In 2012, the Government of Canada designated Arvida a National Historic Site of Canada. The commemorated Borough covers three heritage sites designated by the municipality in 2010: the City built in 135 days, Neilson Street area, and the Saguenay Manor. Together united from an historical standpoint, components of the Borough are also linked from an aesthetic standpoint, for they illustrate the formal research conducted in Arvida to produce a favourable environment for workers in order to let the city itself become the company’s trade mark.
Federal authorities have acknowledged that the Arvida Borough is of such architectural, artistic, iconic, scenic, urban, aesthetic and historic interest that its knowledge, protection and promotion are of undeniable public interest on a national level. The Borough is an eloquent testimony to the history of the company town Arvida once was, and along with areas surrounding the model town, proof to its original contribution, measured on the world stage, among the historical overview of planned industrial towns. Its homogeneity, consistency and landscape coherence, make it recognizable; it contains a remarkable proportion of architectural components of interest in a good state of preservation; finally, it displays unique samples of the distinctive landscape diversity of a company town.
More specifically, Parks Canada Agency supports the Arvida Borough’s historic significance for the following reasons:
- Aside from the downtown area, Arvida is a great synthesis of urban concepts from the past, such as the City Beautiful Movement, Garden City, and also following more modern insights of Contour planning, traffic routes prioritization and federation of neighbourhood centers. This synthesis results in organic routes following the topography, the omnipresence of green spaces, parks and trees, picturesque character of the landscape dotted with houses free of fences and obstacles, as if they just came out of the ground.
- A very well preserved example of a mono-industrial Canadian town, Arvida represents a unique quality labour housing, where the fast rising of a diversified urban landscape happened through a wide variety of house designs, some of which a particularly successful architectural event of regionalist and neo-vernacular inspiration.
- Arvida’s growth is associated with the first Canadian aluminum complex, and bears witness to the rise and evolution of the aluminum industry in Canada.
Arvida becomes part of the select group of 961 historic sites designated since 1919. In 2012, there were 193 national historic sites; across de country, there are very few town companies commemorated by the federal government, notwithstanding their crucial importance in the growth of Canada. Arvida is a prime example of that.