Editor: Over the years, there has been intermittent public comment about the possibility of a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation for some outstanding Island landmark. Province House has been mentioned as one potential candidate.
In all, there are 16 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Canada, three of which are in Nova Scotia. The most recent to join these distinguished ranks is “The Landscape of Grand Pre,” described as “an exceptional living agricultural landscape.”
For me, the most outstanding and original cultural feature of our Island is indeed our very landscape, conforming to the grid of the 1764-65 Holland Survey and created by thousands of family farmers over a period of some 250 years. The result is extraordinary — and also very, very fragile.
Is it a world-class landscape? I would argue yes. Is it at risk and thus worthy of international protection? Again, I would argue yes.
Frankly, I have no idea if a World Heritage Site designation for the “Landscape of Grand Pre” would suggest eligibility of the “Family Farm Landscape” of P.E.I. for a similar honour. But I do think that it’s something well worth looking into — particularly in 2014, declared by the United Nations as the International Year of the Family Farm.
Such a designation could do wonders for our tourism industry, while providing major incentive and impetus for environmental and landscape protection — in fact, a classic win/win situation.