Tag Archives: 24 Sussex Drive

The National Trust of Canada

I have been thinking lately that Canada needs something like the National Trust in the U.K.  For those of you who do not know of the National Trust, according to Wikipedia.

The trust owns many heritage properties, including historic houses and gardens, industrial monuments and social history sites. It is one of the largest landowners in the United Kingdom, owning many beauty spots, most of which are open to the public free of charge. It is the largest membership organisation in the United Kingdom, and one of the largest UK charities by both income and assets.

It’s funding is diverse.

For the year ended 2007, the Trust’s total income was £357.2 million. The largest sources of income were membership subscriptions (£100.3 million), direct property income (£81.7 million) and legacies (£47.1 million). In addition, the Trust’s commercial arm, National Trust Enterprises Ltd, which undertakes profit-making activities such as running gift shops and restaurants at properties, contributed £48 million.

Expenses included £143.7 million for routine property running costs and £70.9 million for capital projects.

The Trust is heavily supported by volunteers, who numbered about 49,000 in 2006/07, contributing almost 3 million hours of work worth a notional £21.3 million.

I know the management of something like this would be very complicated and conflict with other agencies like the National Capital Commission (which I think should be given more power and less political interference) and Parks Canada.  While the history of Canada is not nearly as extensive as the history of England which means that we often treat the historical buildings we have rather carelessly.  In this part of the country where we build more with wood than with stone or brick, a decade or two of neglect means that the building can be lost forever.  I know we have the National Historic sites but they are often privately owned and other then a plaque, there isn’t a lot to them.  It won’t happen anytime soon as we can’t even stop playing politics with the Prime Minister’s residence and keep 24 Sussex properly maintained and upgraded.  Of course that is the perfect reason why to set up a non-profit to run as many of the properties as possible and let politicians do what they do best and I don’t think anyone thinks that is maintaining historical buildings (although the restoration of the Saskatchewan Legislature buildings is relatively partisan discussion free).