About The Program

What is the Provincial Historic Commemorations Program (PHCP)?

The PHCP is a citizen-driven program that allows for the commemoration of aspects of our history and culture that are of provincial significance. The establishment of a Provincial Historic Commemorations Program allows us to better recognize, honour and interpret our cultural and historic treasures. This program is distinct for its recognition of the intangible aspects of Newfoundland and Labrador’s culture and heritage – the customs, cultural practices, traditional skills and knowledge that define the province and its people.

Nominations fall under the categories of:

Nominations are reviewed by the Provincial Historic Commemorations Committee. Successful nominations should demonstrate that the subject influenced Newfoundland and Labrador’s history, culture and way of life, and that its impact is recognized as provincially significant.


What is Intangible Cultural Heritage?

The 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage defines intangible cultural heritage as the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, and skills that communities, groups and (in some cases) individuals recognize as part of their shared cultural heritage.

The UNESCO Convention further defines intangible cultural heritage as traditions and customs that:

  • are transmitted from generation to generation
  • are constantly recreated by communities and groups, in response to their environment, their interaction with nature, and their history
  • provide communities and groups with a sense of identity and continuity
  • promote respect for cultural diversity and human creativity
  • are compatible with international human rights instruments
  • comply with the requirements of mutual respect among communities, and of sustainable development

According to the Convention, intangible cultural heritage is conveyed, practised, and shared through:

  • Oral traditions and expressions
  • Performing arts, such as traditional music, dance, and theatre
  • Social practices, rituals, and festive events
  • Knowledge and practices that involve or concern nature and the universe
  • Traditional craftsmanship

For further information on the UNESCO Convention, visit www.unesco.org/culture/ich/

About the Provincial Historic Commemorations Committee

The Provincial Historic Commemorations Committee includes representatives from a range of citizens who have far-reaching experience in the fields of culture and heritage. The six-member advisory committee meets biannually to review public nominations for commemorative designation.

Current PHC Committee Members

Joan Ritcey

Joan Ritcey is an academic librarian and Head of the Centre for Newfoundland Studies at Memorial University Libraries. She is the chief editor of Newfoundland’s periodical index, the PAB http://www.library.mun.ca/cns/pab/  and serves on the editorial advisory board of the journal Newfoundland and Labrador Studies.

Joan is involved in the heritage sector as a volunteer. She is a member of the board of the Newfoundland Historical Society, has served as its president and program chair, and has chaired two of its historical symposia for the general public. She is on the board of the Historic Sites Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, is a past chair of the HSA, has chaired a public advisory committee at The Rooms and currently serves on another.

Olaf Janzen

Olaf Janzen (PhD, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON) is Professor of History at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University in Corner Brook. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and member of several organizations, including the Navy Records Society, the International Maritime Economic History Association, the Canadian Nautical Research Society, the Society for Nautical Research, and the Newfoundland Historical Society. Dr. Janzen’s research specialization is the trade, society and defence of eighteenth-century Newfoundland, and he has published frequently on those themes in peer-reviewed journals, including Newfoundland & Labrador Studies. He contributed the chapter on the eighteenth century to A Short History of Newfoundland and Labrador (St. John’s, 2008). In 2013, a collection of many of his previously published articles was released by the International Maritime Economic History Association under the title War and Trade in Eighteenth-Century Newfoundland as No. 52 in the Association’s series, “Research in Maritime History.” He is the author of an on-line “Reader’s Guide to the History of Newfoundland and Labrador to 1869” (at: <http://www2.swgc.mun.ca/nfld_history/index.htm>).

Patricia Way

Patricia Way has always been interested in culture and heritage and has a passion for Labrador genealogy. Born in Cartwright, Labrador, she has also lived in Rigolet, Hopedale, North West River, Wabush/Labrador City, and Cartwright/Paradise River. She has worked as a teacher and principal, and spent time in community leadership positions. She supported THEM DAYS magazine as a Board Member, Chair and regular contributor. She was Chair of the Eagle River Development Association and also served as a member of SADC, the Zone 4 Economic Development Board, and the Board of Smart Labrador. She consults regularly for history/membership with NunatuKavut and she is a Nunatsiavut beneficiary. Recently, she was involved in a Memorial University partnership project for CURA for which she researched the history and past of the people of Labrador. She lives in Happy Valley – Goose Bay.

Robert C. Parsons

Robert C. Parsons is a popular and prolific writer on the subject of Atlantic Canada’s ships and ship disasters. He is the author of more than twenty-five non-fiction books. His work has also appeared in a number of newspapers and magazines such as Downhome, the Telegram, the Newfoundland Quarterly, and Newfoundland Lifestyles. In May 2009, Robert’s nonfiction prose was judged an award winner in the annual Arts and Letters Competition. In December that same year, he was presented with the Polaris Award from the Canadian Coast Guard Alumni Association, Newfoundland and Labrador division, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the preservation and public awareness of the marine heritage and history in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. This award was only given out two previous times in the years of the Alumni Association’s existence.

A former fish plant worker and educator and a present-day researcher and devotee of all items marine-related, Robert lives in Grand Bank, Newfoundland.

Peter Pope

Peter Pope is a University Research Professor and a former Head of the Department of Archaeology at Memorial University. He has researched and written extensively on 16th and 17th century European history in Newfoundland and Labrador and has been involved with a number of heritage organizations including the Resource Centre for the Arts, the Smallwood Foundation and the Battle Harbour Historic Trust.

Jerry Dick

A resident of St. John’s, Jerry Dick is the Executive Director of the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador. He served as Director of Heritage with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador from 2006-2016. Prior to that, he was executive director of the Association of Heritage Industries, an umbrella organization of provincial heritage groups in Newfoundland and Labrador. His professional experience includes interpretive planning/exhibit design and community development. He has also been the operator of a heritage inn. Mr. Dick has supervised the restoration of a number of heritage buildings and is a Southcott Award winner for the restoration of Garrison House in Harbour Grace.