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Honouring Canada's North: Government of Canada Commemorates the Canadian Arctic Expedition of 1913 to 1918 as an Event of National Historic Significance

VANCOUVER, March 27, 2014 /CNW/ - On behalf of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Canada's Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Dr. Colin Carrie, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment and Member of Parliament for Oshawa, today unveiled a Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaque commemorating the Canadian Arctic Expedition, 1913-1918, as an event of national historic significance. A special ceremony was held at the Vancouver Maritime Museum to commemorate this important expedition that increased the cultural and scientific understanding of Canada's North. Two plaques will be installed: one at Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse national historic sites, overlooking Esquimalt Harbour in British Columbia, and one in Sachs Harbour, Northwest Territories.

The expedition originally set out from Esquimalt Harbour on June 17, 1913. Aided by local Inuit, the explorers located and mapped unoccupied islands in the High Arctic. The Southern Party, led by zoologist Rudolph Anderson, studied the western Arctic coast and Victoria Island between 1913 and 1918. Sadly, the expedition cost the lives of 17 members, but left a wealth of animal, plant and rock specimens, cultural objects, and film and photographic records of Inuit life. The mission's legacy endures in Sachs Harbour, named for the expedition's abandoned ship, the Mary Sachs.

Quick Facts

  • The Canadian Arctic Expedition, 1913-18, was the first major Canadian government scientific research study undertaken in Canada's North.
  • This major scientific expedition to the Arctic resulted in trade opportunities, had important social consequences for Inuit who lived there, and greatly advanced the outside world's knowledge of the far North
  • The Government of Canada originally designated the Canadian Arctic Expedition of 1913-1918 in 1925 on the recommendation of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. A plaque was originally erected in Ottawa.
  • Created in 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada advises the Minister of the Environment regarding the national historic significance of places, people and events that have marked Canada's history.
  • Parks Canada manages a nation-wide network of 167 national historic sites, 44 national parks and 4 marine conservation areas that make up the rich tapestry of Canada's cultural and natural heritage.


"Today's event honours the inherent connection Canadian's have to the North and the pivotal and defining role the North plays in Canadian culture," said Minister Aglukkaq. "I am proud to be part of a Government that has made the North a priority and of the work being done by Parks Canada and the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada to foster a greater awareness of our nation's rich and diverse heritage."

The Honourable Leonna Aglukkaq
Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

"Our Government is proud to commemorate the legacy of the Canadian Arctic Expedition of 1913 to 1918 and recognize its important role in Canadian history for the benefit of future generations of Canadians," said Dr. Carrie "The expedition was the first major Canadian scientific expedition to the Arctic from the south and greatly advanced the outside world's knowledge of Canada's North."

Dr. Colin Carrie
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment and Member of Parliament for Oshawa

Associated Links

Canada's Northern Strategy

Aulavik National Park

Canadian Arctic Expedition 1913, 1918 Centennial Expedition

Canadian Museum of History

Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse national historic sites

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada

SOURCE Parks Canada

Image with caption: "Dr. Colin Carrie, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment and Member of Parliament for Oshawa, unveiled a Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaque commemorating the Canadian Arctic Expedition. The Mary Sachs carried this major scientific expedition that greatly advanced the world's knowledge of the far North. (CNW Group/Parks Canada)". Image available at:

Image with caption: "Sachs Harbour was named in honour of the Mary Sachs. The ship sailed the icy waters of the Canadian North, safely carrying the crew and cultural heritage from the Canadian Arctic Expedition. It endured the treacherous waters enabling the crew to locate and map unoccupied islands in the High Arctic. (CNW Group/Parks Canada)". Image available at:

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