Windsor seeks UNESCO world heritage status for Ojibway park

Carolyn Turgeon
Daily Brew

[Photo: City of Windsor website]

Windsor’s Ojibway Complex might one day become a UNESCO world heritage site, but there’s a lot of work to do before it can even be nominated.

Stefan Fediuk, landscape architect for the City of Windsor and a member of the Ontario Association Of Landscape Architects, told Yahoo Canada News that the research stage has been ongoing.

Fediuk, who wrote the Parks Master Plan that led to the Windsor city council approving the UNESCO goal, said nothing formal could happen until councillors had agreed to the idea.

“[But] a lot of the factors of the bioreserve have already been taking place,” he said.

Students from Windsor and Guelph universities come to study and help to discover new and at risk species living in the Ojibway Complex.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has designated 1,031 world heritage sites thus far.

According to UNESCO’s website, properties “must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of ten selection criteria.”

Fediuk said they will be seeking initial recognition with two of the natural criteria, but that a cultural designation can be added later if relevant criteria are discovered.

The first step is getting the Ojibway Complex established as a UNESCO world biosphere reserve, a process which Fediuk said took the Niagara Escarpment 10 years. He said it may only take five years for Windsor, due to the scientific research and preparation it has had underway. Reaching a world heritage designation could take 20 years.

Canada has two nominated sites to be examined this year at the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee: Mistaken Point in Newfoundland (a natural property) and Pimachiowin Aki in Manitoba and Ontario (a natural and cultural property).

There are 9 natural sites and 8 cultural sites in Canada today. Here’s a look at the country’s nine existing natural world heritage sites.

[Photo: Mike Beedell, Parks Canada Agency/Reuters]

Nahanni National Park in the Northwest Territories was given its world heritage title in 1978. It is located along one of the most spectacular rivers in North America and contains canyons, waterfalls, hot springs and cave systems. It satisfied UNESCO criteria with its ongoing and globally unique geological processes and is home to numerous animals including wolves, grizzly bears and mountain goats.

[Photo: Attractions Canada]

In 1979, Alberta’s badlands earned a natural designation for Dinosaur Provincial Park. It is known for the highest quantity and variety of fossil specimens from the “Age of Dinosaurs” and the Cretaceous period. The park’s badlands stretch across 26 kilometres and give the site outstanding and beautiful landscapes.

[Photo: Eamonn O'Brian-Strain/Smithsonian Ocean Portal]

In the same year as Dinosaur Provincial Park, the Kluane/Wrangell-St. Elias/Glacier Bay/Tatshenshini-Alsek national parks brought a UNESCO designation to the Yukon Territory, British Columbia and Alaska. The largest non-polar ice field in the world, they have gorgeous glaciers, are tectonically active and host numerous wildlife species.

[Photo: Parks Canada]

Located in Alberta and the Northwest Territories, Wood Buffalo National Park reached world heritage status in 1983. Containing the world’s largest herd of a threatened species, the wood bison, it also has some of the biggest undisturbed meadows in North America.

[Photo: Valley of the Ten Peaks and Moraine Lake, Banff National Park/ Wikimedia Commons]

In 1990, the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks got their UNESCO honour. Located in British Columbia and Alberta, the seven world-famous parks include scenic Banff and Jasper, and feature mountains, glaciers, canyons, waterfalls and a marine fossil site. Millions visit every year for the luxurious views and outdoor adventures.

[Photo: Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism]

Bringing attention to the Maritimes, Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland and Labrador became a world heritage site in 1987. This rare example of continental drift and location of recent glacial activity has made coastal lowlands, fjords, valleys and cliffs, just a few of it’s notable geological features.

[Photo: City Profile]

Alberta and Montana combined their national parks to form Waterton Glacier International Peace Park in 1995. The world’s first International Peace Park, it has a distinctive climate, a combination of mountains and prairies, and diverse wildlife and flowers.

[Photo: Miguasha website]

In 1999, Miguasha National Park in Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula achieved natural world heritage status by being the most outstanding vertebrate life fossil site in the world. Rife with scientific specimens, it also boasts the opportunity to learn about the first creatures to live on land instead of in the water.

[Photo: Nova Scotia website]

The Joggins Fossil Cliffs gave Nova Scotia their first inscription in 2008, once again because of its scientific value. They are the global reference point for the “Coal Age” and feature fossil-bearing rock exposures and extensive fossil forests.