What an amazing year!

Friday, January 2, 2015
Dancers at the Museum’s Opening Ceremonies. Credit : Dan Harper / CMHR

On January 1, 2014 the galleries of our newly-finished building at the Forks stood largely empty and staff had yet to move in.  A year later, we are a fully operational national museum. It’s been a momentous year.

Even in early 2014, the Museum saw plenty of activity.  A “Fragile Freedoms” lecture series welcomed large crowds to hear distinguished speakers as John Borrows, Baroness Helena Kennedy and Steven Pinker.   
In March, we held the Juno Awards opening reception.

People facing a scene, and screens mentionning Juno Awards 2014
Juno Awards opening reception in full swing at the Museum. Credit: Lindsay Winter / CMHR.

In summer, Canadians got a televised sneak peek when the Amazing Race Canada aired part of an episode inside the Museum.  
A man dancing with a ballerina
Amazing Race Canada Contestant Rex Harrington with Royal Winnipeg Ballet dancer Amanda Green.

August also saw the Museum host an event for the Canadian Tourism Commission’s largest annual travel media conferences, welcoming more than 140 members of the tourism industry and over 110 Canadian and international travel journalists. 

A woman speaks at an event
Director, Communications and External Relations Angela Cassie speaks at the GoMedia Canada event in Bonnie & John Buhler Hall. Photo: Canadian Tourism Commission / William Au

On September 19, the moment we’d been awaiting arrived -- the official opening weekend.  A beautiful opening ceremony kicked off a weekend of activities, including free preview tours of the Museum, performances at the Forks and the Canadian Concert for Human Rights.  

A woman sings and plays guitar.
Buffy Sainte-Marie performs at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights Concert. Photo: Jessica Sigurdson / CMHR.

We then began to welcome the world.  By the beginning of December, more than 100,000 visitors had passed through our doors.  They included inspiring human rights defenders Wanda Robson, the sister of Canadian civil rights trailblazer Viola Desmond and Ziauddin Yousafzai, father of Malala Yousafzai.

A man looks at a photo of a girl
Ziauddin Yousafzai visits the Museum.

An event in November for content contributors brought even more – people like Marina Nemat, who was once imprisoned in Iran; Rebekah Enns, who founded a gay-straight alliance at her school; and Maréshia Rucker, organizer of the first intergrated prom for students of her high school in Georgia, USA.   

A young woman is smilling
Maréshia Rucker stands with her prom dress in the Inspiring Change Gallery. Photo: Dan Harper / CMHR.

On December 10, we marked International Human Rights Day by offering extended hours and free admission – and welcomed more than 4,000 visitors.  Special events included our Annual Public Meeting, a citizenship ceremony and amazing Indigenous performances. It was a great way to cap off an eventful year.

Hoop dancer performs
Hoop dancer Shanley Spence performs in the Garden of Contemplation. Photo: Dan Harper / CMHR.


The year is over, but our journey has just begun.  We now await all the exciting milestones to come in 2015, and look forward to sharing them with you.