Originally Posted by someone123
There's a lot to say about this. Canadians don't appreciate their heritage very much. They're also parochial, and there's no national mythos like what you find in the US (that's good and bad I guess), so the East Coast stuff has been shuffled out at the Ontario and Western Canada stuff has been shuffled in to suit current tastes. Regardless of their historical importance, Canadians don't know about Acadia, Port Royal, Halifax, and Louisbourg really. The "burning down the White House" stuff is presented in an abstract way. I don't think many people know that the general who led that attack was buried in Halifax in 1814 -- his tombstone is still there.
I won't name names but I see regular claims here, when it comes up, that the historic buildings in Halifax are about on par with smaller Ontario cities (sometimes you hear the variant that Montreal is about the same as Toronto because there isn't much old stuff anyway).
It does seem to be getting better, but I think the real reason for that is increased local spending on maintenance of historic buildings and public spaces. Luckily in Halifax the number of old buildings is staying about the same but the city is growing so there's more and more money available to preserve stuff.
Saint John similarly has not really been preserved as it ought to have been. No local money, no preservation. Quebec City luckily is the capital of a major province and closer to the bigger tourism markets. Montreal is too big to be propped up in the same way and it has not done particularly well given what it started out with. A lot of the Montreal buildings don't fit into the cutesy pioneer image of Canada's past so they don't register as heritage in the same way the little cottages do.
The problem, as I see it, is that so many discount, or ignore completely, the role of Atlantic Canada in the history of this country. I have to admit that when I moved from London ON to Halifax, I didn't have much of a concept as to what the Maritimes were all about. I had just heard that Halifax was 'cool' and it was the only part of the country that I hadn't yet lived in so...
It wasn't until I'd lived there for a bit that I realized how deeply rooted the people were; how old the place really was, how close you could feel to all of that history. Truly amazing! And Newfoundland... well... You literally feel as if you're living in the end of the world, and in a sense (so far as the ROC is concerned), you are!
Unfortunately, the small population makes it (Atlantic Canada) almost irrelevant when it comes to federal elections. The vast majority of Canadians have never been there; will never go there, and are comfortable thinking that it's some sort of basket case bastion of lazy people with no ambition. Far from it! Maritimers will go to extraordinary lengths NOT to leave, and I understand why, after living there, why they fight so hard to stay- despite the economic hardships and (yes) the raw deal that the region has historically received from Upper and Lower Canada.
If I were to be suddenly banished for life to the Maritimes my reaction would be "WOO HOO!" Thank you lawyer!
As far as historical preservation goes, Halifax has done much better than most places in Canada, a little worse than some others. The Maritime Command Museum fail is completely the fault of DND and the federal government. Ottawa is far from the 'end of the continent' and DND is probably the most useless of all our federal bureaucracies.
Oh and BTW, have you ever heard the outrage over the fact that PEI has four seats when in actual, bean-counter fact, they only deserve one? I mean, really...