Canadian History Hall receives support from Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund

July 19, 2017


For immediate release

Gatineau, Quebec, July 19, 2017 — The Canadian Museum of History is pleased to announce a generous donation of $100,000 from the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund (CFWWIRF) in support of the Museum’s new signature exhibition, the Canadian History Hall, which opened on July 1. The Hall is the largest, most comprehensive exhibition on Canadian history ever developed.

Endowment Council of the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund

Endowment Council of the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund. Left to right, Dr. Sima Aprahamian, Borys Sydoruk, Dr. Anton Minkov, Viorel Oros, Mark O’Neill, President and CEO, Canadian Museum of History, Ivan Grbešić, Chair of the Council, Andrew Hladyshevsky, Q.C., Emil Yereniuk, Dr. Pierre Pawliw, and Andrea Malysh.

“The Canadian History Hall is among the most inclusive and candid exhibitions about Canadian history ever created, celebrating our collective achievements but also exploring some of the controversies and darker chapters of our past,” said Mark O’Neill, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of History. “This generous gift from the CFWWIRF helps the Museum achieve that important goal.”

The CFWWIRF is a $10 million endowment established by the federal government to support projects that commemorate and recognize the experiences of all the ethnocultural communities affected by Canada’s first national internment operations, from 1914 to 1920. Internment impacted 8,579 so-called enemy aliens, including Ukrainians, Bulgarians, Croatians, Czechs, Germans, Hungarians, Italians, Jews, various people from the Ottoman Empire, Polish, Romanians, Russians, Serbians, Slovaks, and Slovenes, among others, of which most were Ukrainians and civilians.

These “enemy aliens” were interned in Canada under the War Measures Act. In addition to the thousands placed in camps, another 80,000 foreign nationals and recent immigrants were forced to carry identity papers and report regularly to local police offices. The internment left painful scars in many ethnocultural communities, leading to the establishment of the CFWWIRF in 2008.

“On behalf of the Endowment Council of the CFWWIRF, I would like to thank the Canadian Museum of History for its inclusion of Canada’s first national internment operations of 1914 to 1920, a tragic yet little-known chapter in our history,” said Ivan Grbešić, past Chair of the Endowment Council. “This exhibit will ensure that visitors to the Canadian History Hall will learn of the effects of the War Measures Act and its crippling legacy 100 years after it was first implemented. It will also represent an important contribution to remembering, commemorating and recognizing the historic injustice suffered by thousands of innocent people and to learning from our Canadian history as to ensure that a similar tragedy not be repeated.”

The Canadian History Hall presents Canada’s national story as told through the diverse experiences and perspectives of the people who lived it, bringing together a collective story of conflict, struggle and loss, success, achievement and hope. The Hall’s development was funded by the federal government and by contributions from donors across the country.

A section of the Hall highlights wartime internment as an example of the struggle for civil liberties, social justice and inclusion in a multicultural Canada, one of the central themes explored in the new exhibition.

Located on the shores of the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Quebec, the Canadian Museum of History welcomes over 1.2 million visitors each year. The Museum’s principal role is to enhance Canadians’ knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the events, experiences, people and objects that have shaped Canada’s history and identity, as well as to enhance Canadians’ awareness of world history and culture. Work of the Canadian History Museum is made possible in part through financial support of the Government of Canada.

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