Harper Government Recognizes the National Historic Significance of Whitney Pier

Development of diverse ethnic community a defining Canadian moment

OTTAWA, Feb. 24, 2015 /CNW/ - With more than 15 different ethnic and religious groups, Nova Scotia's Whitney Pier neighbourhood was the most distinctively multi-ethnic district in the Maritimes in the 20th century and is symbolic of Canada's rich diversity. Today, the Honourable Peter MacKay, Regional Minister for Nova Scotia and Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, on behalf of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, announced the designation of the Development of Whitney Pier as an event of national historic significance.

Between 1899 and 1930, the neighbourhood of Whitney Pier emerged with the largest concentration of ethnocultural groups in the Maritimes, making it one of the most distinctive immigrant communities in Canada during the 20th century, paralleled in diversity only by much larger immigrant centres in Montréal, Toronto, and Winnipeg. The challenges immigrants faced in setting down roots in Whitney Pier produced a community with a finely honed sense of its own special character, built around work and ethnic pride.

As our country nears its 150th birthday in 2017, the Government of Canada invites Canadians to reflect on the people and events that have shaped Canada into the strong, proud and free country that it is today. Canada's national historic designations enable us to experience our rich history and heritage in a special way and play a big part in the celebration of Canada 150.

Quick Facts

  • Whitney Pier is located on Cape Breton Island in Sydney, Nova Scotia.
  • Immigrants living in Whitney Pier came to work at Besco Steel Mill, Canada's largest steel mill at that time.
  • Today, Whitney Pier continues to support a thriving and proud community of citizens, activists, scholars and artists, and there is a strong spirit of voluntarism in the area.
  • Parks Canada manages a nationwide network of 167 national historic sites, 44 national parks and four national marine conservation areas that make up the rich tapestry of Canada's cultural and natural heritage.


"The settlement of the Pier was a defining moment in our nation's social and cultural history and the vibrant community that still exists there today continues to illustrate the enduring world that working people built for themselves. Our Government is pleased to recognize the national historic significance of Whitney Pier."

The Honourable Peter MacKay,
Regional Minister for Nova Scotia and Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

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Associated Link

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada


SOURCE Parks Canada

For further information: Media Relations, Parks Canada, 1-855-862-1812, www.twitter.com/parkscanada

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