The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, today announced the Harper Government’s intention to introduce legislation creating the Canadian Museum of History, the first in a series of measures on the road to Canada’s 150thbirthday in 2017. In order to achieve this, the Harper Government plans to introduce amendments to the Museums Act to change the name and mandate of the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Minister Moore made the announcement at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in the presence of the Museum’s Board of Trustees, Museum staff, eminent Canadian historians, and members of historical associations from across Canada.
“This year marks the start of the five-year countdown to Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017. It offers us an unprecedented opportunity to celebrate our history and those achievements that define who we are as Canadians,” said Minister Moore. “Canadians deserve a national museum of history that tells our stories and presents our country’s treasures to the world.”
The Canadian Museum of History will highlight the national achievements and accomplishments that have shaped our country, including the “Last Spike” from the construction of the Canada Pacific Railway, Maurice “Rocket” Richard’s hockey jersey and items from Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope. Through existing resources and new partnerships with museums across Canada, the Canadian Museum of History will renovate over 50,000 square feet of public space. This renovation, to be completed before Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017, will provide the public with the opportunity to appreciate how Canada’s identity has been shaped over the course of our history.
“As Canada’s largest organization dedicated to history and citizenship, the Historica-Dominion Institute enthusiastically supports the creation of the Canadian Museum of History,” said Yves Fortier, member of the Institute’s board of directors. “It is essential that Canadians of all ages have access to public resources through which they may learn more about our shared history and heritage.”
Mark O’Neill, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation, said the institution is taking a bold step into the future by refocusing its attention on our shared national history. “The Canadian Museum of History will inspire curiosity and a greater understanding of the forces that have shaped the Canadian identity. Canadians, as well as visitors from around the world, will leave the Museum with a deeper appreciation of Canada’s unique and fascinating national journey.”
The transformation will require a one-time investment of $25 million that will be funded within the existing budget for Canadian Heritage. In other words, it will come at no additional cost to taxpayers. Other measures announced today include:
- Seeking input from Canadians across Canada on the major themes, events, and accomplishments that have shaped our country;
- A new process linking Canada’s network of museums to the Canadian Museum of History, so Canadians in all regions of the country have better access to our shared history;
- Fundraising activities to solicit support from the private sector to complement the Government’s one-time investment; and
- An online forum which will engage Canadians on what are the defining chapters in our country’s history.