The Government of Canada recognizes the national historic significance of Assiniboine Park and Zoo

The Government of Canada recognizes the national historic significance of Assiniboine Park and Zoo

Posted on: July 1, 2018 9:15 am

Assiniboine Park and Zoo tells a proud story of adaptability and innovation within the city of Winnipeg


July 1, 2018                                 Winnipeg, Manitoba                           Parks Canada Agency


Born of an era of great optimism during Winnipeg’s rapid growth leading into the 20th century, Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park and Zoo represents a defining period in urban park development. Established in 1904, this rare surviving example of a combined park and zoo has been maintained with pride for over a century, successfully adapting to the changing needs of the residents of Winnipeg.

Today, Dr. Doug Eyolfson, Member of Parliament for Charleswood – St. James – Assiniboia – Headingley, commemorated the national historic significance of Assiniboine Park and Zoo and unveiled a special plaque. The announcement was made on behalf of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna.

The park’s zoo, the oldest remaining zoo in Canada, provides visitors with the opportunity to learn about animals from all corners of the globe and has been a favourite destination for families, tourists, school groups, and animal lovers for over a century. The City of Winnipeg understood the importance of urban parks to the well-being of its residents and Assiniboine Park and Zoo is a prime example of an innovative park planning policy. Designed as a place to connect city dwellers with nature, the park’s expansive green spaces, gardens, and zoo also demonstrate an evolving recognition of the importance of conservation. Today, the zoo supports wildlife conservation and research with initiatives such as the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre and the Journey to Churchill Exhibit, which explore climate changes and its impact on northern ecosystems.

The Government of Canada, through the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, recognizes significant people, places, and events that shaped our country. To date, more than 2,000 designations have been made, with the majority driven by public nominations.

The Government of Canada is celebrating families with free admission to Parks Canada`s places for youth 17 and under, and free admission for one year for new Canadian citizens, beginning in 2018 and beyond. We invite Canadians to learn more about our history – from lighthouses to battlefields, historic neighbourhoods to Indigenous contributions to Canada – there is an amazing array of places and stories to discover. 

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“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I am pleased to commemorate the national historic significance of Assiniboine Park and Zoo. The Assiniboine Park and Zoo has connected urban Canadians with nature for over a century and has evolved with the City of Winnipeg, fulfilling a number of important roles from favoured family destination and place of education to centre for wildlife conservation. Historic designations provide an opportunity to connect with our diverse heritage and I encourage Canadians to learn more about Assiniboine Parks and Zoo contribution to Canadian heritage.”

Dr. Doug Eyolfson,
Member of Parliament for Charleswood – St. James – Assiniboia – Headingley

“For over a century, Assiniboine Park has served Winnipeg as a hub of year-round activity and a gathering place that allows visitors to reconnect with nature and each other. We are extremely grateful to be recognized in this way and would like to thank the Government of Canada and Parks Canada for their ongoing enthusiasm and support of one of our community’s most treasured assets – Assiniboine Park and Zoo.”

Bruce Keats, 
Chief Operation Officer at Assiniboine Park Conservancy

Quick facts

  • The park was designed by architect Frederick G. Todd, who apprenticed under Frederick Law Olmstead, the renowned architect of Central Park in New York City and Mount Royal in Montréal, Quebec. 

  • The park’s zoo speaks to the changing relationship between humans and animals, demonstrating how western societies organized, experienced, and understood the natural world during the 20th century.

  • Created in 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada advises the Minister of Environment and Climate Change regarding the national historic significance of places, people, and events that have marked Canada’s history.

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Jodi Duhard 
Public Relations and Communications Officer
Manitoba Field Unit
Parks Canada

Media Relations
Parks Canada Agency

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