Celebrating 200 years of ASL

Thomas Fricke/CMHR

American Sign Language Anniversary

American Sign Language (ASL) is used by thousands of people across Canada, and is one of the cornerstones of Deaf culture and identity for many Canadians.

On May 17, join us for a celebration of the 200th anniversary of ASL!


Deaf Culture and Identity – A Presentation in American Sign Language

Guest Speaker Rick Zimmer, President of the Manitoba Cultural Society of the Deaf, shares his personal story.

2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Stuart Clark Garden of Contemplation, on Level 3


Born and raised in Manitoba, Rick Zimmer has been an advocate for the rights of Deaf Canadians for decades. Born into a large Deaf family where ASL allowed for effortless conversations in the household, upon entering school he was surprised to learn that students were often punished for using sign language.

As a child, he frequently had oral methods of communication forced upon him by those who did not understand the complexity of ASL or its importance to the Deaf community. As an adult, he wants to build understanding between Deaf and hearing Canadians so that they can better communicate with and understand one another.

In this dynamic presentation, he will trace the development of the use of ASL in Canada alongside the growth of an independent and proud Deaf Culture and identity. There will be a Q&A following the presentation.

This talk will be interpreted for an English hearing audience.

Free with admission; Free for members.


The Magic of ASL

We present musical and theatrical performances in Bonnie & John Buhler Hall.


6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Bonnie & John Buhler Hall on Level 1


Deaf Culture is expressed in many ways! Join us for an evening celebrating the diversity of the Deaf community. There will be performances by the student drumming group from the Manitoba School for the Deaf, 100 Decibels Deaf mime troupe, and theatrical performances by ASL story-tellers and students from the Deaf Studies program at Red River College. Explore the past oppression and subsequent revitalization of ASL.

This program is free.


Event Details

Date: Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Time and location: 2 p.m. - 3 p.m. in the Stuart Clark Garden of Contemplation, on Level 3

Time and location: 6:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. in Bonnie & John Buhler Hall

We are proud to present today’s celebrations in partnership with the Manitoba Cultural Society of the Deaf, and the Manitoba Association of Visual Language Interpreters.