Canadian Museum for Human Rights officially opens

In 2003, the Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) launched one of Canada’s largest international architectural competitions. Entries arrived from 64 countries, and the winner was American architect Antoine Predock, who worked with the Winnipeg office of Architecture49 (formerly Smith Carter Architects) on the design of the massive building, which officially opened at 85 Israel Asper Way in Winnipeg on September 19, 2014.

A special ceremony symbolizing the stories that have been gathered from across Canada marked the official opening of the CMHR; through a special partnership between the Museum and Parks Canada, stones from the farthest reaches of the country – north, south, east and west – were placed at points along a circle. With the placing of a final stone at the circle’s centre, the Museum was officially declared open.

“The stones represent the stories and contributions from across the country that made the Canadian Museum for Human Rights possible,” said CMHR President and CEO Stuart Murray. “They also symbolize the strong foundation on which the Museum’s visitors will build the next chapter in Canada’s human rights history.”

Officials noted the circle is itself a timeless and universal symbol. Significant to virtually every culture, the circle, like the Museum itself, represents inclusion, connection and unity. Parks Canada hand-gathered the stones from national parks and national historic sites from some of the farthest points of the country: Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site in Newfoundland, the most easterly point of land on the continent; Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on Vancouver Island in the west; Point Pelee National Park in Ontario at Canada’s southernmost tip; and the stunningly remote Quttinirpaaq National Park in Nunavut, located some 3,700 kilometres north of Winnipeg at Canada’s northernmost extreme. The final stone – Tyndall gathered in Manitoba from the Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site – was placed in the centre of the circle.

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is the first museum in the world solely dedicated to the evolution, celebration and future of human rights. Using multimedia technology and other innovative approaches, the CMHR will create inspiring encounters with human rights for all ages, in a visitor experience unlike any other.

Opening weekend celebrations took place on September 20, 2014, and from September 22 to 26, a number of special events will be held, including private visits by people whose stories are portrayed in the Museum. In addition, the Museum will welcome senior Canadian travel and tourism officials for familiarization tours. Regular operations begin on Saturday, September 27, 2014.

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