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This article was published 10/4/2019 (450 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Paul Mahon remembers the awe and excitement he felt as a child when he visited the Manitoba Museum.
Mahon, the chief executive officer of Canada Life, announced $750,000 in funding for the downtown Winnipeg museum Wednesday, with about 40 students from Victoria Albert School in attendance. The gift qualifies for the province’s matching funds program, raising it to $1.125 million.
Mahon said Canada Life’s support is to show pride in the community. It hopes to bring that same thrill for the past and focus on the future to today’s youth who visit the museum.
"I have fond memories of going and playing in the science area, but even more significant to me was my brother’s summer job working on the project when they brought the Nonsuch over from the United Kingdom," Mahon said, referring to his older brother, Patrick, who was a University of Manitoba student when the regal replica vessel came to the museum in 1974.
Mahon said he was about 13 years old when he revelled in the excitement of the ship’s arrival and his family connection to it.
"I hope these students get that feeling. All the galleries today at the museum and what we’re doing with them now can capture their imagination relative to the First Peoples’ history, immigrants coming over, and the Winnipeg Gallery that really shows the history of our city," he said. "When you look at the kids here, they’re thrilled to be away from school for a few hours, but this is a fun place to be.
"This is place that you can touch and feel and be a part of it."
The money is in support of the Bringing Our Stories Forward capital renewal project, which is refurbishing and transforming 42 per cent of the museum’s galleries by the fall of 2020. It will also assist the facility in developing and upgrading its educational programs for students in kindergarten through Grade 12.
"The level of support we’ve received today from private-sector donors like Canada Life and Power Financial (Power Corporation of Canada) underscores something we’ve known for many decades, that Manitobans love this museum," said James Cohen, chairman of the museum.
"The Manitoba Museum is telling the story of our community, our province and our place in the world for the last 49 years, stories that are essential to how we relate to one another and learn more about our place in the world, our city, our province."
The museum announced a new endowment fund called the Manitoba Museum Founders Fund in Honour of James W. Burns, a former founding member of the museum who died on Feb. 11. The fund will be used for research and collections acquisitions and exhibit replacements. It has been established with $350,000, including $100,000 from the Burns family.
The new donations brought the renewal project’s fundraising total to $15.8 million, closing in on its $17.5-million goal.
The museum will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2020, the same year the province of Manitoba turns 150.
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Updated on Thursday, April 11, 2019 at 8:30 AM CDT: Adds photos
11:23 AM: Adds clarification to quote.