Parks Canada

Parks Canada

August 04, 2009 13:00 ET

Government of Canada Celebrates the Historical Significance of Mifflin Wistar Gibbs

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Aug. 4, 2009) - The Honourable Jim Prentice, Canada's Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, today celebrated the national historic significance of Mifflin Wistar Gibbs, whom he designated a National Historic Person of Canada, on the recommendation of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.

"Our government is proud to honour a man who worked tirelessly for the local Black Community as a politician, businessman, and defender of human rights," said Minister Prentice. "With today's commemoration, we take another step in bringing the national historic significance of Mifflin Wistar Gibbs to all Canadians."

Gibbs became one of the leading merchants of early Victoria and placed himself on the cutting edge of entrepreneurial activity in British Columbia by investing in resource development and encouraging trade links outside of the area at an early date.

Mifflin Wistar Gibbs made Black Canadians a force in colonial politics in the mid-1800s, when as an elected city councilor in Victoria, he became the first Black person to hold public office in British Columbia. He revealed a clear vision for the future of the colony within Confederation that was rare in the hurly-burly politics of the day.

"The story of Mifflin Wistar Gibbs is a fine example of how Black persons positively influenced the history of Canada and helped make it the rich country it is today," stated the Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade, Minister for the Asia Pacific Gateway and Regional minister for the Province of B.C.

"We are very pleased to hear that the Historic Sites and Monuments of Canada have considered Mifflin Gibbs as a person of national significance", remarked Karen Hoshal, President of the BC Black History Awareness Society. "We feel that Mifflin Gibbs is a very worthwhile candidate and deserving of this honour".

Parks Canada works to ensure that Canada's historic and natural heritage is presented and protected for the enjoyment, education, appreciation and inspired discovery of all Canadians, today and in the future.

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