Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Gandhi Way near museum made official

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The name of Mahatma Gandhi will be lent to a roadway leading to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

At a ceremony Thursday in the shadow of the museum, Mayor Sam Katz said the portion of York Avenue between Main Street and Waterfront Drive will be recognized as Honorary Mahatma Gandhi Way.

Katz said it was appropriate the roadway leading to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights be associated with an individual synonymous with the struggle for human rights.

"Mahatma Gandhi was a spiritual and political leader whose influence is still felt today," Katz told a small crowd that included representatives from the Indian, Pakistani and aboriginal communities.

"His teachings of non-violence and social change have given hope to millions of people facing oppression around the world," Katz said. "Gandhi selflessly dedicated his life to human rights and made many sacrifices to ensure and to protect the freedom of others."

Coun. Devi Sharma (Old Kildonan) said the name change was made at the request of the Mahatma Gandhi Centre of Canada, an organization based in Winnipeg, and supported by The Forks and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Mahatma Gandhi "was the symbolic figure, a person who signified the struggle for human rights," said Krishnamurti Dakshinamurti, president of the Mahatma Gandhi Centre of Canada.

Katz later clarified York will not be renamed so as not to cause confusion for emergency personnel and others. However, he said the Gandhi name will be posted along the roadway atop the existing York Avenue street signs. A similar honour was bestowed earlier this year in recognition of the Kelekis restaurant, when a portion of Main Street was designated Honorary Kelekis Way.

Gail Asper, recognized as the driving force behind the creation of the museum and a member of its board of trustees and national chairwoman of its private-sector fundraising campaign, said the museum was consulted and backed the name change.

"I love the idea that as you approach the (museum) you are going to be entering Mahatma Gandhi Way and you're going to be entering the mindset that is preparing you for the way the museum's approach to human rights is being developed -- a thoughtful, non-violent, social action-oriented experience and that's what Gandhi was," Asper said.

The Mahatma Gandhi name was originally set aside for a new street in Transcona. But civic officials reversed themselves in 2010 after a request from the Mahatma Gandhi Centre that the name be attached to a street near the museum.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 16, 2013 B3

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