Thursday, 6 June 2013

CMHR Walking Tours

The museum may not be open yet, but their work in the community has begun!  This summer the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is offering FREE walking tours around the site until August 31st.  The tours are interactive and informative, and invite participants to engage with one another, with their guides, and with the landscape surrounding them.

I took the Rights Around Us tour, offered Wednesday through Saturday at 1:30pm and 3:30pm.  This tour focuses on human rights issues and events relevant to Winnipeg and Manitoba.  It also offers information about the museum itself, its construction, composition, and plans for galleries and amenities. On Thursdays at 7:00pm there's also a family oriented tour, Growing a Better Future.

The tours meet in Union Station before heading outside and making their way along the Broadway Promenade, where visitors will pass arguably one of the most peaceful human rights activists who ever lived, Ghandi.  The statue of Ghandi has resided at The Forks for around ten years when plans for the museum were first announced.  His presence is very fitting for a site such as this, reminding visitors to "be the change" they want to see in the world.
Guides Bridget and Javier have a relaxed and knowledgeable approach with tourists, asking them questions in a 'pop-quiz' style about local history and human rights issues including treaty rights, first nations rights, women's rights*, and French language rights.

*Spoiler alert: there may or may not be a re-enactment of the play that Nellie McClung and the suffragists staged at the then Walker Theatre (now the Burton Cummings Theatre) which had a huge impact on women receiving the right to vote in Manitoba in 1916.

The walk along the Broadway Promenade is a hidden gem in this city that I think many Winnipeggers aren't even aware of.  It offers incredible skyline views of the museum and the Esplanade Riel.  If you haven't ever taken the time to stroll through this part of The Forks, I suggest that you do.  It's  probably one of the prettiest parts of the city that rivals some of the most famous public green spaces anywhere.  And it's right in our own backyard!

The tour is  about an hour in length and each stop along the way offers a place to sit and soak in the beautiful scenery all around. Whether you are a Winnipeg resident or a visitor to our city, I think this is definitely a tour worth taking.  It certainly taught me some interesting and important facts about the history of the place I love to call home.

Written by Alison August

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