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Opening ceremony to symbolize Canadian unity

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A special ceremony symbolizing the stories that have been gathered from across Canada will mark the official opening of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights today.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/09/2014 (3053 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A special ceremony symbolizing the stories that have been gathered from across Canada will mark the official opening of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights today.

Stones from the farthest reaches of the country — north, south, east and west — will be placed at points along a circle, museum officials said in a news release. “With the placing of a final stone at the circle’s centre, the museum will be officially declared open.”

The circle is a timeless and universal symbol, the release said. It’s significant to virtually every culture and, like the museum, it represents inclusion, connection and unity, it said.

“The stones represent the stories and contributions from across the country that made the Canadian Museum for Human Rights possible,” said CMHR president and CEO Stuart Murray. “They also symbolize the strong foundation on which the museum’s visitors will build the next chapter in Canada’s human rights history.”

Parks Canada hand-gathered the stones from national parks and national historic sites from some of the farthest points of the country:

— Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site in Newfoundland, the most easterly point of land on the continent.

— Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on Vancouver Island in the west.

— Point Pelee National Park in Ontario at Canada’s southernmost tip.

— Remote Quttinirpaaq National Park in Nunavut, located some 3,700 kilometres north of Winnipeg at Canada’s northernmost extreme.

The final stone — Tyndall gathered in Manitoba from the Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site — will be placed in the centre of the circle as the museum is officially declared open.

The museum’s opening ceremonies will be livestreamed today from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. on the museum’s website.

The opening ceremonies feature performances from the Tenors, Maria Aragon and Sierra Noble. Quebec’s Ginette Reno — most recently famous for her renditions of O, Canada prior to Montreal Canadiens home games — will perform the national anthem.

David Johnston, Governor General of Canada and patron of the museum, and representatives from each level of government will speak at the opening. The ceremonies will begin with an aboriginal blessing by elders with a First Nations prayer, a Métis prayer and the lighting of an Inuit qulliq. A children’s dance finale — representing Canada’s next generation of human rights leaders — will conclude the program.

The public is invited this weekend to free events and activities including an outdoor concert Saturday night. The full event lineup is available on the CMHR website. Regular museum operations begin on Saturday, Sept. 27.

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