While we were visiting in
the Ottawa area, included in our tour was a large museum called
the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Actually this museum is
located in a town which is directly north of Ottawa called Hull,
Quebec. The day we passed the Museum they had a large exposition
going on with tents set up all over the outside grounds. It was
called the Festival Franco-Ontarien. It was the largest
celebration of the Francophone culture in North America.
Francophone (we found out) are the French speaking people in
Canada. We decided we would visit the Museum on Friday July 20th.
The Museum itself is an architectural masterpiece. The Canadian
Museum of Civilization, Canada's biggest and most visited museum,
celebrates human culture and accomplishment with its vast
permanent collections, including the world's largest indoor
exhibition of totem poles. It focuses on all things Canadian,
from the cultures of the Native People to the many
immigrant groups who have made the nation what it is today. You
can also experience the ever-popular Canadian Children's Museum,
the Canadian Postal Museum and the exciting new release Cirque de
Soleil Journey of Man on the gigantic Imax screen. Just to see
what is in the Museum, not including any of the films takes most
of a day.
One of the temporary exhibits they had while we were there was called Lifelines and was about Canada's East Coast Fishery. They did an excellent job of including the various provinces in the east and showing how they lived many years ago as well as how they live and fish today. One of the exhibits particularly caught my eye. It was a mannequin showing a man who might have been a whaler many years ago. He was holding his harpoon in his hand. I just couldn't get over how lifelike he appeared. They also had seascapes painted by various artists.
The various sections were: 1-Seascapes - Artworks on loan from the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. 2-Cross-Currents. 500 Generations of Aboriginal fishing in Atlantic Canada. 3-The Lure of the River. The story of sport fishing in New Brunswick. 4-The Cod rush. The European fisherman from 1497-1763. Cod fishing remained one of the main resources of eastern Canada until the 1992 moratorium. 5-Lobster Tale. the lobster fishery of Prince Edward Island. Lobster has been the mainstay of the Prince Edward Island fishery for over a century. It survived its early "boom" days to become one of the most sustainable fisheries on Canada's East Coast. 6-Tides of Change. News stories from CBC television documents recent fisheries related events in the region. 7-Swales and Whales. Atlantic Canada's Sea Mammal Harvest. East Coast fishing communities relied on the seal and whale hunts for supplementary income, in order to ensure their families' well-being. Both courage and survival are central to the story of these dangerous hunts.
The top two floors of the Museum featured a "time-line walk". It was one of the best presentations inside a Museum I have seen. You had to enter at a certain door so that you started out correctly in time. That portion featured some of Canada's very earliest settlers, the Indians. The displays then went up through time to the present day. The way the presentation was done however, was what really caught my eye. The 3rd floor actually protruded in parts up into an open sky in the 4th floor. It gave a feeling, when you were on the 4th floor, that you were actually out in the open. Fantastic job!
Since the museum was our first venture into Quebec we had a fear that we would not be able to understand anything. However, everything in the museum was presented in both English and French, and most of the people we met there were bilingual.
You can look up their website at: www.civilization.ca or if you are going to be in the area give them a call at: 1-800-555-5621 for information on current exhibits.