Our Canada, My Story

What is Our Canada, My Story?

The Museum developed Our Canada, My Story to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation. This exhibition provides a glimpse into some of the current perspectives and lived human rights experiences of Canadians across the country. Through a series of intimate and engaging films, seven personal stories are presented to encourage reflection and dialogue about human rights in Canada today.

Choosing the stories

Our curators invited people living in different regions of Canada and facing diverse issues to share their stories. These stories connect to multiple human rights topics related to equality and inclusion, namely:

  • the rights of persons with disabilities, 
  • the rights of people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, 
  • Indigenous rights and reconciliation, 
  • freedom of expression, 
  • right to health and food security, 
  • rights of refugees and resettlement, and 
  • the impacts of historical human rights violations.

Together, these stories present a picture of the challenges some Canadians face on a daily basis and how they are overcoming these challenges to fully enjoy their human rights. By presenting these stories, the Museum hopes to encourage Canadians to forge a connection with people who might be facing unique or different challenges from their own and to learn about the inspiring ways they respond to these obstacles. 

Discovering common threads 

Through this project, our team came to understand that in addition to each person’s unique circumstances, there were common threads to which many Canadians can relate: finding community and a place to call home, the importance of family, the desire to feel and be treated equally and with dignity, to be fully included in society and appreciated for who you are, to speak out to address issues and injustices, and to give back. It also became clear that when facing challenges or barriers to the full realization of human rights, there are infinite ways to respond. For example, listening to others, writing a song, joining a group of like-minded people, finding support within your community, challenging laws or perceptions, starting a movement, or by raising your children to respect and treat people equally. 

Celebrating what connects us 

The Museum is truly grateful for the welcome that our team received. All of the people featured in the exhibition were incredibly generous with their time, welcoming our team into homes, families, workplaces and communities to share their personal stories. Although many of the people featured in the films face complex issues, they all articulate their concerns and perspectives in very relatable ways. Throughout this process, the team discovered that there is so much more that connects us as Canadians than separates us. The team was also very fortunate to have the opportunity to take in the breathtaking diversity of landscapes found across the country. For that reason, the stunning environmental scenes have been integrated into the films and exhibition design.

As Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2017, capturing human rights stories from across the country is a powerful way to acknowledge the ongoing, tireless work of Canadians to ensure their rights and the rights of others continue to be fully realized and protected.

Our Canada, My Story opens February 28, 2017. The exhibition is showing in the Expressions gallery, supported by the Richardson Foundation & Family.