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Louis S. St-Laurent National Historic Site © Parks Canada, 2020.

The Louis S. St-Laurent National Historic Site of Canada Management Plan 2016 sets out the long-term strategy for the site as well as how the site is administered. Parks Canada’s mandate is to protect and present nationally significant examples of Canada’s natural and cultural heritage, and foster public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment in ways that ensure the ecological and commemorative integrity of the places for present and future generations.

The purpose of this annual update is to share 2019 achievements with the public.

« In terms of attendance, the site received 4,644 visitors, a slight decrease from the 4,923 visitors welcomed in 2016. »

This short summary reports on the progress made in implementing the Management Plan over the past year.

Key strategy #1: An important place for the community and the vitality of the regional tourism offering.

Objective : The historic site is integrated in the development dynamic of the region’s tourism sector.

  • The historic site participated in Tourisme Coaticook’s promotional campaign and distributed its promotional flyer for Tourism Eastern Townships’ network of tourism information offices.
  • The site maintains a close relationship with the community through the Companions of the Louis S. St-Laurent National Historic Site and develops diversified programming with them. The municipality of Compton supports both the Companions and the historic site by contributing financially to programming.

Objective : Visitor experience opportunities organized with the community are diversified.

  • Parks Canada is working closely with local stakeholders to enhance and diversify the ways the national historic site can be enjoyed. Thanks to these collaborations, the historic site holds activities throughout the season when it is open to visitors, from late June to early October. A total of nine activities were presented : Canada Day (July 1), Country Fair (July 7), traditional music concerts under the marquee (July 14, 21 and 28), Family Day (August 4), a music and storytelling show on the history of the blues for Compton Retro (August 18), the “Virée Gourmande des Comptonales” (October 5-6) and another new activity, a Christmas Market organized by the community under the leadership of the Association des Lions 2.0 de Compton (December 7-8).

Key strategy # 2: A visitor experience based on authenticity.

Objective : The cultural resources and landscape are kept in good condition.

  • The site team performs ongoing collections maintenance.
  • A complete assessment of the condition of the building was conducted by architectural specialists. It did not reveal any major problems.
  • The St. Laurent family gravesite was inspected in fall 2019 by a conservation specialist. It was found to be in good condition.

Objective : The general store is once again the focal point for visitors.

  • The general store is the historic site’s main attraction. Both a visitor reception area and a thematic exhibit that vividly depicts rural life in the Eastern Townships at the turn of the 20th century, the general store and the related historical re-enactment are at the heart of visitor experience. Old-fashioned sweets are sold there for all visitors to enjoy, and visitors can do some real shopping for one weekend at the Christmas market.

Objective : The site’s authenticity in enhanced by its close link with Louis S. St-Laurent himself.

  • Located not far from the national historic site, Prime Minister St. Laurent’s gravesite is one of the attractions offered to visitors. This reinforces the tangible link between the national historic site and Louis S. St-Laurent himself.

Conclusion — Next steps

The Parks Canada Agency is proud of its 2019 achievements at the Louis S. St-Laurent National Historic Site.

Actively collaborating with local stakeholders, implementing special activity programming and integrating the site into the region contribute to sharing the heritage of Louis S. St-Laurent and to Parks Canada’s mandate.

Given the COVID19 pandemic, over the next year Parks Canada will be working to provide public access to commemorative messages and certain facilities, in compliance with current health standards, and to protect the cultural resources of the national historic site.

Following this major crisis, Parks Canada will resume implementing the objectives identified in the 2016 Management Plan.

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