

4.7 Evaluating Canadian Athletes

In July 2007, the Board adopted the following guidelines:

An athlete may be considered of national historic significance if:

  1. a) he or she fundamentally changed the way a sport in Canada is played through his or her performance; and/or,
    b) he or she greatly expanded the perceived limits of athletic performance; and
  2. he or she came to embody a sport, or had a transcendent impact on Canada

Note: When these guidelines are applied to a sport team, the team will be presented to the Board as an “event” rather than a "person"

Note: See also section 8.5 for direction on leaders of ethnocultural communities

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