Parks Canada looks to shine light on cloudy future for historic sites

OTTAWA—Sunny ways? Not so much at Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s historic home.

The small structure north of Montreal has seen a sharp decline in attendance, to 623 visitors in 2016 from about 2,600 in 2011.

The same story plays out at other historic sites at the centre of recently launched public consultations that, once completed, will produce 10-year plans designed to turn around sagging attendance figures.

A spokeswoman for Parks Canada says the goal of the various consultations is to produce plans that build connections between Canadians and each historic site.

The consultation documents point to multiple reasons for why people may not be visiting, including being far from tourist areas, having outdated facilities or simply being difficult to recognize.

Parks Canada says almost 1.3 million people visited national historic sites between April and June.

While that represents a 14 per cent decline in visitors from the same period last year, when admission was free for everyone, it also marks a bump of 3 per cent from the same period in 2016.

TORONTO STAR

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