Wanuskewin Heritage Park, located just outside of Saskatoon, may be added to the list of world heritage sites.

World heritage sites include some of the most well-known man-made creations and natural phenomena, including the pyramids of Egypt and Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

For the first time, as part of Canada 150, Canadians could nominate places across the country to be future candidates for UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

'Canada is full of hidden gems and exceptional, inspiring places.' - Environment Minister Catherine McKenna

On Wednesday, federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, who is also responsible for Parks Canada, added eight new places to the list after receiving 42 applications.

"Canada is full of hidden gems and exceptional, inspiring places," said McKenna in a news release. "These national treasures represent the very best that Canada has to offer from natural wonders and maritime heritage to Indigenous lands and culture.

"These places will showcase Canada to the world."

6.400 years of history

Saskatchewan's own Wanuskewin Heritage Park, an archeological site that chronicles 6,400 years of history of the Great Plains of North America, was included.

"Indigenous nations from across the Great Plains recognize the significance of Wanuskewin as a sacred location. This is a gathering place. We come here for ceremonies, to understand our history and to connect with our ancestors," said Wanuskewin board member Candace Wasacase-Lafferty in a news release.

"Being named to Canada's Tentative List for World Heritage Sites reaffirms the importance of this place and the need to protect it for future generations."

$40M fundraising campaign

Recently, Wanuskewin launched an aggressive $40-million fundraising campaign to expand the current facility and land base. The goal has almost been reached and renovations to the building are set to begin this winter.

The eight places added to Canada's Tentative List for World Heritage Sites are:

  • Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound Glass Sponge Reefs (B.C.)
  • Stein Valley (B.C.)
  • Wanuskewin Heritage Park (Sask.)
  • Anticosti Island (Que.)
  • Heart's Content Cable Station Provincial Historic Site (N.L.)
  • Qajartalik (Nunavut)
  • Sirmilik National Park (Nunavut)
  • Yukon Ice Patches (Yukon)

Inscription of a site on the World Heritage List represents the highest recognition of heritage value internationally. The designation is known to increase tourism and safeguarding.
There are 18 world heritage sites in Canada. Canada's Tentative List for World Heritage Sites was last updated in 2004.