Exciting New Summer Tours

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Two free outdoor tours are now up and running! As a museum with a mandate to encourage reflection and dialogue, the tours are designed to get you thinking, talking, and interacting with our interpretive guides. Both tours provide a taste of the public programs you can expect from the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) when we open next year.

Inspired by the historic landscape around the CMHR, the tour “Rights Around Us” focuses on the theme “everywhere you look there is a human rights story.” The Museum is surrounded by The Forks, Downtown Winnipeg, St. Boniface, and the Exchange District. Each of these communities has a story of hope, struggle, or inspiration related to human rights.  

The Forks, an Indigenous meeting place for over 6000 years, is located on Treaty One territory and is an excellent place to talk about how all Canadians have rights and responsibilities under the numbered treaties. Winnipeg’s downtown area was witness to the 1919 General Strike, a key turning point for labour rights. The Francophone community of St. Boniface is a fitting place to discuss language rights in Canada.  At the Walker Theatre in the Exchange District, Nellie McClung held a mock-parliament in the struggle for women to earn the right to vote in Manitoba. On this tour, the stories start local and are put into a national or global perspective. 

Brigitte and Javier
Javier Torres and Brigitte Savard, Summer Interpretive Guides, are ready to take you on a human rights journey starting inside Winnipeg’s Union Station, 123 Main Street.

Our second tour is our new family tour called “Growing a Better Future.” This program focuses on how the right to food is both a local and global issue. On one of the hands-on activities, participants open a series of lunch kits and discuss the fairness and equality of its contents. At the end of the program, visitors consider ways to ensure everyone has enough to eat.

This year, we are pleased to be working with Via Rail Canada to start our tours inside the rotunda at Union Station. The history of this stunning building fits into the overall human rights theme of the tours. Union Station welcomed thousands of immigrants to the prairies. The journey for some was not an easy one. In 1872, two immigration sheds were built at The Forks, each accommodating 500 people. Shortly afterwards, a shanty-town called 'the flats' took form at the north-west corner of The Forks, housing a large portion of the city's impoverished immigrants. The flats were home to as many as 2,000 people. A lack of food, water, and money were some of the challenges these immigrants faced.  

The Forks 
Immigration sheds at The Forks.
Credit: Ridsdale, G.F. / Library and Archives Canada / PA-122676 

There are many links between Union Station and the CMHR. Union Station recently celebrated its 100th birthday, while across the street, the CMHR is being born. Via Rail’s train passengers are on a journey; visitors to the CMHR will also complete a journey. The Museum’s architect, Antoine Predock, ensured the sight lines and walking paths were in line with the surrounding buildings, including Union Station.   

We hope to see you on tour this summer to take part in one of our fantastic new programs. And don’t worry; the tours also include information about the CMHR, this distinctive building now standing tall in support of human rights around us. 

For more details about our exciting new tours please visit http://museumforhumanrights.ca/programs-and-events/programs/2013-summer-tours. See you soon!

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