François LeBlanc

Photo credit: Dennis Keeley

François LeBlanc graduated in architecture at the Université de Montréal. He has also specialized in heritage conservation in Ottawa and at the University of York in the United Kingdom. He has had a long career in Canada and abroad, first as a restoration architect for Parks Canada in the 1970s. In 1979 he was sent to Paris by the Canadian government to head the International Secretariat of ICOMOS. Upon his return to Canada four years later, he joined the Heritage Canada Foundation where he served as Vice-president for nine years. From 1992 to 2001, he was Chief Architect of the National Capital Commission in Ottawa. In this capacity, he was responsible for the conservation and renovation of some fifty historic properties in the region, including the official residences of the Prime Minister and the Governor General. He later worked as Field Project Manager at the Getty Conservation Institute in Los Angeles until 2007.

François LeBlanc has also been involved for over 20 years with organizations such as ICOMOS Canada and the International Association for Preservation Technology (APT). Now retired, he continues to act as a heritage consultant and teaches from time to time at Carleton University and the Willowbank School of Restoration Arts. His numerous publications range from philosophical reflection on heritage to technical conservation reports from hundreds of projects he has carried out in the field.

The following audio excerpts are from an interview with François LeBlanc by Christina Cameron in April 2009 in Ottawa, Canada. His involvement in World Heritage dates back to the early years of the Convention and his narrative offers valuable insight into the atmosphere and the operations at the time, both for the World Heritage Committee and for ICOMOS. In particular, he recounts one of the most significant events of the period, namely the inscription of Jerusalem on the World Heritage List.

UNESCO, World Heritage Oral Archives, Canada Research Chair on Built Heritage, University of Montreal, audio interview of François LeBlanc by Christina Cameron, Ottawa, Canada, 7 April 2009.