New outdoor exhibition highlights Canada’s triumphs, failures and sacrifices

May 17, 2017


For immediate release

Gatineau, Quebec, May 17, 2017 — The Canadian Museum of History has teamed up with Canada’s History Society for an outdoor exhibition of unforgettable images and thought-provoking texts. Snapshots of Canada will be presented in front of the Museum, on the Laurier Street sidewalk, until October 2, 2017.

From Terry Fox’s cross-Canada Marathon of Hope to Paul Henderson’s game-winning goal in the 1972 Summit Series, and from the deportation of Japanese-Canadians after the Second World War to the standoff at Oka, the exhibition’s 24 powerful photographs capture iconic and lesser-known moments in Canadian history.

“The Canadian Museum of History is proud to collaborate with Canada’s History Society for this cultural partnership,” said Mark O’Neill, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of History. “By making Snapshots of Canada freely accessible in a public space, we hope these images of triumph, failure and sacrifice that have marked our history will be appreciated by as many people as possible, including everyone who visits the capital for Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations.”

“Photos don’t just give us a picture of who we were, they are a reflection of who we are, and who we can become in the future,” said Mark Reid, Editor-in-Chief of Canada’s History Society and the editor of the two bestselling books behind the project. “We are delighted to have partnered with the talented team at Canadian Museum of History who have showcased these extraordinary photographs in an exhibit that will reawaken memories of seminal moments from Canada’s past.”

The photographs, ranging from depictions of high drama to plain joy, were chosen from 100 Photos That Changed Canada (2009) and 100 Days That Changed Canada (2010), published by Canada’s History and Harper Collins Canada. The images are paired with texts by well-known Canadian historians, authors and journalists, creating a portrait of Canada from four perspectives: Building a Country, Living Together, Seeking Justice and Celebrating Culture. Contributors include literary non-fiction writer Charlotte Gray, award-winning military historian Tim Cook, former Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Brian Tobin and news anchor Peter Mansbridge.

Among the noteworthy contributions, archivist and art historian Jim Burant comments on a mid-1840s portrait of Objibwe chief Maungwudaus, a.k.a. George Henry, and writes about those missing from the iconic photograph documenting the ceremonial “last spike” in the cross-Canada railway in 1885. Best-selling novelist Lawrence Hill recalls the razing of Africville and the forced relocation of residents of this Black community during the 1960s. Winona Wheeler, professor of Indigenous Studies at the University of Saskatchewan, writes about the residential school system’s shameful and still unresolved legacy.

Other emblematic events include the fight for women’s rights, the election of the Parti Québecois and the second sovereignty referendum, the Battle of Passchendaele, the Winnipeg Strike, the legalization of same-sex marriage, and the Canadian women’s hockey team winning Olympic gold in Salt Lake City.

Snapshots of Canada is on view outside, in front of the Canadian Museum of History from May 17 to October 2, 2017. After its inaugural presentation, it will travel to other communities from coast to coast. There is also an indoor version of the exhibition opening in Halifax this fall. In addition, the exhibition will be made available to Canadian consulates and embassies to share iconic images from our history.

Located on the shores of the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Quebec, the Canadian Museum of History attracts 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 Museum of History is made possible in part through financial support of the Government of Canada.

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