DAY ONE - Michelle Gervais

Cross-Canada immigrant exhibit comes to Red Deer

The cross-Canada tour of ‘Canada: Day 1’, an exhibition from the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax has opened at the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery.

‘Canada: Day 1’ is a travelling exhibition produced by the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 as a legacy project of the nation’s 150th anniversary in 2017.

It will be shown here in Red Deer through to mid-August.

Supported nationally by RBC Foundation, ‘Canada: Day 1’ explores immigrants’ diverse experiences, from Confederation to present day, organizers say.

Newcomers’ unique and shared experiences—across time and cultures—are highlighted in a thoughtful way through oral histories, archival images, original artworks, objects and your participation.

“Day 1 in a new country is an important milestone. Whether you came to Canada by ship 50 years ago, or by plane five years ago, whether you came on your own, or surrounded by family, that first day as an immigrant is experienced in a very personal way,” said Marie Chapman, CEO, Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.

“We are delighted that Albertans will be able to experience this fascinating exhibition where newcomers’ unique and shared experiences – across time and cultures – are highlighted in a thoughtful way.”

With a $500,000 gift from the RBC Foundation, the Canadian Museum of Immigration has collected stories from more than 1,000 immigrants across Canada through its oral history program.

It commissioned original artworks and collected archival images for the exhibition, from Confederation to today.

Also displayed are items the immigrants interviewed for this project carried in their luggage to Canada, including beans from Italy, instant noodle soups from Hong Kong, family photo albums, jewelry, books and even stuffed animals.

“This exhibition offers us the opportunity to see Canada with fresh eyes – as newcomers over the past 100 years have experienced it,” said Lorna Johnson, executive director of the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery.

“It invites us to remember the stories of friends and relatives and their first arrivals in our community. It also offers the opportunity for us to extend hands of welcome to those who have just recently arrived here, and invite them to share their stories. ‘Canada Day 1’ is a very timely exhibition, and we are pleased to host it and to present a great variety of activities for our visitors to enjoy.”

The exhibition will on display at the MAG until Aug. 14th.

Regular and special programs have also been planned using the theme, and are ongoing throughout the summer.

The community is invited to attend the opening reception on May 29th from 2 – 4 p.m. For a schedule of the day’s events, visit http://www.reddeermuseum.com/exhibits-and-events/canada-day-1-opening-reception-1/.

-Weber